Come the CSCOPE critics from the wilds of Texas:
For three weeks now I’ve made a practice of asking CSCOPE critics for evidence of the evils of Texas teachers and curriculum planners they claim occur.
Not a single example has checked out.
If you’re familiar with the “burqa” controversy in Lumberton, Texas, you know the facts don’t square with the CSCOPE critics’ shorthand version.
Monday, February 25th, 2013
Lumberton ISD Response to CSCOPE and Promotion of Islam
Recently a picture had surfaced showing five students dressed in burqas (Islamic attire) in a World Geography classroom at Lumberton High School. The lesson that was offered was not a written CSCOPE lesson; however it informed students to the customary culture of the people in the Middle East. The lesson that occurred was presented on February 1, 2013. As part of the curriculum from the World Geography TEKS (as prescribed by the state of Texas), the students are to study the culture (TEKS number 17):
“Culture. The student understands the distribution, patterns, and characteristics of different cultures.” The student is expected to:
(A) describe and compare patterns of culture such as language, religion, land use, education, and customs that make specific regions of the world distinctive;
(B) describe major world religions, including animism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Sikhism, and their spatial distribution;
(C) compare economic, political, or social opportunities in different cultures for women, ethnic and religious minorities, and other underrepresented populations; and
(D) evaluate the experiences and contributions of diverse groups to multicultural societies.”
The lesson that was offered focused on exposing students to world cultures, religions, customs, and belief systems. A description on the whiteboard behind the students show the splits in religions: Islam (Sunni and Shia), Judaism (Reform, Conservatives, and Orthodox), and Christianity (Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant). Clothing expresses the individual culture. The lesson is not teaching a specific religion, and the students volunteered to wear the clothing.
The portrait focused only on Middle Eastern attire and the students are wearing variations of this customary attire found in the Middle Eastern culture. This portrait does not reflect the entire aspect of the lesson. The lesson encompassed diversity education so students receive a firm understanding of our world and why people are motivated differently.
Lumberton ISD has purchased the CSCOPE curriculum however; the teachers are not required to teach the lessons that are provided. The school district follows the Year at a Glance, a scope and sequence of the adopted Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, as well as the Instructional Focus Document which explains the Rationale, Common Misconceptions for students, TEKS, and the Key Academic Vocabulary that supports conceptual development. The district has great teachers and supports the teachers and their individuality in methods of instructional delivery.
Lumberton is a small town of about 12,000 people (2010 Census) a few miles north of Beaumont. Lumberton Independent School District (ISD) schools are “recognized” under the old, just-outdated school and district rating system Texas used, suggesting that student achievement was above average. State test scores tend to show the same. If this is their example, we should note that in addition to characterizing the lesson wrong, getting wrong the facts of students trying on clothes of other cultures, and the fact that this exercise is not at all related to CSCOPE, the students seem to be learning well.
Kudos to Lumberton, and to CSCOPE, right? Not for the Right Wing Crazies.
On this burqa thing? I’m willing to say no kid has ever been “forced” to wear a burqa for any school purpose — though some may have put on a costume for a report (is that bad?).
In short, I find the critics of CSCOPE to be at odds with the facts, making stuff up to yell about. Almost every single one of the criticisms for how the Texas standards on Islam are taught, involves the fact that Islam is taught about at all. CSCOPE critics claim “indoctrination” when it’s clear from lesson plans, support materials, texts, state standards, and test results, that students are simply learning about history, geography and culture.
Shame on any politician who acts on such unhinged, false rants.
There’s a “debate” between Texas State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Bedlam, and the most sane member of the Texas State Board of Education, Thomas Ratliff, set for this Saturday, in Tyler. One wonders how absurd it can get. Will Patrick tell us which Texas school forced kids to wear burqas? Don’t bet on it. Will Patrick provide any other evidence of rampant socialism or Marxism in Texas schools? No, don’t bet on that, either.
More (good and bad information here; caveat emptor:
- Pro-terrorist lessons make comeback – in Texas! (mobile.wnd.com)
- Debate again thrusts CSCOPE into Texas spotlight (khou.com)
- Pro-terrorist lessons make comeback – in Texas! (wnd.com)
- Debate again thrusts CSCOPE into Texas spotlight (mysanantonio.com)
- Adios, Reality: Texas Culture Wars Take a Madcap Turn (texasobserver.org)
- Senate education chair files bill to bar use of lesson plans in Texas schools (trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com)
- Texas Public School Students Made to Wear Burqas (atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com)
- So CSCOPE Really Isn’t Dead? (educationviews.org)
- Nothing Has Changed -cscope Still Bad Brand (educationviews.org)
- Debate again thrusts CSCOPE into Texas spotlight (edweek.org)