Oct 23, 2012 by

Puff article!

10.23.12 – Comments from Donna Garner about CSCOPE “puff” piece:

Below is the link to the Wichita Falls newspaper in which CSCOPE is being lauded and acclaimed by the Wichita Falls ISD. This article is obviously a “puff piece” sent out by the CSCOPE establishment to squelch the legitimate concerns of parents and teachers who are rising up to question this curriculum. (Please be sure to read the comments posted at the end of the article.)

The Texas State Board of Education members knew what they were doing in May 2008 when they adopted the first brand-new set of curriculum standards (TEKS) for the public schools of Texas.  Before the new English / Language Arts / Reading (ELAR/TEKS) were adopted, the Board had set new parameters upon which to base the standards.

The “old” ELAR/TEKS were generic, inexplicit, subjective, and written in grade clusters of K-3, 4-8, and 9-12.  Nobody knew for sure what was to be taught nor learned at each grade level (or course level). This lack of clarity and direction ended up with school districts hiring numerous curriculum directors and consultants to try to establish vertical (K through 12) and horizontal alignment (by grade level) since the TEKS documents themselves did not do that.  Everyone disliked the TAKS tests intensely because nobody knew for sure what would be tested nor how the questions would be graded subjectively.

A vast improvement occurred when the new ELAR/TEKS were adopted in May 2008 because they are explicit, knowledge-based (fact-based), academic (instead of subjective), and can be largely  tested through objective questions (right-or-wrong answers).

Since the adoption of the new ELAR/TEKS in May 2008, new TEKS have also been adopted for the other three core subject areas – Science, Social Studies, and Math.  New tests called the STAAR/End-of-Course tests have been developed and are based upon the new parameters set for the new TEKS.

The new STAAR/End-of-Course tests also take only 4 hours per test to take whereas the TAKS tests required normal classes to be shut down all day for one TAKS test to be given.

Teachers no longer have to guess what will be on their students’ STAAR/EOC’s.  The new TEKS make it possible for parents, students, and teachers to pick up a document (such as  English I) and to know what should be taught and learned in English I.   After going through the present three-year transition period, they can be assured that the new STAAR/End-of-Course test will test the exact TEKS that have been adopted for English I (and the preceding grade levels).  No longer do English I teachers have to worry that their students at the end of the school year will be tested on what is to be taught in English II, III, and IV. The goals for each grade level and course level are clear.  The students, parents, and teachers all know what the goals are; they are explicitly stated in the TEKS documents themselves.  The English I teachers know what they are held accountable to teach; and the rest of the English teachers know their assignments, too.

This simple change to the new TEKS means that school district curriculum directors are no longer needed because the classroom teachers themselves know exactly WHAT they need to teach.  All they have to do is to decide HOW they are going to teach the TEKS requirements assigned to their grade level/course level, and most creative teachers enjoy the challenge of formulating their own teaching units.

CSCOPE is a waste of time and money, and it is not cheap.  For instance, Ector County ISD just spent $1.7 Million this school year on CSCOPE; some 80% of districts across the state have purchased CSCOPE.  More importantly, CSCOPE is not needed now that everyone knows what the goals at each grade level (course level) are.  Teachers working with other teachers in their school or area can create teaching units that will fit their students without having to use a statewide, “cookie-cutter” approach, and the teachers can establish their own timelines using their own materials to determine how best to cover the TEKS for their specific grade level/course level.

Taxpayers, just think how much money could be saved across the state if curriculum directors’ jobs were discarded.  Most of them make upwards of $80,000, and many districts have more than one. Often, the curriculum directors turn right around and hire consultants from CSCOPE to come into the district to train teachers.

CSCOPE is pieced together from the version based upon the old 1997 TEKS and the new TEKS.  This has created a complicated mess once this gets to the classroom where the teacher for the sake of his students has to try to make sense of the lack of cognitive progression of the lessons.

Ironically enough, when any classroom teachers submit their teaching strategies to CSCOPE, those teachers lose their legal rights to their own ideas; that is part of the CSCOPE contract which teachers are forced to sign under duress.

CSCOPE is stealing valuable dollars and creating needless deadlines for students and teachers to meet.  Students cannot learn in an environment where everyone in the classroom, including the teacher, is under extreme time pressure.

To view an actual CSCOPE lesson planning video and to see how time consuming and complicated the task is for the teacher, please go to —

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