• State Overhauls Textbook Adoption System

    Will students find textbook-less schools this fall? No, but here’s how the rumor began. During the June special session, Texas lawmakers made substantial changes to the Texas textbook adoption process- now instructional materials allotment (IMA)–will reflect the growing availability of electronic material and help take a bite out of budgets overburdened by the cost of printed and often outdated, textbooks. Districts typically order textbooks in April, but since 1) the legislation was not passed until the completion of the special session, and 2) time then had to be allocated work out the bill’s language and implementation of the new system, ordering could not begin until after August 8 – four months late.

    The changes covered in Senate Bill 6, and effective immediately, call for a per-student instructional materials allotment (IMA) and eliminate the conforming and non-conforming materials list (meaning a district could only choose from a list of textbooks or electronic materials that “conformed”/were approved by the SBOE and essentially owned by the state). The State Board of Education (SBOE) will continue to retain their review and adoption process but is now also required to determine and report the percentage of Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) covered within the submitted material. This bill gives districts new options that include more flexibility in what kind and how many materials are purchased, and it is not expected that the absence of textbooks will deter the daily instructional process.

    According to CISD Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction, Dr. Marilyn Denison, “In Coppell ISD, we view this change as one that is perfectly suited to the myriad educational options already available in Coppell ISD. It is beneficial for students, our teachers, and the taxpayers we serve. Teachers will be able to choose from a wide variety of instructional resources that are current, more complex and rigorous. Our 21st century learners will become more engaged in their coursework, and the materials cost savings will help mitigate the financial strain to the district’s bottom line during these tight budgetary times.”

    Dr. Denison added that while there’s no assurance that ordered textbooks will be received in classrooms when students start school on August 22, teachers in CISD do have updated resources available for providing quality day-to-day classroom instruction. For example, current state adopted science textbooks are twelve years old. However, the SBOE has approved over 92 electronic resources that address the new and revised science TEKS, and they will be available to teachers and students when school starts. The materials are available for grades 5-8, as well as biology, chemistry, physics, and Integrated Physics and Chemistry (IPC).

    Since funds will be limited during the 2011-2012 school year, districts have been advised to prioritize their product purchases: 1) Proclamation 2011 adoption items, followed by 2) supplemental science products, and 3) continuing contracts (consumable and additional materials due to student population growth and loss of materials). Under the Proclamation 2011 adoption, Coppell ISD has ordered:

    • Technology resources
    • Math consumables (i.e. workbooks)
    • Handwriting grades K-3 (was grades 1-3, now broadened to include kindergarten and Handwriting for Spanish learners)
    • Science supplementals grades 5-8
    • Pre-K materials
    • English as a Second Language (ESL) K-8
    • Spanish Language Arts (SLA) grades 2-5
    • English Language Arts (ELA) grades 2-5

    NOTE: CISD will use existing materials for Spelling grades K-5 and the materials from the Proclamation 2010 Literature adoption for grades 6-12 ELA.

    Though teachers will be able to find online materials/resources, there is no question that the funding has been reduced significantly. When you factor-in all the resources that now fall under the umbrella of IMA (including one of the most costly…technology…which was previously purchased from a separate technology allotment fund), the impact of the loss is even greater demanding more creative solutions in the very near future. For more information visit the Texas Education Agency website at www.tea.state.tx.us.