The Commerce Journal

Local News

June 5, 2013

Superintendent claims closing of CSCOPE curriculum was politically charged

COMMERCE — Politics had a large part in the downfall of CSCOPE, according to Commerce Independent School District Superintendent Blake Cooper.

Recently, State Senator Dan Patrick announed that the controversial curriculum management program CSCOPE would no longer be used by school districts in Texas.

“Dan Patrick has decided it wasn’t good enough for us,” he said. “Sad that politics have taken it away.”

According to Cooper, politicians didn’t have the best interest of Texas school children in mind when they took away the program.

“Particular lobbyists didn’t like CSCOPE because it cut into their sales,” he said. “It’s basically politics at its best.”

Cooper admitted the program wasn’t perfect but said it was a good tool for teachers to use as a guideline.

“CSCOPE wasn’t perfect,” he said. “For smaller school districts it’s a tool that we needed to have.”

CSCOPE used approximately 1,600 lessons that teachers could pull from.

Cooper said because of a handful of controversial lessons, it was deemed “un-American” and groups like the Tea Party lobbied to have it closed.

“There was all kinds of misinformation floating around there,” he said. “Teachers didn’t have to follow a script. Teachers didn’t have to sign a gag order.”

One of the social studies lessons that fell under scrutiny was that of the Boston Tea Party. On Dec. 16, 1773, American colonists boarded ships that contained boxes full of tea that had been taxed from Britain and destroyed it by throwing it into the Boston Harbor.

One of the questions asked students to put themselves into the minds of the British and ask if it would have been constituted as an act of terrorism.

Cooper said the lesson did not define the Boston Tea Party as an act of terrorism, and added that if there was a lesson that was un-American, he would not have allowed it.

According to Cooper, this is an example of government stepping in and telling teachers what they can and can’t teach.

“If they’re going to put a lesson plan from CSCOPE under scrutiny, where does it stop?” he said.

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