Does CSCOPE Deserve a Blue Ribbon?
The Texas state comptroller, Susan Combs has given CSCOPE a blue ribbon for being so inexpensive. The cost of a product depends on its quality, which this series of articles will address.
Ms. Combs comments about CSCOPE was the foundation of an article written by Ann Work, in the online Times News. Wichita, Falls. Tx. CSCOPE Features to Help Schools
Ms. Work received her information from Susan Combs, Texas the state Texas state comptroller of public accounts, in her Financial Allocation Study for Texas report, released last month, 2012. Note that I am not correcting Ms. Works or Ms. Combs. Instead, information about CSCOPE is easily confused as you will discover in this, this first part of a series of articles called: Is CSCOPE Helping or Hurting Texas Schools?
Part 1: Is CSCOPE Really Cheap?
“CSCOPE, the online Texas public school curriculum with a name that sounds like an unpleasant hospital exam, has become the preferred remedy for what ailed Texas schools — and saved the state money in the process.
The adoption of CSCOPE over the past several years saved individual Texas school districts more than $4 million apiece if they had tried to create the same product for themselves.”
1. There is no evidence that CSCOPE has benefited any Texas school district. Everything about CSCOPE is kept secret except descriptions of it being a guaranteed curriculum. The biggest secret is that CSCOPE curriculum has nothing to do with lessons.
2. There is no evidence, that CSCOPE has been financially beneficial to any school district, much less the state. In fact, CSCOPE IS NOT A STATE PRODUCT.
Quoting Susan Comb, “CSCOPE is a comprehensive online curriculum management system owned by a partnership of 19 Texas regional education service centers, collectively called the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC). Its curriculum is based on and aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, the state’s standards for public education.“
1. I agree with Ms. Comb that CSCOPE is a very comprehensive management system. But unlike other education management systems, CSCOPE only micromanages teachers to make sure they are following the CSCOPE’s Year at a Glance (YAG) scope and sequence, which amounts to the TEKS for a subjects sorted into grading periods.
2. I agree that CSCOPE curriculum is aligned with the TEKS, but that is because the CSCOPE curriculum is a group of four documents that lists the TEKS in different formats. One document, called the Information Focus Document has a few comments but is primarily a duplicate of the TEKS, which can be viewed for free on the TEA website.
Ann Work said, “Combs listed CSCOPE as a “smart practice” that was originally developed by 750 school districts at a cost of about $5,800 each. “Curriculum development can be time-consuming and expensive, and most districts lack the resources (in time, staffing or money) to accomplish this task alone,” she wrote.
1. Minor typo that is not uncommon in writing. Ms. Combs made reference to a description made by the owner of CSCOPE, which is TESCCC. “According to TESCC, developing a similar product to CSCOPE would cost the average school district $4.35 million. By combining their resources through TESCC, 750 school districts shared its development costs at a cost of about $5,800 each.”
Lets start with the 750 schools who shared the development cost of CSCOPE. Sounds like a politician wrote this. While schools do pay a development cost, CSCOPE was created around 2006 and the story of who did what is very vague. CSCOPE was developed around 2006 by the consortium of ESCs, which in 2009 established a private nonprofit company called Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative inc. (TESCCC inc). The ESCs transferred ownership of CSCOPE to TESCCC in 2009.
2. As to being time consuming to write curriculum— What ever did schools do until CSCOPE came along? OH! I remember, each school district adopted text books for each subject and teachers were paid a stipend to write a scope and sequence that matched the text book, which was truly aligned with the state standards. Also, this year at a glance was aligned with school events and was flexible.
The CSCOPE YAG or scope and sequence is “NOT NEGOTIABLE.”
This rigid attitude is part of the CSCOPE managing system.
Now many schools have CSCOPE–no text books. Maybe this is why Ms. Combs thinks the state is saving money. NOT!!! School districts still have the same IMA–Instructional Materials Allotment. This money can now be spent to purchase things other than text books. In fact, text books do not have to be purchased.
Yes, the IMA can be used to purchase SUPPLEMENTARY MATERIALS, LIKE CSCOPE. I am surprised that Ms. Combs is so excited by school districts purchasing CSCOPE, which is a supplementary material that hasn’t been evaluated by anyone. CSCOPE is not on TEAs approved list for supplementary material.
HELLO! Superintendents!!! CSCOPE is not an instructional material that has COMPREHENSIVE LESSONS.
HERE IS THE TRICKY PART: CSCOPE is a managing system with a comprehensive, guaranteed curriculum, which contain absolutely no lessons. Instead, CSCOPE curriculum is composed of documents that lists the TEKS in different formats. Yes, this is a tad bit deceptive–
CSCOPE is not for student use.
CSCOPE is a managing system. Teachers are being managed.
Is CSCOPE Helping or Hurting Texas Schools?