Texas State Board of Education Vice Chairman Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, has already made clear his disgust over the political witch hunt that forced the state’s Education Service Centers to stop writing lesson plans in their CSCOPE curriculum management system. In May, for example, he tore into Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston, for his role in those attacks on CSCOPE, which hundreds of Texas school districts have been using. Now Ratliff has written another scathing piece, this time about Patrick’s efforts to bully and harass teachers into not using CSCOPE lessons that have already been created.

This is a “must read.” Ratliff isn’t pulling any punches. (Links, italics, boldface and underlining in original.)

NO BULLYING POLICIES AND BURNING BOOKS

By Thomas Ratliff, Vice Chairman, Texas State Board of Education

Our country was founded on a “no-bullying” policy when our founders stood up to an English King who tried to bully us. Our military has helped other countries stand up to bullies throughout history. Even today, every Texas public school has a “no bullying” policy for protection of their students.

It’s time for parents, educators, and school board members to stand up to… Read More

The right-wing witch hunt over the CSCOPE curriculum tool used in hundreds of Texas public and private schools has been filled with bizarre distortions from the beginning. But weeks after the state’s Education Service Centers bowed to political pressure and announced that they would stop writing lesson plans for school districts, state Sen. Dan Patrick — the Houston Republican who bragged that “the era of CSCOPE lessons is over” — is still distorting the facts.

Over the weekend a Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial sharply criticized Sen. Patrick, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, for overreaching in his desire to police classrooms and take down CSCOPE. The editorial came just days after the Texas Freedom Network exposed Sen. Patrick’s efforts to harass teachers and school districts that choose to continue using CSCOPE lessons that already exist. The Star-Telegram’s editorial didn’t sit well with Sen Patrick, who posted a response on his Facebook page. His post includes so many misleading statements that we thought it would be instructive to go over them here:

Sen Patrick writes: “The non-profit overseeing CSCOPE was formed without permission of the legislature or approval by the state. Public… Read More

On Sunday, Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, posted on his Facebook page to ask his followers to report to him about teachers who use CSCOPE in their lessons.

Here’s TFN’s response, as issued to the press this morning.

Texas Freedom Network President Kathy Miller is calling on state Sen. Dan Patrick, the Houston Republican who chairs the Senate Education Committee, to stop harassing local school districts and teachers over lessons they choose for their own classrooms.

Sen. Patrick used his Facebook page on Sunday to ask parents to “alert” him if they see teachers continue using lessons from CSCOPE, a curriculum management system produced by the state’s Education Service Centers. He then said he would pass that information on to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Sen. Patrick and other legislators bullied the service centers into agreeing last month to stop writing lessons, but some teachers apparently want to continue using lessons already produced.

“Sen. Patrick seems to think someone has appointed him Texas classroom czar, with the power to dictate to local teachers what they can and can’t do in their own classrooms,” Miller said. “But school districts and their teachers, who work with parents in their own communities, know far… Read More

Thomas Ratliff’s defeat of creationist Don McLeroy in the 2010 Republican Primary for the District 9 seat on the State Board of Education was an important step toward getting politics out of Texas public school classrooms. Now Ratliff, who currently serves as the state board’s vice chairman, has released a blistering critique of state Sen. Dan Patrick’s comments at a Capitol press conference today regarding the CSCOPE curriculum management system. As we noted earlier, Patrick announced this morning that CSCOPE would no longer be providing lesson plans for school districts. That decision by CSCOPE’s developers at the state’s Education Service Centers came after months of intense pressure and political attacks from Patrick as well as other legislators and Tea party and other right-wing activists.

In a release headlined “Double Standards and Slippery Slopes for Texas Schools,” Ratliff tore into state Patrick’s comments at the presser. Following is Ratliff’s full press release. It is definitely worth the read.

I watched Senator Patrick’s press conference about CSCOPE with equal parts sadness, anger and confusion.  How did it come to this?  The answer is simple…..politics.

At the press conference Senator Patrick said, “I think this is the best move… Read More

Once again, politics trumps education in Texas.

State Sen. Dan Patrick, the Republican chairman of the Texas Senate Education Committee, sounded downright gleeful today in making a surprise announcement that the state’s Education Service Centers will no longer provide lessons in their CSCOPE curriculum management system.

“The era of CSCOPE lesson plans has come to an end,” Sen Patrick declared at a Capitol press conference this morning. What remains of CSCOPE will essentially be a guide to scheduling instruction on the curriculum standards. The hundreds of small school districts that use CSCOPE will now have to find other resources for developing lesson plans for teaching those standards.

Officials with the Education Service Centers that created and managed CSCOPE released a letter at the press conference agreeing to stop providing lessons to school districts. The letter came after increasing pressure from Sen. Patrick, the Texas Attorney General’s Office and an assortment of Tea party and other right-wing pressure groups. Those critics have been absurdly claiming that CSCOPE has been indoctrinating students into Islam and Marxism and undermining Christianity and patriotism. (Current and retired teachers had been writing those lessons for CSCOPE. Who knew that so many Texas teachers were Marxists and… Read More