Texas issued its list of approved digital textbooks last month for K-12 English, K-12 Spanish, K-8 English as a second language, and English language proficiency for grades 9-12, a measure that, while a few weeks old, is worth noting.
Mainstream publishers Pearson and McGraw-Hill contributed to offerings on the list of digital texts approved by the Texas Education Agency Commissioner's office, though in those cases contracts are pending. Companies more familiar to followers of online learning, like CompassLearning, APEX Learning, AWARD Publishing, iStation, and Achieve3000 also made products approved for one of the subject areas, though none of them met 100 percent of the state standards, according to the list.
Approved texts were broken into conforming and non-conforming categories. Conforming texts meet 100 percent of the state's standards, while non-conforming texts still meet at least 50 percent of the state standards and may still be purchased using state funding.
The list is the first issued by the Commissioner's office since it was given the power to approve digital textbooks that could be purchased with state funding, a duty that is thought could diminish the the power of the state board of education, which drafts the standards for print textbooks. Texas has historically been looked upon as a highly influential state regarding the content of textbooks nationwide, since it is the second-largest state textbook market, and it's among 20 states that identify lists of approved instructional materials.