Despite protests, Hays CISD keeps CSCOPE
BY JANICE VANCLEAVE
Parents of Hays ISD–Your school administrators and school board are not concerned about the education of your children. They have voted to pay for CSCOPE even though lessons are no longer provided. But this isn’t really the whole truth. Schools have until Aug. 31, 2013 to copy the CSCOPE lessons to a special safe place on the CSCOPE User Website. As long as they keep paying for CSCOPE they have access to the CSCOPE lessons.
by KIM HILSENBECK
The beleaguered school curriculum, CSCOPE, created by a consortium of Texas regional collaborative, will be back at Hays CISD next year, despite concerns by Texas legislators, teachers and parents both here in Hays and across the state.
Comment by Janice
Let’s be clear about the creators of the infamous CSCOPE curriculum. A consortium of Texas regional collaboratives is very vague. There are 20 regional education service centers (ESCs). These 20 state agencies receive multi-millions of dollars of education grant money to develop FREE materials and to Present FREE Professional Development workshops for Texas Education. While the duty of each of the 20 ESCs is to provide educational services to the school districts in their region, there are few to no free programs offered and the quality of those offered do not all meet the standards of the grant providing the funding. The ESCs are no longer providing services, instead they are selling products. Basically the 20 Texas Education Service Centers have employees paid by the state, but are functioning as vendors. Their primary “Money Cow” product is CSCOPE.
Lessons contained in the system, which is completely online, raised a flag with legislators and others last year when they learned those lessons were not reviewed and approved by the Texas State Board of Education. All school textbooks are required to undergo an extensive review process. CSCOPE lessons, which about 75 percent of Texas public schools use, were not subjected to that kind of review.
Comment by Janice
The 20 Texas Education Service Centers know all the loopholes in Texas Education codes. Thus, by getting someone at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to classify the CSCOPE instruction material as a supplementary material, the CSCOPE Instruction Materials did not have to be reviewed by the Texas State Board of Education. Yes! The Texas Education Service Centers managed to put instruction materials that not even parents were allowed to view into about 75 % of Texas Schools. Why would any school administrator risk their careers to purchase such controversial materials?
What strings were pulled for the CSCOPE Instruction materials to be classified by TEA as a supplementary material? Generally, supplementary material is a book with teaching hints, or maybe a workbook for math problems. But, the CSCOPE Instruction Materials includes every subject for grades K-12.
The ESCs CSCOPE directors claim that textbooks do not meet the requirements of 21st Century education. Only online materials can do this because these materials can stay updated. This means that when the state standards changed –EVERY–I mean EVERY part of the CSCOPE Instruction material had to be rewritten to align with the new standards called TEKS.
Comment by Janice
Teachers have been upset with the State Board of Education for not providing more clarifications for the new standards, TEKS. Actually, in 2009, the 20 ESCs were given FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS to develop TEKS professional development materials that were presented in the summer of 2010. Teachers would be using new science, ElAR and Math TEKS for the first time in 2010-2011. If the ESCs has developed PD materials as described in the Rider 42 grant providing the funding, teachers would have been able to modify their lessons aligned with the old standards called TAKS. The Rider 42 TEKS PD Academies should have provided all the information educators and school districts needed to know how the old and new standards compared.
The 20 ESCs took the $50 Million dollars, prepared materials that for the most part was copied from the TEA website. The exception is the material for social studies. Also, I have not viewed the ELAR materials, but it was not prepared by the ESCs, they paid an outside source to create this material. It didn’t matter a lot about the quality of the material, the 20 ESCs–yes all twenty of the agencies failed to advertise the these very special professional development academies. The TEKS PD academies were listed with other scheduled events. HO HUM! Noting special.
Know that during the time the Rider 42 TEKS PD academy materials were being developed and presented, the CSCOPE lessons, K-12 were being rewritten so that they aligned with the new standards, TEKS.
Which material do you think took priority—the Rider 42 TEKS PD Academy materials they got paid for regardless of its quality or the CSCOPE Materials (the product that is a real “Money Cow”)?
Knowing all this, Hays ISD is subscribing to CSCOPE again. Why?
However, new state rules for CSCOPE prevent its subscribers from using the product to function as a district’s curriculum. Instead, CSCOPE can only be used as a curriculum management tool, which was its original intent. The lessons will no longer be included. As a result, the cost of the subscription went down from $113,000 to $60,000 for Hays CISD. Last school year, the district paid $96,000 after discounts and credits.
Comment by Janice
The CSCOPE Curriculum management tool has always included lessons. The management tool is training for administrators so that they know how to micromanage teachers forcing them to follow the CSCOPE schedule and CSCOPE lessons. Remember, prior to CSCOPE lessons being exposed they had never been reviewed, evaluated, copy edited, etc…..The CSCOPE Curriculum Managing System objective was to have every teacher across Texas doing the same thing. Thus, a 5th grade student moving from Dallas to El Paso would leave one school and be on the same page as students in his new school. When this was revealed to be totally unrealistic unless every 5th grader has the same ability level and school schedules were the same across the state. If nothing else, weather differences affect schedules.
