William’s CSCOPE Expose Part III

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Hammering a Square labeled CSCOPE into a round hole labeled TEKS.

Pounding square CSCOPES into round holes: Part III (1324 words)

Joel Williams

Researchers researching CSCOPE

The CSCOPE.us/ website informs visitor: “The curriculum component of CSCOPE is based on best practice models from top researchers.” And this statement of and by itself is not false. Again, according to the website:

“The curriculum and instructional components of CSCOPE are based
on best practice models from top researchers in the field of education,
including: Robert Marzano, Fenwick English, John Crain, Heidi Hayes
Jacobs, Grant Wiggins, Jay McTighe, H. Lynn Erickson, and James

Practice models by these people may have been used, but the people
themselves were, for the most part, not consulted at all. When asked if they
participated in the development of C-Scope the answers were surprising.

Dr. Robert Marzano is a leading researcher in education, author of more than
30 books and 150 articles. His office noted, “Dr. Marzano was not involved
in the development of C-Scope. We are aware that Dr. Marzano’s name is
being incorrectly tied to this program.”

Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs, president of Curriculum Designers, Inc. and
Executive Director of the Curriculum Mapping Institute, responded she is
“not familiar with C-Scope and was not aware of the reference to her name.”
There was no response from either Dr. James Barufaldi or John Cain.

Dr. Grant Wiggins earned his doctorate in education from Harvard
University. When asked of CSCOPE he wrote, “I am sure none of us have
worked for them. I certainly never have, nor has Jay (McTighe). I suspect
this is just marketing blather. The language simply says ‘based on the work
of’ but that could mean simply that someone in C-Scope, having read our
stuff, was putting together their own version of the conglomerate of stuff. I
suspect that’s what happened. Thanks for calling our attention to it. We’ll be
looking into it further.” Alas, it is not the first time and surely won’t be the

The one link between any of the noted researchers and CSCOPE is rather
tenuous. Dr. Jay McTighe remembers, “”Several years ago, I believe they
were still in the developmental stage, I just happened to be in Houston and
they called and asked to meet with me.”

At last someone admits to SOME involvement in the development of
CSCOPE. However, Dr. McTighe noted, “I have never seen the material so I
could not judge its quality.” Recalling the half-hour he spent in conversation
with the representatives from CSCOPE he recalled, “The idea was to create
a curriculum framework so they (teachers) didn’t have to come up with one
on their own.”

Dr. McTighe admits to being surprised his name was listed on CSCOPE’s
website. “Using our names implies an endorsement that we did not give,” he

Another educator who was unaware of his citation with CSCOPE, H.
Lynn Erickson answered, “Quick reply. No I did not participate in the

Dr. Fenwick English is considered by many to be the harbinger of the
curriculum management audit and curriculum mapping, which includes
walk-through assessments. Classroom visits by an administrator to assess
how well a teacher is following CSCOPE lesson plans. The walk-through
can be viewed as intimidating to beginning teachers and offensive to
experienced teachers.

Though his practices are used extensively by the program and Dr. English
has worked in Texas more than 30 years, he admits he is not familiar with
CSCOPE, “whatever that is.” He elaborates, “To my knowledge I did not
work on C-scope though it is possible some of my ideas were incorporated
into it after doing workshops around Texas. I was not compensated for any
work on C-scope and I receive no residuals for anything.”

Dr. English is well known in education management circles for his 2010
paper, “The Ten Most Wanted Enemies of American Public Education’s
School Leadership.” Simply put, he bashes any major conservative voice
in education. While everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion, and Dr.
English could be viewed as a progressive when it comes to education, there
is another factor about his paper that is most puzzling.

The paper has been peer-reviewed, accepted, and endorsed by the National
Council of Professors of Educational Administration (NCPEA) Publications
as a significant contribution to the scholarship and practice of education
administration. (Emphasis included.)

The problem with all the accolades heaped on this paper is the inescapable
fact Dr. English twice cites Wikipedia. Twice. As a former teacher I can
state any high school teacher worth their salt do not allow citations from

Colleges require professors to be published on a regular basis. Would
college presidents knowingly allow someone to keep tenure when their work
references an online site not deemed acceptable for high school work?

The NCPEA was contacted about their strong endorsement of a paper
citing Wikipedia and requesting the contact information for the peers who
reviewed “The Ten Most Wanted Enemies of American Public Education’s
School Leadership.” So far they have not responded.

Another of those noted for best practice models but not listed is Dr. Linda
Darling-Hammond, a professor of Education at the Stanford University
School of Education. CSCOPE Director Dr. Labay praised, “In the field
of education, Linda Darling-Hammond is considered an authority in her
work on performance-oriented assessments and teacher quality. It is this
aspect of her work that is referenced in many ESC trainings on CSCOPE

There is just one problem with using Dr. Darling-Hammond as a shining
example of all that is right and good with being “an authority in her work
on performance-oriented assessments and teacher quality.” She has failed
miserably. Perhaps even spectacularly. One would not be amiss to venture
Dr. Darling-Hammond is an epic failure when it comes to putting her
theories into practical application.

The Stanford New School, founded in 2001 with Dr. Darling-Hammond
overseeing every aspect of the school, became an abysmal failure. In spite
of the full support of Stanford and spending $3,000 per student above the
California state average, the school failed. In March 2010 the state placed
the charter school on its list of persistently lowest-achieving schools. The

Ravenswood City School Board then voted to deny the school a five-year
extension of its charter.

As Ravenswood board members pointed out, another charter school in the
same district, Aspire, has consistently had better results on state tests. In
fact, Stanford New School was initially a joint venture with Aspire.

Aspire differed for they focused “primarily and almost exclusively on
academics,” while Stanford also focused on students’ emotional and social
lives, according to Aspire founder Don Shalvey. Rather than grades,
Stanford New School students received a rubric of evaluations, much as
they do with CSCOPE work. The two school-cultures clashed and went their
separate ways, Aspire to success and Stanford to ignominious failure.

It is also interesting to note the school that failed used Stanford University as
an almost unlimited source of funds. Between the two, the school with by far
the most funding, but rooted in Dr. Darling-Hammond’s philosophy, failed.

When the charter for Stanford New School was revoked, Dr. Deborah
Stipek, Dean of the Stanford School of Education and president of
the charter school’s board, complained of the closure, “It takes time.”
Apparently nine years was not enough.

Keeping Dr. Stipek’s comment in mind, a research paper completed by
members of Stanford’s School of Education was recently published in
January 2013. Titled “Charter School Growth and Replication,” the research
offered a very simple message about charter schools. Those that start off
poorly will remain poor. Those that begin well will continue to excel.

It is difficult to reconcile a research paper and the dean of the same
department making such contradictory conclusions. It is also difficult to
understand a school that spent so much more failed so miserably. Perhaps,
money is not always the answer but rather how it is spent.

However, when it comes to education, contradictory theories seem to be the

William’s CSCOPE Expose Part II


Next: Role of administrators

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