State reviewing Common Core textbooks
St. Mary Parish Superintendent of Schools Donald Aguillard
The state has begun its review of textbooks in preparation for the 2014-15 school year, when Louisiana transitions to full implementation of Common Core State Standards.
Where standards are a basic description of what students are expected to learn at each grade level, a curriculum — the materials a teacher uses to teach the standards and includes the textbooks, worksheets, workbooks and other materials — is how the standards are taught, according to the Louisiana Department of Education website.
In Louisiana, districts choose curriculum with state guidance, but the state does not mandate any specific curriculum, the website states.
Math and English language arts materials are being submitted by publishers and the state is evaluating their appropriateness.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has delayed the formal textbook adoption process until after the state’s examination of the screening process and subsequent report to the Legislature due in February. In the interim, to support districts with curricular choices, the Department of Education is implementing an informal and ongoing review.
St. Mary Parish Superintendent Donald Aguillard said, “We have instructed instructional personnel to begin notifying (Assistant Superintendent) Pete Boudreaux of ELA or math instructional materials that will be needed for 2014-15.”
Aguillard said during the January School Board meeting that the state Department of Education is no longer proposing that districts purchase textbooks using a cycle.
In previous years, books in a specific curriculum were purchased every so many years, creating a cycle in which English would be purchased one year, then math, history, sciences and so on.
“Thus, we will have considerable freedom to purchase instructional materials across disciplines based on the instructional needs. We likely will use our textbook budget to purchase necessary materials as recommended by schools and instructional personnel,” Aguillard said.
“We also will look into tapping into the textbook budget to begin deploying tablet-like devices to students,” he said At this point, the superintendent predicts that the school system will spend roughly the same amount of money under the new program as was typically allocated for prior textbook purchases.
The state education department is working to deliver an approved list of textbooks that have been evaluated for alignment with Common Core Standards. The initial list will be available Wednesday, Aguillard said.
Materials will be identified as Tier 1 (highly aligned with Common Core), Tier 2 (moderately aligned with Common Core) or Tier 3 (no alignment with Common Core). The state will continue to update the approved list of textbooks through April 2014. Districts will be permitted to purchase books from Tier 1 or Tier 2, Aguillard said.
Among the texts currently under consideration by the state are:
—Cord Communications, grades 8-11 algebra and geometry texts (mid-February).
—Digital Directions: Pearson Algebra II (mid-February).
—Eureka Math/EngageNY (mid-January).
—EngageNY English language arts (late January).
—Houghton Mifflin: Math Expressions (early-February); Journeys (late-January); Go Math (late-February); Algebra I, II and Geometry (late-February); and Collections (late-February).
—McGraw-Hill Math grade K (mid-February).
—Pearson: High school math, 6-12 literature, digits 6-8 (late January).
—Scholastic Inc., 6-8 (mid-February).
—School Wide Inc., 1-3 ELA Fundamentals (mid-February).
—TPS Publishing, K-8 ELA (late-January).
To learn more about the review process, visit www.louisianabelieves.com/academics and choose the link “2013-2014 math and English language arts instructional materials review” on the left.