Teacher Speaks Out About CSCOPE
I wanted to tell you briefly my story. I quit teaching in public school five years ago (2008). At that time I was teaching 6th grade math in Texas, and I had 16 years teaching experience. The week before school started my new principal called teachers in (without pay) to tell us that we were using CSCOPE. I was open minded. I studied the notebook I was given, and began to develop lesson plans. I soon noticed something was wrong. For example, in one lesson CSCOPE said we would have to review students on simplifying fractions–like it would take only 15 minutes. Well, 6th grades had not learned that skill yet. In 5th grade students write equivalent fractions, but do not simplify. It takes practice for students to master this and they need to master it because we work with fractions all year. Also, there were mistakes on the CSCOPE worksheets. I found out I could not trust what was written on them. The school district made us send our worksheet requests to the administration building for copying. I had over 100 students. My back counter was stacked so high with worksheets that I could not use it for anything else. The CSCOPE lessons were in the process of being written. When I looked on their website, I had no idea what material I would use in the future because it wasn’t available.
This is still true. For some reason the CSCOPE lessons are never ready at the beginning of the school year. Each year it is like starting over. Janice VanCleave
Many of the activities had to be copied on cardstock and cut out and stored in plastic bags. I had to spend my own money for this and my own time cutting. When my class did the activities, by 2nd period the little cutout cards would be in disarray (we had only 3 minutes between our 45 minute classes). My students did not mishandle them; the cards would sometimes drop on the floor and would not end up in the proper bag.
The authors of CSCOPE lessons, who ever they are, are not in tune with education. They are writing activities with no conception of whether they will actually work in a class with real kids. Since the lessons are always in a constant state of being revised, there is never time for the revisions to be tested. As to sending in comments for revisions, not realistic. Janice VanCleave
After four weeks of this at the beginning of the year, I emailed my mathematics coordinator and told him the problems I was having with CSCOPE. He never responded. I looked in the book room for my old textbooks, but they had been discarded. Later that year a teacher from another middle school found a set of textbooks that I had used and gave them to me. I used them the rest of the year. I had wanted to retire teaching there, but I decided to quit. It was not worth the grief. I do miss my bright 12 year-olds and I do make less money, but I have never regretted quitting. CSCOPE is a blight for our students, teachers and schools.