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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Let Florida school districts choose their own books, State Board says



Florida school districts should not be bound by the state in the instructional materials or textbooks they select, the State Board of Education said on Wednesday.

The board put its support behind a proposal to strip all requirements for state adoption of textbooks and materials from statute. The members said they would push the measure during the coming legislative session.

"It's hugely important," said board member Roberto Martinez. "Here at this level, we've been setting outcomes. We're at the stage now in Florida with Common Core and PARCC coming along, we're very far along. We need to tell the districts, You can have the freedom on how you get there. Use whatever instructional materials and toold you think are necessary to achieve those outcomes."

Martinez, whose term expires at the end of the month, acknowledged that textbook companies might fight the idea. But he expected they would find a way to still make money under a new system, which Martinez expected school districts to support.

Hillsborough schools superintendent MaryEllen Elia, attending the board's meeting, said she certainly backed the concept of eliminating state adoption. She said the district would continue to vet all materials before allowing them into classrooms, just as it does now. The only difference would be the elimination of steps involving the state.

"We really do support that," Elia said.

The bill has not yet been submitted. But Martinez had conferred with legislative leaders on the issue already, and the State Board expected to forward it to lawmakers leading up to the session.

[Last modified: Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:49am]


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