ETX school district votes not to adopt CSCOPE curriculum - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

ETX school district votes not to adopt CSCOPE curriculum


An East Texas school district will not implement a controversial curriculum system that's used by the majority of districts in the state.

Kilgore ISD's school board voted not to use CSCOPE. Instead, they'll build their own curriculum.

CSCOPE is intended to be a guide that helps teachers build a curriculum, but educators say it rarely works as intended.

"It tells you day-by-day not only what the skill is to teach, but how to teach it, what to say and even provides materials to be used in the classroom," says Bill Martin, the center director for the Sylvan Learning Center in Tyler.

Despite CSCOPE's good intentions, Martin says the program isn't delivering.

"Schools take this, but take it a step further than it was intended and use it exclusively in the classroom," says Martin.

CSCOPE does provide a framework for the curriculum teachers must cover on a daily basis and ensures teachers are teaching TEKS, the knowledge and skills that students are supposed to learn at each grade level.

But many teachers find that it's so structured that they can't be creative and teach the lessons the way the want to. It's also fast-paced and doesn't allow time for teachers to spend more time on the lessons their students haven't grasped.

When CSCOPE was first implemented in the 2006-2007 school year, 182 Texas districts gave it a try. As of September 25, 2013, 875 districts in Texas were using CSCOPE. That's approximately 70% of the districts in the state. The governing body over CSCOPE says those numbers are evidence CSCOPE works. The Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative says the significant increase indicates satisfaction with the system.

"Since student and/or district success may be measured in a variety of ways, the TESCCC views the continuation and increase of CSCOPE district licensing statewide as evidence that CSCOPE works," it says on CSCOPE's website.

However, those implementing it in classrooms don't seem as convinced.

The superintendent at Kilgore ISD, Cara Cooke, says she made the recommendation to the school board not to use CSCOPE. Cooke says after working in a school district that used CSCOPE and a district that did not, she felt it was in the best interest of Kilgore students for the district to continue building their own curriculum.

"The best way to proceed is to work from where we are. Kilgore ISD has a great foundational start. [We'll] continue to move forward with that and add on all of the pieces that are missing so we have a well-rounded curriculum," Cooke says.

The school board voted unanimously not to adopt CSCOPE.

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