Texas lawmakers are putting educators on the hot seat after public school curriculum surfaced that promoted Islam and socialism while deconstructing American values and patriotism.
School children were exposed to lessons that labeled the Boston Tea Party an act of terrorism. They were also instructed to create flags for socialist and communist countries. And they were also given in-depth lessons in the Islamic faith that included classroom readings from the Koran.
“They are indoctrinating our children to hate America,” said Janice VanCleave, of Texas Education Patriots. “Texans are embarrassed about this.”
VanCleave’s organization launched an investigation that exposed CSCOPE – an electronic curriculum system that provides online lesson plans for teachers. The curriculum is used in 80 percent of the state’s school districts.
“It’s built by teachers, designed by teachers and that’s what’s powerful about CSCOPE,” said Wade Lebay, director of state CSCOPE at the Region 13 Education Service Center in Austin.
Wade defended the curriculum at a recent senate education committee hearing in the state capital.
Districts are allowed to pick and choose which of the 1,600 lesson plans they want – and it’s quite popular among smaller school districts.
“For us, CSCOPE is a lifesaver,” Dina Webb, director of curriculum in Lackland, told the San Antonio Express. “We don’t mandate how teachers use it and certainly, as a military district, wouldn’t teach anything anti-American. But we certainly don’t have the money or staff to be able to write new curriculum every time the state standards change.”
But critics – including some state lawmakers – believe the curriculum is anti-American.
“It’s amazing that when you all called our Founding Fathers terrorists, in Texas, that you thought that wasn’t going to cause problems,” said Sen. Dan Patrick, a member of the senate education committee.
Texas State Sen. Larry Taylor said he was especially disturbed by lessons that tried to equate the Boston Tea Party to the 9-11 terrorists.
“They actually referred to it as a terrorist act,” he told Fox News. “Throwing tea into the harbor is nowhere near a terrorist act. To have our kids even thinking that…”
Taylor called the curriculum anti-American – and said it put the Founding Fathers on the same footing as modern-day terrorists.
“To even say these two examples are comparable or trying to equate them as being equal is egregious,” he said.
VanCleave told Fox News the curriculum was meant to indoctrinate children while denigrating American heroes.
“American heroes are being vilified,” she said, recalling one particular lesson that alleged police officers found drugs in Paul Revere’s home.
“That got our hair up on the ends,” VanCleave said. “The undercurrent is that our children are not being taught to respect our national heroes. As a Texan it breaks my heart to say this and let it be known nationally – but our education system has some problems.”
Of particular concern was a lesson that required students to design a socialist or communist flag. Here’s the assignment students were given:
“Notice socialist/communist nations use symbolism on their flags representing various aspects of their economic system. Imagine a new socialist nation is creating a flag and you have been put in charge of creating a flag. Use symbolism to represent aspects of socialism/communism on your flag. What kind of symbolism/colors would you use?”
Taylor called it “very egregious as a Texan and an American.”
“They didn’t do that for any other type of government,” he said “We don’t mind having different views but they need to be balanced,” he told Fox News.
VanCleave said her husband, who is a Marine, was furious about that particular lesson plan.
“I can’t even say what he thought,” she said. “They want to tear down any patriotism to our wonderful country. We’re going to stop that in Texas.”
The flag controversy sparked national outrage.
“You know America’s changing when leftists have even infiltrated Texas schools,” wrote Kyle Olson of EAGNews.org.
Taylor said CSCOPE’s biggest problem is a lack of transparency.
“We need oversight,” he said. “We don’t know who is putting the material together. We need outside eyes looking over the process.”
Even their board meetings are held in private – a practice the education committee and CSCOPE critics hopes to stop.
“We don’t know who is controlling it – and that’s a problem because it’s in more than 800 schools in Texas,” VanCleave said. “Teachers have been sending me lesson plans anonymously. They are concerned.”
The lessons on Islam, for example, required teachers to provide classroom readings of selected texts from the Koran.
“It was teaching the Islamic religion,” she said. “They were telling the children how wonderful and peaceful the religion was.”
They were also taught that Allah is God.
“That just really set us all off,” she said. “I don’t want my grandchildren taught that Allah is God.”
Sen. Taylor noted that there were no comparable lessons offered on Christianity or Judaism.
“They went way into the Islamic religion without any balance,” he said. “It was alarming and eye-opening. I’m not sure what the purpose of that is.”
But supporters of CSCOPE accused critics and lawmakers of cherry picking controversial lessons.
“We have 1,600 lessons, so to take just this one is…” said Education Service Center worker Linda Villarreal at the senate hearing.
VanCleave said she fears the ultimate plan is to force every school in the state to adhere to CSCOPE.
“I’m just hoping they are going to throw this mess out,” she said.