Widespread access to digital instructional materials is often dependent on successful navigation of the purchasing process. State procurement is often like the peeling of an onion—there are multiple layers to go through. In education, the buying and selling of merchandise and services, whether it is furniture, technology equipment, paper, broadband connectivity or instructional materials, typically requires following some level of state or local procurement laws. Some states have a procurement office specific to the department of education, whereas, other states may use statewide central purchasing as a standard. At the district level, some districts utilize cooperative purchasing through regional consortia and other districts may provide flexibility at the school level to make decisions regarding the acquisition of products and services. This is true for all purchases including instructional materials. Some states and districts might have policies for obtaining office furniture, but not for the acquisition of instructional resources. Other states may have policies for textbook adoption, but not for acquiring digital tools and resources or OER. States and districts can work to make the procurement process more transparent, and develop specific procedures to aid educators and the private sector in navigating the process. All stakeholders (public and private) should commit to developing relationships with a variety of decision-makers, recognizing that there are multiple interested parties with differing needs.

Key Questions

  • Does the state have guidelines?
  • Does the district have guidelines?
  • Who are the interested parties in acquisition?
    • Curriculum designers
    • Principals
    • Teachers
    • Procurement office
    • Budget office
  • What are the procurement guidelines/restrictions/impacts for:
    • Print core instructional materials?
    • Digital/online/blended core instructional materials?
    • Openly-licensed core instructional materials (OER)?
  • Are the acquisition requirements different for core materials vs. supplemental materials?

Facilitator Guide

ProcurementThe Facilitator Guide – Procurement provides education leaders with the information and resources they need to conduct a professional learning session. Participants will:
  • Learn more about procurement and RFP management
  • Identify procurement challenges and success stories
  • Collaborate with colleagues and develop solutions for challenges
  • Discuss how changes in state/local policies can improvement the procurement process
  • Develop and maintain relationships with other district and state leaders
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