I've seen different statistics, but according to all of them, well over 700 small and mid-size school districts in Texas use the lessons provided by CSCOPE through the state's Education Service Centers. CSCOPE is an online curriculum tool that provides curriculum and lesson resources tailored to Texas TEKS to school districts that could not easily afford to create such resources.
I do not work at one of those small school districts but I have seen several CSCOPE lesson plans and they are generally spot-on and helpful.
Now they are gone.
Thanks to state Senator Dan Patrick of Houston, and the conservatives he has scared with a lot of ignorant posturing, this resource will no longer be provided to Texas schools.
Why? He was concerned about the social studies lessons:
He says they were "Pro-Islamic". I am pretty sure I know what he was talking about, but getting rid of those totally neutral sixth grade lessons on world religions is not going to change the fact that our TEKS require that world religions get taught. See, in Texas, sixth grade social studies is World Cultures and Geography. Sixth graders learn all about world cultures. Religion is a key culture trait, so major world religions are covered as such: Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism and Confucianism. Sixth grade can't get to everything, but they try to cover the main religious influences of the regions under study. Neutrally. Parents are in charge of teaching religious values, not public school teachers. Teachers only teach about what different cultural groups believe as part of their cultures. This is not pro-Islamic or anti-Islamic...it is pro-education and anti-ignorance.
Another lesson that Patrick and his ilk complained about was one about world economic systems in which students were told that socialist countries often used socialist economic symbolism on their flags and were asked to design a flag for an imaginary new socialist nation using socialist economic symbols. I fail to see why this creative elicitation of higher order thinking skills is offensive when our TEKS do require that teachers teach about different world economic systems.
Patrick and his posse are also offended by a U.S. History lesson that asks students if they think King George would have considered the members of the Boston Tea Party terrorists. Again, critical thinking is bad because.....?
So, another battle won by Ignorance. Cue the A Christmas Carol quote and good luck to the small school districts of Texas that have lost a significant resource.