Get PJ Media on your Apple

SCOTUS to Texas: ‘Children Are Not Mere Creatures of The State’

Parents fighting for the right to view critical materials related to what their children are learning.

by
Karen Lugo

Bio

March 7, 2013 - 1:21 pm
Page 1 of 2  Next ->   View as Single Page

Of all states, it would seem that Texas would be the last to need reminding of the Supreme Court’s admonition in Pierce v. Society of Sisters that “children are not mere creatures of the state.” The Lone Star State was one of the few that did not sign on to the Obama-fostered Common Core program, foregoing the dangled federal funds. Yet Texas wound up with a program eerily similar to the centrally planned Common Core standardization system, and one even less transparent.

As with other scandals, it is was as much the cover-up as it was the Texas curriculum management system’s — CSCOPE’s — violation of public trust that caused the uproar. Not only have nearly 80% of Texas schools organized their lesson planning under one “collaborative,” but the CSCOPE curriculum software contract — the “I agree” button — convinced a number of teachers of criminal penalties if they shared lesson content with parents or school board members.

Even the Texas Education Board chair, Barbara Cargill, was advised by her attorney not to sign the educational software non-disclosure agreement if she wanted to discuss the material publicly. Compounding the outrage, it took CSCOPE six months to issue her permission and a password to access disputed data.

When screening classroom lessons from parents, CSCOPE officials defied a smorgasbord of rights, laws, and rulings grounded in constitutional due process.  Two landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions have declared a Fourteenth Amendment fundamental liberty interest in “bringing up children” and parental supervision of children’s education. Also, Texas Constitution Section 26.006(a)(1) provides that parents are “entitled to review all teaching materials, instructional materials, and other teaching aids used in the classroom of the parent’s child.”

Rather than addressing parental concerns by separating test material from lesson content so that parents could have access without compromising confidential teacher data — the one reasonable excuse asserted by CSCOPE — the collaborative instead chose to fight Texas Public Information Act citizen requests.

CSCOPE chose rather to use taxpayer money to fund an appeal to the Texas attorney general arguing that intellectual property laws should protect the “competitive interests” that teacher-developers had in the program — an awkward argument since taxpayers funded the creation and implementation of the curriculum for use in public schools.

In response, the attorney general’s office first made the significant determination that CSCOPE’s legal status was not like a private corporation, but was the same as other government bodies. This finding arguably placed CSCOPE in a position of accountability to § 551 Texas Open Meetings Act rules that require government meetings to be open to the public for purposes of “prohibiting secrecy.” Although the attorney general’s finding was issued in April of 2012, there is no record that CSCOPE moved to comply with these open meeting requirements until compelled to do so after January’s Senate Education Committee hearing.

In the second part of the finding, the attorney general’s office agreed that release of the “curriculum product” might harm CSCOPE’s “marketplace interest” and thus upheld CSCOPE’s denial of the two public information requests. However, Senator Patrick challenged CSCOPE officials who appeared before the education committee to say that this technical aspect of the finding did not relieve CSCOPE of the higher duty to separate any sensitive testing data from curriculum so that parents could access lesson content. Although CSCOPE has now formally agreed to do this, and parents will soon be able to obtain printed copies of the lessons at school, no date has been set for direct parental internet access.

After reviewing the CSCOPE materials that are available, it is easy to see why public scrutiny was anathema to both the mission and daily operations of CSCOPE.  The practice of “plausible deniability” has worked very well for CSCOPE, its cloistered program designers and reviewers (not researchers, but teachers writing standards and lessons for classroom teachers that are reviewed by other teachers), and its twenty education service centers that charge between a $8 – $9.50 rent fee per student annually. The many complaints of poor quality, scant sourcing, anti-American bias, deferential treatment of counter-worldviews like Islamism and communism, and historical revisionism have been managed as teacher discretion gone awry since actual lesson plans that leaked could be dismissed as obsolete.

Recent examples come from the bizarre Texas education headlines that detail the photo and story of 9th grade girls donning burqas, Boston Tea Party protestors called terrorists, students asked to design a socialist flag, and a lawsuit filed last month over forced pledge of allegiance to the Mexican flag. It is the burqa flap and the ensuing saga that best illustrate why parents and the state school board have demanded oversight.

After this controversy broke, the Lumberton School District issued an official statement saying that the school district is subscribed to the CSCOPE curriculum management system but referred to vague wording in the state guidelines for world history (TEKS) to defend the Islamic teaching moment to justify the Islamic garb teaching moment: “The lesson encompassed diversity education so students receive a firm understanding of our world and why people are motivated differently.” What Lumberton school officials did not acknowledge was that CSCOPE framework serves to prompt exactly the kind of empathetic role-playing that was photographed in the classroom.

