Thursday, March 11, 2010

Texas Textbook Update

There may be some good news when it comes to Texas and textbooks...  A while back, I posted about how Texas might be poised to determine what the rest of us in the U.S. get stuck with because California, the nation's largest textbook purchaser is in such financial trouble.  If California stopped buying textbooks, publishers would be more likely to kowtow to Texas as the next biggest purchaser.  If that happened, the rest of the union might get stuck with books based on Texas' poor science (and history and language arts) standards.
The good news, according to an article at is that Texas has been having economic troubles of its own, and, like California, will not be buying new textbooks any time soon.  Also, there seems to be some impatience on the part of publishers who don't want to wait around while state boards of education debate content, so they usually wind up publishing without paying much attention to these debates.
The other good news is that Texas, like most states I imagine, is moving away from "old school" textbooks and using online content from publishers to supplement older textbooks, and in the very near future, I imagine all student materials will be in one electronic format or another.  This is good because it will mean cheaper "books" for states and public schools, and it will allow for easier editing to make state specific editions (if necessary).  That being said, it is also bad because it means that Texas (or other states so inclined) could get books that don't mention evolution at all, or that talk about intelligent design creationism.  For now, though, there is reason for rejoicing, and not just because Texas won't be buying textbooks, but also because Don McLeroy, the ring leader for the textbook overhaul circus was recently voted out in the primary.

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