By Erik Walsh
The News Staff
MALAKOFF–Texas public schools using the STAAR-readiness tool CSCOPE have recently come under fire from conservative groups for teaching an anti-Christian, anti-American and pro-Islamic curriculum with a “hidden agenda.”
Malakoff ISD Superintendent Randy Perry updated Malakoff Rotarians about the situation during their weekly meeting May 7 and said the claims were “misguided” and “not based on fact.”
CSCOPE is a teaching tool used by, according to Perry, 870 of the 1,100 public schools in Texas. Its purpose is to get public school students from kindergarten to high school ready for college using the tougher standards from the Texas STAAR tests.
“It worries me that people think that 870 Texas schools that have the best interest of their kids at heart promote Islam and Communism,” Perry said.
Perry illustrated a confrontation he had with a member of the Red-Hot Conservatives, a group that opposes CSCOPE, last January.
“I’m also a Baptist minister. Lets just say it was the first time I had ever been accused of promoting Islam,” he said.
According to Perry, opponents of CSCOPE, including a Cedar Creek Lake based group operating from the email firstname.lastname@example.org, pull their arguments from two CSCOPE lesson plans. One, which is no longer in the curriculum, was titled Heroism verses Terrorism.
“The lesson encouraged students to think critically about the Boston Tea Party and how the action was perceived differently by the colonies and the British Crown,” Perry said.
According to Perry, this led opponents to conclude the curriculum pushed anti-American values.
The other point of interest that CSCOPE opponents draw from is the teaching of Islam and World Religions.
Before explaining the criticisms, Perry reminded Rotarians that a basic class on World Religions must be taught in public schools.
“I asked my Social Studies teachers what they thought of the World Religion section of CSCOPE and they concluded that it probably does spend more time on Islam than Christianity,” Perry said. “Last time I checked we were a Christian nation, so my teachers have the liberty to decide how much time they think is needed to teach Christianity as well as the other World Religions.”
Perry said that teachers have the same liberty in any subject, not just in World Religions.
“At Malakoff ISD, we treat our teachers as professionals and use CSCOPE as a tool to assist in meeting testing criteria. They can follow the lesson plans as closely or loosely as they wish.”