Putting Education Reform To The Test

How Schools Are Deciding Whether To Purchase New Common Core Materials

Education Week takes a look at how Orange County and Long Beach, Calif. schools made a big curriculum decision.

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Education Week takes a look at how Orange County and Long Beach, Calif. schools made a big curriculum decision.

Education Week takes a long look at how schools around  Orlando and in Long Beach, Calif. solved a similar problem: choosing a curriculum for new Common Core math, literacy and language arts standards.

Orange County went with big publishing companies. Long Beach schools designed their own curriculum. It’s a decision many school districts are facing as they switch to the new standards. Florida schools will complete the transition this fall.

From the story:

That tale of two districts reflects a dilemma of the common-core era: How do schools find or craft good curricula that truly reflect the new standards when they have limited time and funds and when the market is overflowing with materials claiming they’re “fully aligned” with the new standards?

Districts are wrestling with those decisions as the instructional-materials market, worth $7 billion to $8 billion annually, is poised to pick up steam.

States and districts have been putting off buying textbooks and other materials in the last five years because of the recession and uncertainty about the transition to the common core and to digital resources, according to Jay Diskey, the executive director of the PreK-12 Learning Group at the Association of American Publishers, based in Washington. That market was up 4.3 percent in 2013, he said, after two years of declines.

The decision meant Orange County spent $24 million for Common Core curriculum materials in elementary, middle and high schools.

But Long Beach schools didn’t have that money. And they were less than impressed by the curriculum companies’ initial offerings — something researchers have confirmed.

The districts don’t have results from those decisions yet, but the story looks at all the factors that went into the choice. Read the full story here, part of a series Education Week is doing on implementing Common Core.


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