The Texas State Auditor, John Keel, investigated the ESCs and following is a part of the report. Notice that the ESCs admit to a hap hazard method of record keeping. Remember that the ESCs are suppose to be non-profit agencies.
“During the 2012-2013 school year, the 20 education service centers in Texas provided access to a curriculum management system known as CSCOPE to 70 percent of school districts in the state, according to information that the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (Collaborative) provided. Those education service centers reported they collected a total of $73.9 million in revenue from the sale of CSCOPE services to school districts, charter schools, and private schools from September 2005 through August 2013. For that same time period, the education service centers reported a total of $67.8 million in CSCOPE-related expenditures.”
“However, auditors were not able to verify the total amount that education service centers reported they paid for the development, installation, distribution, and marketing of CSCOPE because some of the education service centers did not separately track CSCOPE-related expenditure transactions. Some of them also did not separately track CSCOPE-related revenue transactions. As a result, auditors were not able to fully answer the audit objective to determine the amount of revenue and expenditures related to the development, installation, distribution, and marketing of CSCOPE.”
With just a very surface investigation of the ESC’s finances, $6.1 Million dollars cannot be accounted for. Yet, state and federal funding continues to pour into the 20 ESCs. How much of the money received by the 20 ESCs is being “misplaced?”
The state auditor discovered that the 20 ESCs make no effort to have accurate financial records. No doubt the ESCs were surprised to have the state auditor investigate some of their books. For years the Sunset Reviews as well as the State Comptrollers have given the ESCs not only passing grades, but praised these state agencies for providing such economical services to Texas schools.
The fee of $73.9 million is considered inexpensive because, according to ESC 11 director, Clyde Steelman, school districts using the CSCOPE materials do not need to hire a district instructional director. CSCOPE has everything needed.
The State Senate Education Committee Hearing resulted in the ESCs being banned from selling CSCOPE lessons or even having the lessons in their possessions. The CSCOPE lessons were found to contain Un-American, pro-Islamic, and incorrect content. Director Steelman as well as all 20 ESC directors are still promoting the gutted CSCOPE materials now called the TRS Curriculum.
In 2011, the Marlin ISD district instruction director, Jamie Johnson and district superintendent, Marsha Riddlehuber, informed me that I could not see the 5th grade science or math CSCOPE lessons.I requested the lessons because I was tutoring kids after school.
I asked about textbooks. NOPE! Marlin ISD no longer used textbooks because the CSCOPE Instructional Materials were so comprehensive. Also, CSCOPE was an online product and was more current than textbooks. The CSCOPE lessons were copyrighted and not visible to anyone unless they signed a non-disclosure contract stating they would not reveal the content of the lessons.
The ESCs threatened Legal action against teachers if they told parents the content of the CSCOPE lessons.
Q2 How much evidence does it take for a thorough investigation of the Texas Education Centers to be required?
A2 Our Texas leaders have smiled as they falsify reported praise for the 20 ESCs. Yet, all the while, like a child, have their fingers crossed behind their backs. It is time to step up to the plate and take action. Lobbyist DO NOT represent our children or their parents. Get out of the Ivory Towers in Austin and spend some time in classrooms. Don’t arrive like the King or Queen of England, take clues from the TV program called, Undercover Boss. Apply for a teaching position at different school districts. Ask to visit classrooms. Get contact info and call the teachers later. Some will tell you the truth, others are too afraid of losing their jobs. There is little job security for teachers.
How long this will continue depends on our newly elected Governor and Lt. Governor. Will they follow through on their promises to improve Education? It also depends on who the Governor appoints as the Commissioner of Education.
Q3 How much longer are the leaders of Texas going to allow the ESCs to have any input or control over what is taught or how it is taught in our Texas classrooms?
A3 Like the previous Answer, the ball is in the court of the Governor and Lt. Governor.
Things for the Governor and Lt. Governor to think about:
1. The 20 ESCs created an illegal company claiming this company owned CSCOPE. The name of the company was TESCCC. Each of the 20 ESCs directors paid $200,000 each to be a member of the collaborative who owned TESCCC. Where did this money come from?
2. The trustees of TESCCC (ESC directors) filed with the state a change showing that if TESCCC was ever dissolved the Federal Government would receive any proceeds. Originally, the state of Texas was listed. Not only were the ESC directors creating what they thought was a company unconnected to the ESCs, but they wanted the company to not be associated with Texas.