Textbook selection input sought

There are 40 textbook publishers who want their books in classrooms across Georgia for the next few years. Starting next week, local residents can have a say in which books will be used.

Thirteen Learning Resources Evaluation Sites, representing each of Georgia's congressional districts, will open around the state on June 28. Jonesboro Middle School, at 1308 Arnold Road, in Jonesboro, has been picked as one of the review sites, according to Georgia Department of Education Spokesman Matt Cardoza.

Parents, community members and educators will be able to come by these sites and review proposed learning resources, such as textbooks, computer software, CDs, and desk maps. The learning resources will be for kindergarten-through twelfth-grade courses, focused on social studies, fine arts, physical education and advanced mathematical decision-making, Cardoza said.

"Each year, we have these Learning Resources Evaluation Sites, where we make these proposed materials available for the public to look at, and then provide their feedback," Cardoza said. "We use that feedback in the ultimate determining of what materials we will recommend to the State Board of Education to be included on a list of resources local school systems can chose from."

Clayton County Public Schools Elementary Social Studies Coordinator Robert DeLuca said new textbooks are adopted for a given subject once every seven years. DeLuca is a first-year member of the State Learning Resources Advisory Committee, which uses the state-wide public input to determine what will be recommended to the State Board of Education.

"There are evaluation forms, done in a rubric format, for members of the public to fill out, and give back to us," DeLuca said. "When we make our recommendation to the State Board of Education, some resources may be added, and some may be taken out, depending on the feedback we get from the public."

The public will have until July 15 to make its voice heard, according to DeLuca.

He said the committee will make a recommendation to the State Board of Education on July 27.

DeLuca and Cardoza added that while there is one evaluation site in every congressional district, people do not have to go the site from their congressional district. If there is another site that is closer to where they live, they are free to go to that site.

The evaluation site at Jonesboro Middle School will be open from 8:30 a.m., to 3:30 p.m., June 28 to June 30; and July 12-15, said Clayton County Public Schools Spokesperson Jacqueline Evans, on Monday, in a written statement. She said the school will be closed July 1-9, as the school system observes a holiday break for July 4.

Other local evaluation sites include: Spalding High School, at 433 Wilson Road, in Griffin (District 3); Lithonia High School, at 2440 Phillips Road, in Lithonia (District 4); and rooms 155, 157 and 163 of the Dean Rusk Building, which is located at 433 Peeples St., in Atlanta (District 5).

According to the Georgia Department of Education's web site, the Spalding High School site will not be open during the week of July 5. It will be open from 9 a.m., to 3 p.m., from June 28, until July 1, and from July 12 to July 15.

The web site also shows that the Lithonia High School site will be open from 9 a.m., to 3 p.m., from June 28 to July 1; July 6 to July 8, and July 12 to July 15. The Dean Rusk Building site will be open from 8:30 a.m., to 4 p.m., from June 28 to July 1; July 6 to July 8, and July 12 to July 15.