A Reader Writes… CSCOPE is the Root of All Evil (Part 1:4)

In response to the 2/12/13 post, “It Seems That CSCOPE is the Root of All Evil (Part 1 of 4),” a reader writes:

CSCOPE, like the “new math program ” of the 1960s, is failing.  It is hard for those who spent all the money on it to admit that most of it is badly flawed. Even now it is starting to die. The education system in Texas needs a re-work from top to bottom.

SC Response How shall I answer this? Hmmm…

Point 1: CSCOPE is like the “new math program” of the 1960’s? You’ll have to elaborate, because I don’t see the connection.

Point 2: CSCOPE is failing.  Actually, CSCOPE’s problems stem mostly from its success.  You see there used to be four options for providing a scope and sequence.

1. Just let the teacher decide what to teach.  That has failed (even though many still ignore this fact).  Letting teachers decide, on an individual basis, what to teach only ensures deeper and more widespread deficits in learning as a student progress from one grade to the next.

2. The district builds a scope and sequence.  That has failed (in all but the largest, most proactive districts).  Districts can no longer afford a functioning staff of curriculum developers.  We can thank the cuts in education funding for that.

3. Use C-CAP. That failed.  It was unable to evolve fast enough to meet teacher needs, so it went belly up. We can thank the market place for that.

4. Use CSCOPE.  When there were options, CSCOPE was the obvious best choice.  But now that there is only CSCOPE, meaning there is no choice, so people are pissed. As the saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Point 3: CSCOPE is badly flawed. You obviously know next to nothing about scope and sequences.  The good ones are by definition a working draft.  Standards change, accountability changes, practices evolve, and lessons are discarded, improved and added.  As such the scope and sequence must be updated and improved constantly.  Our best cancer treatments right now will be considered flawed in the future.  But we don’t stop treating cancer with the best tools we currently have.  That would just be, in a word, stupid.

Point 4: The education system in Texas needs a re-work from top to bottom. Define re-work.  If you mean that we need to invest in the tools and expertise necessary to educate a high quality citizenry and workforce that will ensure the welfare of our state and country, well I agree with you.  If you mean starve the system in order to perpetuate a populace of haves and have-nots, then I guess we will just have to agree that you are on the wrong side of history and humanity.   Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

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