Textbook selection bill nears final passage

A proposal to give local public school districts more freedom to choose their teaching materials is nearing final legislative passage, after winning support Tuesday from the House Education Committee.

Senate Bill 336 by state Sen. Conrad Appel, R-Metairie, would require the state education department to review instructional materials in English, math, science and social studies to decide whether they meet state educational standards.

But local districts would decide which books and materials should be used. They would use review committees of teachers, parents and others to make recommendations, and they could choose items that aren’t on the state-reviewed list.

The education department would be required to post online the textbooks and instructional materials it reviews, and it would help with bulk purchasing to get cheaper deals.

The House committee advanced the measure without objection. It moves next to the full House for consideration and already has the backing of the Senate.