Understanding California’s Williams Settlement Textbook Requirements

A Look at How the Williams Settlement Affects Print and Digital Instructional Materials

By Adam Rosenfield & Morgane Le MarchandThe Williams Settlement Affects Textbooks

At Hayes, we understand how education laws affect your inventory management strategies. The Williams Settlement, a law passed in California back in 2004 helped to change the game for students and school districts, enabling more students to have access to textbooks. Below, we review how the settlement applies to your inventory management strategies for print and digital instructional materials and what you need to know about meeting the requirements.

How did the Williams Settlement come about?

On May 17th, 2000, the ACLU, Public Advocates, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and other civil rights organizations filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of public schoolchildren against the State of California. The organizations claimed the State and its agencies had denied thousands of California children their fundamental right to education under the California Constitution by failing to give them the basic tools necessary for that education. Those tools included equal access to sufficient textbooks, decent school facilities, and qualified teachers. The case was named Williams v. The State of California.

What did the legislative proposals in the Williams Settlement cover?

The major proposals covered the following issues:

• SB 550/AB 2727- Established minimum standards for school facilities, teachers and instructional materials

• AB 3001- Created a way for qualified teachers to teach at underperforming schools; established mechanisms to ensure that teachers were qualified to teach the subject matter they were assigned; streamlined the process necessary for out-of-state teachers to teach in California

• SB 6- Provided $800 million for districts to repair facility conditions for health and safety

How does the Williams Settlement affect textbook inventory management in California public schools?

The Williams Case in California established the “sufficiency standard” for instructional materials in all California public schools. It requires that all students have access to textbooks or instructional materials in four core subject areas for use in the classroom with the ability to take it home to complete required homework assignments.
Over the first four years of implementation, county offices of education identified nearly 200,000 textbook and instructional materials deficiencies.

How do schools determine how many textbooks they need to provide materials to each pupil?

Each school district’s governing board takes an inventory each year to determine if there is a sufficient quantity of textbooks for the number of students. If there is a deficiency, the board will provide information to teachers and the public and take action within two months of the school year.

While the Williams Settlement has helped improve access to textbooks for students, many California school districts are now struggling with to track their digital instructional materials. Luckily, there’s a system in place to help them.

How does the Williams Settlement affect digital instructional materials?

In 2015, the ACLU (California) and the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association released an memorandum explaining the Williams Settlement affects digital materials.

In summary, when adopting digital materials, school districts must assure that a student can access the content at school and at home. There are three approaches to providing digital content that meets the sufficiency standard.

  1. Static Approach: Static, digital content such as a PDF.
  2. Interactive Approach: Interactive digital content that can be accessed without an internet connection.
  3. Fully Interactive and Connected Approach: Fully interactive digital materials based on universal internet access.

If a school district intends to use digital instructional materials exclusively, they must assure that all students have devices to use at school and home. This can include Bring Your Own Device programs or 1:1 programs that allow students to take the devices home.

For further details, we highly recommend reviewing the ACLU’s document here.

What tool can campuses use to ensure they have the correct textbook inventory?

TIPWeb-IM gives you complete control over textbooks and digital inventory.

In two easy steps schools can:

  1. order textbooks based on course enrollment
  2. distribute books by barcode to students for precise reporting

Accurate inventory data enables you to put your textbook orders in early, ensuring you have the books you need before the start of school. For accurate textbook ordering, you can compare current inventory by title vs. projected enrollment requirements.

TIPWeb-IM allows you to verify that every student has a textbook during audits or on the fly when parents call to inquire about their student. By barcoding books, it’s simple to assign materials to students and teachers. With a few clicks, you can easily print class roster book check sheets to prove that every student has been issued a textbook.

TIPWeb-IM provides precise tracking and powerful, easy reporting to demonstrate to county superintendents or auditors that your students are receiving all the educational materials they need.

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