In Zeno’s home city of Seattle, the public school system is gathering a committee to recommend texts for K-5 math instruction.

Let’s face it, that’s a big job. Committee members will need to use experience, judgment and sensitivity to make a selection that best suits the needs of a very diverse set of learners in large urban school system.  The Seattle Public Schools website notes that it is looking for “diversity in race/ethnicity, gender, school/student population representation, and perspectives.“

math bookBeing on an adoption committee is also pretty much a thankless job. No matter what the outcome, you know that there will be the Loudly Unhappy voicing dismay and outright rancor towards the committee selection and its members. Oh, and despite giving up a lot of time and in this case, committing to at least four all day meetings, being on the committee is completely voluntary (translation: unpaid.)

(In case you’re wondering… Zeno has not applied to be a part of this or any other textbook adoption committee. Since we work with a wide variety of schools in a number of districts, we are a curriculum neutral organization. We are not in the business of advising anyone what textbooks to use.)

So, all that this has me thinking…what makes for the optimal make-up of a textbook selection committee? What do you see as important factors in determining the members of any math adoption committee? I’m spit-balling here, since I cannot claim much know-how in any of this. (Does that stop me? No.) That said, my personal wish list would include representation in instructional expertise across grade bands. Whatever the grade level for which a new text is being contemplated, it sure would be nice to see people on the committee who can speak to where kids are (grade level teachers or coaches) and where they are going. So for instance, I would hope the K-5 math adoption committee would have pre-K, elementary, middle and high school expertise on it.

What about you? In general, what would you like to see on any math adoption committee?

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