Textbook Adoption Was Once About ‘Going to the Right Dinner’ With Publishers. Now EdReports is Disrupting the $8 Billion Industry by Putting Teachers in Charge

September 9, 2019

"A March report from Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research found little 'evidence of differences in achievement growth for schools using different elementary math textbooks and curricula.'"

In early 2011, when Maryland and other states were adopting the Common Core State Standards, teachers in the Baltimore City Public Schools were starting to grumble.

“The materials in a lot of districts fell woefully short of the new standards,” said Sonja Santelises, now Baltimore’s superintendent. “[I was] hearing classroom teachers rightly point out that it’s great to have these standards, but it’s actually unfair to expect teachers to teach to a particular standard and not have the instructional materials to support that.”

“I remember the frustration that I experienced,” she said.

More than two years later, Santelises became a founding board member of EdReports, a nonprofit organization that publishes independent, teacher-led reviews of textbooks. Over the past four years, EdReports has published more than 500 reviews of math, English language arts and science curricular materials, injecting a steady stream of analyses into an $8 billion industry that critics say had long operated in an objectivity-free void. Now states and districts are increasingly relying on EdReports’ reviews, shifting pressure onto publishers to increase the alignment of their materials to the Common Core.

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