Tall Texan tells Tall Tale: Dewhurst claims credit for ending controversial CSCOPE curriculum


With the results from Tuesday night’s election finally in, and a runoff between Senator Dan Patrick (R-SD7) and incumbent David Dewhurst apparent, it would be instructive to reexamine an issue that has dominated this campaign season: education.  From start to finish, the defective and much criticized curriculum tool known as “CSCOPE” has been a campaign football, serving as a mythical feather in the caps of all four candidates, horsemen who swooped in and saved the public school system from Communist indoctrination.

At one of the final debates for candidates in the race for Lieutenant Governor, incumbent David Dewhurst claimed full credit for ending the controversial CSCOPE curriculum (a product still being used in defiant school districts who have chosen to ignore state edicts.)  Dewhurst’s claim is offensive to many, since he had absolutely nothing to do with the push to abolish CSCOPE (apart from Monday-morning quarterbacking once it was apparent that CSCOPE would be an important factor in elections).

There are policy achievements that can be directly traced to specific public officials – CSCOPE does not qualify as one of these items.  At most, it can be said that Sen. Dan Patrick has done more than any other public official to remove CSCOPE from classrooms, and break up the organization responsible for CSCOPE’s creation and distribution.

And yet, it cannot be overstated that the fight against the controversial curriculum CSCOPE, and the coordinated efforts by grassroots Texans, teachers, and legislators to bring about its swift end, is the result of many uniting to accomplish a singular purpose.  Dewhurst and his insatiable ego had nothing to do with CSCOPE’s quasi-abolition.

Said Dewhurst,

“I handed a bill – Senate Bill 1406 – to one of my colleagues in the Senate and asked him to pass the bill, which would have put CSCOPE under the control, under the review, corrections and approval by the conservative majority of the State Board of Education (SBOE.)  We finally got that passed out of the Senate, out of the house, and unfortunately, Senator Patrick saw fit to go on his own and dissolve the nonprofit over CSCOPE; so now we have 1,600 lesson plans that are floating around in cyberspace.  That’s why I work with the SBOE and the TEA Commissioner to get these lesson plans under control, review….”

There are innumerable inaccuracies in the above statement, all of which reveal a flagrant and astonishing ignorance of the actual issues surrounding CSCOPE and how it came to be used in over 80 percent of Texas classrooms.  The biggest inaccuracy is the straw man accusation that Sen. Patrick did something to keep CSCOPE alive by dissolving an illegal and criminal nonprofit – the same entity responsible for creating CSCOPE.

It was Patrick, along with Greg Abbott, who was the first to threaten subpoena of CSCOPE’s financial records, and the first to take firm research and call for a formal audit.  Dewhurst followed suit a full month later.  It was Patrick’s insistence on formal hearings that ferreted out astonishing evidence of ideological agendas being perpetrated on Texas children, including lesson plans promoting Communism, denigrating Republicans, and elevating Islam above other faiths.

Dewhurst had nothing to do with this process.

But most disturbing is that Dewhurst believes that “review” is actually a positive step in dealing with CSCOPE.  Even State Rep. Steve Toth, the carrier of the legislation in the Texas House, acknowledges and understands that if CSCOPE is reviewed, it is legitimized, and given permanency that a defective product does not deserve. CSCOPE is deficient, and is connected to falling school performance all over the state.  “Review” was intended to be an intermediate step prior to eventual abolition and defunding, before Sen. Patrick succeeded in getting the CSCOPE nonprofit – weary of bad publicity and potential lawsuits from parent action groups – to pull the lesson plans from classrooms.

A little bit of poison is still poison.  Texans do not want a tepid review of poison – Texans want poison of the CSCOPE variety hauled kicking and screaming out of classrooms and away from our children.

Dewhurst clearly is hoping to win political points on an issue he ignored the first time around.  He does not speak for the parents or the teachers who personally and directly encountered the damage done by CSCOPE – damage that cannot be undone.

One thing is clear:  if we continue to elect talkers like David Dewhurst, instead of doers like Dan Patrick, we will have more CSCOPE-style scandals on the horizon.

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