Sunday, February 3, 2013

Most Amazing Senate Ed. Hearing Ever — CSCOPE

I sure hope CA'ians are smarter than TXans with regard to this.

There was a TX State Senate hearing on January 31st.  Looks like it was streamed live online.  I need to find out  if it's archived.  This person posted some of the highlights of the meeting.  The overall thrust was not that online curricula was bad, but that CSCOPE was taking TX schools down a path that teachers were objecting to.  Also, there was never ever any oversight by the State Board of Educators and no transparency at all.  I'm amazed SCOPE was allowed to thrive - yea, flourish - for so long with no SBOE oversight.

The Senators were very troubled by the fact that the Texas Attorney General’s office has said that the TESCCC is a governmental body yet it is using public funds to develop its product; uses public dollars to pay its ESC employees; has no TESCCC business office; does not post its agenda; does not allow the public into its meetings; and will not allow public access to its minutes.

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When classroom teachers, parents, or the general public testified — the ones closest to the classroom students — they told a completely different story. One of the most poignant moments in the hearing occurred when a veteran Algebra teacher almost broke down in tears as he told of having to quit his teaching job recently because he was required to teach CSCOPE. He said he could not look his students in the eyes, knowing that he was “aiding and abetting ignorance…and giving them an allusion of an education.”

A well-credentialed education researcher, who works with many Texas school districts and who intensely dislikes CSCOPE, said she had had doors slammed in her face when she sought to uncover the ideology behind CSCOPE. She said teachers are afraid to speak out about the content of the CSCOPE lessons and the links that students are directed to investigate. Several of these links take students to sites where Wiccans are said to be similar to Christians and where Islam and Christianity are harmonized as being similar.

A current classroom teacher of 30 years’ experience told about being offended with the lesson in which students were required to make a Communist/Socialist flag. She said her father had proudly fought in World War II to keep our nation free and that our students should be taught American exceptionalism. She also said that CSCOPE content teaches none of the great novels and does not teach the young readers a systematic approach to reading using phonics. She complained that CSCOPE instead teaches whole language and that there is no formal instruction of grammar, usage, and correct writing. 

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