Saturday, September 13, 2008

Consumer Pressure Part II

Consumer pressure continued...Spending impacts education. Those crazy bottom-line driven (they are profit driven, so that is a good business plan) curriculum companies publish new textbooks constantly, of course. They know that unless they jazz it up, change the cover, and edit slightly to release a new edition, their sales will stagnate once a school has books on their shelves.

Consider history textbooks. How much history happens that needs to be added so soon after we invested in classroom sets? And science. Technology affords us scientific innovations and breakthroughs at lightning speed. But really now, at the elementary level, at least, the broadstroke science concepts and scientific method and reasoning remain the same and need to be grasped. And math. Is there new math we can't live without? Or is it a matter of better graphic design and more up-to-date children in photos?

As a homeschool supervising teacher for the state of California, we prefer to reuse curriculum. Yet, often we cannot. If the text has a newer edition and we want the student workbook to match the one already in our library -- good luck. Easier to just spend and get the whole new set.

And what happens to the "out-of-date" books? Storage space throughout the land holds tons of these "obsolete" items. We talk about getting them to schools that lost everything in hurricanes and floods for temporary use. We talk about getting them to third-world schools that want books in English. Not sure who that would be, really. There are shipping costs and other obstacles. So what happens to these books? Landfill?

Education budgets have been slashed again this year. So, stop buying new textbooks and test the kids every other year and pay teachers with the money saved. What would we lose?

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