A Teacher Would Not Say This

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Janice VanCleave #1 Cscpe CriticAttacking Comment

The following comments were sent as if from a teacher, but I think it comes from a CSCOPE director or school administrator. I base my hypothesis on my trust that teachers are smarter than  CSCOPE directors or school administrators who purchase CSCOPE.

The comments are in response to an article I wrote about CSCOPE lessons dumbing down students and not preparing them for the STAAR. I’ve indented the comments and put them in italics. My comments are in plain type and are not indented.

FYI: The photo is of me when I stood at the geographic South Pole. This was an honor. I’ve tweaked the photo by adding a badge of honor from the CSCOPE directors at ESC Region 8. As part of an ESC 8 administration workshop, a power-point contained a listing of CSCOPE critics placed me at the top of the list.

Janice VanCleave


You are wrong!! I am an elementary school teacher. I am a science lab teacher and I teach 1st through 5th grade students. CSCOPE has been instrumental in our schools success!!

You have no idea! You should really be questioning Pearson Publishing and the people who write the STAAR exams! They are affecting our student population by making them feel they are not worthy. They have no idea the kind of pressure teachers go through on a daily basis and they certainly do not know how much it affects our students.

 Dear Commenter,

The STAAR test itself is not what is putting pressure on teachers and kids. This is coming from your superintendent and passed on by principals.  As to the STAAR making kids feel unworthy, this is not due to the STAAR, but is due to students not being prepared to take this tests.

You did not give any information about how long you have been teaching. Some new teachers view the scripted CSCOPE lessons as being helpful, but are not aware that the script has incorrect science facts. I have read every CSCOPE science lesson K-5, thus I am very familiar with the CSCOPE lessons that you are praising.


CSCOPE has helped in interpreting our State’s TEKS. These TEKS are vague and can be interpreted in many ways. CSCOPE’s scope and sequence clarifies the student expectations and helps with the depth and complexity of these expectations!

Dear Commenter,

I agree that some of the TEKS are vague and could be interpreted in different ways. The 81st Texas Legislature provide the Rider 42 grant of more than $150 MILLION DOLLARS to take care of this problem and others. TEA paid the 20 Texas Education Service Centers (ESC) over $100 million dollars to provide to you FREE! Science TEKS Professional Development Programs during the summer of 2010 and every summer including 2013. Did your local ESC notify you of these FREE Science TEKS programs? These programs were also to be on the TEXAS Project Share website. Has your local ESC notified you about this? 

The $100 million dollars was to develop materials that compared the TAKS state science standards with the new TEKS science standards. Thus you ane all science teachers could continue to use the available textbooks aligned with the TAKS. The TEKS science programs were to point out the TAKS and TEKS  that are alike, any TEKS that introduced new standards, as well as any TAKS that was no longer represented by the new TEKS.

Your local ESC was paid millions of dollars to provide you and every Texas Science Teachers with information so the transition from TAKS standards to TEKS standards was no big deal.  With a few tweeks in your TAKS lessons and TAKS timeline for the year, voila’ you were ready to start school in the fall of 2010. 

This is what should have happened. But the 20 ESCs took the $100 MILLION dollars and except for two programs, science K-4 and all of the social studies, the other science, and math TEKS programs did not meet the objectives clearly described in the Rider 42 grant. Instead, the ESCs were too busy transforming CSCOPE from TAKS to TEKS so that this product could be sold to your school. Plagarized lessons have been identifies. One was directly copied from a chemistry book, the same book that was stored because the CSCOPE directors promote the idea that using textbooks is not 21st century teaching methods. I will stand up for Master Teachers and say that they would not plagarize a lesson. In fact, because of my respect for teachers, I would never blame them for the CSCOPE lessons, especially the CSCOPE science lessons.

Now about the CSCOPE Scope and Sequence—Following is an example of one TEKS from three grade levels. This is an one TEKS from the CSCOPE SCOPE, or vertical alignment document (VAD) that you tell me has made such a difference in the success of your students.

According to CSCOPE directors, identifying the Action Verbs (Describe, Plan) and the objective of these verbs (type of experiment/investigation) clarifies the student expectations. I have confidence that teachers can figure this out for themselves.  

According to CSCOPE directors,  the depth and complexity of student expectations is the list following “Including, but not limited to..” I also have confidence that teachers can figure this out for themselves.  

Thus, the scope that some school administrators are paying $7/student/year and more is something teachers leaned when they attended middle school. It is an insult for administrators to say that teachers need the CSCOPE scope and sequence.

CSCOPE Scope for Science 3-5


About CSCOPE Sequencing, which is also called Year At a Glance (YAG). Following is an example. This is the yearly schedule that is what superintendents are claiming teachers absolutely must have. Notice that the person who organized the science TEKS for the 5th grade placed Experimental Design as the last lessons for the school year, when it should have been first. This alone disqualifies the author of this schedule as knowing anything about science.

I respect teachers more than to blame them for this pitiful excuse for a schedule for science.

5th Grade Science Year At a Glance
CSCOPE Lessons

No, you are barking at the wrong tree. The lessons they have provided offer rigor and relevance and can be flexible to meet our student’s needs. I do not know how teachers can bash this system. Shame on them!

This lady is way off. You might want to check this ladies credentials! These lessons are written by teachers with masters degrees in the prescriptive contents.
Who does she work for and why is she involved?
What is her take? Very upsetting to me!
I loved the lesson and as a professional, certified teacher, I make sure these lesson are relevant to our students. Shame on her!!

Since I wrote the article that this comment addresses, I am the lady whose credentials are in question. Well, while science wisdom will not die with me, I do give myself credit for understanding more about the scientific process skills as well as the elementary science content than most educators.  My science teaching experience of 27 years covered grades 6-high school sciences.—-My preferences were chemistry and physics.

