Thursday, July 25, 2013

CSCOPE is Dead, Long Live CSCOPE?

Back in May, the Texas Legislature passed SB 1406, which mandates that CSCOPE lesson plans be subject to the same review process as other public school curricula.  One of the controversies surrounding the program has been confusion over who has jurisdiction and oversight over CSCOPE content (as well as who is profiting from CSCOPE sales.)  Critics had hoped that SB1406 would allow scrutiny of the program before it could be used in Texas classrooms.  

Now however, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst has sent a letter to SBOE Chair Barbara Cargill noting that many districts are still planning to use CSCOPE as is.  Dewhurst is asking the SBOE to conduct hearings on CSCOPE, but also to help districts find other options and/or provide transparency for parents and local voters.  (Dewhurst's letter may be read here.)

I am sure it is frustrating for school districts who've already spent many taxpayer dollars to obtain CSCOPE to have to scramble to come up with new options.  Sadly, these districts are now saddled with a curriculum system that Texas taxpayers and parents want out of their schools, while the creators of the program are laughing all the way to the bank.  The state audit of CSCOPE finances requested by Dewhurst and State Senator Dan Patrick can't come soon enough.

The CSCOPE fiasco is just another example of how the education bureaucracy attempts to circumvent the democratic process- a growing problem for voters and parents.  If we are going to continue to support the public school monopoly over education, we must insist on transparency and accountability at every step of the way.  

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