Tennessee officials could provide more information concerning how they approve textbooks and instructional materials in the state’s public schools, according to a new report from the state Comptroller’s Office.
“The Textbook Commission is charged in law with recommending an official list of textbooks and instructional materials for public school students in grades K-12 to the State Board of Education for final approval,” according to the Comptroller’s press release.
“The commission must ensure textbooks and materials are aligned to Tennessee’s curriculum standards.”
The analysis by the Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability reported the following:
• The Textbook Commission has not had full membership since 2016, and current membership does not reflect the grand divisions of the state.
• The Tennessee Department of Education has historically allocated limited staff to support the commission’s activities, though the department recently increased staff support for the commission.
• More information about each step on the path to approval for all textbooks and instructional materials on the state-approved list would make the adoption process more transparent and understandable. TDOE does not maintain consolidated information regarding the number of materials submitted for each review, the number of materials that pass on first review and second review, or the number of appeals and substitution requests submitted by publishers for each adoption cycle.
• Tennessee’s adoption process allows open educational resources to be submitted for review if the bidder submitting the materials meets certain requirements.
“The report, which was prepared at the request of Senator Dolores Gresham, also reviews the adjustments that may be needed in the textbook selection process given technological changes,” the press release said.
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.