Texas Education Agency Looking at Troubling Charter School Curriculumby
According to a statement from the Texas Education Agency (TEA), the charter school operator at the center of an in-depth and highly critical article in the online magazine Slate on Thursday is “voluntarily conducting its own internal review.” TEA is also “looking” at the schools’ instructional materials.
TEA released its statement today to Zack Kopplin, who wrote the Slate article about Responsive Education Solution’s charter schools. Kopplin’s article listed numerous examples of anti-science and right-wing propaganda he found in instructional materials used by Responsive Ed schools. The charter school operator says it has 65 campuses with more than 17,000 students in Texas, Arkansas and Indiana and received more than $80 million in taxpayer funds in the fiscal year ending in August 2012.
TEA says in its statement that the agency is reviewing the schools’ materials “to determine that the state curriculum is being covered” and that it hasn’t yet “discovered anything that demonstrates a violation of law.” The statement notes that “allegations regarding instruction at the campus level are a local matter in Texas to be addressed by the governing boards of local education agencies.”
That last point might be true as far as TEA is concerned. But politicians on the State Board of Education and in the Texas Legislature certainly didn’t leave similar allegations against CSCOPE to local school boards last year. No, they launched full investigations into that curriculum management system and ultimately succeeded in gutting much of it. And they did that even though, as the Dallas Morning News reported, right-wing activists “offered scant evidence” to back up their absurd allegations that the program’s lessons were anti-American, anti-Christian, Marxist and pro-Islamic.
In any case, Kopplin forwarded the TEA statement to TFN and others this afternoon. Here it is:
“Representatives from Responsive Ed have reached out to the Texas Education Agency to share curriculum materials specific to allegations presented in a recent media report. Responsive Ed is voluntarily conducting its own internal review. The Texas Education Agency is also independently reviewing the materials to determine that the state curriculum is being covered. At this time the Agency has not discovered anything that demonstrates a violation of law. It should also be noted that complaints and allegations regarding instruction at the campus level are a local matter in Texas to be addressed by the governing boards of local education agencies. As a result, TEA has limited jurisdiction over day-to-day operations.”
You can read Kopplin’s article on Slate here.