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Textbook Commission

The statewide selection of textbooks/instructional materials is administered by the North Carolina Textbook Commission. Adoption of materials is codified in General Statutes 115C 87-102 and the process is described in the Administrative Code, Subchapter 6D, .0204-.0210. Every four years the State Superintendent recommends persons to the Governor to be considered for appointment to the Textbook Commission. The Governor appoints twenty-three members to serve four-year terms. The Commission is made up of five elementary teachers or principals, five middle school teachers or principals, four high school teachers or principals three parents of elementary students in grades K-5, three parents of middle school students in grades 6-8, two parents of high school students in grades 9-12, and a local school superintendent.

Evaluative Criteria

Each year a call or the Invitation to Submit Textbooks for Evaluation and Adoption in North Carolina goes to publishers to request submission of textbooks/instructional materials for evaluation. Prior to the call going out a Curriculum Review Committee is appointed from qualified educators across the state to review relevant curricula and to write the criteria for submission of materials. The criteria are included in the call letter that is sent to publishers the following April. Evaluation sheets are written using the same criteria. The entire adoption process from this point throughout the final adoption stresses compatibility with the Standard Course of Study and the appropriateness of the materials for the teachers and students who are the end users.

Evaluation of Textbooks

The Textbook Commission appoints Regional Textbook Advisory Committees to review and evaluate materials that are submitted by publishers. Committee members are carefully selected based upon their training and experience in the discipline, and are paid $100.00 per day for not more than ten days. During July, evaluators attend special training about the curriculum and the evaluation instruments that were developed by the Curriculum Review Committee. Evaluation of materials immediately follows training for a number of days specified by the Textbook Commission. Upon completion of their work, evaluators file written and verbal reports of their findings with the Commission.

State Board Adopts

In September, the Commission convenes to discuss the evaluators' and their own findings and to draft a list of recommendations to present to the State Board of Education in October. After the list of recommendations has been formulated, sealed bids are opened and bid prices are added to the list of recommendations. Price is not a factor the Commission considers when drafting its list of recommendations. For each textbook or program, the Textbook Commission is required to submit a written evaluation signed by the submitting Commission member.

At October State Board meeting, the Board formally adopts the list of materials, considering the recommendations of the Textbook Commission, conformity with requirements in the Invitation to Submit Textbooks for Evaluation and Adoption in North Carolina, conformity with the Standard Course of Study, price, and the needs of the public schools.

Local Selection

Upon adoption of materials, contracts are sent to the submitting publishers and are in effect for five years with no escalation of prices. Materials adopted in 2001 will go on contract February 1, 2002 and will be introduced into the schools in 2002. After the state adoption, local textbook selection committees begin another round of review and evaluation to determine which materials best suit the needs of their students. The Department of Public Instruction sponsors several regional presentations of the newly adopted instructional materials each November.

Definition of Textbook

The 1994 adoption included a call for technology-based programs and classroom kits in addition to regular textbooks and activity-oriented programs. Adoption of alternative instructional materials was made possible after the General Assembly broadened definition of textbook as codified in G.S. 115C-85 to read as follows:

As used in this part, 'textbook' means systematically organized materials comprehensive enough to cover the primary objectives outlined in the standard course of study for a grade or course. Formats for textbooks may be print or nonprint, including hardbound books, softbound books, activity-oriented programs, classroom kits, and technology-based programs that require the use of electronic equipment in order to be used in the learning process.

The statewide adoption process offers one way for schools to have access to quality instructional materials at the lowest prices available. Evaluative criteria are carefully established and materials are conscientiously examined so that the best materials are made available to serve as tools to support the goals and objectives of the North Carolina Standard Course of Study.