A district is taking on a comprehensive materials adoption process. They gather all significant stakeholders to start developing their district lens, and define local priorities. Next, they create review criteria to assess each curriculum for college and career-ready standards and community needs. Stakeholders provide feedback on selected materials, and after many rounds of conversations, the curriculum list is final. Before long, the new curriculum is available in schools—but there’s a problem. A year after implementation, the materials remain on the shelves, gathering dust in their packaging. Why?
To find the answer, we have to travel back to the beginning and ask, who was invited to the decision-making table? If teacher voices were not an essential component at every step of the adoption process, this cautionary tale could happen in your district.
When teachers are engaged, the chosen program is more likely to be used in classrooms. What’s more, teachers trained in the best practices of identifying college and career-ready standards can become powerful advocates for equity ensuring that materials speak to the needs of all students.
Elevating Teacher Voices
We sat down with some fantastic teacher leaders and educators to listen to their curricula adoption experiences. Their perspectives offer insight into what every district leader should know about why including teacher voices is vital to student success.
Why is it essential for teacher voice to be part of curricula conversations?
What has your experience been with a school or district materials adoption?
What is most essential for you when it comes to selecting instructional materials?
What is most important for district leaders to know when planning for materials adoption?
What advice would you give to district leaders about including teacher voice in the adoption process?
What additional thoughts would you like to share about teacher voice in the materials selection process?
Teachers empowered to advocate
Regardless of where you are on your teaching journey, your voice can make a difference. If you’re unsure where to begin, there are several steps you can take right away to benefit your students.
Consider how to present the data on high-quality instructional materials to different stakeholder groups. If your district is considering an adoption, the EdReports review process is a template you can use to help stakeholders understand how to create a review tool that is comprehensive and standards-aligned. We also have resources and profiles that illustrate how to involve educator voice at every step of the process. In addition, knowing the legislature, policies, and requirements for instructional materials selection can prevent delays that might shorten the time you have for discussion and feedback.
When you bring together the research on quality instructional materials, the selection process, your local context, and your personal experience as a teacher, you have a powerful tool for change.