20150417 SchoolBoard2‘Tis the season for selecting instructional materials.  Board members often ask me what questions they should be asking during their district’s selection process. Below are five important facts for Texas school board members to keep in mind and seven key questions to ask as the board considers the district’s proposed list of instructional materials.

Five Facts For Texas School Board Members Regarding Selecting Instructional Materials:

  • Selecting instructional materials is ultimately the board’s responsibility. (Texas Education Code § 31.104(a), Policy CMD(Legal)) 
  • Districts do NOT have to purchase only state-adopted materials with IMA funds. (Texas Education Code (TEC) §31.0211(c-d); Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §66.1307(c); Policy CMD (Legal))
  • Instructional materials (except state-adopted materials) are subject to competitive procurement laws.  (Local Govt. Code §271.054; §271.064)
  • Just because a material is “state-adopted” does NOT necessarily mean that it is aligned to 100% of the TEKS; and just because it is not state-adopted does not mean it is inferior. (TEC§ 31.023). Bottom line: to get the best value, districts must comparison shop for their instructional materials. 

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  • The board has a legal obligation to ensure that the district is in compliance with the 100% Rule. (TEC §31.004; 19 TAC §66.1305; Policy CMD (Legal))

Click here to learn more about the Five Facts.

7 Key Questions final 20150417

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7 Key Questions for Board Members to Consider When Adopting Instructional Materials

(1) Does your district’s local policy allow the administration to consider both state-adopted and/or non-state adopted materials? If not, how do you know you are getting the best value for your students?

(2) How many materials were considered for each grade/subject being selected?

(3) Did the district engage in a competitive procurement process to select non-adopted or unbundled state-adopted materials?

(4) Were teachers given an opportunity to sample the products recommended for adoption? For online materials, were both tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy teachers asked to review the products?

(5) For online materials, does the district have the per student bandwidth and other technology infrastructure in place to support simultaneous use of the recommended products?

(6) If online materials, how will the district ensure that all students will have access to the product at home, even students who do not have internet access at home?

(7) Does the administration have an alignment report to prove that the recommended materials, either individually or in the aggregate, align to 100% of the TEKS for each grade/subject in the required curriculum, except PE?

[Jackie Lain is Founder and President of Learning List.]

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