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CSCOPE to Cease Making Lesson Plans for Texas Public Schools

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Update: In a statement released late Friday afternoon, Board of Education Chair Barbara Cargill says CSCOPE's decision to remove all lessons plans from its website is a "recognition of the concerns raised by Texas parents, State Board of Education members and legislators. 

“The SBOE is very supportive of online instructional materials. They are a valuable tool for teachers and students, but it is obvious that these materials must be vetted. CSCOPE has vividly shown what can happen with content when it is left unchecked and with limited parental access," Cargill said in the statement.

This week, state lawmakers announced public school teachers will stop using CSOPE curriculum. It's used in 80 percent of Texas school districts. 

Original Story (05/20/13): Republican state lawmakers announced this morning at the Capitol that public school teachers will stop using CSCOPE, a digital curriculum product of Education Service Centers used in nearly 80 percent of Texas school districts. 

The move comes amid concerns about the content of the teaching plan. Some conservative groups claimed it promoted anti-American values. Now CSCOPE has agreed to scrap its curriculum, and the board will formally vote to do so this Friday.

"We identified something that was shrouded in secrecy, that affected the education for our children, made it difficult for our parents to find out what was being taught to our children," State Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, said. "We now have that issue resolved."

State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, agreed. He said one of the lessons had students design a communist flag and that another called Boston Tea Party patriots “terrorists."

But the Texas Freedom Network is opposed to this decision. In a written statement,  the Network's president, Kathy Miller, said school districts benefited from the content.

"Today political bullying resulted in hundreds of school districts getting thrown under the bus and essentially told to figure out for themselves where to find the resources to replace the service CSCOPE had provided them," she wrote. "The big lesson  here is that if you can generate a witch hunt that includes enough incendiary and distorted claims, then there are politicians at the Capitol who are ready to throw their supposed commitment to local control out the window.”

At the press conference, Kyle Wargo, a member of CSCOPE's governing board, said CSCOPE management will be restructured.

The Legislature and State Board of Education will come up with a model to monitor digital content used in schools, Sen. Patrick said.

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