May 20, 2013 by



5.20.13 — With today’s breaking story — – it sounds as if ESC’s may try to continue to sell CSCOPE but only as a curriculum management system without the lessons. This begs the question:  Do Texas school districts still need to purchase it?  Below is my answer. – Donna Garner]



“CSCOPE Is Definitely Not Needed by School Districts”

by Donna Garner

1.13.13 (Republished on 5.20.13)



Here is the TEA link that shows all of the various types of STAAR tests (e.g., regular, Special Education, modified, English Language Learners, etc.) —


When you go to the above-mentioned link, you can see that the top link on the left side of the list is to the STAAR test that is given for the majority of students.


The TEA has given much direction to teachers about the STAAR tests. Using this page provided by TEA ( ), teachers can see the type of questions that will be given on the various STAAR tests plus all of the TEKS in each subject that are “eligible” for testing on each of the tests.


What good teachers would do (if left alone by the CSCOPE people) is to spend time on this TEA-provided page, study what particular skills will be tested, figure out what pre-requisite skills students must learn to be able to perform well on the “eligible” STAAR elements, and then design new curriculum units to teach those pre-requisite skills.  Good teachers would then figure out a Scope and Sequence with a timeline to teach their new units based upon the new TEKS.


New reading and literature books, new spelling books, new cursive writing books, and new ELA books have all been SBOE adopted that are built upon the new ELAR/TEKS. The sad thing is that the ELA books are some of the best that have ever been produced; yet because so many administrators decided to purchase the digitized versions and all students do not have computer access at home, English teachers have told me that the ELA books are going unused since they can no longer assign homework.


New supplementary Science materials have been adopted by the SBOE that are built upon the new Science TEKS, but these materials are only to bridge the gap until the completely new Science textbooks are adopted in the next couple of years. New Social Studies books are coming in the next few years as are new Math textbooks.


In the meantime, the teachers in Science, Social Studies, and Math will have to cobble together materials that match the new TEKS; but good teachers have been doing that for many years because of poorly written textbooks based upon the poorly written 1997 TEKS.  Good teachers have always designed their own units by cobbling together good materials either designed and written by themselves or from other good sources.


The TEKS curriculum standards are clearly posted on the TEA website. CSCOPE is doing nothing by providing those for teachers.  CSCOPE is an impediment to good teachers who could easily design their own materials and then work in departments within their schools to align them with one another.  Several small school districts working together could share their best teaching ideas and come up with suggested units and an implementation plan.  CSCOPE is not needed and is a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.




“Texas School Districts Do Not Need CSCOPE”

By Donna Garner



[I created the following information to show Texas school districts how they can handle the new TEKS and the STAAR/EOC’s without having to purchase CSCOPE.  Please feel free to share this with any and all.  – Donna Garner]


In actuality, CSCOPE is not needed by any school districts in Texas. Teachers when given enough time are perfectly capable of setting their own goals as to how they are going to teach the new TEKS (curriculum standards).


The difference in the new TEKS (tied to STAAR/End-of-Course tests) and the old TEKS (tied to TAKS tests) is that the new TEKS are specific for each grade level and emphasize fact-based learning – a return to teaching the badly needed basics before unrealistically expecting students to be able to do higher-level-thinking.


Instead of purchasing CSCOPE, districts should allow teachers to meet by grade levels and departments and to share ideas on how to bundle various TEKS elements together and form units (thus covering the TEKS in total).  Individual teachers can then decide in what order they want to present the bundled lessons, making sure that students are ready for the new STAAR/EOC’s when given.


For instance, let’s look at the way an English I teacher could bundle various TEKS together to create a good teaching unit on persuasive reading/writing/speaking.


(Link to English I TEKS: )


An English I teacher could create a unit in which his students  (1) read persuasive pieces (both fiction and nonfiction), (2) recognize analogies, (3) analyze inferences, (4) compare persuasive texts with various viewpoints, (5) study the etymology and denotative/connotative meanings of various vocabulary words, (6) use a dictionary/glossary/thesaurus, (7) consider graphical sources used in the persuasive literary piece (e.g., newspaper commentary using a pie chart), (8) distinguish the formality of the tone of different persuasive literary pieces, (9) learn about the thesis/counter-arguments, (10) discover how to use research sources to gather data, (11) understand the meaning of plagiarism, (12) learn how to paraphrase and cite sources, (13) go through the five-step writing process, and (14) use correct grammar/mechanics/spelling.


