Denise Smith Amos, writing for, on the decision by the Duval County Public Schools Board—the district is the sixth largest in Florida and the twenty-second largest in the United States—to adopt the EngageNY open educational resources (OER) curriculum for its elementary schools:

Instead of hardback textbooks, Duval’s elementary students will learn math and reading from sheets of paper and other materials downloaded from an online website.

A divided Duval School Board voted last week to adopt the free online program called EngageNY as its main curriculum for elementary reading and math next year, instead of buying new textbooks. The district expects to print out much of the materials.

It’s an unusual step for a major urban district, but it is becoming more common as districts across the country scramble to find good materials that align with tougher academic standards in the national Common Core and Florida’s similar college-ready guidelines.

By downloading materials instead of purchasing textbooks, Duval will save $10 million over two years, he said, while gaining greater assurance that students can meet Florida’s standards.

The Hewlett Foundation supported the development of the EngangeNY materials through a series of grants to the University of the State of New York Regents Research Fund.