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CSCOPE: False Narrative Being Pushed by News Media

Oct 27, 2014 by

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“CSCOPE: False Narrative Being Pushed by News Media”

by Donna Garner

10.27.14

While the two Dallas Morning News articles published on 10.26.14 (links posted at bottom of this page) hold some interesting data on the STAAR and End-of-Course test scores, a careful reading is necessary to figure out the strengths and shortcomings of the articles.  (The STAAR tests are given in Texas public schools in Grades K-8; the End-of-Course tests in Texas are given for core high-school credit courses.)

The important concept that the news media never seems to address is the dramatic changes that were made when the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education adopted the new Type #1 curriculum standards (TEKS) starting in May 2008. 

The previous set of TEKS adopted in 1997 were Type #2 which resulted in Texas students being deluged in subjectivity, group-think, multiculturalism, political correctness, environmental extremism, and an emphasis on process rather than on fact-based, right-or-wrong answers.

The new Type #1 TEKS (adopted by the SBOE from May 2008 through May 2012) in English/Language Arts/Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Math (K-12) brought a complete change of direction to Texas because they emphasize knowledge-based, academic content; set explicit goals for each grade level and each course; and are measurable largely through objective, right-or-wrong answers. 

The STAAR/EOC tests developed from the new Type #1 TEKS match that Type #1 philosophy of education; but rather than change from Type #2 to Type #1 curriculum to prepare students for the new STAAR/EOC’s, 893 school districts in Texas (out of 1,031) chose to purchase Type #2 CSCOPE. 

Since 2006, Texas school districts have sent approximately $72 Million to the Education Service Centers (ESC’s) for CSCOPE.  In 2013 alone, taxpayers spent $15 Million on CSCOPE.  Consequently, Texas students are not raising their STAAR/EOC scores significantly because many are being taught from the wrong philosophy of education – Type #2.  Rather than abandon CSCOPE, the ESC’s simply changed the name to TEKS Resource System; and the ESC’s have gone right on emphasizing Type #2 rather than Type #1. 

Common Core Standards are Type #2.  That is why much of the curriculum (e.g., CSCOPE) being taught in Texas looks just like Common Core; these emanate from the same Type #2 philosophy of education.

Here is the chart that explains Type #1 and Type #2 (http://www.educationviews.org/comparison-types-education-type-1-traditional-vs-type-2-cscope-common-core/).

The news media, including the Dallas Morning News, refuses to acknowledge these two very different philosophies; but anyone who has children or family members in the schools recognizes that Type #2 is real and produces completely different outcomes in our culture (e.g., anti-American sympathies, poor readers/writers, employees who lack basic skills, low-information voters, people who respond only to violent emotions rather than to reason, lack of qualified STEM employees, etc.)

The front-page article in the Dallas Morning News (“Special Report: Texas Standardized Tests in Trouble”) focuses on the lack of improvement across the board on the STAAR/EOC tests and leans toward blaming the tests rather than bringing out the fact that Texas students are being taught Type #2 curriculum which is not preparing them to take the Type #1 STAAR/EOC tests. 

The second article entitled “Secrets to Success [Wylie ISD]” seems to be a marketing piece for CSCOPE and the TEKS Resource System. The reporter deliberately infers that CSCOPE is the answer to school administrators’ concerns over low STAAR/EOC test scores…look what happened in Wylie ISD.  I can envision the CSCOPE/TEKS Resource System using this DMN article to market their product to even more school administrators using this false narrative.

First and foremost is that both of the 10.26.14 Dallas Morning News articles are only addressing the percentage of improvement in the test scores and do not address the successful scores produced by school districts that have chosen to teach Type #1 curriculum all along.  Numerous school districts in Texas have higher STAAR/EOC test scores than Wylie ISD does yet do not use the CSCOPE/TEKS Resource system.   

What the Dallas Morning News does not mention is that because of the changes made by the Texas Legislature to the original STAAR/EOC assessment plan, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) cannot provide statewide comparisons of End-of-Course tests over the three-year span.  Basically, the constant changes caused by the legislature have made it impossible for the TEA at the EOC high-school level to compare “apples with apples.”  Consequently, the DMN was unable to compare high-school EOC test scores across the state.  

