Letter to the Editor

By Mark A. Puig, Superintendent CCAISD —

The state’s leading provider of curriculum, CSCOPE, has decided to discontinue offering lesson plans as part of its curriculum package. Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick made the announcement at a news conference on May 20.

CSCOPE, according to Patrick, would refocus on the “original business plan of providing a management tool for teachers to stay on schedule” with regard to the required state curriculum. This decision follows months of controversy and debate over a handful of CSCOPE lessons and will affect nearly 80-percent of Texas districts, including CCAISD.

Of the 1,600 lessons available to teachers within CSCOPE, the controversy centered on a handful of Social Studies lessons that were interpreted by some as anti-American. In reviewing those lessons, I would agree those were poor choices and should be thrown out.

However, overall, the lessons were solid and provided valuable examples and resources to teachers. Worst, this decision was made by lawmakers far removed from the classroom.

The danger is what State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff called “a slippery slope to Internet filters, censorship, and other limitations on teachers in the classroom.”

He continues, “Is Senator Patrick suggesting that a teacher can’t use an online subscription to the Wall Street Journal in his/her classroom unless the SBOE and Texas Legislature approve every article? Where does this stop?

The rural areas of Texas don’t want or need somebody from Austin telling us what’s best for our classrooms in our local schools. We need flexibility and transparency to do what’s best for our local communities.”

How does the CSCOPE decision affect CCAISD? Along with the majority of other rural Texas districts, CCAISD uses CSCOPE as a curriculum management tool. Larger districts typically have their own departments dedicated to curriculum alignment, but small districts generally cannot afford such a cost.

Therefore, CCAISD will continue to use CSCOPE as its curriculum management tool. The discontinuance of lesson plans will not impact the quality of your child’s education.

The largest impact will be on teachers who will now have one less resource available to them in planning their lessons. CSCOPE lessons modeled an active learning environment and gave useful examples that were especially helpful to beginning teachers.

Moving forward, please continue to support your teachers, students, staff, administration, and school board. Acting together, nothing will stop up from achieving our vision of being the “District of Choice.”

Yours truly,
Marc A. Puig, Superintendent