My science research experience in elementary, middle school as well as high school science is shown by the 50+ published science experiment books —John Wiley & Sons Publishing.

My present science explorations are with color changing  thermochromic dyes, photochromic dyes, and Liquid Crystals. I am working with Hallcrest/ThermoSmart, the company who designed Mood Rings. My objective is to develop science investigations as well as science/craft  for the chromic products I design. The first product that is on the market contain a series of investigations that students K-12 could use to discover why fall leaves turn from green to yellow to red. I designed labels coated with different thermochromic dyes to model the color changes in fall leaves. Explanations are provided as well as additional experiments to extend the understanding of the science processes.

Thus, the answer to whom I work for is—Myself.

Why am I involved in seeing that the unapproved, never vetted, instruction material called CSCOPE is removed from Texas schools? Because is have a passion for education. Because I want Texas children to be provided the very best education Texas can offer. Because teachers were forced to sign a gag-order if they wanted to keep their jobs. Because the content of CSCOPE lessons was kept secret from the public until I started asking questions about the content of these lessons. The answers alarmed me of how dangerous the 20 Texas Education Service Centers are. Dangerous in that they with much stealth introduced biased political lessons into the Texas schools under their cloak of being part of the Texas Education Agency.

What is my take? Not sure I understand this question. But if you are asking about the reason for my tenacity for removing CSCOPE, the answer is to stop its cancerous destruction of Texas Education.

The comment ends with. “Shame on her!!”

 This last statement confirms that someone who is benefiting from the sale of CSCOPE wrote the comment. Would a teacher whose primary goal is to educate children defend CSCOPE? No.

Why are CSCOPE directors trying to discredit me? Of all the people who have testified against CSCOPE this past year, I am listed as the #1 CSCOPE critic. I am wearing this as a badge of honor.

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  2. Scott Klump says:

    Why is the STAAR not a valid assessment tool? The STAAR test is stressful and high stakes, but so are the ACT and SAT. Are these tests also not valid?

    • Janice VanCleave says:

      Elementary children do not need to be given stressful, high stakes tests.
      Elementary children do not need to take 4-hour tests.
      No one test should trump all the classwork done during the school year.
      The STAAR tests have errors.

  3. I’ve worked in the chemical industry for nearly 20 years (research and production). At the age of 50, with a lot of practical experience under my belt, I’ve entered into this oft confusing world of education (HS Chemistry). Two things disturb me most…(1) why are people who have no concept of how all this knowledge is ultimately applied writing our curriculum (go ask the opinion of a PhD research chemist or chemical engineer to see if our curriculum is preparing students for the real world) and (2) why do we combine students into the same class when in reality, only a small percentage will pursue fields that require chemistry(?). We choke our kids with rigor and they walk away with a “bad taste in their mouth” (my wife, an educator of 28 years, along with a majority of her peers, cant recall much of their high school chemistry course). We spend an incredible amount of time and money thinking up ways to make all subjects more palatable to students (educators with advanced education degrees). Think about this…America, hands down, has some of the greatest universities in the world (the world comes here to get a university education), but the data shows that our public school systems are some of the worst in the world. How is this possible? We are told to “flip the classroom” but you don’t see that strategy being applied at the university level…it’s still good ole fashioned lecture. I’ve also heard rumors that at the heart of all the CSCOPE hoopla are paranoid, extreme Christian conservatives, who don’t like certain aspects of the curriculum…Fox News kinda stuff (doesn’t take a genius glancing at the bullets below to figure that out)! If you want a topic to really research…what happened to all money Texas schools were to receive when the Texas Lotto was approved?

    • Janice VanCleave says:

      I am Janice VanCleave, the person you might say was at the heart of targeting CSCOPE as a socialist, anti-American, anti-Christian, unvetted, instructional program. I gladly admit to be an extreme Christian conservative, but am not paranoid.

      You are right on target with your comments about Chemistry. The TEKS for Chemistry are pitiful and the Chemistry EOC is pitifully low level.

      CSCOPE, common core and TASA’s Vision Learning transformation instruction materials are designed to lower the standards for American children.
      Our students are not being prepared to go to universities, instead at best many will be in a small local community college taking remedial courses.

      If you are supporting CSCOPE, I really would like to know why? CSCOPE does not provide the tools that students need to be successful in a science career. I do not think one has to plan to be a chemist to take chemistry. Student do not always know what they might want to be. But students taking chemistry need to have a good math background. Chemistry should be taken in the 11th after algebra–Physics in the 12 after trig.

      By lowering the standards, kids in general math are put into chemistry. It is more of a watered down physical science.

      I agree that educators with advanced degrees in education don’t generally have a clue about science.

      I disagree that chemistry cannot be a bit palatable. I taught chemistry and physics and my students may not remember all the concepts, but they remember that chemistry and physics may have been their most rigorous courses but they were also the most fun.

  4. I’m a teacher and have NO affiliation with CSCOPE. CSCOPE has been very successful for our campus!!! In 2013, we had a 78% passing rate in 8th grade Science (the second year of CSCOPE implementation). That was 6% above state average. This year (2014) we achieved a 79% passing rate. If used properly CSCOPE is a great tool.

    • Janice VanCleave says:

      Being at or above state average on the STAAR tests doesn’t mean much when the passing grade is around 50% for many of the these tests. The STAAR test are not a valid assessment tool.

  5. Oh, that was beautiful. I enjoyed that so much I think I’ll read it again. Peace Out

    • Janice VanCleave says:

      Thanks Stacey. Please help support this website by telling others about it.
      I stay busy just investigating and writing. I don’t find extra time to facebook
      and tweet. I need helpers to do this.
      Contact me at: cscopereview@gmail.com