Many people grumble over their inability to effect change. However, UCR Library’s Coordinator of Education Services Christopher Martone will serve on a team of influencers to determine which textbooks are used throughout California’s elementary and middle schools.
Recently selected as an Instructional Materials Reviewer by the California State Department of Education and appointed to the 2017 committee for History - Social Science Adoption of Instructional Materials, Christopher will collaborate with a small team of individuals and the Curriculum Frameworks Unit to make state-wide recommendations for textbooks. Christopher’s appointment as a Reviewer will last for approximately eight months.
Prior to joining the UCR Library, Christopher taught high school AP US History and social studies for six years. Christopher has been with the Library for more than 10 years working with the education resources and maintaining the Learning Resources Display Center (LRDC) on the second floor of Rivera Library. Graduate School of Education (GSOE) students and local teachers can find materials in the Rivera Library to supplement and enhance the lessons they deliver in the classrooms – from children's books for all ages, to textbook materials, to non-book resources like manipulatives, videos, flash cards, science lab equipment, and more.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Chris and for the UCR Library!” said Christina Cicchetti, Education/Reference Librarian. “The first-hand look at California's textbook adoption process afforded by Chris's service on this committee will inform his work in the LRDC, and help Education Services to communicate more effectively about the adoption process with GSOE students.”
The Instructional Materials Reviewers will review textbooks to determine whether they present historical facts and stories in an even-handed way, with a voice given to all sides and a balanced perspective, while still meeting state benchmarks for educational criteria in history and social studies. “Sometimes history has a tendency to be somewhat biased,” Christopher stated. “We want to encourage open-mindedness in students, and the best way to do that is to present all sides of the story.”
“Chris’ role on this committee is an excellent extension of his role with the LRDC, which provides local educators with a voice in the process of statewide and local textbook selection,” said Dani Brecher Cook, Director of Teaching & Learning. “By participating in this committee, Chris will be able to advocate for the inclusion of textbooks in the curriculum that rely on historical evidence for their claims, as well as deepen his depth of knowledge about the resources available to California educators.”
Christopher credits his 16 years of experience in the field for why he was chosen to fulfill this role on the Adoption of Instructional Materials committee, which will have a significant public impact state-wide. “What we decide will influence what students and teachers can use in the future, from kindergarten through eighth grade,” he explained.
“Anybody who wants to submit textbooks that fit these frameworks can send them to the California Department of Education for review. I’ve always wanted to encourage people to get more involved in this,” Christopher added. “If me being on this committee promotes the fact that we can get more involved and do something rather than complaining about it, then that’s great.”
After the review process is finalized around the end of November 2017, a certain number of texts will be approved and school districts state-wide will receive the list of books adopted for use in classrooms. The committee’s recommendations will take effect in 2018.
The LRDC at UCR Library is one of 10 similar centers around the state of California which houses copies of textbooks that have been either adopted or are under review by the California Department of Education for all subject areas in Grades K-8. Local educators and the public may visit an LRDC to review textbooks to determine which to use in their districts. The UCR Library agreed to house this regional LRDC in 2004, particularly to provide students in the Graduate School of Education Teacher Education program with access to current textbooks and ancillary materials.
The LRDC is open by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, please contact the Education Services unit.