Texas Sen. Dan Patrick overreaches on policing end to CSCOPE

Posted Friday, Jun. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Consternation over what’s getting taught in Texas public school classrooms does funny things to people.

Supporters of local control suddenly want state lawmakers reviewing teachers’ lesson plans.

Advocates of smaller government see value in legislators assigning more and more classroom oversight authority to themselves.

It’s a tad surprising that Texans who ordinarily would be suspicious of meddling politicians seem to be fine with state Sen. Dan Patrick’s willingness to sacrifice local control in order to stamp out the curriculum management system known as CSCOPE.

CSCOPE, developed by the state-funded Texas Education Service Centers, is designed to help schools with planning but also has offered lessons for teaching the material required by the curriculum standards the State Board of Education has adopted.

Most of Texas’ largest districts have developed their own curriculum management plans. But 70 percent of the state’s 1,265 school districts and some charter schools have been using CSCOPE, some as an optional supplement and others in more rigid fashion.

An insistent movement of activists paint CSCOPE as a subversive program aimed at indoctrinating students in anti-American ideas. While the lessons were aligned with state standards and designed to spur critical thinking, opponents characterize them as a danger to Texas schoolchildren, their parents and taxpayers.

Senate Bill 1406, requiring that the SBOE review any instructional materials developed by the service centers, made it to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk. But before that, Patrick got the centers to agree to stop producing CSCOPE lesson plans.

That cut short an SBOE effort to review the plans. It also left school districts just a couple of summer months to put something else in place. Patrick suggested that smaller districts get materials from larger ones or find private vendors.

Pearson Education, the developer of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, the STAAR tests that took so much flak this legislative session, including from Patrick, has offered to help, The Texas Tribune reported.

Patrick, meanwhile, has asked his Facebook followers to report districts that continue to use CSCOPE materials so he can refer them to the state Attorney General. What would the AG do? Go after administrators for using their own judgment and exercising local control? For underscoring the absurdity of Patrick’s overreaching?

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