Local school districts are reacting to coming changes to the CSCOPE curriculum, after state education officials announced plans to gut resources included in the widely used system.
Earlier this week, state Sen. Dan Patrick said the 20-member board overseeing the CSCOPE system pledged to vote to throw out lesson plans provided to districts in response to conservative politicians and activist groups who claimed some of those lessons contained controversial or unpatriotic content.
While the example lessons will likely be dropped, districts, including Killeen and Copperas Cove, may continue to use the system.
“CSCOPE is an entire curriculum system, which included exemplar lessons that teachers could use as a resource,” said Diana Miller, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the Killeen Independent School District. “What’s going away is those exemplar lessons.”
Speaking at a school board workshop-meeting Tuesday, Miller characterized the news the lessons would be dropped as “surprising,” and said the district would work with its teachers and staff to develop sample lessons.
Killeen Superintendent Robert Muller said the lessons included with CSCOPE were simply a resource for teachers.
“I think it’s disappointing to see those exemplar lessons removed,” he said. “They were simply a tool.”
The CSCOPE curriculum system also is used by the Copperas Cove Independent School District. Cindy Hutcherson, Cove’s executive director of academic services, said CCISD has used the system for several years, but did not really use the exemplar lessons.
“Losing those lessons isn’t a deal breaker for us,” Hutcherson said. “Teachers could use them as resources or models to create their own lesson plans if they wanted to, but we would never mandate them to use those lessons.”
Hutcherson said the lessons were just one component of CSCOPE, and that CCISD used the program to provide a framework to help ensure its curriculum meets Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills requirements.
“It helps us to make sure that teachers are teaching (TEKS) with the proper depth and rigor,” she said. “We ask our teachers to develop their own lessons. They are very skilled and proficient.”
CSCOPE is used in 877 Texas school districts, or 78 percent of districts statewide.
Killeen ISD spent just more than $261,000 to purchase CSCOPE for the 2012-13 school year. Cove spent an estimated $50,000 to use the program this year.