In the 70 percent of Texas public schools where a private curriculum has been installed, students are learning the “fact” that “Allah is the Almighty God,” it is facing condemnation for its secrecy and restrictions on oversight. The program, called CSCOPE, is a private venture operating under the umbrella of the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative, whose incorporation documents state its independence from the State Board of Education of the Texas Education Agency.
Now come concerns about what critics describe as a definitively pro-Islam bias.The critics say the studies border on proselytizing. In one scenario, students are asked to study the tenets of Islam, and critics say the materials provided exceed impartial review of another faith, extending into requirements of conversion and moral imperatives. A computer presentation utilized as part of a study of Islam includes information on how to convert, as well as verses denigrating other faiths.
According to excerpts, under the heading, “Who Is Allah?,” students are told:
“Allah is the Almighty God.”
“Allah alone is the Creator. He alone deserves our devout love and worship.”
Muhammad is described as having become “disillusioned with the corruption in the city and the growing gap between the urban dwellers and the Bedouins (nomadic herders).”But there is no mention of his documented sex activities with a child or his penchant for beheading entire indigenous people groups.
CSCOPE’s geography curriculum also is being scrutinized.A high school question on a geography test asks, “Which of the following has been a benefit of globalization?” Possible answers are as follows: a) pandemics, b) increased standard of living. But one of the concerns is that state law requires textbooks to be reviewed by the board of education, and parents are allowed to have access, since CSCOPE is considered a private venture it operates independently of state or local school board oversight.The state attorney general’s office has ruled that CSCOPE is a government organization subject to requirements of transparency, but because of loopholes in the Texas Public Information Act and Senate Bill 6, passed in 2011, CSCOPE has thus far been able to keep its content from public review. Even parents are denied access.Kimberly Thomas, a teacher in the Lubbock school district, calls CSCOPE a “joke,” identifying a ninth-grade lesson that asks students to circle capital letters in a sentence.
CSCOPE employees, on the other hand, claim the software is designed to replace textbooks and, indeed, has in many Texas school districts. But critics argue private schools, the closest thing to a school being run like a business, still make instructional materials available to parents, something that CSCOPE refuses to do. Some of the lessons leaked to the public have contained wide disparities from the summary pages viewable in the public section of CSCOPE’s website.
Ratliff defends this dichotomy by saying that, like iTunes or any other “business,” some things must be placed behind a “pay wall” as part of a business plan. Ratliff claims that CSCOPE is created by “teachers, for teachers.”But teachers must sign a gag order when required to use CSCOPE in their classrooms.Complicating the issue is the fact that school districts usually purchase CSCOPE with state tax dollars.
“I would much rather have 7,000 locally elected school board members decide what content is best for their students, not the 15-member SBOE. CSCOPE actually ends local input since it prevents, on penalty of copyright litigation, distribution of its content to parents.
Attorney General Greg Abbott has released an opinion that is being is being quoted by critics as disqualifying Ratliff from the state board because of his connections to companies doing business with schools in Texas.
Source—wnd, john griffing