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (15)
All Comments   (15)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
You're on to something here,where women's rights meets Islam.Where the millions and millions of fatherless households meet the educational system,and where these mothers of young children meet the teachers union.
CSCOPE,the Frankenstein constructed by the left wing of the teachers union,woman's rights divorcees,the fear of Islam and the innocence of young children.Somebody should clue these female head's of broken households in on how women are treated under that religion.But don't remind the CSCOPE women,allow them to find out the hard way! I have always believed that the smartest students quit school at 16! What a student really needs is an ability to read and a lousy job.That should sort things out soon enough. When schools act like this,FLUSH TWICE!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Get the Federal Government and Michelle out of school affairs. All decisions should
be made by local boards. Time for parents to kick some butt and manage their own school carriculum, not to mention what foods are served in the lunch rooms.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Looks like the cockroaches found a place to hide for a little while.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Weird and murky stuff. I don't normally do this, but check this out. You'll find it fascinating.

•CSCOPE - What's Behind the Curtain? Part II

Part ll has a quick link to Part l . I got interested in this because I'm always interested in following money. Check out the house in NY!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually, the Common Core State Standards program was proposed in March,2010 by a panel of educators convened by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. The causation, was based on transfer students from state-to-state being disadvantaged by the differences in each states curriculum and disrupting student advancement.

It always helps to be informed of the 'facts' before assigning 'blame' to any individual or group!

The governors had the best interest of the students in mind when proposing such standarized core curriculum -- especially those in elementary and those who were college tracked.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A good point, Zeke. But experience has shown that whenever somebody somewhere wants to centralize curricula formulation, it is assigned to the educrats to implement and something like this results.

Think about the motivation: is the dislocation experienced by students who change school systems sufficient justification for centralizing the entire curriculum? How many are there who are affected? Wouldn't there be a less intrusive way? Could this have been a ploy to get control of the curriculum from the git-go?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You're precisely correct! "educrats"

My wife was and educator for 40 years and then was a lobbyist across the country with legislatures to transition back to traditional localized education but was overun by all the new era education bureaucrats whom all had a one-size-fits-all solution for everyhting -- so long and you purchased their plan for x-gazillion dollars. These perpetual experimenters cross both political lines and if a betting many more are from the republican side -- that we've known.

The problem noted by the states was the increasing transitory migration of students from one state to another. The highest population of students in this category is the military kids followed by corporate and job transfers. The military segement is a national disgrace! The problems they create and bring into public schools is every bit as serious and the most inner city problems.

Personally, we endorse standardized curriculum for math, sciences, reading and english/languages throughout K12. Likewise, we fully endorse classroom teachers returning to content educators and not psychologists, social workers, family counselors, etc., and get back to 'fulltime' instruction facilitators wit actual books and content testing standards included with the texts cover-to-cover. Until our teachers are allowed once again to be teacher/educators nothing is going to reverse the continual decline in our nations education systems.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I guess I'm not following the problem. CSCOPE's FAQ states;

Does the TESCCC’s District User License Agreement (DULA) or individual Terms of Use agreement prevent parents from viewing certain CSCOPE content or components?

Neither the DULA, nor the Terms of Use agreement, prohibit an authorized user (e.g., a teacher) from revealing CSCOPE content to parents or other non-authorized users, as long as they follow these primary guidelines:

Adhere to district policy and guidelines for how CSCOPE content should or may be shared/displayed
Adhere to the TESCCC DULA and Terms of Use by not allowing unauthorized users to have online access to the CSCOPE site or gain permanent possession of CSCOPE content
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, yes; who rules on failure to adhere...and punishment ?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Must be lawyers in love...What a wonderful use of our legal system. Thank you jurist for keeping our system busy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
OMFG. I opened that pdf file called the Islamic World. It is completely unsuitable for public school; it is the type of thing that is more appropriate to a religious studies course. That being said, its obvious intent is more than imparting generic information about Islam. It is so completely designed so as to indoctrinate into Islam that it is offensive, from a parental standpoint.

If the same course were offered, but with a pro-Judaism or pro-Christian bias, you would hear screaming from the ACLU and every atheist from here to kingdom come. Jeez, a teacher can't even have a Bible on her desk for her own private devotions without getting sanctioned; this bloody course has the teachers handing out complete passages from the Koran.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It's getting to the point where a responsible parent has to ask themselves why they'd ever NOT home-school their children. To leave it in the hands of the "professionals" just means indoctrinating the children as young progressives, much like school systems in the Soviet Union and other dictatorships.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How long will it be until real history is gone unless you actually have the books in your possession that say otherwise?

When everything is relative, the truth is subjective and entirely up to what the people in charge decide to make it.

Or, we are at war with Eastasia and at peace with Oceania ...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You have it right on the issue of books. They can only burn, not erase them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Liberals are famous for wanting dialogue but they have no interest in such a thing. In fact they have made up their minds, and for us as well. That's why the ends justifies the means in their minds, and why they skulk about like rats in the night, and in secret.

Hard to imagine people so depraved they hide a curriculum they are proud of. Tells you they think of the average citizen as a child that must take their medicine - because I said so. And that's that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
View All