The non-profit Center for College & Career Readiness has released a set of guidelines for school purchasing officials, principals and administrators to guide enhancements in school purchasing processes for College & Career Ready outcomes.
According to the Center’s Chairman, Kevin Baird, “The cost in real dollars of an American education, like American health care, has skyrocketed over the past decades. Our schools are clogged with curriculum, technology and programs, which do not work, have hidden costs, and which sometimes lead to increased physical illness. Schools can solve these issues, in part, with simple requirements in their purchasing operations.”
The guidelines are straightforward and based upon independent research by leading scientists and non-profit, independent organizations:
Guidelines to Enhance School Purchasing for College & Career Ready Outcomes
Curriculum (Social Studies, Science, and English Language Arts): All text should measure grade level difficulty by the Lexile® Framework indicator (www.Lexile.com) – the leading method for evaluating rigorous text written in English and Spanish languages. Schools must be aware that classrooms are filled with materials, which do not meet criteria for rigorous text, or best practices for language acquisition.
Curriculum (Math): All math curriculum should address standards for operational and computational fluency in mathematics and the IES Practice Guides for Math Intervention. Schools must be aware that fluency in foundational math skills is critical for problem solving and algebra readiness.
Free and Digital Curriculum: Requests for Proposal should include printing rights and cost estimates for printed materials. Schools must be aware of growing and hidden printing costs, including lost time for teachers, paper costs, and the cost of failure for students who read best from paper and not screens.
Laptops, Computers, Tablets: Purchase requests for these materials must include requirements for limiting germ transmission and creating healthy classrooms. Multiple studies show increased viral and bacterial transmission from these flat, non-porous surfaces, which can be dirtier than a toilet. Student health, absenteeism, and school revenues based on attendance are improved when hardware purchasing addresses healthy classroom requirements.
Furnishings and Classroom Spaces: Requirements for these items must address collaboration, learning and disease transmission. Furnishings and classroom space design have significant impacts on collaborative learning, student engagement & discipline, and disease transmission. Each of these areas should be addressed in any Request for Proposal.
Professional Development: Effective teacher use of curriculum & technology within classroom ecosystems requires ongoing professional support. The advent of web-based and video-based training provides for lower-cost options, which touch teachers on a regular basis to build teacher mastery. We strongly recommend that any professional development be accredited by a nationally known university, specifically a school of education.