After evaluating the persuasive compositions for content/style/organization and also for grammar/mechanics/spelling, the teacher should conduct a writing conference with the student to discuss the paper. In this conference, the teacher needs to make sure that students understand how to correct their grammar/mechanics/spelling mistakes.


Once the students have corrected their persuasive papers, teachers should teach students good listening/speaking skills and have them present persuasive speeches to the class.


Please notice how many of the English I TEKS can be covered in just one unit!  This is the way that teachers can indeed cover all of the new TEKS in a year’s time.


Teachers do not need CSCOPE and its “robotic” planning requirements that do not allow teachers the time they need to make sure their students are achieving mastery.


Teachers can design their own creative teaching units using the new TEKS as the guide to tell them what to teach but not how to teach it.


Donna Garner






“CSCOPE: How Much Have Taxpayers Paid?”

By Donna Garner



Kudos to Tom Fabry, David St. Martin, Ginger Russell, Mary Bowen, Alice Linahan, Stan Hartzler, Ms. Mac, Colleen Vera, Janice Van Cleave, John Griffing, Peggy Venable, and all of the many other people who have helped to track down the financial information on CSCOPE.


Statement from Tom Fabry:


These two areas alone — $13 Million for CSCOPE and $30 Million for TASA/TASB  — add up to more than $43 Million tax dollarsall going [each year] to unelected organizations outside the control of the SBOE.



Many of these are the same Texas school districts that have filed a lawsuit to force the Texas Legislature to give them more of our tax dollars.


[If you want either of the following two documents, please contact Donna Garner offline:  (1) The complete list of CSCOPE districts in Texas as of 9.25.12 and (2) the total CSCOPE Revenues across the state.]


Even though the Education Service Centers have submitted their reports to show us how much school districts have spent on CSCOPE, we still question the validity of the totals. According to the Odessa news media, Ector County ISD spent $1.7 Million on CSCOPE this school year (OAOnline ).  Texas has 1,265 school districts, and 70% to 85% are said to be using CSCOPE.  That would be between 886 to 1,075 school districts.  Common sense would tell us  that the $13 Million total figure turned in by the ESC’s is a vastly “understated” amount.


I also am concerned about Mason Moses who has provided us with the ESC/CSCOPE school expenditure information.  He works for the Texas System of Education Service Centers. I do not know Mason Moses, but I do know his father and his reputation.


Mike Moses and the Ratliff clan (Bill Ratliff, Thomas Ratliff, etc.) have made a living off the “education golden goose,” and knowing the reputation of Mason Moses’ father does not give me a great deal of trust in the reports provided by Mason.


The following information came from The Dallas Morning News during the time that Mike Moses was the superintendent of Dallas ISD:


Allegations surfaced about out-of-control spending with school credit cards, lost dollars for health plans, abuse of federal e-rate funds, irregular technology vendor contracts, misspent federal bilingual education funds, costly deals with Kinko’s, apparent conflicts of interest involving Voyager Expanded Learning, contributions by computer vendors, questionable bond sales, multiple teacher grievances, eyebrow-raising private consultancies, lucrative Coca-Cola contracts, and special privileges for vendors participating in the Education Research and Development Institute (ERDI) conferences.  


Meanwhile, Moses received the highest superintendent’s salary in the nation ($340,000 per year, excluding benefits) even though eleven school districts in the country were larger than Dallas ISD. 


When the DISD problems began to surface in 2004, Moses resigned and walked away with an additional $480,850.  Along with his ongoing and lucrative superintendent search business, he now receives a yearly TRS pension of $224,400 per year.  Note that Moses’ wealth comes from taxpayers’ dollars.


Here is Tom Fabry’s e-mail sent to various Texas Senators followed by the response from Mason Moses to Ginger Russell’s Public Information Request:


From: Tom Fabry []
Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2013 5:58 PM
Subject: CSCOPE Financial Summary


TO:          Sen Ken Paxton

Sen Jane Nelson

Sen Dan Patrick

Rep Scott Turner

Rep Pat Fallon

Rep Steve Toth

SBOE Chairman Barbara Cargill

SBOE Rep Geraldine Miller

SBOE Rep Sue Melton


Subject:  CSCOPE Payments from ISDs


There has been much public discussion and recent Senate testimony given regarding the quality, substance, inefficiencies, philosophy and other aspects of CSCOPE.  One critical metric that has not been brought into focus is the amount of taxpayer dollars being funneled from the ISDs and charters to CSCOPE.


