'Disaster!' — Texas' Controversial CSCOPE Curriculum Raises Its Head Again, But Lt. Gov. Dewhurst Has a Remedy
After the 2013 regular legislative session and three special sessions, most Texans believed that the state's controversial CSCOPE education curriculum had been put out to pasture. But it turns out that the controversial curriculum is not dead, and was posted online. In a wide-ranging interview with PJTV/PJ Media Wednesday afternoon, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst revealed efforts to fix or at least mitigate what he calls a "disaster."
When PJM spoke with Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, he had just come from a meeting on CSCOPE with members of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE).
"I thought CSCOPE was dead and buried," Dewhurst said. "Based on my conversations with parents all across the state last year in 2012 continuing through, now into 2013, I thought that CSCOPE was a real problem and that we needed to kill it off."
But that's not what happened.
"We have so many problems with CSCOPE. Factual errors. Bias. Our Founding Fathers being called 'terrorists,'" Dewhurst said, referring to how the lesson plan on the Boston Tea Party depicts it as "a local militia, believed to be a terrorist organization, attacked the property of private citizens today at our nation’s busiest port. Although no one was injured in the attack, a large quantity of merchandise, considered to be valuable to its owners and loathsome to the perpetrators, was destroyed. The terrorists, dressed in disguise and apparently intoxicated, were able to escape into the night with the help of local citizens who harbor these fugitives and conceal their identities from the authorities."
That was but one of many problems Texans have found with CSCOPE. Other problems included the curriculum's praise for communism and its reported tilt toward Islam.
Dewhurst says that he asked a senator to carry a bill in the legislature that would put the CSCOPE lesson plans under the Texas State Board of Education's review and corrections process. The SBOE currently has a strong conservative majority. But as the bill moved through the legislature, there was an unauthorized agreement made to stop his bill and then post all of CSCOPE's uncorrected lesson plans on the Internet.
"Somebody didn't think this through. Once you put them all on the Internet, they're in the public domain. And they're up there. And as of last count, the TEA (Texas Education Agency) Commissioner [Michael] Williams...was sharing with me, 897 school districts out of 1200 are planning on using CSCOPE. How do we correct it [since it's already posted online]? This is a disaster! A disaster!"
Dewhurst says he is applying his business background to fixing the problem.