The following is correspondence from a school administrator to a parent concerned about CSCOPE. The parent has asked questions because he is concerned. After all, CSCOPE has been on Fox National News as well as other media for months. But, administrators pretend they know nothing about this and give the same “rubber stamp” responses.One might think that CSCOPE has training classes for administrators so they are prepared to defend CSCOPE.
Comments in red type are from me, Janice VanCleave
Thank you for your reply. Essentially, CSCOPE is the TEKS, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills that the State sets forth to teach.
This is true and I am glad an assistant superintendent/curriculum director recognizes this. Why pay for the TEKS when they are free on the TEA website.
In larger districts, like Garland ISD, they have the personnel and funding to write their own curriculum for the TEKS. They write curriculum with a scope and sequence and then develop assessments for that curriculum.
The term “Curriculum” is used in so many ways. In the previous statement the “scope and sequence” is considered separate from the “curriculum.” But this
In smaller districts, like CISD, and larger districts that have lost a large amount of funding, like Irving ISD, they do not have the resources to write their own curriculum. Hence, like us, they utilize CSCOPE.
I’ve not checked CISD, but Irving ISD over the last two school years has paid TASA (Texas Association of School Administrators) $35,006 and TASB (Texas Association of School Boards) $870, 022. That adds up to $905,028 school tax dollars that could be used to hire classroom teachers. Instead, the administrators and school board members are using school taxes to pay for personal membership fees to private professional organizations. Note that Teachers must pay their own professional dues.
Now about using CSCOPE instead of writing your own curriculum. CSCOPE directors content that CSCOPE IS NOT
a curriculum, instead CSCOPE has curriculum components to be used by districts to design their own curriculum. Only as a last resort is CSCOPE used as a comprehensive curriculum. For more information about this and quotes from both Wade Lebay, the State CSCOPE director and Dr. Steelman, CSCOPE director at Region 11, see Is CSCOPE a Curriculum or Not?
CSCOPE is developed by the TESCCC which is a collaboration between the Education Service Centers in Texas. Every ESC in Texas is part of the collaboration. The ESCs employ educators who have teaching experience, so they are viewed as knowledgeable in their content.
How do you know ESCs hire experienced teachers? The CSCOPE science lessons are so filled with errors that administrators best be concerned about parents not taking them to court. After all, superintendents and school board members are responsible for providing instruction material that aligns with the TEKS. Many of the CSCOPE science lessons do not align with the TEKS. Thus, if CSCOPE lessons are still being used after the Senate Education Committee has warned schools about the possibility of lessons being incorrect, insensitive, anti-American, anti-Christian, pro-Islamic, administrators and school board members will be to blame. Do you think it wise for a school district to continue to purchase CSCOPE when it is being investigated by the Senate Education Committee and the SBOE is reviewing CSCOPE lessons. I am telling you that the CSCOPE science lessons have many errors. The Senate Education Committee meeting revealed many errors in the CSCOPE social studies and that CSCOPE doesn’t teach phonics. So why are administrators fighting to keep CSCOPE in their schools. Why are you defending CSCOPE to a parent when it has so many flaws?
Within CSCOPE, our teachers have a lot of flexibility. They are not required to use the optional lessons. They are able to select their own resources to teach whatever lesson they deem appropriate. In fact, they are even able to alter and adapt the formative assessments known as Performance Indicators based on student data. Essentially, all they are required to use is the scope and sequence (which is the TEKS) and the unit assessments.
Your school is paying a lot of money for a schedule that teachers can easily write and TEKS which are free on the TEA website.
According to Wade Lebay, state CSCOPE director, the sequencing of TEKS for each grade and subject was first a good guess. Meaning, since the TEKS were new no one really knew how long it would take to teach each of them. So, you purchased someone’s best guess. You could have allowed your teachers to design a sequence and it would have fit your school calendar as well as the time for each class period. Instead, you paid CSCOPE to do this. WHY? Also, according to Mr. Lebay, the CSCOPE Scope and Sequence is an example. Meaning that the sequence listed is not set in stone. Schools are expected to change it. So, again, Why are you purchasing this tentative sequence that your teachers will have to adjust? As to the specificities for the TEKS–Again, this is someone’s opinion as to what the TEKS mean. Every teacher in your school district can do this. Why are you paying for CSCOPE? There has to be a reason that administrators are purchasing CSCOPE, a product that was never evalutated–a product that still has not been evaluated, except for science and that is a joke. Evaluation are to be made before publishing a work. After it is published one doesn’t hire anyone to give promotional reviews.
Unit Assessments, according to Wade Lebay, are not to be used to determine what a student has learned in the unit lessons. In your case, it would be the TEKS on the IFDs. Instead, the unit assessments are examples of how the TEKS might be assessed on the STAAR. Mr. Lebay also said that administrators were never directed to use the CSCOPE assessment grades as part of a students grade average. I am most familiar with the science assessments and they have so many errors that your teachers will be spending more time trying to correct them than if they wrote their own tests. Also, Mr. Lebay says that teachers should write their own tests to assess what students learn and use CSCOPE assessments as examples of how the STAAR questions might look. If this is true, I cannot support taking the STAAR.
Many teachers might opt not to use a textbook in their class as a resource. However, that is an individual decision on the part of that teacher. Many textbooks are out of date and the state is not funding the purchase of student textbooks during adoption cycles like they had in previous years.
CSCOPE lessons do not have resource materials, so if teachers do not use textbooks, what guides do they have? Is the CSCOPE IFD suppose to provide all the guidance a teachers needs to develop a lessons? Following is a section of a 5th grade science IFD. Since the CSCOPE Specificities for science are a carbon copy of the TEKS in outline form, only one is shown. My point is that while school administrators repeat the CSCOPE sales pitch that the CSCOPE IFDs give teachers all the information they need to develop their lessons, I challenge you to develop a lesson using the IFD shown.
Know that an out of date textbook is very useful. Better than trying to find all the information on line. This takes hours of searching and confirming what you have found is correct.
The district did implement a “Bring Your Own Device” policy last school year for students to be able to bring and use their own technology under the advisement of the classroom teacher. This will fade out as we roll out the 1:1 iPad initiative.
Am I correct, that since the school did not purchase books for kids, they are allowed to bring their own electronic devices? Also, instead of using text books, kids will be given iPads? How can you afford to purchase iPads when you say you cannot afford to develop your own curriculum?
I would strongly advise you to set up a meeting with the principal of your child’s school, to address your concerns regarding teacher apathy and not having papers returned. Additionally, the principal check out textbooks to your child if you would like to use that as a resource at home.
Of course there is teacher apathy and it was reported to you, the assistant superintending of the school district. This should concern you. A better answer to a parent would be that you will investigate and determine why teachers in one of your school are not happy. Did it occur to you that the principal just may be a jerk? As to papers being returned, it has been the policy of CSCOPE not to send CSCOPE papers home.
The response to checking out a book is one that must be part of the CSCOPE administrative training. All the children need books. Your answer indicates that this is a special request and the school will make special arrangement to pacify this parent.
Have a wonderful day!