To shed light on this financial issue, Ms. Ginger Russell submitted a Public Information Request (PIR) for documentation on the revenues that were paid to each of the twenty ESCs for the current school cycle.   On January 16, 2013, Mr. Mason Moses, Education Service Center (ESC) Region 13, responded (his reports are enclosed).   Unfortunately, each ESC region provided the data in varying formats, so it took a significant effort to parse the reports and assemble a summary.  But we now have a starting picture.


The various ISDs paid well over $13,000,000 to CSCOPE for the current school year.  This is a recurring annual fee.  This amount is the per student license fees ONLY.  It does not include other teacher related expenses such as training, travel, copying, and so forth.  Moreover, it does not contain any of the additional taxpayer funded amounts paid to Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) and the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB), parts of which go for school administrators and Board of Trustee members to attend conferences in which CSCOPE training is conducted, at which additional ISDs are marketed and where public relations strategies are presented.   Finally it does not include any funding the Texas Legislature appropriates each year for operation of the ESCs which act as the sales, marketing and collection agent for the CSCOPE operations under TESCCC.



How much do all these other “revenue” sources contribute to the ESC/TESCCC/CSCOPE organizations?  That question absolutely needs to be answered.  But here’s one example of taxpayer funding of the TASA and TASB.  A PIR submitted to the Coppell ISD reveals that for the 2011-2013 school year and for the 2012-2013 year to date, they have paid over $111,000 to these two associations.  That’s an average of $75,000 per year for the lone Coppell ISD.  And there are 1,228 ISDs in Texas.   


Being conservative, at just a third of Coppell ISD’s payments, the 1,228 ISDs would be  sending well over $30,000,000 taxpayer dollars to these two associations [TASA and TASB].


These two areas alone [$13 Million for CSCOPE and $30 Million for TASA/TASB] $43,000,000 tax dollarsall going [each year] to unelected organizations outside the control of the SBOE.   And these are just the first two areas we’ve been able to look at.



As the elected representatives from the Frisco area districts and leaders in the legislature on the issue of CSCOPE, I am petitioning you to direct the Texas Attorney General to conduct an audit of (a) the funds appropriated by the legislature, (b) the funds paid by the various ISDs and (c) any monies transferred between, the ESC’s, TESCCC, NEC, 3rd L Corporation, TASA, TASB and/or any other entities connected with CSCOPE that such an audit might uncover.



Tom Fabry

Treasurer, Frisco Tea Party

4992 Iroquois Drive

Frisco, TX 75034

H:  214-387-0051

C:  817-721-6701


CC:          Ms. Ginger Russell

Ms. Jeanine McGregor (Ms. Mac)

Ms. Donna Garner

Mr. David St. Martin

Ms. Peggy Venable




—– Forwarded Message —-
From: Mason Moses <>
Sent: Wed, January 16, 2013 2:03:31 PM
Subject: Public Information Request

** High Priority **

Mrs. Russell,

The attached documents have been found responsive to your request under the Public Information Act. In your request, you included the following items:

1. List of all school districts that have purchase CSCOPE
2. Funds paid to ESC for CSCOPE
3. List broken down according to ESCs of which school districts have purchased CSCOPE
4. What those districts paid each ESC

Attachment 1 is the most up-to-date list of school districts that have purchased CSCOPE. Next to each district is the ESC region number from whom they have purchased to program. This attachment should meet items 1 and 3 in your request.

Attachments 2-20 consist of your request for what each district has paid an ESC for CSCOPE. Under the Texas Public Information Act, we are not required to create any new documentation; therefore each ESC did respond differently. Some had a list available, others provide invoices, or other documentation. If there is any question regarding any of these, please feel free to contact me and I will work with the ESC to clarify any information.  These documents should also meet items 2, 4, and expand on item 3 of your request. Should you have future questions regarding this, I also encourage you to visit each ESC website. On there you should be able to locate a link to each ESCs check registrar; which has this information publicly posted.

If you feel that these documents do not meet your request, please alert me and we will work to quickly get you the information that you desire. Should you have future request, I encourage you to contact me via email so a response can be produced in a more timely manner. We sincerely appreciate your patience as we processed your request. The Christmas break did cause a slight delay, but if there are any future request we do not anticipate a response taking this long.

If you would please email me alerting me that you received this information, it would be most appreciated. Thank you for taking an interest in ESCs.


Mason Moses
Public Information Officer
Texas System of Education Service Centers
Office: 512-919-5349
Fax: 512-919-5232


Donna Garner


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