More than ever, the CSCOPE Managing System parallels the children’s story of the stupid emperor who purchased clothes made of cloth that was only visible by smart people. Anyone who couldn’t see the cloth admitted his lack of intelligence. It took a child to announce the truth, the Emperor was naked.
There are no state regulations that prevent school districts from using the CSCOPE lessons. You can confirm this with Barbara Cargill, chairperson of the State Board of Education. The bills passed only affect the 20 ESCs, not school districts. The ESCs pulled off a very cunning and premeditated deal with Senator Patrick. Since the senator chose not to seek counsel during the bargaining meetings, the senator was basically sold lakeside property in the Sahara Desert.
The senator’s announcement that the Era of CSCOPE Lessons is over is only true for the group that deceived the senator. This conniving group let the senator make a public announcement that they know was not true. In fact, while the senator was holding press conferences, Texas schools were saving the CSCOPE lessons. To pour a bit of salt in the senator’s wound, the ESCs had provided via their CSCOPE User Website instructions for transferring the CSCOPE lessons from the files that would be deleted into safe files—yes, on the same website.
The results of Senator Patrick’s deal with the ESC CSCOPE Governing Group is that for now, the cost of a subscription to the CSCOPE User Website has decreased. I cannot confirm the rate quoted for Hays ISD. Mason Moses, Information Director for CSCOPE said this rate had not been determined. But half price looks good. So what do they get for this fee? Assessments? High fee for assessments.
The truth is that schools must continue to subscribe to CSCOPE if they wish to have all the CSCOPE lessons and other materials saved to their school district files on the CSCOPE User Website.
Hays CISD Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Kimberly Pool asked the board to approve renewing the district’s CSCOPE subscription contract at a cost of $60,000. She brought in four teachers from Simon Middle School and two from Pfluger Elementary School to speak about the benefits of using CSCOPE. No teachers who oppose the program spoke at the board meeting. Pool also said district administrators want to keep CSCOPE.
“Campus leaders unanimously said, ‘keep it,’” she said.
No campus administrators spoke to the board about their opinions on the curriculum management tool.
Why didn’t this make the Hays School Board question the intent of Kimberly Pool?
Is the Hays School Board being threatened in some way by Kimberly Pool so that they must do what she says?
Board member Meredith Keller asked Pool about those who do not think CSCOPE is the best product.
“We didn’t hear from the detractors – what are we doing for them?” she asked. Keller also questioned Pool on whether Hays CISD could purchase another curriculum, from, for example, Fort Bend ISD, the former district of newly minted superintendent Mike McKie . That district does not use CSCOPE.
Comment by Janice
I applaud Meredith Keller for trying.
Pool responded, saying she thinks staying the course is the best option.
WOW! Will Kimberly Pool be making all the decisions for the new superintendent?
McKie said he wants teachers to be candid in their assessment of the product.
“Does CSCOPE add value to the day in the life of a teacher?” he asked.
He did not offer a means by which teachers or administrators should provide such feedback.
Comment by Janice
Obviously the teachers do not trust the Hays administration. It is obvious that they are wise not to. Being from a school without CSCOPE, the new superintendent made no effort to find out why the entire state has been in an uproar over the CSCOPE materials. But, superintendents don’t stay in one school district long enough to be bothered with the education of students. What is the function of a superintendent?
The Hays ISD School Board approved the motion to renew the CSCOPE subscription 7-0.
Comment by Janice
Come to think of it, what is the function of school boards. They mostly rubber stamp what ever the dominant school administrator wants.
I hope everyone in the Hays ISD community will ask themselves these questions?
1. Why did the Hays school board vote for CSCOPE before getting feedback from teachers?
2. Why does Kimberly Pool want materials developed by an unscrupulous group that sold CSCOPE lessons to Hays ISD that had never been reviewed, evaluated, copy edited, etc…?
3. Why didn’t Kimberly Pool make a thorough inquiry of the teaching staff and school administrators herself? Why did Kimberly Pool only present educators she could depend on to support CSCOPE?
The bottom line is, Why does Kimberly Pool want CSCOPE? Is there some reward for her?
4. Has Kimberly Pool directed staff to save the CSCOPE lessons so that they will be used to teach your children? Remember, the CSCOPE lessons have been shown to be biased toward Islamic teaching, anti-American, incorrect, do not contain lessons that aid in reading and writing, have incorrect science facts, etc…..
Does it make sense that Kimberly Pool has gone to extremes to have CSCOPE renewed? Did the Hays School Board asked what the school will be receiving for the $60,000.00? No lessons.
What exactly is the CSCOPE Managing System? Was this explained by Kimberly Pool?
The Hays School Board voted for CSCOPE last year and received lessons that were so bad that the ESCs selling these lessons proposed deleting them if Senator Patrick would help pass the bill that would delay an outside investigation of the ESCs finances etc…………When are school boards going to do what is best for the education of children in their school district?