"Make yourselves sheep and the wolves will eat you"- Benjamin Franklin
"Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted" - Vladimir Lenin
I live in Texas, which normally is a very good place to be. Lately I have become aware of a program that has taken over the curriculum in nearly 80% of our school districts called "CSCOPE". According to the website, CSCOPE is "a comprehensive online curriculum management system developed and owned by the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC), a consortium composed of the 20 Education Service Centers in the state." On the surface, CSCOPE is a wonderful, forward-looking program that enables students to move freely from one district to another without ever facing the dilemma of winding up ahead or behind in the new school. This is accomplished by everyone being taught the same lessons at the same time. Rather alarming reports of girls being required to wear Burqas, requirements for designing communist/socialist flags, Jesus being equivalent to other pagan gods, referring to the Boston Tea Party participants as "terrorists" and being made to read passages from the Quran in class had me digging for more information. CSCOPE maintains that teachers may alter lesson plans as they see fit, but some school districts require strict adherence to lesson plans as provided. The more controversial lessons are scrubbed quickly from the site after being made public, but why are they included in the lesson plans in the first place?
In my digging I have found the following facts concerning CSCOPE, which I want to share with you. Why? Because Texas sets the nationwide curriculum for education, and this very well may be making its way across the country if we do not unite to stop it. I found much of my information on the website www.txscopereview.com, and appreciate the research and information they are putting out on this program.
CSCOPE is hiding behind a veil of secrecy. Though funded by tax dollars, very little information is made available to the public. Each Texas teacher in a CSCOPE district had to sign a contract with CSCOPE which was a binding agreement not to reveal the content of CSCOPE to anyone outside the school. The teachers were not allowed to copy the contract or secure legal counsel to interpret the document. According to the Texas Education Code "A parent is entitled to review all teaching materials, instructional materials, and other teaching aids used in the classroom," and that the "school district shall make teaching materials and tests readily available for review by parents." CSCOPE's District User License Agreement does prohibit "unauthorized users from having online access to the CSCOPE site or gain permanent possession of CSCOPE content." Parents must go through a teacher to view a lesson as they are unable to log in to the website and view what their kids are being taught on their own. Teachers cannot provide parents with copies of actual lessons. No textbooks are used to so parents cannot help their children with work at home. A "non-negotiable" Instructional Focus Document is provided for each grading period to identify what should be taught and when.
I also learned a little bit about the woman that is credited with developing CSCOPE. Her name is Linda Darling-Hammond and at one time she was considered for the position of Secretary of Education in the Obama administration. Instead she has been charged by President Obama to complete the federal takeover of the public schools by helping to develop national assessments. These assessments will allow the federal government to dictate what gets taught each day to public school students. By having national standards, curriculum and assessments tied to a database of student scores the federal government will be able to determine the success of teachers and control their pay and longevity. This will force the teachers to teach their sudents whatever the government wants them to teach, or risk losing their jobs or facing paycuts. Interestingly she has close connections to Bill Ayers (Weather Underground terrorist connected to various bombings on US soil).
Linda Darling-Hammond's approach to education failed in a charter school she developed in California. It had to be closed due to poor test scores and lack of improvement. In this post from EdWeek it says "Linda Darling-Hammond wants the national assessments to rely heavily on the same type of "authentic assessments, group learning, and discovery" that have caused her own charter school to flounder. Linda and a panel of experts urged a "move away from multiple-choice tests that demand factual recall". This system is modeled on the Progressive Education philosophy which stresses hands-on and peer-to-peer learning, social responsibility and the goal of understanding an experience over rote knowledge of facts. An example of this move is the following question posed to Connecticut high school students: "Figure out how to build a statue that could withstand the effects of acid rain, then describe, analyze, and discuss your findings." Really? How do you score something like that? This sort of system has resulted in the dumbing down of students. We no longer know our American history and success. Rules of spelling and punctuation, long division and mulitiplication tables, and cursive handwriting are no longer taught and are deemed a thing of the past.
The good news is parents and a few teachers that are not afraid of retribution are stepping up to voice concerns and questions about CSCOPE. They are waking up to the reality that by adopting CSCOPE, local districts are effectively adopting the substandard Common Core Standards developed by the DoE, and rejected previously in Texas. Barred by law from creating and imposing a national curriculum, the Obama administration is doing an end-around at the local level. This curriculum has never gone through the Texas textbook adoption process in which public hearings are held and errors documented. No independent studies have been conducted to make sure that it follows the SBOE curriculum standards. A Texas Senate Education Committee hearing revealed that, as Senator Patrick said, CSCOPE "Is a mess." "If it were an airplane it would be grounded." We must stand together and fight against the propaganda machine that is competing for the minds of our youth. Even if you don't have children or grandchildren in public schools, please realize that the future of our great nation depends on our youth being taught correct precepts and proven educational principles.