Leftist lesson plans from CSCOPE have worn out their welcome in Lone Star State’s K-12 classrooms

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AUSTIN, Texas – Texas is such a politically and culturally conservative state that it’s been said even their Democrats are Republicans.

That’s why news reports of Texas K-12 students being taught left-wing lessons have resulted in a huge public outcry throughout The Lone Star State.

texasflagLast fall, there were reports of a lesson plan that had been used in Texas schools that required students to view the Boston Tea Party as an act of terrorism.

Another lesson plan reportedly asked sixth-graders to design a flag for a newly formed socialist nation. A watchdog website published an excerpt from the lesson plan which instructed students “to represent aspects of socialism/communism on your flag.”

And earlier this year, it was reported that high school girls in one Texas school were required to wear burqas (a garment worn by Muslim women that conceals everything but their eyes) as part of a lesson about Islam.

According to one student, the teacher told the class, “We are going to work to change your perception of Islam.”

As stories of these incidents spread throughout the media, Texas’ parents, taxpayers and lawmakers began demanding to know why children were being exposed to left-wing, anti-American ideas in the classroom.

One name kept popping up at the center of each of the controversies: CSCOPE.

CSCOPE is an online “curriculum management system” that takes state-mandated learning standards and plots out the grade levels that Texas schools should be teaching certain topics. Essentially, it’s a big calendar that helps teachers cover all the material that students will be tested on by the state.

About 75 percent of Lone Star State’s 1,227 school districts currently use CSCOPE, which is produced by state-operated Education Service Centers – through a non-profit consortium – and sold to school districts, reportedly for $7 per student.

CSCOPE, by the way, only appears to be an acronym; its letters don’t contain any actual meaning.

While there’s some criticism about public organizations using tax dollars to create an educational product to sell back to taxpayer-funded school districts, that’s only a side controversy.

Left-wing lesson plans

The biggest trouble surrounding CSCOPE stems from the 1,600 sample (or “exemplar”) lesson plans and assessments it offers to teachers. The lesson plans and assessments cover all major subjects from kindergarten through high school. The materials are written by current and retired Texas teachers so educators can navigate more easily through the state-required learning standards.

CSCOPE critics point to the controversial lesson plans and conclude that some left-leaning teachers are trying to promote their ideology in Texas’ classrooms.

Historian David Barton analyzed CSCOPE’s trove of social studies lesson plans and found they ignored concepts such as “American exceptionalism, the study of federalism and majority rule, along with patriotic symbols like the Liberty Bell,” reports the Blaze.

Barton also reviewed a CSCOPE lesson plan for grades 1 through 3 that contained a list of American “heroes.” Of the 15 heroes listed, a dozen were individuals who represented a secular-progressive political ideology, while only three represented a conservative or moderate political viewpoint, the Blaze reports.

Another CSCOPE lesson about Christopher Columbus suggested the explorer was an “eco-warrior.” The lesson plan removed all references to God and Christendom from the explorer’s journal, reports the news site.

While CSCOPE officials have not responded to Barton’s findings, they have pushed back against criticisms of their other lesson plans, specifically the “Boston Tea Party-as-terrorism” and the “pro-Islam” lessons.

An announcement on the CSCOPE homepage says the controversy comes from those who have “misinterpreted” the lessons and taken them “completely out of context.”

“It is worth noting (that) neither the lesson on Islam, nor the terrorism lesson ever received any feedback or complaints from CSCOPE users,” the announcement reads. “However, both lessons were no longer aligned with state standards, so they were removed in a timely fashion.”

Here come the review panels

CSCOPE officials add that teachers are in no way required to use the sample lesson plans, and are always free to amend them however they see fit.

But David Bradley, a member of the , wrote in a recent op-ed that a “document handed out during a 2012 CSCOPE summer training session called for rigid compliance with CSCOPE content, stating that steps should be taken to ensure that ‘individual teachers do not have the option to disregard or replace assigned content.’”

The Texas Education Agency – the state department of education – oversees the Educational Service Centers responsible for selling CSCOPE to individual school districts.

TEA officials, eager to tamp down the controversy, recently announced the formation of 14 review panels that will scrutinize the CSCOPE social studies lesson plans and assessments for any political biases they may contain.

TEA officials are inviting residents to join the review process and began collecting applications from interested individuals earlier this month. The review panels will meet during the summer, and will make any recommendations for changes to CSCOPE officials by early August.

The beleaguered “educrats” behind CSCOPE have been so rattled by the public outrage that they recently reached an agreement with Republican state Sen. Dan Patrick to post all lesson plans online for public inspection and to give serious consideration to any input provided by the review panels.

CSCOPE leaders have also agreed to make all of its meetings open to public inspection.

Patrick, who has been one of CSCOPE’s leading critics, praised the group’s new-found spirit of cooperation, but is pushing legislation that would enshrine the agreement in state statute.

