RS 17:351.1     

§351.1. Textbooks and other instructional materials; review; adoption; procurement; distribution

            A.(1) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall prescribe a process for the review, adoption, procurement, and distribution of free textbooks and other instructional materials, which it shall supply without charge to the children of this state at the elementary and secondary levels out of funds appropriated therefor by the legislature in accordance with the requirements of Article VIII, Section 13(A) of the Constitution of Louisiana.

            (2) The state board shall also establish rules and procedures whereby public school governing authorities shall supply textbooks and other instructional materials, as available, to children enrolled in a board-approved home study program. Such rules shall include a requirement that textbooks and instructional materials supplied to a student enrolled in a home study program shall be returned when the student has completed the coursework for which the textbooks and instructional materials were provided.

            (3) The state board shall not limit the amount or percentage of state or local funds the governing authority of a public elementary or secondary school may expend on the purchase or acquisition of textbooks and other instructional materials.

            B.(1)(a) The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall establish a transparent, digital process whereby the state Department of Education shall review textbooks and other instructional materials in the core subject areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies and determine the degree to which each aligns with state content standards. The department may review textbooks and instructional materials in other subject matter areas as it deems necessary or upon request of a public school governing authority.

            (b) The department may review textbooks and other instructional materials at such times as it deems necessary and appropriate but shall review textbooks and other instructional materials in the core subject areas of English language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies at least every six years.

            (2) The review process for textbooks and other instructional materials submitted to the department for review shall be conducted entirely online. Every aspect of the process, including the textbooks and instructional materials under review and any and all comments submitted by reviewers, parents and other members of the public, and publishers and other content providers, shall be posted online and made readily accessible to all interested parties.

            (3) The review process shall, at a minimum, provide for the following:

            (a) Guidelines and timelines for the submission, review, comment, and evaluation of textbooks and other instructional materials.

            (b) Establishment of review panels composed of Louisiana public school educators, some of whom shall be classroom teachers currently employed in schools in the state, and Louisiana content experts who have knowledge of curriculum and the subject matter under consideration.

            (c) Evaluation criteria and procedures to determine the extent to which textbooks and instructional materials submitted for review align with state content standards.

            (d)(i) The opportunity for parents and the public to view and submit comments on all textbooks and instructional materials under review. A copy of all student edition textbooks and instructional materials under review shall be made readily available online for this purpose. Reasonable safeguards against unauthorized use, reproduction, and distribution shall be provided.

            (ii) The opportunity for publishers and other content providers to submit comments in response to any review committee evaluation. Publishers and content providers shall be given the opportunity to review any evaluation prior to its posting online and shall be given at least ten business days to respond and make any correction to the content that they deem necessary.

            (iii) All comments submitted in relation to a reviewed textbook or instructional material shall be posted online for ready access by any interested party.

            (e) A requirement that all print textbooks and print instructional materials submitted for review be supplied in an electronic format that meets the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard, as consistent with the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (20 U.S.C. 1474(e)), and can be converted into specialized formats for children with disabilities and from which braille and large-print textbooks can be produced for blind and visually impaired students.

            (4)(a) The state Department of Education shall provide the governing authority of each public elementary and secondary school with a list of all textbooks and other instructional materials reviewed by the department which includes information indicating the degree to which each aligns with state content standards. Such list shall also be posted online.

            (b) The list of reviewed textbooks and other instructional materials shall include textbooks and instructional materials for each core subject at each grade level that are fully aligned with state content standards.

            (c) Any list of reviewed textbooks and other instructional materials prepared by the department shall contain a statement to the effect that the textbooks and instructional materials contained therein were reviewed for the sole purpose of determining the degree of alignment with state content standards and that it is the responsibility of each public school governing authority to determine if their use is appropriate to meet the educational needs of its students.

            (d) Nothing in this Section shall be construed as prohibiting a public school or school district from purchasing or otherwise acquiring textbooks and instructional materials that are not included in the list of reviewed textbooks and instructional materials prepared by the state Department of Education, provided the use of such textbooks and instructional materials is not prohibited by the policies of the governing authority of such school or school district.

            C.(1) The governing authority of each public elementary and secondary school shall adopt policies and regulations for the adoption and use of textbooks and other instructional materials that sufficiently support the needs of all students in meeting state content standards.

            (2) The purchase and use of electronic textbooks, instructional materials, and other media or content shall be maximized to the extent practical.

            (3)(a) For the adoption of textbooks and instructional materials that have not been reviewed by the state Department of Education pursuant to this Section, such policies and regulations shall provide for the establishment of review committees composed of classroom teachers and other educators, all of whom shall be employees of Louisiana public schools, parents of students enrolled in Louisiana public schools, and other educational stakeholders in Louisiana who have interest in or knowledge of curriculum and the subject matter under consideration.

            (b) Parents and other members of the public shall be afforded the opportunity to review and provide input relative to the textbooks and instructional materials under consideration prior to final adoption.

            (c) The governing authority of each public elementary and secondary school shall include on its website a link to the website on which the state Department of Education conducts the online review process pursuant to Paragraph (B)(2) of this Section.

            (4) Textbooks and instructional materials adopted for use in public elementary and secondary schools shall accurately reflect the contributions and achievements of people of differing races and promote an understanding of the history and values of the people of the United States and Louisiana, including the free enterprise system, private property, constitutional liberties, democratic values, and traditional standards of moral values.

            (5) The governing authority of a public elementary or secondary school may establish the price and sell any textbook or library book no longer in use to any person or entity for private use.

            D.(1) The state Department of Education shall support public school governing authorities in achieving maximum cost efficiencies and reducing regulatory burdens in the purchase and acquisition of textbooks and other instructional materials by providing for bulk purchasing through state contracts, whenever possible and feasible, and by encouraging publishers and other content providers to make their textbooks and other instructional materials available through the central depository.

            (2) The governing authority of a public elementary or secondary school may purchase textbooks and other instructional materials through a state contract or through the central depository or may contract directly with a publisher or other content provider.

            (3) Each contract between the state or the governing authority of a public elementary or secondary school and a publisher or other content provider for textbooks and instructional materials shall:

            (a) Be awarded on a competitive basis in accordance with applicable state law.

            (b) Provide that the publisher, distributor, wholesaler, or retailer shall not charge the governing authority of a public school a purchase price, rental fee, or other fee for the purchase, lease, or use of a textbook or instructional material that exceeds the lowest price or fee charged to a school governing authority in any other state for the same textbook or instructional material.

            (c) Provide that upon the request of a public school governing authority, a publisher or other content provider shall allow the governing authority to purchase textbooks and other instructional materials through the central depository.

            E. The state Department of Education shall provide for a central depository for textbooks and other instructional materials that are aligned to state content standards to facilitate the purchase and distribution of textbooks and instructional materials.

            Acts 2015, No. 389, §1, eff. July 1, 2015.