Obama’s End-Run Around Texas on Education Standards

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By Dave Mundy/manager@gonzalescannon.com
Posted October 17, 2012 – 9:50pm

Has the Obama Administration, through its control of the massive U.S. Department of Education bureaucracy, pulled an end run around Texas to force sub-standard national education curriculum standards on Texas schools?

CSCOPE is advertised as a curriculum management guide, developed in Texas by the Region XIII Education Service Center (ESC) to cash in on what had been a budding cottage industry of curriculum management sold to local school districts.

The rush by Texas school districts, desperate to cut the costs of curriculum-writing and to ensure that more students pass accountability exams, to implement a curriculum management system called CSCOPE is being questioned by not only education traditionalists, but also by Texas teachers.

“Schools with only CSCOPE and no text books are threading on thin ice with parents arm in arm with their lawyers waiting for them to come ashore,” writes “Janice,” who identifies herself as an educator in North Texas.

Why the anonymity? In growing numbers, Texas teachers say they fear administrative retribution if they speak out.

In “CSCOPE: Texas Teachers Given Gag Order,” available on a website called Texas CScope Review operated by retired teacher Janice Van Cleave, another group of currently-employed teachers say that was was advertised as a “supplementary” education program is rapidly becoming the official but never-approved state curriculum.

“CSCOPE started out to be a supplementary program,” write a group calling itself ‘concerned Texas educators’ on the site. ”On the CSCOPE website, the program is advertised as a ‘curriculum management system.’ However through careful marketing tricks by the ESC’s, CSCOPE’s lessons have become an all-in-one comprehensive curriculum used to direct instruction K through Grade 12. “

The group maintains that Texas teachers in districts where CScope has been implemented are being forced to sign contracts to not disclose details of the program:

“Each Texas teacher in a CSCOPE district had to sign a contract with CSCOPE — a full page of legal descriptions binding the teacher not to reveal the content of CSCOPE to anyone outside the school. The teachers were not allowed to copy the contract nor secure legal counsel to interpret the content. The consensus among teachers across Texas is that they dislike CSCOPE intensely because it does not prepare their students academically for the new STAAR/End-of-Course tests.”

Texas CScope Review contend sthe secrecy is because CSCOPE isn’t based on Texas’ official education standards, adopted by the State Board of Education — they’re based on the Common Core Standards developed by the DoE and rejected by Texas for their lack of rigor.

“Cscope is modeled after Lucy Calkins. According to Ms. Calkins, she has worked hard to finesse the adoption of the Common Core Standards. ‘As challenging as it must have been to write and finesse the adoption of the Common Core State Standards, that accomplishment is nothing compared to the work of teaching in ways that bring all students to these ambitious expectations. The goal is clear. The pathway is not.’

For more information about Lucy Calkins, see


 http://www.cscope.us/docs/conf_pres2010/Writers%20Workshop/writers_workshop_handout_k-2_3-5_doc1.pdf )


“CSCOPE is instructional material patterned after researchers who promote Obama’s Common Core Standards Texas has not adopted Obama’s common core standards,” Van Cleave adds. “So why has the Texas Education Agency written and sold CSCOPE to Texas public schools?”

In other words, by adopting CSCOPE, local districts are effectively adopting the substandard Common Core Standards.

A report by the Pioneer Institute concluded that, barred by law from creating and imposing a national curriculum, the Obama Administration’s DoE is doing an end-around at the local level.

“The department has simply paid others to do that which it is forbidden to do,” said the authors of the reported called “The Road to a National Curriculum: The Legal Aspects of the Common Core Standards, Race to the Top, and Conditional Waivers.” “This tactic should not inoculate the department against the curriculum prohibitions imposed by Congress.”

“To this date, CSCOPE (including its lessons and learning activities) has never gone through the intense Texas textbook adoption process in which public hearings are held and factual errors are documented, discussed, and verified. Neither has there been any follow-up to make sure that the errors in CSCOPE lessons and learning activities have been corrected,” the educators’ group writes in an article posted Oct. 12 on the Texas Cscope Review website.

“As importantly, there has been no independent review of CSCOPE to make sure that its lessons and learning activities align with the new SBOE-adopted curriculum standards (ELAR, Science, Social Studies, Math).”


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  3. Janice-

    I have been trying to alert Texans that your schools are getting what the actual Common Core implementation looks like in other states because of the alignment of STAAR with PARCC and SBAC because all are based on Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge. Which is an update to Ben Bloom’s OBE template. I explained it here back in September http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/the-intentional-insurrection-in-texas-supers-override-governor-legislature-and-taxpayers/

    I followed it up quoting why these Texas Supers say Digital Learning is such a key component in moving Texas classroom experiences towards the mindsets envisioned in John Dewey’s concept of democracy. http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/embrace-and-seize-technologys-potential-to-capture-the-hearts-and-minds-of-todays-students/ That provocative title is from a quote in a Declaration signed by many of your supers.

    Two more points-are you aware Austin is one of the collaborating urban districts in CASEL’s core social and emotional competencies research?

    Also you have Saul Alinsky’s IAF operating all over Texas as the Alliance Network and training school boards.

    I have been watching Texas closely since the Dallas Super Hinojosa was brought by SACS to a high achieving metro Atlanta suburb to gut academics. I call it the Gypsy Principal Gypsy Super Template. Every time these people move the school or district gets a more aggressive version of Transformational Outcomes Based Education.

  4. Bill Bigley says:

    Who is responsible and being made accountable for CScope and have they been fired

    • With the help of Texas patriots–parent, grandparents, etc…. This can be accomplished.

      In order to stop CSCOPE and any future group trying to take over our education system, please contact your state representative and senator and request them to support House Bill 760.