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League of Women Voters hosts CSCOPE informational forum

By Austin King
Sept. 21, 2013 at 10 p.m.

With the controversial CSCOPE curriculum making a revival as TEKS Resource System, Marshall and Harrison County's League of Women Voters hopes to inform the public and local educators on the curriculum program's details at a forum Monday evening.

An online program created in 2006, CSCOPE was designed to give school districts cost-effective lesson plans and tools to help schools reach state standards. The curriculum program came under fire earlier this year following continued complaints by parents on their inability to access the curriculum and lesson plans.

In February, pictures emerged of Lumberton Independent School District students wearing burqas, a traditional Islamic garment. The teacher claimed the project was a part of CSCOPE, however LISD released a statement on Feb. 25 stating otherwise. In May, it was announced that Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative moved to abolish CSCOPE's lesson plans, but the curriculum's other features were unaffected. Last month, CSCOPE was renamed TEKS Resource System.

Recent debates have been sparked on the future of CSCOPE with Texas State Senator Dan Patrick opposing the program and Texas State Board of Education Vice-chair Thomas Ratliff in support. While planning Monday's meeting, Gail Beil, program chair of Marshall and Harrison County League of Women Voters, offered both proponents to visit Marshall and offer their beliefs.

"The League of Women Voters is many years old," Beil said. "Our objective is two-fold, to provide programs that give education and to provide forums of debate that are nonpartisan. These are very important for the uninformed. The job of our league and that of any League of Women Voter is to provide some light on issues."

Although Ratliff intends to make the trip to Marshall for Monday's meeting, Patrick is unable to make it due to prior commitments.

"We wanted both of them to come," Beil said. "Unfortunately Mr. Patrick has other commitments on that day. We really wanted to have both of them visit."

Both proponents recently debated on the issue in Tyler last month.

During the meeting, Beil will ask Ratliff eight specific questions on the subject of TEKS Resource System's policies and details, as well as questions on Ratliff's recent meeting with the Texas State Board of Education.

"My hope is that the questions that I ask take us about 20 minutes," Beil said. "I want to give the audience as much time as possible to ask their own questions."

Monday's meeting begins at 7 p.m. and will be hosted in the Gold Room of Marshall Public Library, located at 300 S. Alamo Blvd. in downtown Marshall.



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