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Parents and teachers are not happy with CSCOPE

It's the way Texas kids are being taught in schools and some parents and teachers aren't happy.

The problem for many comes with CSCOPE, an online program used by around 75 percent of Texas schools.  Created and distributed by the Education Services Center, schools can use it as a framework to organize the curriculum. Teachers can also use example lesson plans. 

"School districts have absolute control over what they teach, teachers have absolute control over the classroom they teach," executive director for ESC Region 12 Jerry Maze said. 

However, some teachers and parents criticize its content and how it's reviewed. Texas representative for the 54th District Jimmie Don Aycock says he's heard criticism from both parents and teachers.  Aycock says some teachers don't like following a rigid lesson plan.

"I think you're going to have to see significant changes as to how they conduct their affairs as far as the openness, transparency of it. How they strain the product, and make sure there's appropriate material on there that's suitable for all districts."

Aycock says the State Senate has approved a bill that would give review over CSCOPE for the Texas Board of Education and make the lesson plans better available for parents. That bill still has to go to a vote in the Texas House. 

Waco Independent School District is one of roughly 65 schools in Region 12 that uses CSCOPE.  School officials say the program helps, but they don't require teachers to use its lesson plans. 

"We use that as a starting point, as a framework," director of curriculum for Waco ISD Chris Everette said.  "We continuously review, 'Is that where we need to be?' or 'Do we need to make adjustments?'"

Everette says CSCOPE mainly helps to provide a scope and sequence of material.  That means it gives a skeleton of what to teach and what grade to teach it.  

"We take out the element of trying to determine the what and the when but we focus on the how and really engaging the students," Everette said. 

"In other words," Jerry Maze said.  "What a student learns in the second grade logically should attach to what they learn in the third, fourth, or fifth grade. The whole vertical alignment across the spectrum of learning while they're in school."

Waco ISD also had a post on its Facebook with concerns over CSCOPE's content. In reply, the District posted a section on its web site called Stopping the Rumor Mill. 

However, there are concerns throughout the state over the program. That's why the Texas Board of Education is reviewing CSCOPE.  The results of that review will be given to the Education Services Center for consideration. 

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