The CSCOPE Scam
By Dr. Carole Hornsby Haynes | July 1, 2013
Texas CSCOPE was unheard of a few months ago but now it is practically a household word. Then the story exploded on Fox News Cable TV and The Blaze and in numerous online publications. Americans were gasping---it can’t happen in Texas!
According to the CSCOPE website, it is an online curriculum management system developed and owned by a consortium of the 20 Texas Education Service Center directors (ESC). These regional service centers are public entities created by state statute, to provide educational support programs and services to local schools and school districts within a given geographic area.
Initial CSCOPE development began during 2005 and was implemented in 2006. It had not been beta tested nor approved by the Texas State Board of Education, yet by fall of 2012 there were 875 Texas Independent Schools Districts—about 35% of Texas student--- using CSCOPE.
The program was leased to school districts with a recurring annual fee. All school personnel were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements to make sure NO ONE else, including parents, was able to view CSCOPE materials. Textbooks were removed from the classrooms and worksheets were provided. This secrecy violates Texas Education Code Section 26.006, which requires the school to give parents access to classroom materials.
Teachers began to come forward at the risk of losing their jobs and reported that CSCOPE lessons were flawed, incorrect, and seemed to promote anti-American values. Learning is not in sequential order. The Progressive teaching method is used which always results in dumbing down the curriculum and the student.
Checking out the money trail reveals more of the same old liberal corruption and cronyism. The 20 ESC directors developed the CSCOPE product using public funds. Then they moved it a non-profit private organization, TESCCC, of which they were the sole directors. TESCCC in turn charged the ESC a fee for the right to lease the product to Independent School Districts (ISD). The ISDs paid leasing fees which circled back eventually to the TESCCC.
Why was CSCOPE not made available free of charge to the ISDs? Why did the ESC go to the Texas Attorney General’s office seeking privacy from the public eye to protect their “competitive edge” in the market place? What is the role of the ESC – to provide support for the ISDs or to make a profit with a product that was developed with tax dollars for use by Texas public schools? Why was it necessary for them to demand that the ISDs and their employees, including teachers, sign a non-disclosure agreement to keep CSCOPE hidden from the public -- even from parents? Why were teachers monitored to see how often during the school day they checked into the online management system rather than focus on the individual needs of their students? Is CSCOPE really a tool for administrators to micro-manage teachers?
Why did the ESC hide from teachers and ISD administrators the availability of free online support through the TEA for planning lessons that are aligned with the Texas Curriculum Standards?
Initially the ESC said CSCOPE was not a curriculum, only a management tool. But that proved to be a bold faced lie as hundreds of lessons came to light. The Texas SBOE had already approved curriculum standards with accompanying textbooks. Yet the ESC decided to reinvent the wheel.
It's quite obvious that CSCOPE never was -- and is not now -- needed. Why have the ECS directors gone to such lengths while using taxpayers money to create an inferior product that is loaded with errors?
It appears that money-- big money -- has been a powerful magnet for those unscrupulous players in this saga. Undoubtedly there is much more that will be exposed under the public microscope as grassroots activists demand an investigation along with the removal of CSCOPE from Texas schools.
This brings us to another point of discussion...the ESC. It’s high time that we re-evaluate the purpose and future of the Texas ESC.