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Was The Boston Tea Party Terrorism? Texas Schools Are Teaching Just That (And More)

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In less than a month (December 16th), we will mark the 239th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. This well-known protest against "taxation without representation" is almost universally recognized as the moment that sparked the American Revolution.

In many Texas public schools, the Boston Tea Party is now being taught as an example of an act of terrorism.

Here's an excerpt from a Texas school system's World History / Social Studies lesson plan. It purports to be helping teachers become more efficient, but many people are upset with the content of the lesson and the lack of parental review. In this specific instance, teachers are instructed to read the story to their classes as if it were a news report that had just happened within the past hour:

News report: New Act of Terrorism

A local militia, believed to be a terrorist organization, attacked the property of private citizens today at our nation's busiest port. Although no one was injured in the attack, a large quantity of merchandise, considered to be valuable to its owners and loathsome to the perpetrators, was destroyed. The terrorists, dressed in disguise and apparently intoxicated, were able to escape into the night with the help of local citizens who harbor these fugitives and conceal their identities from the authorities. It is believed that the terrorist attack was a response to the policies enacted by the occupying country's government. Even stronger policies are anticipated by the local citizens.

Later in the curriculum, teachers are instructed to reveal to students that the event described above the historic Boston Tea Party. Here's a screen capture from the actual lesson and what should be done after the story is read:

Texas Schools Teaching The Boston Tea Party Was Terrorism

Image: Screen capture CSCOPE's website

For the record, this lesson comes from a non-profit group called CSCOPE. They are an offshoot of an educational program that traces its roots back to 1965 when the state established media centers / Education Service Centers (ESCs) throughout each of the state's 20 school districts:

In 1965, the 59th Texas Legislature authorized the State Board of Education to establish media centers throughout the state. Two years later, the State Board of Education divided the state into 20 regions, assigning each media center to begin operations and serve in each region. In 1966-67, Title III of the U.S. Elementary and Secondary Education Act provided funding for start-up costs associated with establishing supplementary educational centers.

These "media centers" are reported to have received $25 million in funding last year.

Texas Schools Teaching The Boston Tea Party Was TerrorismJust a few years ago, 19 of the 20 centers formed a non-profit entity call the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative (TESCCC). And TESCCC owns the Cscope Curriculum Management System. CSCOPE defines itself on their website:

CSCOPE is the source for an all-in-one approach to a quality curriculum system. CSCOPE is a comprehensive, customizable, user-friendly curriculum management system built on the most current research-based practices in the field.

TheBlaze has reached out to CSCOPE in hopes of clarifying a few of the issues being raised by parents. As of this writing, no calls have been returned.

One of the major issues we expect to discuss with CSCOPE's directors is the complaint raised by several parents about the lack of transparency at the schools. Several parents from different locations in Texas have independently confirmed that parents are not permitted to access the lessons being taught in the classrooms. There is a "Parent's Portal" available online, but the content differs greatly from the lesson plans we have seen.

For example, the lesson on terrorism shown above is part of the curriculum that correlates to this section in the Parents Portal:

Texas Schools Teaching The Boston Tea Party Was Terrorism

Image: CSCOPE web site

Several parents and teachers have written to TheBlaze stating that they were denied access to the lessons being taught using CSCOPE materials. This apparent denial is apparently in direct conflict with Texas law.

From Texas State Constitution:

Sec. 26.006. ACCESS TO TEACHING MATERIALS. (a) A parent is entitled to:

(1) review all teaching materials, instructional materials, and other teaching aids used in the classroom of the parent's child;

If schools using CSCOPE are not allowing parents to review education materials, it would appear they are violating one of the state's constitutionally protected rights. Our initial investigation into CSCOPE has also uncovered some other questionable lesson plans. In order to properly vet these stories, TheBlaze is investigating further and will report back on Monday after Thanksgiving weekend.




Ok, I know its from the Blaze (Glenn Beck) but wow, I can't believe Texas schools get away with teaching that.  Thoughts?

by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 5:37 PM
Replies (11-20):
by Platinum Member on Nov. 20, 2012 at 6:15 PM
2 moms liked this

I think it's good to discuss evaluating media sources.

I do believe the tea party fits the definition of an act of terrorism, regardless of how uncomfortable it might make people feel to use that language to describe something they perceive as patriotic.

by Ruby Member on Nov. 20, 2012 at 6:20 PM
1 mom liked this

Well  yes, by definition it was terrorism and by definition the founding fathers were traitors to the crown - and ????

