The chair of the Texas Senate Education Committee and the vice-chair of the State Board of Education will square off at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 24, 2013, to debate the controversial curriculum management program CSCOPE. The debate will be held in the Ornelas Activity Center on the University of Texas at Tyler campus.

According to a joint press release issued Aug. 9 by Sen. Dan Patrick and Thomas Ratliff, "Quorum Report" reporter Scott Braddock will moderate the debate. Panelists include Mary Ann Whiteker, superintendent of Hudson ISD, and JoAnn Fleming of the group "Grassroots America – We The People."

Each speaker will have a total of four minutes for opening and closing statements, and each panelist will be allowed to ask four questions of one or both speakers. Questions will not be taken from the audience.

The debate will be streamed live online. [Update: The recorded debate is available for viewing here.]

Read more on the background behind the CSCOPE debate.

More CSCOPE news

On Aug. 16, a state district judge ruled the court did not have jurisdiction to hear a lawsuit that attempted to block Llano ISD schools from using CSCOPE lesson plans. Llano teachers will be allowed, but not required, to use the lessons.

In July, a top TEA official told the SBOE that CSCOPE materials are now 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, the date by which the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative, which developed CSCOPE, said it would no longer offer or develop lesson plans (according to an announcement made by Patrick in May).

Also in July, Patrick asked the State Auditor’s Office to review the operations of the CSCOPE governing body, with a focus on its bidding/contract procedures.