CSCOPE and Why It Causes Teacher and Student Burn Out

Oct 23, 2012 by

by Donna Garner


This YouTube link — — is from August 9, 2011, and shows how a Texas teacher is supposed to use CSCOPE to create a lesson plan.

It is obvious from watching this YouTube that the actual learning activities (curriculum) are created by CSCOPE; therefore, when the TESCCC (Texas Educational Service Centers Curriculum) tries to portray CSCOPE as a “curriculum management system,” that is not a completely true statement.

By watching the YouTube, it is easy to see that CSCOPE not only forces teachers to spend numerous hours to generate a lesson plan (time better spent helping real kids in real classrooms) but that CSCOPE’s learning activities actually become the curriculum used in the classroom.

Bottom line: CSCOPE not only tells the teachers what to teach but tells them how to do it, when, and for how long  — regardless of their students’ individual needs!

No wonder Texas teachers are frustrated with CSCOPE.  The normal pattern used by many CSCOPE districts is to require the teacher (after she spends hours to generate the CSCOPE lesson plan) to send it by computer to various supervisors in the school district; and when each supervisor walks into the classroom with his iPad loaded with the teacher’s CSCOPE lesson plan for the day, the teacher is evaluated based upon her being exactly where her digitized lesson plan shows she is supposed to be.

That idea might sound fine to the non-initiated teacher but not to a capable teacher. Students are not “widgets” being produced on an assembly line. They are individuals with individual learning problems and individual questions.

CSCOPE drives the curriculum rather than allowing the needs of the students to drive the curriculum.

Heaven help the teacher who has a student who does not understand a concept and needs to have it explained a second time!  The teacher simply does not have time to handle individual student learning problems (including questions, disciplinary problems, and other classroom distractors).

If the teacher is not exactly where he is supposed to be as indicated in his digitized CSCOPE lesson plan when the supervisor walks into the classroom, the supervisor may penalize the teacher on his teacher evaluation. For taking extra time to explain a difficult concept to students by using alternative strategies, the teacher could end up by not having his contract renewed.

Such scripted CSCOPE teaching makes “the teachable moment” a thing of the past. Teachers in CSCOPE schools can no longer spontaneously respond to students’ learning needs but must adopt a pre-set, “robotic” approach to teaching. What could be any more frustrating for well-qualified teachers and for their students who have to endure this type of teaching?

We also must remember that even though CSCOPE advertises itself in glowing terms, where is the independent, peer-reviewed research to prove its effectiveness in getting students ready for the new STAAR/End-of-Course tests built upon the newly adopted core curriculum standards in English/Language Arts/Reading, Science, Social Studies, and Math?  No such research exists.  In fact, CSCOPE has been allowed to operate in the dark because of its stringent copyright and gag orders.

The elected members of the Texas State Board of Education have decided to learn more about CSCOPE and will hold a public hearing on Nov. 15, 2012, at 2:00 P. M. in which witnesses will be encouraged to testify. This is in response to the many parents and concerned citizens from whom members of the SBOE have heard.

If anyone wants to present either oral or written testimony at this SBOE meeting, please contact me at; and I will put you in touch with someone who will walk you through the process.  Another option is to contact the Texas Education Agency by phone on Nov. 9 or Nov. 12 to register to testify. The Main Switchboard number is 512-463-9734.

Here is the link to the YouTube video which is presented by CSCOPE supervisors to train teachers to generate a CSCOPE lesson plan:

To learn more about CSCOPE, please go to the following articles:

10.15.12 — “CSCOPE: Trying To Operate Under the Radar” by Donna Garner —

10.12.12 – “CSCOPE Horror Stories” —

10.12.12 – “CSCOPE: Texas Teachers Given Gag Order” – written by concerned Texas educators —

Donna Garner

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