Going “Off List”

January 6, 2021

As outlined by the California State Constitution, the California State Department of Education considers K-8 instructional materials for adoption following a review process. Districts may choose materials off of the state adoption list or choose to adopt materials that were not reviewed through the state process, as long as the materials are aligned to state standards and a majority of the reviewers in the process are classroom teachers who are assigned to the grade level and content being considered.

Review state guidance for going off list.

Why consider off-list options?

1. New products come out every year.

State-led California reviews are not ongoing, so they will not encompass new options that come out over time. For example, the market has seen the introduction of new strong math curricula that were finalized after the CA math list was released in 2014.

2. Some smaller publishers did not submit products for review by the state.

While many large publishers submitted their products for review, there are some small publishers with strong options that were not reviewed for the official California Department of Education list of approved programs.

Going Off List Frequently Asked Questions

The State Board of Education has produced a helpful set of guidelines and recommendations that districts considering going off-list should review before deciding to pilot or investigate off-list options.

We’ve compiled some FAQs about the process below.

1. What are “state-adopted” instructional materials?

“State-adopted” instructional materials are those instructional resources which the SBE has formally “adopted” for use in the classroom. This action is required by the California State Constitution, Article 9 Section 7.5. The SBE considers K-8 instructional materials for adoption following a thorough review process outlined in both law (EC 60200) and regulations (CCR, Title 5 sections 9510-9525).

There are no state adoptions for grades nine through twelve. LEA governing boards have the authority and responsibility under EC Section 60400 to adopt instructional materials for use in their high schools for grades nine through twelve.

2. Must LEAs use only state-adopted instructional materials?

No. New for 2013, EC Section 60210 was added via AB 1246 (Brownley). It states the following:

“(a) Notwithstanding any other law, a local educational agency may use instructional materials that are aligned with the academic content standards adopted pursuant to Section 60605 or 60605.8, including instructional materials that have not been adopted by the state board pursuant to Section 60200.

(b) Instructional materials for mathematics that are aligned to common core academic content standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative consortium pursuant to Section 60605.7 shall be deemed to be aligned to the content standards adopted pursuant to Section 60605 or 60605.8 for purposes of Section 60119.

(c) If a local educational agency chooses to use instructional materials that have not been adopted by the state board, the local educational agency shall ensure that a majority of the participants of any review process conducted by the local educational agency are classroom teachers who are assigned to the subject area or grade level of the materials.”

LEAs may also utilize supplemental resources that meet the requirements of the social content standards requirements.

3. When do the current state adoption lists for instructional materials expire?

Once the SBE adopts instructional materials for a particular subject, those materials remain on the list of adopted materials for that subject until such time that the SBE adopts a new list of instructional materials for that subject (EC 60200(h)).

5. What is the status of the state’s adoption of new instructional materials?

In 2011, the Governor and State Legislature extended the suspension of SBE adoptions of instructional materials until the 2015-16 school year (EC Section 60200.7). While the suspension of adoptions ends in July 2015, there is not yet a schedule established in law for the cycle of future adoptions.

However, EC Section 60207 (enacted via AB 1246 (Brownley)) authorized the SBE to adopt new Common Core State Standards (CCSS)-aligned K-8 instructional materials for mathematics. The SBE adopted new mathematics instructional materials in January 2014. More information about this adoption is available on the CDE Mathematics Web page.

EC Section 60211 (enacted via SB 201 (Liu)) authorized the SBE to adopt new CCSS-aligned K-8 instructional materials for English language arts/English language development (ELA/ELD) no later than November 2015. More information about this scheduled adoption is available on the CDE English Language Arts/English Language Development Web page.
Will California conduct follow-up instructional materials adoptions—for example in mathematics following the 2014 adoption?At this time there are no plans to conduct follow-up adoptions mid-cycle of the eight year period between each subject area adoption, established pursuant to EC Section 60200(b)(1).

However, in 2015 the state will begin the process of establishing state regulations by which publishers may submit proposed revisions to their SBE-adopted instructional materials for consideration of SBE approval. This process, authorized in EC Section 60200(b)(2), will involve a fee.