“The agreed-to reforms were a step in the right direction, but they still have much to do and need to do it sooner rather than later,” Patrick said in a March 7 press release. “If they don’t get their act together soon, they run the risk of having the entire program shut down.”

Is CSCOPE effective?

CSCOPE is well on its way to being enshrined as a permanent feature of Texas’ public education system – provided it survives the current firestorm.

That leads to a practical question: Is CSCOPE working?

It depends on who is asked, of course.

But a 2011 scholarly analysis published in the National Forum of Educational Administration and Supervision Journal concluded “there were no significant differences between the adjusted mean scores of CSCOPE districts and non-CSCOPE districts in either mathematics or science.”

A less-scientific study echoed those sentiments. According to a recent survey of educators in Texas’ Tyler Independent School District, 75 percent of teachers said CSCOPE “does not adequately prepare students for the next grade,” reports KETK NBC.

It appears the CSCOPE is better at creating controversy than it is at fostering student achievement.

After Texas’ review panels complete their review of CSCOPE’s lesson plans for political bias, perhaps taxpayers should ask their local school board members to conduct their own review of the curriculum management system.

It could turn out the CSCOPE is way more trouble than it’s worth.


This Article written by Ben Velderman at EAGNews.org

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  1. Sam Bloom says

    Baloney. I taught both High School and Jr. Science from Cscope curriculum. And there was no right or left about it. It just taught scientific processes in a professional and interesting way. So I am not buying into this witch hunt. Double baloney.

  2. alpambuena says

    if parents limit their participation of just sending their little tykes to school, then we are in big trouble. parents have to start checking out the teachers, the staff, and the lesson contents…never trust a school or its administration…remember the parent is responsible for their kids education…the schools just carry out the mandate. parents have to get involved in the school and find out what is going on behind those walls, if not then the schools assume that they will be able to do whatever they think is best.

    1. MARYANN33 says

      What happened to the PTA moms????

  3. Ron Powell says

    These curriculums are designed by liberal educators to subtly indoctrinate young students into the communist agenda. When they are caught they deny, deny deny. that is the Alinsky way. Vouchers would eliminate a lot of the government brainwashing institutions.

  4. TruthorConsequences says

    All this mess is a result of the No Child Left Behind federal law which uses federal “guidelines” and ‘benchmarks” for state school superintendents and boards, offering or withdrawing federal monies, which have become essential for many economically hard hit school systems.

    Most cannot afford to have the federal dollars withdrawn so no longer are there “guidelines” or “benchmarks” but these NCLB rules and expansions have brought new requirements to bear on state and local school systems.

    Due to huge new paper work requirements passed down from superintendents to principals and from principals to teachers have put additional demand upon teachers. This new demand on top of what was already a huge schedule. A full day of work teaching students, while dealing with disruptive students who have no parental involvement in their education, preparing from 4 am for that day of teaching, preparing lesson plans and research for the next day’s lessons, grading papers, entering grades in, telephoning parents (who often block the teacher’s number to reject the teacher’s calls), completing IEP forms, guidance referral forms, detention forms, and working many hours after school each day, often time until almost midnight.

    Not to mention that many teachers remain at school several hours after students leave in the afternoon to make needed photocopies of worksheets, tests, and other materials, clean and organize the classroom for the next day.

    I am not a public school teacher. I am just happily married to one of the best and in a family of public school teachers. I speak of what I know, not what I think, or believe.

    1. TurtleShroom says

      The NCLB is a stain on the GOP and a disgusting takeover of the educational system.
      Common Core is simply another system peddled; it is not compulsory, but I agree that it is evil because my state’s standards are actually higher than CC. It would dumb down the curriculum.

    2. Most Rev. Gregori says

      No Child Left Behind and any of the other federal education laws are UNCONSTITUTIONAL. the federal government was never given any Constitutional power to be involved in our education system, any more then they were given the right or power to be involved in or to take over our health care system. This is our fault because we have allowed the government to get away with it, just as most Americans are allowing the government to get away with illegal, unconstitutional gun laws.

  5. MARYANN33 says

    Get our kids out of the state schools and the communists out of teaching there…Make a law against politics in school except for American patriotism…and emphasize it..We must take action now. Bring God and his teachings back and kick the devil and Islam out.

    1. TurtleShroom says

      So you want to replace Democrat indoctrination with Republicab indoctrination?

      Why can’t we just do what my schools did and teach facts? I had World History, State History, and USA history.

      Of course I was taught about Marxism. Thanks to my school, I know what Karl believed and what it was supposed to be. I also know, thanks to the Cold War aspect, what it was.

      There were two glaring biases in my texts: slavery and Civil Rights.
      The course had weeks of units documenting that and labor struggles in the Industrial Revolution.

      However, the Civil War section listed the Northern tariffs and imbalance of power as reasons the CSA left, refusing to peddle the “slave only” lie. I was VERY pleased with their Civil War accuracy, even if it was obsessed with documenting slavery first.

