Districts to Have More Choices for Free, Open Math and Reading Curricula

By Liana Loewus — March 29, 2017 1 min read
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Teachers have been using the free, open language arts and math materials from EngageNY at impressive rates, as I wrote earlier this week. The site, hosted by the New York state education department, has had more than 17 million users and 66 million downloads since the resources went online six years ago.

A relatively new organization, Open Up Resources, is seeking to build on the appetite for using free, open curricula as an alternative to traditional textbooks.

My colleague Sean Cavanagh over at Market Brief writes:

The organization’s pitch to school districts is relatively straightforward.

It provides core curriculum to school districts for free, while charging them for various wraparound support services, from printing to professional development for teachers. [Former Pearson executive and the group’s CEO Larry] Singer is convinced that districts that select Open Up Resources will save money on their bottom line by avoiding the big costs of purchasing core content—and instead only having to choose from a menu of relatively low-cost ancillary services.

The group announced last year it had contracted with Illustrative Mathematics, which is headed by William McCallum, a lead author of the Common Core State Standards, to develop middle school math curricula. Those materials are currently being piloted in six districts and will be publicly available this summer.

Now, the group, which began as the K-12 OER Collaborative, a 13-state initiative that aimed to create and share open materials, is moving onto English/language arts materials.

Last week, it announced that EL Education, a nonprofit based in New York City and formerly known as Expeditionary Learning, will be developing an openly licensed K-5 language arts curriculum. Those materials will also be available prior to the 2017-18 school year.

Interestingly, EL Education is the same group that created some of the English/language arts materials for EngageNY. The new curriculum will have more supports for English-language learners

Open Up Resources has $12 million in support from organizations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which supported the development of the common core. For more on how it is expanding its offerings and working with districts, head over to EdWeek Market Brief.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.