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Texas Transforms K-12 Education with Innovative Policy

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Texas Transforms K-12 Education with Innovative Policy

Overview
When Texas set out to accelerate the transformation to 21st century education for all its students, it started at the top. The state recently passed legislation that allows schools and teachers to use traditional textbook funding for digital content and technology. Developed in collaboration with educators and both print and digital educational publishers, the legislation is forging new ground in education innovation. Texas is demonstrating the vital role policymakers can take in ensuring that high-quality education goes hand in hand with access.

Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow
Texas policy makers began with a close look at the impact technology has on the world we live in today—and a commitment to prepare students for their future. They assessed the challenge of delivering quality instructional materials to over 4.8 million students, while providing quality, flexibility, and economies of scale. They found digital content had the potential to meet the needs of new generations of learners comfortable with technology and Web 2.0 tools, and decided to ensure these engaging learning opportunities were aligned to state standards.

More Choices
In essence, the legislation allows schools and teachers to use textbook funds for electronic textbooks and the technological equipment needed to bring digital content into classrooms. It includes a bill (HB 2488) supporting inclusion of open source textbooks—giving schools even more options. Electronic textbooks are broadly defined and include educational software applications, CD-ROMs, tools, models, online courseware and services, and open source materials. Unlike print content, which has to be repurchased when updates occur, under qualifying circumstances, digital and open source materials have the advantage of being modifiable to suit specific curriculum goals and lesson plans.

Read the full Texas Transforms K-12 Education with Innovative Policy White Paper.