Texas Conservative Coalition requests audit of CSCOPE

August 6, 2013

Mr. John Keel
State Auditor’s Office
P.O. Box 12067
Austin, TX 78711-­‐2067

Dear Mr. Keel:

We are writing to express our support for an audit of the Texas Education Services Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC) and CSCOPE program, which has already been requested by Senator Dan Patrick and the Attorney General’s office.

As you know, the CSCOPE program was created by TESCC and, until recently, provided approximately 1,600 internet-based lesson plans and exams to Texas school districts. Mounting controversies over the past year culminated in successful efforts to end CSCOPE.

Earlier this year, it was alleged that school districts were attempting to charge parents hundreds of dollars in order to access CSCOPE lesson materials in direct violation of Section 26.006(a) of the Texas Education Code, which provides that parents are “entitled to review all teaching materials, instructional materials, and other teaching aids used in the classroom of the parent’s child.” There have also been allegations that the TESCCC has lacked transparency. Access to TESCC meetings and minutes were denied until the Attorney General insisted that the Texas Open Meetings Act required that they be open and available. Another concern was that development of CSCOPE by TESCCC was funded with public money, making it difficult to justify requiring taxpayers to pay for the service twice, the second time being when CSCOPE lessons were puchased by schools. Recently-as Senator Dan Patrick stated in a letter sent to your office-questions have arisen regarding nonconformity with state bidding processes, as well as expenditure-related issues.

The 83rd Legislature passed important legislation in the form of Senate Bill 1406, which requires that CSCOPE curricula be subjected to the same review and adoption process by the State Board of Education (SBOE) that is already applied to instructional materials. Additionally, in a major development, the TESCCC agreed to end production of CSCOPE lesson plans beginning on August 31, 2013.

Unfortunately, recent statements from Texas Education Agency (TEA) attorney David Anderson indicate a belief on the part of TEA that Texas schools may continue using CSCOPE lessons because they are now part of the public domain and no law prohibits them from doing so. The SBOE is set to consider the public domain argument in a meeting planned for September 18. However, this issue remains unresolved.

Senator Patrick and the Attorney General’s office have requested an audit of TESCCC and CSCOPE program from the time of its inception. Considering the numerous controversies surrounding CSCOPE, we believe that such an audit is warranted in the interests of transparency and accountability.


Sen. Bob Deuell

Sen. Dan Patrick

Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson

Rep. Cindy Burkett

Rep. Dan Flynn

Rep. Linda Harper-Brown

Rep. Phil King

Rep. Jodie Laubenberg

Rep. Geanie W. Morrison

Rep. Tan Parker

Rep. Ron Simmons