Texas Senate Education Committee Chair Dan Patrick recently posted a public statement on his Facebook page about his concerns “that millions of dollars may have been spent by the [CSCOPE] program without the proper bidding process, contracts, and full transparency.” Patrick’s post said he was not suggesting wrongdoing at this time, but called for a full state audit.

His statement came two days after a top TEA official told the State Board of Education that CSCOPE materials may now be in the public domain, meaning that school boards could authorize districts to continue to use the system’s lesson plans and exams after Aug. 31. Patrick stated that he disagreed with the analysis that CSCOPE lesson plans will be in the public domain and is “checking further into this matter.”

SBOE member Thomas Ratliff, a vocal critic of Patrick’s CSCOPE stance, suggested a debate over the merits of CSCOPE operations and curriculum. Patrick has accepted the offer, and logistical details are being negotiated. The debate is tentatively scheduled for late August. [UPDATE: Final arrangements have been agreed upon, and the debate will be held Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m. on the UT-Tyler campus. The debate may be streamed online; TCTA will provide more information as it becomes available.]