One of the worst things about political witch hunts is that they don’t end when the victim surrenders. No, the hunters often aren’t satisfied until the victim is burned at the stake. But sometimes the hunters sound so extreme that they become almost a parody of themselves. One can only hope that’s what is happening in the bizarre, manufactured “controversy” over a curriculum management system that has been developed for public schools in Texas.
That system, CSCOPE, was developed through a collaboration of regional Education Service Centers. The state set up those centers back in the 1960s to provide support for school districts. The intent of CSCOPE is to help school districts teach curriculum standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBOE) for all public schools.
But last year right-wingers in Texas began screaming that CSCOPE has a more nefarious purpose. They claim that the program has an anti-American, Marxist, pro-Islamic and anti-Christian agenda. Some critics have even compared it to Nazi mind control programs. The educators who worked on CSCOPE, many of whom have taught in Texas classrooms, have been stunned by the ferocity of the attacks and the gross distortions of their work.
A public hearing of an SBOE committee last November seemed to clear up a number of issues, including whether parents have access to lesson materials used in CSCOPE. Even some state board members — hardly liberals — seemed satisfied with what they heard from the CSCOPE team (and from teachers, some who like CSCOPE and some who don’t). But, predictably, the relative peace in this new “culture war” battle didn’t last.
In January the Senate Education Committee held another public hearing on CSCOPE. That hearing attracted the hair-on-fire crowd behind many of the wildest claims about the program. The following week, Sen. Dan Patrick, the Republican chair of the Education Committee, announced that he had come to an agreement with CSCOPE. In short, the CSCOPE people surrendered on just about every point (valid or not), including voluntarily offering their materials up for review by the SBOE.
But, predictably (again), the witch hunt has continued. In fact, the agreement between CSCOPE and Sen. Patrick seems only to have emboldened the hunters. Sure enough, on Sunday one of CSCOPE’s critics posted a new piece on World Net Daily, a right-wing website that promotes birther conspiracies about President Obama and other right-wing fantasies that bubble up from the fever swamps. The new piece (with the screaming headline “Students Made to Wear Burqas — in Texas“) claims that a CSCOPE lesson used by teachers in the Southeast Texas town of Lumberton has been forcing students to wear the outer garment covering worn by many conservative Muslim women. The article even includes a photo of students, dressed in burqas, standing in front of a classroom whiteboard. The story goes on to make other breathless claims about what students are supposedly learning about Muslims.
But as the Austin-based political news website Quorum Report (subscription required) reported Monday afternoon, Lumberton Independent School District officials have released a statement countering the charges. According to the statement, the lesson at issue didn’t even come from CSCOPE. Moreover, the lesson was part of a discussion on world religions and cultures required by the SBOE’s curriculum standards for high school world geography. From the school district’s statement:
“The lesson that was offered focused on exposing students to world cultures, religions, customs, and belief systems. A description on the whiteboard behind the students show the splits in religions: Islam (Sunni and Shia), Judaism (Reform, Conservatives, and Orthodox), and Christianity (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant). Clothing expresses the individual culture. The lesson is not teaching a specific religion, and the students volunteered to wear the clothing.
The portrait focused only on Middle Eastern attire and the students are wearing variations of this customary attire found in the Middle Eastern culture. This portrait does not reflect the entire aspect of the lesson. The lesson encompassed diversity education so students receive a firm understanding of our world and why people are motivated differently.”
This isn’t the first time CSCOPE critics have engaged in this kind of hyperbolic distortion. In fact, the same Sunday article on World Net Daily continues by pointing to other lessons CSCOPE critics don’t like. One, a lesson on “New Systems of Economic Thinking” in the 18th and 19th centuries for a world history class, includes an illustration showing someone walking up the stairs. The WND article claims the illustration (shown below) teaches students that communism “is the highest attainable economic system and that capitalism is merely an evolutionary step on the ladder.” No, it doesn’t. In fact, the illustration clearly labels the staircase, “Government Control and Planning.” The illustration is simply showing that capitalism is a system with the least government control while communism has the most. The claim that the lesson is promoting communism over capitalism is simply a fabrication created by paranoids (or cynics who are trying to exploit the paranoia of others).
