You've read here about teachers' sometimes-frustrating search for good instructional materials to reflect the Common Core State Standards. And you've also read here about the controversial criteria that the architects of the common standards drafted to guide publishers as they create such materials. Those two things are aligning in a really interesting way, with the news that 20 school districts, with a combined $2 billion in annual purchasing power, have come together to use those criteria as leverage on the publishing industry.
As my colleague Christina Samuels reports, this group of districts, led by the Council of the Great City Schools, is essentially saying that any vendor who stands a chance of selling them materials is going to have to make sure they reflect the priorities outlined in the publishers' criteria written by Student Achievement Partners.
The criteria in English/language arts have been out for a while, and the criteria in math are expected out this summer.
Of course, what you think of the districts' move depends on what you think about the publishers' criteria, and about the standards themselves. But it's undoubtedly a big step, and a potentially powerful one, taken on the faith that the new guidelines—and materials created that truly reflect them—will make a big improvement in student achievement. Whether other districts join this movement, and what resources are created as a result of this pressure, will bear watching.