State Educators Could Have Trouble Finding New Textbooks

Mar 4, 2014

State education officials are considering new academic standards to replace the Common Core in Indiana schools. But acquiring textbooks aligned to state-specific standards could be a challenge.

According to a report from the Office of Management and Budget, a majority of Indiana school districts have already shelled out for new textbooks and curriculum aligned to Common Core. But new research suggests textbooks boasting alignment to the nationally-crafted standards may not conform to the new expectations after all.

The problem of poorly-aligned textbooks isn’t new, says Kathleen Porter-Magee, a researcher for the pro-Common Core Fordham Institute.

“Just because something says it’s aligned to the Common Core or any set of standards doesn’t make it so,” Porter-Magee says. “Publishers have a vested interest in selling their material as aligned to whatever it is you are looking for.”

She adds the burden is on district administrators and state education officials to make sure standards and materials really do mesh.

State superintendent Glenda Ritz has criticized textbook companies in the past for setting the tone for how teachers use the standards in their classrooms.

“Textbook companies came out with the ‘how’ before we ever as educators got a chance to wrap our heads around what the standards were,” Ritz said.

As Indiana charts its own course for students expectations, Ritz says she would be comfortable approaching textbook companies and asking them to adjust their products for Indiana.