Why would you not want the TRUTH ABOUT HISTORY TAUGHT?????

by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 6:23 PM
1 mom liked this

 I wouldn't personally categorize the Boston Tea Party as terrorism.  It wasn't even the first protest of that kind in Boston.  In general I like it when history classes go beyond dates and into the issues that riled up the people of the time. 

But the faux news article contains a lot of weird phrases ("occupying  country's government") and outright inaccuracies, such as suggesting that tea itself was loathsome to the "terrorists," which of course was not true.  This may be a well intentioned, rather badly done attempt to get students thinking critically.   Or it could be a way to start students along the path to calling any action that challenges authority possible terrorism.  Given that it's Texas we're talking about...

by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 6:30 PM

 The term "terrorism" or "Terroristic threats" is NOT limited to a foreign attack. In our paper when the arrest records are listed once a week, if someone is threatening a person on the street or in a bar, for example and they are arrested, it is for "terroristic threats".

So, in this case, the Boston Tea Party , the dumping of tea in the water and threats, then YES,  is a terror attack.

by Wenchy on Nov. 20, 2012 at 6:37 PM

Quoting mikiemom:

Well  yes, by definition it was terrorism and by definition the founding fathers were traitors to the crown - and ????

Why would you not want the TRUTH ABOUT HISTORY TAUGHT?????

(Still boggles my mind when I agree with you....)

By DEFINITION, the Boston Tea Party was an act of terrorism. Just because we believe it to be right doesn't make it any less so. Similarly, it is worth noting that today's acts of terrorism are right to someone else. 

Don't you want our students to think critically and form their own opinions? That's what this does. 

Wenchmommy381, International Wenches Guild

"I know that something very strange Is happening to my brain.
I'm either feeling very good Or else I am insane.
The seeds of doubt you planted Have started to grow wild
And I feel that I must yield before The wisdom of a child.
And it's love you bring,
No, that I can't deny
With your wings,
I can learn to fly,
Sweet young thing."
--M Nesmith
by Ruby Member on Nov. 20, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Well I think officially the definition does not necessarily mean terrorists feel a lack of respect for human life.  Terrorism also includes economic terrorism like the Boston Tea Party.  I mean, you could certainly argue that terrorism is immoral because it doesn't follow the rules of war.  But  the real definition means seeks to gain influence through fear tactics used against the general population.  I think they are right to define this word correctly in a school, and teach kids to question whether the word is used accurately, and to understand that it is subjective.

Quoting gludwig2000:

 While I agree that terrorism in in the eye of the beholder, when I think of terrorism or terrorist, I think of someone with a complete lack of respect for human life and those who think differently from them.

Quoting stacymomof2:

I think it is a good lesson to learn...that terrorism is in the eye of the beholder.  

Who wouldn't want their kid to understand that?  I want my kids to understand the definition of terrorism...which is an uprising against people seen as oppressors or not a representative government, using tactics of "terror" (fear) as coercion.

I guess I don't understand what the problem is.  A full understanding must start with an accurate definition.


by Ruby Member on Nov. 20, 2012 at 6:42 PM

I think that may be the idea behind the lesson.  Who is the one writing the report, what might their motives be, how accurate is the report if the thing you addressed are not in there?  What does it mean to call people terrorists based on this kind of information?

Quoting gludwig2000:

 Oh, hell no! I didn't finish reading the OP after the so called "news report" because that seems so wrong. No where in that "news report" was it mentioned why the Boston Tea Party happened, or what they were protesting.

by Kelly on Nov. 20, 2012 at 6:59 PM
1 mom liked this

So any protests that involve vandalism we are going to teach are children are terrorist attacks?  Any act of civil disobedience?  Women's suffrage movement a terrorist plan and act?  What about the civil rights movement?  The Vietnam protests?  The Tea Party?  Kids revolting in the school lunch and starting a food fight with the intent of demanding their old lunches back a terrorist attack or an act of civil disobedience?

Kinda takes away from the term terrorist attack.. 

by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 7:47 PM
2 moms liked this

 Interesting.  The massacre at Fort Hood was NOT terrorism...but the Boston Tea Party was.  What an upside down world we now live in.

by Ruby Member on Nov. 20, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Im sure those in power in England thought it was. 

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