Textbook Review, Approval, and Adoption Process
The state textbook adoption process is administered in accordance with the statutory requirements as set forth in Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 49, Chapter 6, Part 22 and the Rules and Policies of the State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission (available here). The following is a brief summary of the process.
Adoption Cycles & Timeline
The following entities play key roles in the textbook adoption process.
Tennessee General Assembly
- Adopts legislation related to the adoption of textbooks and instructional materials for K-12 public schools.
- Adopted legislation that created the Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission.
- Speakers of the Senate and House each appoint three members of the commission.
- Appoints three members of the commission.
State Board of Education
- Approves the state list of textbooks and instructional materials after receiving recommendations from the commission.
- Has the power to prescribe the use of textbooks and other instructional materials, based on recommendations of the State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission.
- May adopt policies, formulas, and guidelines for the funding of all requirements of textbooks and instructional materials.
- Reviews and approves plans submitted by publishers to the department to correct all factual and editing errors found in a textbook or instructional materials, at the publisher’s expense.
State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission
- Prepares and recommends a list of standard edition textbooks and instructional materials for approval by the SBE for use in the public schools of the state. Publishes list of state approved textbooks and instructional materials.
- Develops rules for the bidding and contracting of textbook and instructional materials programs.
- Oversees the review of programs bid against the education standards approved by the state board.
- Establishes contracts with publishers.
- Approves the process and time frame for state review of textbooks and instructional materials.
- May adopt physical standards and specifications that assure suitable durability of the textbooks and instructional materials.
- The Chair of the commission may appoint members to state advisory panels and convene panels.
State Textbook Advisory Panels
- Advise the commission on textbook and instructional materials selections.
Tennessee Department of Education
- Provides administrative assistance to the commission and maintains the Textbook Services website.
- Provides training to new commission members and state advisory panelists.
- Facilitates public access to, and ability to comment on, textbooks and instructional materials bid for state approval.
- Notifies publishers of the existence of factual and editing errors in textbooks and instructional materials, and receives corrective action plans from publishers.
- Solely authorized and required to adopt textbooks and instructional materials to be used in the public schools of their school districts from the list of textbooks and instructional materials listed for adoption by the commission. May submit waivers to the commission to adopt textbooks and instructional materials not on the state approved list.
- Creates and appoints members to local review committees.
- May make textbooks and instructional materials available for public comment during the local process.
- Director shall forward a copy of the recorded adoption to the commissioner and shall post on the LEA’s web site the list of all textbooks and instructional materials adopted.
The State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission is composed of 10 members whose responsibility is to recommend an official list of textbooks and instructional materials for approval of the State Board of Education. By law, the commission includes a county superintendent, a city superintendent, a principal, one teacher or supervisor from grades K-3, one teacher or supervisor from grades 4-8, one teacher or supervisor from grades 9-12, and one member not employed in the educational system of the state from each of the three grand divisions of the state. The commissioner of Education serves as Secretary of the commission.
All textbooks and instructional materials recommended by the commission for approval by the State Board of Education must:
- Conform to the education standards for its subject area or grade level adopted by the State Board of Education;
- Be free of any clear, substantive, factual or grammatical error;
- Meet any physical standards and specifications set by the commission that assure durability of the textbooks and instructional materials; and
- Comply with and reflect the values expressed in § 49-6-1028(b), if the textbook or instructional materials are being considered for adoption as a textbook or instructional materials for education of students in general studies and specifically in United States history and this nation’s republican form of government.
The policies and procedures for selection of textbooks and instructional materials by the State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission include the following objectives for selection.
- To provide a wide variety of materials that will enrich and support the curriculum as defined by the Rules, Regulations, and Minimum Standards of the State Board of Education.
- To provide materials that will enrich and support the curriculum and personal needs of educators and students.
- To provide students with a background of information to encourage critical thinking.
- To place principle above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in the selection of materials of the highest quality in order to assure a comprehensive media collection appropriate for the educators and students.
The official list is divided into six sections, with new textbooks and instructional materials considered for listing in one section each year. An invitation to bid, listing the categories to be considered that year, is made available to each publisher with books currently on contract and to any other publisher expressing an interest in bidding.
The commission evaluates all reviews submitted by the members of the advisory panel for each textbook or any instructional materials proposed for approval. The commission also reviews submitted public comments in accordance with the Adoption Calendar.
Since 1986, the State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission has used an advisory panel of expert teachers in each subject area or grade level to advise the commission on book selections. This state advisory panel, commonly referred to as the Textbook Review Committee, thoroughly reviews the books and instructional materials submitted. New members, with expertise in the subject areas up for adoption, are selected for this committee annually through an application process open to any teacher meeting the qualifications to serve on a local adoption committee, and other experts in the subject area. The state advisory panels base their reviews on a textbook and instructional materials screening instrument approved by the State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission.
Parents and community members have the opportunity to review all textbooks and instructional materials bid, submit their comments to the commission, and speak before the commission during their fall meeting to review the recommendations from the state advisory panels. The state seeks input from the public through online access provided by the publishers. The department announces when the textbooks and instructional materials are available for public review online during the state textbook review and approval process. The public can view textbooks and instructional materials at the same time as the state review committees are analyzing them, prior to the approval of the books. The public can submit feedback on the books and their input is sent to the publishers and the Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission for their consideration during the approval process. The public can continue to view and submit feedback on the approved textbooks and instructional materials by accessing the materials online or by contacting their local school district to view hard copy of the textbooks and instructional materials.
When the recommended official list is approved by the State Board of Education, publishers must contract with the Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission so that they provide the listed books at a price not to exceed the original bid price for a six-year period.
Districts are best positioned to choose which textbooks and instructional materials meet the needs of their students, educators, and community. Local school systems must subsequently adopt books on the official list or submit a waiver request to the department to use textbooks or instructional materials not on the approved list.
Local boards of education must appoint review committees to review the textbooks and instructional materials proposed for adoption and make their adoption upon recommendations of such committees. These committees are set up by grade and subject matter fields and composed of teachers, or supervisors and teachers, and parents with children enrolled in the LEA at the time of appointment to a committee. The local board may also appoint experts in the grade level or subject matter field for which textbooks and instructional materials are to be reviewed. Teachers and supervisors who serve on a committee must be teaching or supervising the respective grade or subject at the time of appointment and must be licensed to teach in the state with endorsements in the subject matter or grade level for which textbooks or instructional materials are being reviewed. Teachers and supervisors must have three or more years of experience as teachers or supervisors in the public schools.The director of schools in the LEA adopting textbooks or instructional materials serves as an ex officio member of all committees.
After the committees make their recommendations to the local board of education, the director of schools records the list of all textbooks or instructional materials adopted by the local board of education, and forwards a copy of the recorded adoption to the commissioner of education and posts the list on the LEA's web site.
Supplies of books are maintained in a depository in the state. School districts may make their purchases directly from the depository.