Spring 2015

Local Adoption of Instructional Materials

The Chair of the State Board of Education (SBOE), requested an opinion from the attorney general seeking guidance related to the authority of the SBOE to promulgate rules governing the process used by school districts and charter schools regarding the adoption and use of instructional material.  The request asked seven questions to the attorney general that seek to identify the extent of the SBOE’s rulemaking authority:

  1. May the SBOE by rule require public schools to follow a process in the local adoption of instructional materials that allows for public input and participation during the local review and adoption process?  Does the SBOE's authority extend to all local adoptions of instructional materials regardless of whether the materials are purchased from the SBOE's list of adopted instructional materials?
  2. May the SBOE by rule require public schools to adopt procedures ensuring prior local approval of changes in content made by a publisher to instructional materials that are not purchased from the SBOE's approved list?
  3. May the SBOE by rule require public schools to specify which TEKS are covered by each locally adopted instructional material and make this information publically available?  Further, may the SBOE impose a requirement on public schools to identify which passage(s) in each of those instructional materials cover(s) which specific elements of the TEKS?
  4. May the SBOE by rule establish an administrative penalty for a publisher who fails to correct a factual error identified by a public school contained in an instructional material that was not on the SBOE's approved list?
  5. May the SBOE by rule require public schools to develop conflicts of interest policies and require public schools and publishers to keep contact registers between school officials and publishers?  Does the SBOE's authority extend to local adoptions of instructional materials regardless of whether the materials are purchased from the SBOE's approved list?
  6. May the SBOE by rule require a public school to adopt only instructional materials that provide an end-of-section review exercise, an end-of-chapter activity, a unit test, or its electronic equivalent, documenting TEKS coverage in the student version when purchasing instructional materials that are not on the SBOE's approved list?
  7. May the SBOE by rule require a public school to ensure that all locally-adopted instructional materials that are not on the SBOE's approved list comply with Texas Education Code section 28.002(h)?  In the alternative, does section 28.002(h) impose a mandate on public schools to ensure that locally-adopted instructional materials meet that requirement?
LAF, the Instructional Materials Coordinators Association of Texas (IMCAT) and the Texas Charter Schools Association (TCSA) joined together to file a brief with the attorney general arguing that the SBOE does not have authority to adopt the rules referred to in the request for opinion.  RQ-0026-KP (Texas Attorney General).  LAF’s Attorneys: David Thompson and Holly McIntush, Thompson & Horton, L.L.P., Houston.