Sen. Dan Patrick Admits He Hasn't Read CSCOPE Lessons He Wants to Ban Teachers from Using

This very short clip from last weekend’s debate between State Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, highlights how the manufactured “controversy” over CSCOPE eventually oozed out of the right-wing fever swamps.

Tea party and other political activists (including a for-profit political consulting company) have absurdly claimed that the CSCOPE curriculum tool used by hundreds of Texas public and Christian schools is un-American, anti-Christian, pro-Islamic and Marxist. Those claims have been based on mistruths and ridiculous distortions of CSCOPE lessons. Here are some examples. Here are some others.

Even so, Sen. Patrick (who is running for lieutenant governor in the 2014 elections) has shamefully pandered to those activists. He repeats their half-baked arguments over and over — including at the debate with Ratliff. He even pressured (successfully) the state’s Education Service Centers to stop producing CSCOPE lessons.

Ratliff says he trusts local school district officials and teachers to decide for themselves whether to continue using existing CSCOPE lessons that are now in the public domain. They, he argues, are qualified to know what’s appropriate and what’s not in their own classrooms. Patrick, acting as if he’s the state’s classroom czar, insists that teachers should be banned from using the lessons at all.

But as the clip above shows, Patrick now admits that he has never read any of those lessons. Not even one. He has simply accepted as fact the complaints of political fanatics who pretend to speak for millions of Texas parents — the same fanatics who are shamefully smearing the retired and current Texas teachers who wrote those lessons and the teachers who are using them in their classrooms.

Of course, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, desperately seeking re-election, and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who wants to be governor, are also pandering to those same fanatics. All of this should be laughable. It’s an embarrassment for Texas if it’s not.

23 thoughts on “Sen. Dan Patrick Admits He Hasn't Read CSCOPE Lessons He Wants to Ban Teachers from Using

  1. I watched the debate. Even as he was telling Ratliff he could pull out all the studies and charts he wanted, Patrick was using a 9th grade classroom assignment as the basis for his POV.

  2. Comments at the Texas Tribune’s site, where all the lessons are posted, are particularly telling. When people see what is in the lessons, and how they back Texas TEKS (weak as those standards may be), they come away understanding that the red-baiting, anti-teacher, anti-school campaign by Dan Patrick and his radical right-wing anarchist supporters, is not what Texas needs.

    Every time the word “religion” appears and it does not say “Jesus is the one way,” Patrick’s band of howlers take up the howl. But in a world where there are a billion Muslims, about a billion Hindus, and huge numbers of Buddhists, Jainists, Jews, and more, our children need to know that those faiths exist, and that significant numbers of people follow them.

    One of the great failures of U.S. foreign policy in the past 50 years was the failure to appreciate these cultural differences, particularly with regard to Iran. When we were faced with a world-changing crisis in Tehran, we learned we had way too few people in government or anywhere else who knew Iran’s geography, demography, culture or religions, and especially who could read and speak the languages in which the U.S. was being assaulted. CSCOPE critics ask, in every case, that we return to such ignorance.

    Don’t get me started on math and science (where the critics are largely, and tellingly mute).

    In the end, Dan Patrick, “Ginger,” Peggy Venable and others are slandering Texans. They say that the CSCOPE lessons and other materials — written by that young woman in your local Baptist church who teaches 3rd grade in your town, the Aggie with a masters from one of the UT campuses — are “slanted” because of the communist-leaning philosophy of that third grade teacher.

    Do you know any communists teaching in any school in Texas? Seriously?

    The campaign against CSCOPE is a campaign against Texas and traditional Texas values, including getting a load of education into our young people. It is a true culture war, wishing to replace learning with ignorance.

    It is, I think, a campaign against the founding beliefs of our nation. James Madison warned in 1822,

    A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance.

    I wish Dan Patrick believed that, and acted on it. I’m sure the mob cheering him on does not.

    (Do you recognize that quote from the Reagan administration? Yes, Sec. of Education Bill Bennett was quite fond of it, then. When I accuse these people of forgetting history, I’m not kidding.)

    1. I don’t know any communists anywhere and have never met a single one in my 60 years. These people are complete idiots.

    2. And those that have the necessary knowledge are considered as biased by that very fact. When the Cheney/Bush administration looked for people to run the proconsulship in Iraq, candidates that actually spoke Arabic got dismissed because of just that. Too high a risk of them ‘going native’ as a previous empire called it.

  3. Would you go into a debate with absolutely no preparation? Why in the world would he debate having not read a single lesson? I think it’s a real shame that he doesn’t seem to understand that education means learning things and learning critical thinking skills so that when students get out into the real world they can actually digest data and make good decisions. That’s the way they teach in the most expensive, exclusive private schools. Can we not set the bar just as high for public education? I have to say, there are many elected officials who are unable to do this (digest data and make informed decisions), Patrick being one of them.

    1. No joke, it is part of the Texas GOP party platform to ELIMINATE critical thinking from education because teaching it leads to questioning of authority.

      1. And the sad part there is that “questioning authority” is what our country has always been about for the most part. That’s what we did in 1776.

        Me? I qustion the authority of Christian fundamentalist preachers—including the Southern Baptist Convention preachers. Jesus yea. Them—NO. They have no authority.

      2. I agree, they are afraid of people capable of thought. More importantly, they are afraid of the logic and reasoning behind the Enlightenement that gave birth to America and its Constitution.
        Hence the fundy arttacks on science, women’s rights, the rights gerrymandering of voting districts, voting rights and on and on and on.
        They are afraid they are losing their grip on peoples minds , opinions and education.
        Poor education means more control and frankly, many of these SBOE conservative members reveal the narrowness and lack of depth in their educations and the ability to think.
        Its less of an evil plot than a reflection of what they are intellectually,
        and , I think, their mental abilities to absorb and use information and form opinions is degraded by their lack of attention to the difference between real data and facts and their own dogmatic, oft repeated but patenetly inaccurate political and life philosophies.
        The tower is crumbling however. Thanks Kathy and Dan.

    1. He acts like the astronomers that allegedly refused to take a look through Galilei’s telescope because what they would see would violate a central part of their worldview and could thus be dismissed as either illusion or fraud without actually checking.

  4. Unbelievable that an educated public would entrust our state government to groups of paranoid fanatics, and our education to a right wing talk radio host who does not have the sense to respect quality research. Texans can no longer sit back and watch our public education system systematically destroyed by the worst politicians corporate interests can buy. Why must we always be bottom of the barrel? With our vast resources, we should be able to compete with small states like Massachusetts and Connecticut! We need to get the right people in office to turn this around, and we need to do it now, or Mississippi will be crowing “Thank God for Texas,” or we would be the worst. Religion is a separate institution, it is NOT government. It is time to sever it’s tentacles, and send these people back to church where they belong! The statehouse is not a mega-church! The majority does not wish to return to the days measles and polio outbreaks, but to the days of leading the world in science and technology! Let’s send the lunatics to the moon where they can establish own separate state! This one belongs to US!

      1. Yes.

        There must be some kind of attractive physics- it’s seemingly impossible to keep those two elements apart!

  5. Patrick and others behind him tend to offer a moving target for their charges against CSCOPE. The charges against the content of CSCOPE lesson plans have been publically debunked to reasonable folks satisfaction. Charges against Ratliff are just distractions with no substance.

    What about the charges regarding the organization supporting CSCOPE? Can anyone summarize what that organization is and the legal basis for it?