In order to ensure North Carolina has a globally competitive workforce both today and in the future, our state needs a comprehensive approach to education policy that addresses every stage of the talent pipeline. That’s why we have long fought to strengthen and preserve the high-quality academic standards that prepare students for the 21st century workforce.
Textbooks and curricular resources are integral to helping that future workforce meet rigorous college-and-career standards. Unfortunately, research has found that the majority of materials teachers use in their classrooms are not aligned to state standards.
In North Carolina, the current procedure for choosing textbooks and instructional materials is outdated and educators deserve a new process that supports their efforts to prepare students for the workforce. However, a new bill at the General Assembly, aimed at addressing this issue, takes the wrong approach. House Bill 315, which was also included in the House budget, would create an unnecessarily cumbersome process for districts to adopt high-quality instructional materials.
The current legislation has multiple problems, including:
- Inadequate guidance and planning time for districts – The legislation would move the state from a centralized textbook adoption process to one that is district-by-district. Capacity for establishing rigorous curriculum review process varies widely across districts. The legislation does not provide a clear path for districts to work together in order to retain some of the centralized purchasing power that helps lower the costs of instructional materials.
- Uncertainty for business – Businesses are already struggling to find qualified workers with the right skills for today’s jobs, particularly in smaller school districts. The legislation would potentially increase disparities between districts on instructional materials, leading to even more uncertainty for businesses in relation to their future workforce.
- A cumbersome process for school districts – The state needs policies that help schools and districts move at the speed of business. This legislation instead creates a burdensome and bureaucratic process that would slow down the adoption of instructional materials aligned with high-quality academic standards. Many districts are using outdated materials that do not align with the rigorous college-and-career standards the Chamber championed.
It’s clear we need a better solution to this challenge, which is why the NC Chamber stands ready to convene stakeholders and develop a textbook adoption policy that works better for students, educators and businesses. Our government affairs team is working with bill sponsors and others to address concerns about this legislation, and we’ll be sure to update you as the process moves forward.
Gary J. Salamido
Chief Operating Officer and Acting President