After Backlash, Changes in Store for CSCOPE

State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, listens to an aide on the Senate floor on May 16, 2011.
State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, listens to an aide on the Senate floor on May 16, 2011.

CSCOPE, a controversial statewide curriculum delivery system that has come under fire from critics for its prescriptive structure and a perceived anti-American bias, will undergo a sweeping review process and ensure better transparency, state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, announced Friday.

As a result of a Senate hearing last week in which CSCOPE representatives faced tough questions from lawmakers, the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative, the state-funded group that designed the system, will review the materials included in the lesson plans and open all future meetings to the public, said Patrick, the chairman of the Senate Education Committee. The group will also post the curriculum content online and eliminate civil and criminal penalties for teachers for releasing lesson plans.

“The future of the program will depend on CSCOPE keeping its commitments they have made and gaining the trust of the Legislature, teachers and parents,” Patrick said in a statement Friday. 

CSCOPE spokesman Mason Moses said Friday that the system would remain dedicated to “being a trusted resource” and that increased transparency will “create a greater reassurance in the public that [the curriculum] is the highest quality that it possibly can be."

About 70 percent of Texas school districts use the system, which jumped into the national spotlight last November when conservative radio host Glenn Beck criticized a lesson plan that characterized the Boston Tea Party as an act of terrorism from the perspective of the British. 

Social studies will be the first subject reviewed. “As was brought up in the hearing, that’s been where most of the concerns have been raised," Moses said, "so it was most important to start with that subject."

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