CSCOPE Builds the Attic First, Foundation Last

Feb 13, 2013 by

cscopeby Stan Hartzler


From Stan Hartzler, long-time math teacher and math expert as he laments the damage CSCOPE is doing in our Texas public schools:

For self-preservation, the Texas Education Service Centers have found a way to create mass hysteria about so-called high-stakes testing. The result in many districts undermines the fundamental goals of schools, the work of teachers, the common sense of school boards, and (until recently) legal safeguards against poor achievement and disturbing indoctrination.

The ninnies conveying the madness are the superintendents and principals.  Service centers attract administrators to alarmist meetings and offer a guaranteed, viable solution to impending exam disaster.  The proffered solution is a weak, corrupt curriculum and evaluation “management system” called CSCOPE.

Many school districts use CSCOPE as a constructive supplement, giving teachers the freedom to dismiss the indoctrination, beef up the content weaknesses, and search the cockeyed exams for testing clues.

Other teachers — particularly in underachieving districts – – are required to use the trashy lessons and exams without revision.  Their administrators use state and federal formulas as justification for such academic control and deprivation, and use monitoring technology to thwart teacher sensitivity to student needs.

Service center staff have stated that CSCOPE was written top-down, beginning with the end in mind and designed downward.  Such a strategy works for planning but not for building.  A house plan begins with the end in mind, but the building is bottom up, all details being intertwined.  The Service Centers would build an attic first and the foundation last, somehow tucking in the plumbing and electric work after the walls and ceilings are complete.

Good curriculum also sets goals first, but is built and taught bottom up, the natural way.  Every aspect of each CSCOPE course shows the madness of trying to upend nature.  Service center leaders who admit to this designing idiocy should be laughed out of the profession.

Given the assertion that CSCOPE was designed at all, the huge gaps between curriculum and exam objectives are perplexing and regrettable.  Worksheets show no concern for design in either direction, wasting space here and cramping thought processes there.  Worse schooling would be hard to design.

The consequences should stir us all.  Good schooling provides academic power and confidence for inventive and creative sparks, driving economic health.

Bad schooling quietly imposes a feeling of stupidity and inferiority. And this imposed feeling of stupidity, as an instrument of subjugation and humiliation, is at least as effective as iron chains or WHITES ONLY signs on restroom doors or lunch counters, and is a much sneakier and more effective engine of division and discrimination.

Donna Garner

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