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… Read More

If you missed last Saturday’s CSCOPE debate between State Board of Education vice chair Thomas Ratliff, R-Mt. Pleasant, and state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, here it is in its entirety.

On one side, you had an SBOE member who showed up with facts. On the other, you had an ambitious politician running for higher office who came armed with red meat for the paranoid right. But don’t take our word for it, watch the whole thing for yourself.

And finally, we’ll point out that this video is unedited. We feel the need to stress this because, given the history of this “controversy,” it’s likely that the CSCOPE opponents will accuse us of using Islamic camera angles, or some other crazy thing.

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The absurd, manufactured controversy over CSCOPE in Texas is leaping back into the spotlight. And that spotlight is illuminating just how hypocritical some of the curriculum tool’s political critics really are.

On Friday State Board of Education Vice Chair Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, and state Senate Education Committee Chair Dan Patrick, R-Houston, announced that they have agreed to a public debate over CSCOPE. At around the same time, state board Chair Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands, said the board will resume its review of CSCOPE lessons. That review had been short-circuited in May when Sen. Patrick bullied the state’s Education Service Centers into ending their development of those lessons. And now we hear that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst will crow at a Monday press conference about a state judge who apparently has issued a temporary restraining order against the use of CSCOPE in a Hill Country school district.

Regarding the debate, Patrick has been one of the most vocal legislative leaders in the anti-CSCOPE witch hunt. Far-right activists have claimed (with no real evidence) that the program is Marxist, pro-Islam, anti-American and anti-Christian. The state’s Education Service Centers developed CSCOPE, which includes lessons written by current and retired… Read More

Just two months after gutting a curriculum tool that nearly 900 Texas school districts were using, state Sen. Dan Patrick and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have decided they're not done harassing educators and wasting taxpayer dollars. Last week Patrick called on the Texas State Auditor's Office to review the operations of the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC), which was managing the CSCOPE curriculum program. The TESCCC (a nonprofit entity) was a collaboration of the state's 20 Education Service Centers (ESCs). Abbott sent a letter to the auditor's office making the same request a week earlier and tweeted on Sunday that "our investigation into #CSCOPE continues." No one has provided even a shred of evidence that the TESCCC, which was created to protect the intellectual property rights to CSCOPE, was involved in financial shenanigans. But right-wing activists -- the same ones who absurdly claim that CSCOPE's lessons (written largely by current and retired Texas teachers) are anti-American, anti-Christian, pro-Marxist and pro-Islam -- have been demanding that someone "investigate" anyway. Patrick, who has announced a run for lieutenant governor next year, and Abbot, who has launched a bid for the Governor's…… Read More

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.)


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


Once 👏🏾 in 👏🏼 a 👏 generation 👏🏽 Check out how @TFN is working hard to update Texas's sex education standards! 👇🏽…