It is for this reason that the DMN article(s) did not mention anything about the high-school EOC scores at Wylie ISD, and there is no way to provide data that proves whether or not CSCOPE at the high-school level in Wylie ISD raised the scores appreciably over the other school districts in Texas.   

Next, let’s look at Wylie ISD’s K-8 data as presented by the Dallas Morning News.  In the grade levels where STAAR Writing is tested (Grades 4 and 7), Wylie ISD did not show appreciable increases. Because CSCOPE is largely digitized and so many districts in Texas have chosen to use it, I believe it is clear that the STAAR/EOC Writing scores across the state have suffered.  

Left unstated by the Dallas Morning News are the results from Texas State Auditor John Keel when he released his 6.16.14 audit of CSCOPE (http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local-education/audit-of-cscope-finds-accounting-lapses-no-bid-con/ngLZR/).  As summarized by Tom Fabry who provided helpful documentation to John Keel on CSCOPE: 

In other words, the State Audit proved that they [the 20 Education Service Centers who sold CSCOPE] only violated eight sets of Texas state standards of financial management, had accounting errors on over 60% of their transactions, and can’t account for over $6 million of taxpayer funds.  And whose financial processes were in such disarray that the Auditor felt compelled to recommend seven legislative ‘fixes’ to rein them in.  And those are just the CSCOPE issues, the audit didn’t address the broader ESC operations. Other than that, everything is just as rosy as their [ESC’s] press release states…

To read more details about the CSCOPE audit, please go to my article from 6.10.14 entitled “CSCOPE Audit Done…Grassroots Vindicated” — http://www.educationviews.org/cscope-audit-done-grassroots-vindicated/

In an effort to be honest with the public, I believe that the DMN reporters should have included the following two caveats: 

In comparison with other schools across the state, (1) there is no three-year data to prove whether or not Wylie ISD increased its EOC scores significantly by using CSCOPE because no such state comparison data exists. 

In comparison with other schools across the state, (2) Wylie ISD’s Writing score increases in Grades 4 and 7 were about the same as those from across the state; therefore, there were no appreciable score increases from Wylie ISD having used CSCOPE.  

Conclusion:  Why use our taxpayers’ dollars to purchase CSCOPE/TEKS Resource system?  This should have been the strong message of the two Dallas Morning News articles.

RESOURCES

 

5.30.14 – “Duh! Even a Dummy Could Figure This Out:  STAAR-EOC’s” – by Donna Garner — http://www.educationviews.org/duh-dummy-figure-out-staar-eocs/

 

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6.17.14 – “ Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Opinion Against Use of Common Core in Texas” — https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/opinions/opinions/50abbott/op/2014/pdf/ga1067.pdf

 

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To see a list of Texas’ active CSCOPE districts/school systems as of 8.25.12, please go to this link:  http://nocompromisepac.ning.com/profiles/blogs/cscope-list-of-texas-school-districts-school-systems-as-of-8-25?xg_source=activity

 

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8.30.14 — “What Parents Should Want for Their Children” – by Donna Garner — http://www.educationviews.org/parents-children/

 

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8.6.14 – “Child Abuse – Destroying Children’s Love for America” —  by Donna Garner — http://www.educationviews.org/child-abuse-destroying-childrens-love-america/

 

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5.28.14 — “Is There Common Core in Texas? Donna Garner Counters Cathy Moak’s Comments” — http://www.educationviews.org/common-core-texas/

 

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Executive Summary CSCOPE Funding Analysis – by Tom Fabry – May 7, 2013

White Paper – CSCOPE.pdf

 

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Dallas Morning News articles from 10.26.14:

“Special Report: Texas Standardized Tests in Trouble: Districts Not Showing Gains” – by Jeffrey Weiss, Holly K. Hacker – Dallas Morning Newshttp://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/headlines/20141025-see-your-school-s-standardized-test-scores-how-do-they-compare.ece

“Secrets to Success: [Wylie ISD]” — by Jeffrey Weiss — Dallas Morning Newshttp://www.dallasnews.com/news/education/headlines/20141025-secrets-to-success-how-one-school-system-raised-its-texas-standardized-scores.ece

 

Donna Garner

Wgarner1@hot.rr.com

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