CSCOPE is curriculum that is based on and aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). It was developed and is maintained by the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative, which includes members representing the 20 Education Service Centers in Texas. As of 2015 approximately 70 percent of the Texas school districts utilize the curriculum system. Considering CSCOPE began in 2005, it is remarkable that over 700 districts statewide use it.
English Language Arts, Spanish Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies subjects are included in CSCOPE. Schools are able to customize the curriculum to meet their specific needs, and they receive training, advice, and technical support from the education service centers. According to CSCOPE's site, each subject's material is vertically aligned, meaning that the standards “flow” and are planned to ensure that everything is addressed from one year to the next. There is a specific, logical plan and sequence for teaching the standards, beginning in Kindergarten all the way through high school. Consequently, TEKS are thoroughly addressed, and there is a system to make sure there is ample review for concepts already learned.
Controversy has surrounded CSCOPE. Many teachers feel restricted by it, stating they lack the ability to choose how to best present the TEKS material. They also feel that it is so regimented and structured that they are not able to spend more time on concepts students have not yet mastered, or go more in-depth if students are comfortable with the material. Most teachers state the lessons move too fast and students cannot follow at that pace. Many parents and school board members have voiced concerns that they are not able to access the material to view what students are learning. Teachers were not allowed to post or share the lesson material. Some conservatives believe CSCOPE is too liberal and progressive, citing social studies lessons that they say paint communism and socialism in positive lights. In addition, there have been accusations that some lessons are anti-Christian. During a recent question and answer session, someone asked Region 13's Academic Director if CSCOPE has any external oversight, and he explained they do not. This garnered national attention in the media, and soon after that the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) announced it is going to review CSCOPE, beginning with social studies. Due to recent changes stemming from the news that CSCOPE has no external oversight, teachers will now be allowed to post CSCOPE material, making the lessons more accessible to parents and school board members. In addition, all meetings of the governing board of CSCOPE will be public.
The chair of SBOE, Barbara Cargill, has appointed a committee that will meet later this month. They will begin by reviewing social studies content, the most controversial subject in the curriculum. Review panels will be comprised of nominees including parents, school board members, and concerned citizens. However, none of the recommendations of the panels are binding, so CSCOPE's governing board will ultimately decide if they take any of the advice suggested by the review panels.