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CSCOPE executive director condemns the Use of Text Books

Following, in red type, are comments from Anne Poplin, CSCOPE TESCCC director and executive director of Texas Education Service Center, Region 9 reported by Ann Work Poplin is explaining why text books in schools using CSCOPE are necessary. While Ms. Poplin promotes the idea of text books only being supplementary materials, because of public outcry about this, Wade Lebay, State CSCOPE director contradicts Poplin and CSCOPE lessons now have more references to using text books. No, the CSCOPE lessons are not aligned with a specific book, so it is more time spent by teachers trying to find resources that align with the CSCOPE lessons.

Anne Poplin says, “When you live in a world that generates 4 exabytes of data annually — the equivalent of 4 billion billions, or 4 quintillions, or more than the all the data generated in the previous 5,000 years — that textbook on the classroom shelf outdated itself before it even rolled off the printing press, say local educators.”

 Absolutely not true. First, educators that I know have begged for textbooks. One school actually shredded old textbooks—Shredded. A teacher asked for class sets but was denied the copies. The reason being that the books were old and did not have the rigor that TEA requires. I think they are monitoring the work group–administrators need to have to teach for a period using the rules that they are forcing on teachers. 

Older text books by far have more foundational content than do more recent books. This is because there has been push to add “fluff” to text, such as information about scientists and careers, etc….. While this is part of learning, it is now included in curriculum content in place of facts –the cement –that connects all the bits and pieces now being taught. For example, in the CSCOPE 3rd through 8th lessons on forces, there is an attempt to relate forces to living cells and incorrectly describe osmosis as a force. Incorrectly list “push” and “pull” as types of forces instead of description of forces. Incorrectly identify average velocity as final velocity and never identify acceleration as being the results of unbalanced forces.

Yes, you may have rolled your eyes while reading the previous paragraph considering these flaws in CSCOPE to be insignificant. But they are examples that CSCOPE science has major flaws. It means that students are being taught incorrect science information.

Anne Poplin, Region 9 executive director and director of TESCCC, says “The classroom textbook can no longer dictate the pacing or subject matter in today’s classroom as it did decades ago, and teachers are told to put it back on the shelf for use as supplemental material when needed, educators say.”

Why would anyone that know anything about education say this? The text books were never meant to be the total of all material used. The textbook contains or it use to contain foundation information for the subject being presented. The material was evaluated and reviewed many times so that its content was as complete as possible and spiraled in complexity from grade to grade. Texas textbooks have everything teachers need. Every chapter has the TEKS (Texas standards for that subject and grade), facts, activities, etc………..

CSCOPE directors under the guise of representing the Texas Education Agency, have presented the CSCOPE online product as being aligned with the TEKS and offering special explanations of the TEKS not available in textbooks, Also, CSCOPE being an online material can change its content when TEKS are changes and textbooks cannot. This is  false advertising. The TEKS are changed every six years. Even if a textbook is not purchased every six years, the basic subject content of the TEKS does not change that much. Teachers can adjust until new books are purchased. Textbooks contain the entire scope of what should be taught during the year. The schedule is better determined to meet the needs of the school’s schedule.

Parebts, are you aware that CSCOPE is classified as a supplementary material by the Texas Education Association. This is because the material does not have comprehensive material as do textbooks. This was purposely done by the Texas State Educaton Service Centers who joined together and created CSCOPE. At this time, supplementary materials, such as workbooks a teacher might purchase for enrichment activities, do not have to be evaluated by the state board of education, SBOE. Thus, to bypass the rigid evaluation of the SBOE, the group being paid by the state to provide services to Texas schools deviously circumvented the evaluation process for CSCOPE. My question why was this online K-12 instruction material classified as a supplementary material? Another loophole through which the CSCOPE directors found and chose to use?

Now, instead of using textbooks, CSCOPE schools are using a supplementary material–one that by its own classification is not comprehensive.  

Anne Poplin evaluates learning

 “If they’re sitting in a classroom with a textbook, that’s not the world anymore,” said Anne Poplin, Region 9 executive director.

In CSCOPE schools, elementary students are sitting in the classroom with copies of CSCOPE fill in the blank handouts and teachers are using projectors to flash the answers on a screen. Students are transferring information from the screen to their handouts. In a high school Algebra 2 class, since no books are used, the teacher has to make transparencies of the information needed and students copy it. This takes 2 to 3 classes and then students use the information to work algebra problems. The “old school” traditional method would be for the teacher to have students turn to the information in their math books, and discuss each step. Having students working through a math problem. Then on their own, using the text book work a second problem. With their text books they would do a few additional problems as homework. But, with the CSCOPE plan, using text books in the math class or any class is forbidden.

 According to the video presentation called Did You Know 4.0, “the world” in 2010 gave the typical student access to 1 trillion Web pages, 65,000 iPhone apps, 10,500 radio stations, 5,500 magazines and more than 200 cable TV networks. The amount of new technological information doubled every two years. Textbooks can’t keep up, Poplin said.

This is an absurd reason for not having text books. Students need to have the fundamental foundation facts, which were in older text books. Then they can use technological tools to find enrichment. As an author of children’s science experiment books, I spend hours, days, etc… searching the web and text books for information. All the sites on the web are not correct. And yes, text book and resource books have errors. Granted, online materials can be corrected while the print of a book cannot. But online materials are not changed as often as CSCOPE would like one to believe. Teachers who recognize an error in a text book point it out to their students, so it is no big deal. The errors that one might find in a text book would be minuscule compared to the errors in the CSCOPE science lessons.

According to Poplin, If she saw a class of students hooked to a textbook — and only a textbook — it would actually be a warning flag, she said, that a student is not receiving the type of instruction he or she needs.

 Remember that Poplin and other CSCOPE enforcers (teacher observers), pop into classrooms for about 3 minutes to make their observations. Thus, if students were using an Algebra 2 book to do practice problems during this 3 minute “flash-through” observation, the teacher would receive a lower evaluation score. Part of the CSCOPE evaluation for teachers is how much fun students are having when the CSCOPE enforcer makes a visit. Check out this link for an example evaluation of a teacher for three consecutive years. Notice that his grade was decreased when students were seriously working.

Children are sent to school to be taught. If teachers are to be mentors of classroom discussions, what is the point of having public schools?

Please understand that CSCOPE instruction material has only scripted lessons for teachers, lists of online websites that may or may not be appropriate for students, student fill-in the blank handouts, and some fact-based handouts often with no reference of their source.

CSCOPE is not written for students. 

CSCOPE is for teachers only. 

CSCOPE provides no technological interaction for students. 

CSCOPE provides micromanaging of teachers and computer print outs of student grades. The first inhibits teacher creativity and the later could be achieved by a much less expensive computer program.

CSCOPE does not have student reference information. Teachers have to round up this information and using old textbooks, even though they have wonderful colored pictures, maps, diagrams, etc… teachers would be reprimanded for using them–if they could get a set. One teacher had her own set of math books hid away and used them under threat of being caught. 

CSCOPE does not have practice lessons for students. Teachers must create these.

CSCOPE does not have homework materials. Teachers must create these. 

CSCOPE cannot be accessed by students or parents or anyone who has not signed a non-disclosure agreement.

So why is the executive director of CSCOPE promoting that schools do not rely on textbook content? 







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  1. Where can I get proper text books for my freshman child???? Please help!

    • Janice VanCleave says:

      If your child is attending a public school, ask the principal. Even outdated books are better than no books.
      Ask homeschool organization about a local bookstore with textbooks. I find many of the homeschool textbooks to be
      very informative.