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 better than attention-craving politicians in Austin how to teach their students. Sen. Patrick should stop this politically motivated harassment of teachers and trust them to do their jobs.”
On his Facebook page Sunday, Sen. Patrick said his office will forward information about teachers using CSCOPE to the attorney general to determine whether a district has violated an agreement the Education Service Centers made in May to stop producing lessons. But school districts were not a party to such an agreement and have the authority to decide for themselves what resources teachers use in their classrooms.
Tea party activists and other CSCOPE critics have absurdly claimed that the program’s lessons are anti-American and are indoctrinating students into Marxism and Islam. Education Service Centers, created by the state in the 1960s to provide services to school districts, contracted with current and retired Texas teachers to write those lessons plans so that they cover state curriculum standards. More than 870 school districts — nearly 80 percent of all the state’s school districts — plus a number of Roman Catholic and other Christian schools in Texas have been using CSCOPE.