CSCOPE Under the Microscope

The Senate Education Committee heard four hours of testimony Tuesday on a bill by Senator Dan Patrick that would require the State Board of Education to sign off on all lesson plans included in the online curriculum management tool CSCOPE.
Wed April 3, 2013 1:00 pm
Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, chairs the Senate Education Committee.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera

On Tuesday afternoon the Senate Education Committee heard testimony on a bill that would grant the State Board of Education oversight of CSCOPE, an online curriculum delivery system that has drawn the ire of conservative activists for its alleged “progressive, pro-Islam bias.”

Four hours later, almost everyone had been frustrated. “It appears to me that many of the people who are defending [CSCOPE] are defending it regardless of the information provided,” said Dan Patrick, a Republican state senator from Houston. “It’s almost as if nothing that is shown or said will change their minds.”

The CSCOPE system, which was developed by a consortium of state-funded education service centers, is used by some 875 school districts in Texas. Teachers can log on and download a variety of lesson plans—created by educators from around the state—on a full spectrum of subjects, including social studies and science, which incorporate the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). It first gained national attention last November when conservative talk show host (and recent Dallas transplant) Glenn Beck mentioned a lesson on his show that said that, from the British perspective, the Boston Tea Party could be considered an act of terrorism.

Patrick, who

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