A highly controversial school curriculum used in much of Texas known as “CSCOPE,” which came under relentless assault from activists and parents who said it was promoting “progressive” anti-American and anti-Christian propaganda, was dealt a major blow by policymakers this week. However, despite media reports and legislators heralding the death of the divisive educational program, major elements remain in place. Still, the news was lauded as a victory for common-sense education as the national battle over Obama-backed “Common Core” standards heats up.
The CSCOPE program was touted online by its developers as a "customizable, online curriculum management system" for Texas schools. Despite being used in more than two thirds of state school districts, the scheme largely flew under the radar — at least for a while — until a broad coalition of concerned parents, teachers, political activists, Tea Party groups, and others eventually cried foul.
The system surged into the national spotlight earlier this year when conservative media outlets began exposing the curriculum contents, which critics lambasted as everything from “Marxist” indoctrination to “pro-Islam” attacks on Christianity. Others complained that parents were not allowed to access the material due to “licensing” restrictions.
Produced by the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC), the lesson plans included, for example, an assignment to design a new communist flag based on symbols used by socialist regimes. A controversial handout for “social studies,” meanwhile, portrayed humanity as evolving upward from a purportedly selfish free-market economic system toward socialism. The final step was communism, where, supposedly, “all people work together for everyone.” Another lesson suggested the famous Boston Tea Party could be considered an act of terrorism.
Among the most controversial elements of the entire scandal were school materials that critics viewed as hostile toward Christianity. One lesson plan, for instance, introduced the Christian religion as a “cult,” even suggesting that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ described in the Bible represented repackaged versions of Egyptian and Persian mythology — an absurd notion that has been debunked by countless scholars and theologians. Opponents also blasted what they said was a “pro-Islam” bias in the lesson plans.
After the state-wide outcry turned into a national scandal, Texas lawmakers, under heavy pressure from constituents, eventually got involved in the issue. On Monday, months after the furor first erupted, legislators and TESCCC board members announced during a press conference that CSCOPE was essentially dead. The entity responsible for producing the material, meanwhile, will no longer be producing lesson plans or curriculums. Policymakers seemed delighted to put the controversy behind them.
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