by Kathy Mickey
May 14, 2019
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may have thrown a curve ball into publishers’ plans for success in the Florida math adoption in 2018, but he also may have done the industry a favor by smoothing out the adoption opportunity over more years, disrupting the peaks and valleys cycle that has plagued the industry for decades.
Purchasing in California in 2019 still will be focused on the first-year opportunity in K-8 science and a second year of purchasing in social studies. Seventeen publishers have approved programs in the K-8 science adoption.
Texas already had broken up its English language arts and reading opportunity into two strong years beginning with K-8 in 2019. Sixteen publishers are competing in this adoption, which has been estimated to be worth $300 million in sales in 2019.
There are real opportunities for publishers in the next several years, beginning with the two mentioned above in California and Texas. Obviously with the double-digit lineup of publishers, there is strong competition.
In addition to the DeSantis curve ball, there are some other lessons from Florida and other states in the 2018 adoption that are likely to apply to 2019. One takeaway from data collected for the newly published Simba Information’s 2018 National Instructional Materials Adoption Scorecard and 2019 Outlook is that districts in Florida demonstrated a preference for hybrid digital/print programs in elementary grades. Another popular combination was interactive worktexts with downloadable student textbook editions.
Another takeaway from Florida results is that districts do not necessarily buy into the touted benefit of program continuity from elementary to middle to high school. While some districts certainly do end up buying across the grade spectrum from one publisher, that type of purchasing was not particularly evident among the districts where Simba collected data. For instance, in Miami-Dade, Pearson Elevate Science was the top choice in K-5, but McGraw-Hill’s Florida Science Comprehensive Course 1, 2, and 3 was the top choice in grades 6-8.
Another takeaway comes out of Williamson County, TN, where the school district—the sixth-largest in Tennessee—built its own K-12 science curriculum using open source material. "We were able to craft instructional units that are directly tied to our scope and sequence and what we want students to learn, and really get at what's important," said Tim Gaddis, the district’s assistant superintendent for teaching, learning and assessment.
The curriculum team strengthened the learning continuum from grade to grade and developed units that make stronger connections between the science curriculum and other subjects such as reading and math. The new curriculum puts a bigger emphasis on active, hands-on learning, Gaddis said.
District officials also view the in-house development as a cost-savings measure. The open source science curriculum saved the district about $3.3 million. The district is looking to save at least that much again this year. Williamson teachers have been at work on an open source K-12 social studies curriculum to be in schools in fall 2019.
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