Texas Public Schools
4:09 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

State Board Of Education Hears Public Comment On CSCOPE Lessons

Both sides of the CSCOPE argument spent hours testifying before a State Board of Education Committee on the social studies component of the online lesson plans.

Friday's meeting was to provide CSCOPE schools public input before a 170 member review committee begins looking at the online curriculum and makes necessary edits.

Once an edited version of the lesson plans is complete, CSCOPE will then be renamed the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skill Resource System.

A large majority of the day's complaints dealt with how the online lesson plans talked about Islam. Kara Sands, a mother from Corpus Christi, said the online lesson plans addressing Islam need to include what she said was the truth about the religion.

"And it says Muslims leaders required non-Muslims to pay a tax," Sands said. "This idea of religious tolerance was revolutionary for the time period, but what they don’t tell you is that in Islam you have three choices: You convert, or you don’t convert and you pay the tax, or we kill you."

State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff said every CSCOPE lesson is aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards set by the State Board of Education, which includes lessons about the Middle East and the religion of Islam.

"Bottom line, " Ratliff said, "the State Board of Education requires kids to learn about the top seven religions. I don’t know how you teach kids about those religions without talking about those religions."

Some parents called for the board to end use of CSCOPE, but because the lesson plans are in the public domain and because the board doesn’t have that authority, they are gathering public comment and will then make suggested edits.

State Board of Education member Barbara Cargill explained:

"So they’re going to be looking for errors and then for TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) coverage and then here are some of the questions: Does this lesson present unbiased materials and illustrations?  Does this lesson reflect an awareness of various ethnic groups, cultures and languages and does it reflect positive contributions of individuals and groups to American life?"