State Sen. Dan Patrick and State Board of Education member Thomas Ratliff squared off in front of more than 500 people Saturday night in Tyler to discuss a controversial school lesson plan system.
The debate was over CSCOPE, a subscription service that allows teachers in small school districts to access lesson plans built around state curriculum standards.
Patrick is a critic of the plans, calling some of the model lessons anti-American. Ratliff says small, cash-strapped schools need CSCOPE to help prepare students for state standardized tests.
"This is bigger than a lesson plan,” Patrick said. “This is bigger than calling Tea Party Patriots terrorists and arguing that. This was about an entity set up illegally in my view. This is an entity that spent millions of dollars of taxpayer money that are unaccounted for that's why I called for a state audit that begins next month. And this is about the quality of lesson plans in our classroom so we give the best to our students."
"One of the biggest challenges we've got is misinformation,” Ratliff said. “One of the other biggest challenges we've got is a lot of things are being blamed on CSCOPE that are not CSCOPE's responsibility. CSCOPE covers things in their lessons because the SBOE requires them to and requires every public school to cover the same things. We've got to stop shooting the messenger."
Ratliff had repeatedly asked Patrick to debate the issue before Saturday's event to show there's nothing wrong with using CSCOPE.
Patrick has worked to kill the school lesson plan system.