We fully expect the anti-CSCOPE brigades will still have some objection or another to this lesson. Their crusade to portray the program as Marxist (and anti-American, and anti-Christian, and…) will continue for quite some time. In fact, we’re sure they’re firing up their torches. But it’s not too late for responsible elected officials — both in the Legislature and on the SBOE — to stand up and finally say: “Enough.” Any valid concerns about transparency and parental access to CSCOPE materials can easily be settled, as the agreement between the CSCOPE team and the Senate Education Committee chairman demonstrated. But the bizarre and distorted attacks on CSCOPE are just another example of why the rest of the country increasingly sees public education in Texas as influenced too heavily by political extremists with a lot of time on their hands.
17 thoughts on “Texas CSCOPE Witch Hunt Continues”
There will always be something to call propaganda and to make enough stink over that politicians feel inclined to step in. We’ll only be done with it when we have no public education system. (Can that be a coincidence?)
Where have these nuts come from? It is getting to the point of insanity with these people. One has to wonder if the people peddling this crap have been to school themselves, and if they learned anything at all about the world outside their bubble. It alarms me about what my grandchildren are going to be taught in schools in Texas, and whether they will be educated enough to get good jobs that will support them when they grow up. Sheesh Texas, people need to register to vote and vote these ignorant sheeple out of office. Enough!!!
Of course there’s nothing wrong with a “Witch Hunt” if there are really witches out there.
The question is: Given CSCOPE’s deceptive tactics regarding the State Board of Education, is there REALLY a witch hunt in the conventional definition…or are there really witches to be found?
Oh please, GotRocks. When you see the bizarre and hyperbolic claims that have been thrown around in this manufactured “controversy” over CSCOPE, then it’s obvious that this isn’t a rational discussion over curriculum matters. It’s a witch hunt.
Which claims? The ones that I’ve seen are from respected media outlets. Are you calling them a bunch of liars?
Needless to say: When CSCOPE is subjected to the same level of review by the State and to to the same level of curriculum control (i.e., no updates without approval), then all will be just fine.
I don’t know anything about the ideological arguments against CSCOPE–and I’m not on a witch hunt. However, I urge you to ask teachers about the many errors in CSCOPE lessons and tests…errors of fact, errors in grammar, and multiple choice tests with items that have more than one correct answer–or no correct answer. Teachers must retype and correct the material before they use it–and then the results of these poorly-constructed tests are viewed as evidence of the teacher’s teaching skills (or lack thereof) For all of this, school districts are paying big money. Some districts require teachers to use the CSCOPE lessons and tests–and not the state adopted textbooks (which aren’t perfect, but are far more professionally edited).
Texas students would be far better served if our elected leaders focused more on concerns like those you’ve noted than on ideological witch hunts. Thanks for posting.
So the silhouette climbing up the stairs of greater government control in the “New of Systems of Economic Thinking” was just arbitrary?
Maybe the authors just flipped a coin to pick that illustration rather than another with the silhouette climbing down into greater government control…
Or an maybe an illustration with the figure climbing up to greater freedom with capitalism at the top was, their first choice but was eaten by the artist’s dog. What a sham, I mean shame… forgive my spelling.
Those crazy birthers are at it again, Ha!
With all I have seen come across my emails, I am telling every one of you, that “you had better wake up and smell the roses, before there are not roses to smell anymore!!” What is wrong with some of you people; are you brain dead? Do you really not believe what is happening to the USA? This is called “Luciferian Strategies for Change.” Read about it the book written by Saul Alinsky written specifically to Lucifer! Once you read about this, then you will come to the reality of what is happening to what used to be our wonderful America!!!
