Update on Commissioner’s List of Electronic Textbooks
May 18, 2010
COMMITTEE OF THE FULL BOARD: DISCUSSION
STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION: NO ACTION
SUMMARY: House Bill 4294 passed by the 81st Texas Legislature, 2009, requires the commissioner of education to adopt a list of electronic textbooks and instructional materials that conveys information to the student, including tools, models, and investigative materials intended for use in science, Grades K-5. The bill allows expenditure of state textbook funds for technological equipment necessary to utilize electronic textbooks and instructional materials on the list adopted by the commissioner under the provisions of the bill. This item provides an opportunity for the State Board of Education (SBOE) to discuss the Commissioner’s list of electronic textbooks.
STATUTORY AUTHORITY: Texas Education Code (TEC), §31.0231.
BOARD RESPONSE: This item is presented for discussion.
PREVIOUS BOARD ACTION: None.
FUTURE ACTION EXPECTED: As additional requests for submissions for the Commissioner’s list of electronic textbooks are issued, the SBOE will be given an opportunity to comment on the electronic textbooks or instructional materials submitted.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND SIGNIFICANT ISSUES: In June 2009, the governor signed into law HB 4294, relating to textbooks, electronic textbooks, instructional material, and technological equipment in public schools. This legislation requires the commissioner to adopt a list of electronic textbooks and instructional materials that conveys information to the student or otherwise contributes to the learning process, including tools, models, and investigative materials designed for use as part of the foundation curriculum for science in kindergarten through grade five. The commissioner is required to adopt rules for this section that are consistent with TEC, §31.151, regarding the duties of publishers and manufacturers, as appropriate, and the imposition of a reasonable penalty, and to require public notice for the submission of an electronic textbook or instructional material. These changes are addressed in proposed new 19 TAC Chapter 66, State Adoption and Distribution of Instructional Materials, Subchapter AA, Commissioner’s Rules for the Commissioner’s List of Electronic Textbooks and Instructional Materials, which will be provided as a separate exhibit to this agenda item.
The Texas Education Agency released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to develop the Commissioner’s list of electronic textbooks. A proposer’s conference was held on January 27, 2010 to provide additional information and answer questions from potential vendors. The due date for the proposals was March 1, 2010. The electronic textbooks are being reviewed by content experts and educational technology experts to ensure alignment with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and meet the technical standard requirements in the RFQ. The electronic textbooks will be provided as options to districts and open-enrollment charter schools within the Educational Materials and Textbooks (EMAT) online system.
FISCAL IMPACT: The expansion of the textbook credit statewide is expected to reduce the cost to the state for instructional materials over time and provide school districts and open-enrollment charter schools with credits that can be used to purchase additional adopted instructional materials, including electronic textbooks and technological equipment. There are implementation costs for the agency and potential savings are dependent upon many factors, including the degree to which instructional materials are offered below the state maximum cost.
PUBLIC AND STUDENT BENEFIT: School districts and open-enrollment charter schools will have additional options for electronic instructional materials, and students will have more current instructional materials.
PROCEDURAL AND REPORTING IMPLICATIONS: The review and adoption process for electronic textbooks and instructional material will be similar to the process already in place for instructional materials, with provisions for differences in delivery formats and new requirements authorized by HB 4294. Reporting requirements will be incorporated into EMAT.
PUBLIC COMMENTS: None.
OTHER COMMENTS AND RELATED ISSUES: This legislation will provide additional options for instructional materials and require agency procedures for a review process.
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
Attachment: Statutory Citation
Text of Proposed New 19 TAC Chapter 66, State Adoption and Distribution of Instructional Materials, Subchapter AA, Commissioner’s Rules Concerning the Commissioner’s List of Electronic Textbooks
(to be provided at the May SBOE meeting)