      I walked out of my school system a better, more learned man. My beef with the system was their endless droning on Civil Rights, but that technically does need to be teaches. It was less a documentary and more a reminder that whites are crap. Fortunately, it was free of blaming America or society and focused solely on ever month in the movement. Not one iota was dedicated to gays. Oh, and the freebie BS was annoying. The EPA got too much coverage.

      Yes, there were faults, but I am proud of the teachers I had and their passion to make us better. In spite of my grievances, I defend my schoolhouses from criticism because of how well and how much I learned. I am VERY glad I went to my public school system’s curriculum, but the BULLIES…

      1. MARYANN33 says

        Sorry you have got it all wrong. Our Republic cannot function without the basis of the True and Living God of the founders and writers of the Constitution…They went to my kind of school and the lessons were difficult and I was, gifted…Did you read the Prairie school book…Can you answer all the questions of that day…Marxism is a failed system, not much time need be spent on that..We discussed Creationism and the other idea and made our own decisions..Now there is more scientific evidence for Creationism..
        We prayed everyday in school..We sang Patriotic songs and we learned the 10 Commandments that give us a moral conscience…We learned to do unto others as we would have them do unto us…We learned humility and to think highly of the other person..We learned manners…We had discipline and the paddle and the dreaded principals office..In school we learned…We did not toy with social issues..Those could be left for out of school time…We had music, art and sports..Lots of sports..We learned to write cursive and to print…We had no television so radio taught us to imagine…Even when we got Television, it was not much..It is not much now, lots of smut and stupidity and rebellion and bad behavior and violence, so much violence..we did not have black gangs and Mexican gangs. Mexicans came to work the fields and go home…They did not have guns. For so many years we had a great country and a great society..In 1960 you kicked God out and brought in New Math and did away with phonics so a whole group of students cannot spell to this day or even look up the spelling..We had tough rules..Very bad kids chewed gum and threw paper at each other…They paid a price..There was discipline and the teachers could teach without needing guns..They did not even have a paddle..The principal had the only paddle..We were disciplined at home as well as school and the rules were the same..Life made sense, the way God planned it. Of course we did not lock our doors in those days, no need..We drove across country many times and met the same kind of people all the way..Hard workers, clean living and trustworthy..Only people to come here were scrutinized to be upstanding and law abiding…not the kind that would take Welfare and blow up people who fed and clothed them…not insane people..They were healthy before they came too..The assimilated into our culture and not try to make our country into their inferior one…How dumb is that…Work hard to get here only to make it as bad or worse from where they came from…We had a great life and produced the greatest generation…You are a product of the progressives and humanism and self love and aggrandizement…A good days work was a great reward in the older day of good schools. It was fulfilling. We paid our own way and accepted charity from no one. Welfare was unthinkable unless the church fed the hungry or those with some need…
        Thank God my school was not like yours…I sent my kids to Christian school and they learned the good values and have all held onto them in this so very messed up world..I want to live in my country and I have little interest in those other countries, if I get to see all of my beautiful country it is a life’s work..and I could see that beauty time and time again..I have been to other countries and I kissed the sidewalk when I got home here…I do not go where I cannot drink the water===ever anymore. …You have been very short changed. We made great products that all the world wanted and we grew great healthy food and we prospered….

        1. Greg Gilbert says

          This is an outstanding post! It took me back to my childhood…which wasn’t that long ago. I miss that America. We should beg for forgiveness from every American over the age of 70 years old for ruining the country that they fought so hard to protect!

          1. MARYANN33 says

            Thank you…I put thought and effort into this writing. I am passionate about America. But I am only one and an old one at that…I am a Daughter of the American Revolution and Revolutionary blood is in my veins…It is boiling over the mess this country is in…In my childhood, strawberry shortcake was a great gift of spring…It has disappeared. Except,
            I bought a box of small organic strawberries at the market last year…It took me back to my childhood. The taste and smell was there again. We had great American grown food. Now we get lots of Mexican grown food. I look as closely as I can to reject these foods. We have planted some of our own and will plant more..I do not want food from all other countries. I want my superior American grown foods..Hard to find now. We had no GMO and animals full of hormones, and caged chickens, and NO Monsanto thank God….Government is not happy with status quo. Now they want to do God’s job and grow freak foods for us to eat,,and probably only their freaky foods..We have to wake the people up…somehow…My salmon this week was farm raised in Chile. I had to throw it out. I got very sick eating farm raised salmon..I had another pack of wild smoked Salmon on hand…What a world…I was truly blessed to live in this age and experience the real American experience. I was a teen in the 50’s…How great was that? Very great indeed…We were about the last good generation period…

      2. MARYANN33 says

        We had short supply or any bullies, and they were handled by those in authority…There were people in authority. We respected police, not a pig in the whole bunch..

  6. $13614178 says

    There is a new one coming , even worse , it is called ” Common Core ” and is pure progressive (read communist) propaganda . Look out for it . If you are interested in a good curriculum check out Rand Pauls ideas for education . Also look for patriotic American indoctrinators rather than the anti-American communist variety .

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