The CSCOPE curriculum-management system, developed as a service sold to school districts by a consortium of the state’s regional educational service centers, is going out of business this month after coming under fire for multiple reasons. Parents and some lawmakers complained that it was too hard to gain access to CSCOPE’s proprietary array of sample lesson plans, supplied to show districts how state-prescribed curriculum guidelines (the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS) could be implemented in the classroom. For many teachers, CSCOPE as implemented locally became more of a burden than a help, as some administrators prescribed lockstep adherence to CSCOPE sequences, teaching techniques, and lesson plans of inconsistent quality.
In addition to these valid concerns, a few CSCOPE lesson plans were singled out for attack by right-wing talk-show hosts, advocacy groups, and legislators for supposedly anti-American, socialist, and Islamist content. These charges were overblown, but they have flared up again this summer because it seems that CSCOPE materials will continue to be available to school districts for free after CSCOPE ceases formal existence. And many smaller districts, lacking much curriculum-development capacity of their own, apparently have been planning to continue using CSCOPE. Read More