Recommended Penalties for Failure to Correct Factual Errors in Adopted Instructional Materials
July 17, 2009
COMMITTEE ON INSTRUCTION: ACTION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: ACTION
SUMMARY: This item recommends penalties for failure to correct factual errors in instructional materials adopted under Proclamation 2005 in November 2007, Proclamation 2004 in November 2006, Proclamation 2001 in November 2003, and Proclamation 2000 in November 2002. Texas Education Code (TEC), Section 31.151, establishes the duties of publishers, including the requirement that publishers submit an affidavit certifying that instructional materials offered in this state are free of factual errors. The State Board of Education (SBOE) is authorized to impose a reasonable administrative penalty against a publisher or manufacturer found to be in violation of a provision of TEC, §31.151. An administrative penalty shall be assessed only after the SBOE has granted the publisher or manufacturer a hearing in accordance with TEC, §31.151, and the Administrative Procedures Act. A penalty collected under this section shall be deposited to the credit of the state textbook fund.
STATUTORY AUTHORITY: TEC, §31.151.
PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: Proclamation 2005 was issued by the SBOE in November 2005. The SBOE adopted new instructional materials under Proclamation 2005 in November 2007 for use beginning with school year 2008-2009. Proclamation 2004 was issued by the SBOE in May 2004. The SBOE adopted new instructional materials under Proclamation 2004 in November 2006 for use beginning with school year 2007-2008. Proclamation 2001 was issued by the SBOE in May 2001. The SBOE adopted new instructional materials under Proclamation 2001 in November 2003 for use beginning with school year 2004-2005; only Biology, AP Biology, and English as a Second Language, Grades 3-5 were purchased the initial year, and the remaining materials were purchased after May 12, 2005 due to delayed funding as a result of legislative action. Proclamation 2000 was issued by the SBOE in March 2000. The SBOE adopted new instructional materials under Proclamation 2000 in November 2002 for use beginning with school year 2003-2004.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES: In November, the SBOE considers recommendations from the commissioner of education for the conforming and nonconforming lists of state-adopted instructional materials developed in response to the Proclamation. The SBOE also considers a report by the commissioner concerning recommended correction of factual errors in instructional materials submitted for adoption. In accordance with provisions of TEC, §31.151(a)(8), publishers must certify that the instructional materials submitted for consideration are free of factual errors at the time the contracts with the state are executed. The report by the commissioner on correction of errors specified the required corrections, and all were reviewed and agreed upon by publishers prior to the adoption of the instructional materials.
Publishers also submitted affidavits verifying that all required corrections were made and thereby came under contract with the agency.
In September 2008, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) created a program that encouraged the public to report errors discovered in textbooks and other instructional materials used in Texas classrooms. This program was developed to provide the public with access to a list of all of the errors discovered in state adopted textbooks. The purpose of this program is to ensure that Texans who rely on textbooks to educate and to be educated have the benefit of error-free instructional materials.
Students, teachers, parents, and others concerned about the accuracy and quality of textbooks are encouraged to use the email address email@example.com to report any errors of fact, misspellings, or other inaccuracies. The agency received many emails from the public and has reviewed the information submitted. The agency has determined that a number of the reported errors are actual factual errors (defined as a verified error of fact or any error that would interfere with student learning). The agency has sent a final response to the individual that reported the error.
The TEC, §31.151(b), allows the SBOE to impose a reasonable penalty against a publisher or manufacturer who knowingly violates TEC, §31.151(a), which includes verification by publishers that instructional materials are free of factual errors at the time the contracts with the state are executed. TEC, §31.151(b), further states that hearings shall be held to determine whether a penalty should be imposed and if so, the amount of the penalty. Under 19 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §66.10, the board has discretion regarding penalties for violations of TEC, §31.151, and can consider a number of factors in determining the amount of a penalty. The board may consider the seriousness of the violation, any history of a previous violation, the amount necessary to deter a future violation, and any effort to correct the violation. The board can also require a publisher to provide errata sheets for teacher components in instructional materials with uncorrected errors. In addition, 19 TAC §66.10 includes a provision that allows the SBOE to assess penalties for factual errors discovered after the corrected copies have been submitted to the agency.
Publishers were advised of the errors that have not been corrected and advised of their right to a hearing. The publishers were also given the option of waiving their right to a hearing and accepting penalties recommended to the board by the commissioner of education.
FISCAL IMPACT: The publisher will pay penalties in the form of credit to the state against future sales.
PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT: Teachers will receive errata sheets for uncorrected errors. Penalties may reduce future incidences of failure by publishers to make required corrections.
PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: None.
PUBLIC COMMENTS: None.
OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES: None.
COMMISSIONER'S RECOMMENDATION: I recommend that the State Board of Education:
Assess penalties for failure to make required corrections in instructional materials adopted under Proclamation 2005 in November 2007, Proclamation 2004 in November 2006, Proclamation 2001 in November 2003, and Proclamation 2000 in November 2002 as shown in the Separate Exhibit and require publishers to issue a credit memo for the amount of the penalty.
Commissioner of Education
Staff Members Responsible:
Anita Givens, Associate Commissioner
Standards and Programs
Norma Torres-Martinez, Deputy Associate Commissioner
Standards and Alignment
John Lopez, Managing Director
Instructional Materials and Educational Technology
Recommended Penalties for Failure to Correct Errors in Adopted Instructional Materials
(to be provided at the July 2009 SBOE meeting)