Entity Spearheading CSCOPE Attacks Is a For-Profit Political Consulting Business

The Austin-based news website Quorum Report (subscription required) today notes that the entity that helped organize Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s Monday press conference attacking the CSCOPE curriculum management system is a for-profit, “Tea-Party-for-hire group” that goes by the name Voices Empower. Run by North Texas political activist Alice Linahan, Voices Empower specializes in marketing and political consulting.

Voices Empower is also behind a website calling for the impeachment of State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant. Ratliff has been a vocal critic of the anti-CSCOPE political witch hunt.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons.

First, Dewhurst declared at his press conference yesterday that he “personally (has) a problem with any effort to politicize this process.” Flanked by Linahan as well as tea party and other political activists, he said doing so would  be “an affront to these families, and Texas families across the state, and the values we hold dear as Texans.” Then why did Dewhurst team up with political activists and a for-profit political consulting business to attack a curriculum tool used by hundreds of public and Christian schools in Texas?

Second, critics have claimed that the work of the Education Service Centers that created CSCOPE hasn’t been transparent. They suggest that the educators running those service centers have engaged in some sort of legal and financial malfeasance even though they offer no evidence to support such a reckless claim.

But where is the transparency when it comes to CSCOPE’s critics? Who, for example, is paying Voices Empower to go after CSCOPE (and Ratliff)? Linahan calls the debate over CSCOPE “a battle for the hearts and minds of our children.” But we think it’s a fair question now to ask: did she help manufacture this absurd “controversy” because she was concerned for “the hearts and minds of our children” or for profit?

Unfair questions? Any less fair than smearing teachers as somehow trying to turn kids into Marxist, anti-American Muslims?

These questions are important. After all, killing CSCOPE could force school districts to spend considerably more money on similar products provided by for-profit companies. The taxpayers in those districts have a right to know who’s causing that to happen and why.

This article was posted in these categories: Alice Linahan, CSCOPE, David Dewhurst, TFNEF, Voices Empower. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post.Trackbacks are closed, but you can Post a Comment.


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11 Comments

  1. Beegowl
    Posted August 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    This is less an ideological battle than a publicity stunt and the fact that a paid political consultant is behind the attacks only give that idea strength. A reasonable, intelligent person would conclude the document does not promote an ideology other than critical thinking. Oops, that’s right, Texas Republicans’ platform was against critical thinking for students because it undermined parental AUTHORITY. So, if yer Pop is makin’ stuff up and tellin’ you it’s true, the Great State of Texas’ Republican protectors of unborn children don’t want the school to give you the tools to sort out the made up stuff from real stuff.

  2. Denise
    Posted August 14, 2013 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    The teacher complaint about CSCOPE that I have run across, is that some districts were trying to implement as a standalone curriculum (e.g., in high school math). The teachers felt it was a good resource, but not a complete, well-sequenced curriculum. Not having used CSCOPE, I can’t verify this criticism.

    • Dan
      Posted August 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Denise,
      Thanks for the information. We have heard comments similar to what you point out about teacher concerns. It seems to us that such concerns can be dealt with at the local level rather than having the state ban any school district from using the materials. But the activists, politicians and consultants behind the CSCOPE witch hunt have their own agenda.

    • Ellen
      Posted August 14, 2013 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      We were just adopting CSCOPE when I left fulltime curriculum work in a district in 2009. I agree with Denise’ statement and the TFN reply. CSCOPE is just a resource, and a perfectly good one, for districts to purchase and utilize. It is absurd for ESC personnel to be slandered as having any agenda other than to provide a resource to teachers. Any curriculum will have a few corrections, which usually are made in due time with feedback from professionals and as the curriculum is taught. It is important this battle be won so Mr. Patrick and those like him to do dictate, through fear and misrepresentations, what can be taught in Texas public schools. Most Texas districts do not have the resources or the expertise to write their own curriclum. CSCOPE is a perfectly good resource, paid for with local tax dollars or dollars that come to districts through state and federal sources, and approved by local professionals and school boards. This fight is about something else, but not what is best taught Texas children.

  3. steve gay
    Posted August 14, 2013 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Dan Patrick as well as the Koch brothers have taken a stand which resonates throughout the history of bondage ie feed the mind only that which will promote your personnel agenda. This fiasco is shameful!

  4. Posted August 14, 2013 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    We cannot allow these extremists with their radical agenda drag Texas even further back in time than we are already living!!!

  5. Posted August 13, 2013 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Will Dan Patrick bring up the Glenn Beck complaint? Beck complained that a #CSCOPE lesson was “socialist;” but when we looked at it, it said that free enterprise has the least government “interference” with markets, socialism has more interference, and Marxism has even more. So Glenn Beck criticized a lesson plan that promoted capitalism — the opposite of what Beck said.

    I can’t find any CSCOPE critic who knows anything wrong with anything CSCOPE has — although, most are sure that it’s connected somehow to the Common Core State Standards (which of course, is completely false; no Common Core in Texas).

    https://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2013/04/02/cscope-chart-glenn-beck-doesnt-want-you-to-see/

  6. Posted August 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Koch bros. are involved somehow, especially since their mouthpiece with Americans For Prosperity is so vocally opposed to it.

  7. Posted August 13, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    ALEC – American Legislative Exchange Council or the Liberty Institute – http://www.ciponline.org/research/entry/think-tank-behind-rick-perry

  8. Posted August 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    SBOE member Thomas Ratliff has accepted Dan Patrick’s offer to debate CSCOPE on Aug. 24. Should be interesting!

  9. Posted August 13, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Good question. Who will step up to answer it?

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