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HISD to ask for C-SCOPE waiver

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Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 9:00 am

Effective Aug. 31, all CSCOPE lessons will be taken off the customizable, online curriculum management system aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills’ website.

This leaves school teachers, including those at Hutto ISD, scrambling to write lessons in the two-and-half months before school starts.

As a result, the Hutto ISD school board on Thursday authorized Superintendent Doug Killian to write a letter requesting a waiver from state funding accountability while the district "reestablishes" its curriculum.

“Dr. Killian and I feel it’s extremely unfair to pull lesson planning with just two-and- a-half months of planning.

“Our teachers are not bound to CSCOPE. They are bound to our curriculum. The problem is when you pull all of them at once, it becomes very difficult to replace those,” Steve Snell, assistant superintendent of curriculum and programs, said.

“We would like to join in with other districts to try to get the attention of the Texas Education Agency Commission and legislature.”

Snell said Hutto ISD officials believe they should be the decision makers in what instructional resources the district uses.

“It’s not that we’re enamoured with CSCOPE but we should have access because now we have teachers scrambling over the summer to write lessons,” Killian said.

Of the 16,000 lessons, there were only three lessons that caused enough controversy to push CSCOPE to take all lessons down from its website.

Those lessons pertained to the Boston Tea Party being considered terrorists from another perspective; how the Muslim religion is taught and having students draw out what they believed a Communist flag should look like.

“We’re supposed to start a school year without a curriculum now. Eventually all lessons up there will have become updated anyway. We like it up there while we come up with replacement curriculum,” Snell explained.

Killian pointed out that Hutto ISD does not have the resources to employ a curriculum staff that write lessons like larger school districts, which is why teachers write lessons.

Hutto is one of many school districts that use C-SCOPE curriculum. The following is an excerpt from the sample letter Dr. Killian will be sending to the commissioner of education.

“It is impossible for Hutto ISD to create K-12 core curriculum documents in 2.5 months. Textbooks that are approved by the state are required to meet only 50 percent of the state standards; therefore, relying on these resources will not prepare students for the high standards assessed with STAAR and EOCs....

“CSCOPE offered a quality curriculum for over $20,000 per year. Replacing this curriculum will far exceed the funds that I have available....We are in dire need of assistance to accomplish this daunting task. Districts must have time to adjust to your decision to censor the use of all lessons from CSCOPE.”

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