No matter which view you want to take about CScope, there is something very wrong about teachers having to sign a gag order and no allowing parents to be able to see what is being taught to students. Really??? That doesn’t bring up a red flag to anyone? Although my kids haven’t been yet subjected to this material I have seen some of the things being taught right now in history classes that I don’t agree with. As a parent you should demand that you are able to view any material taught to your children.
Well, y’all who have kids the public schools, CSCOPE Cirriculum is coming to your schools sooner than you think!! I am glad that I don’t have kids in school any longer; but I do have grandchildren for whom I am very frightened!! “Coersion and Indoctrination” into a Marxist/Luciferian educational system!! What’s wrong with us, to allow such things to go on in our schools. Not all of us can afford private schools!! Again, most citizens of the USA are brain dead!! Hell is empty (no, excuse me it just got one new tenant – Chevaz); all the devils are here inside the Beltway!! I never thought I would live to see the day that our country is rapidly becoming a Marxist country, being led by Lucifer, himself!! Research it: “Luciferian Strategies for Change,” a book written solely for Lucifer by Saul Alinsky, and it says it all as to what is happening to what used to be the most wonderful country in the world. Not now, the world is laughing at us!!
Wow!!! I’m glad to see you guys agreeing that CSCOPE is OVER THE TOP. I was about to checkout on this site, as I’m a Right Wing Extremist and have better things to do other than troll and flame. But you people seem to be getting it. I suspect that even most of the LIBERAL parents here want their kids to learn to read and learn math – and hopefully end up with a productive career.
Believe it or not, we do have COMMON GROUND. We want our kids to be productive people and able to provide for their own families. We REALLY need to work together (even if you don’t like Republicans in general, or Dan Patrick in particular) to end the NIGHTMARE of CSCOPE. Together, we will win, which means our children win (rather than staying at home, until they’re 35 years old, or older). But divided we lose – and that is not pretty.
Our country is so divided that I don’t see it coming together at no time in the near future or far future. Many of our citizens are like they are on Thorazine and in a trance-like state and believe everything that is being fed to them by the Satanic cult inside the Beltway. They are brain dead, and the only way they come alive again is to get rid of the Thorazine that keeps them in this constant pea soup fog. CSCOPE is an abomination of our educational curriculum. We have a monstorous and reprehensible government being governed by Satan and his little devils. This educational curriculum will be nationwide within 12-24 months, and if for one moment, these mesmerized people who voted this monster back into office will suddenly have an epithany, then you are just a brain dead!! With all I see coming across my emails as to the dangerous and frightening state that our country is in, there will be no partisanship among the citizens. What do think of a prominant black man saying that the reason he voted for Obama twice was because he was “tall, handsome, and spoke eloquently;” no other credentials needed. You need to read Revelations in the Bible and how the Anti-Christ will present himself to the world (read above description), and he will spellbound the world and lead it into destruction. The only way to stop this demon is Jesus returning, and frankly, I don’t think he wants to come back because we have literally pushed his Father out of the USA (He is the enemy; not Obama)!!! A new Messiah has been born — a Muslim who is leading America!!
GotRocks and Laura may have legitimate and good points about flaws in CSCOPE. Unfortunately, Barbara-Jane, it is all the more difficult to take them seriously because you insist on rambling on about misinformed conspiracy theories and end-times prophecies. You’ve talked about how divided our country is, and yet your rhetoric is the kind of thing that divides it so! Do you see the irony?
And one more thing: if you think that Jesus’s Omnipotent Father is capable of being “pushed out of the USA,” – the country where He has the most followers in one place – by not forcing Christianity into our laws and schools, then you clearly don’t believe in the same God I do!
Satan, Lucifer, nightmare, Marxist, the “Muslim leading America,” calls for state control (as if local control can’t be trusted). Some of the comments on here have essentially proven our point.
Yes, Dan. Point proven. Sheesh.