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School textbooks under suspicion

One of my co-workers -- oops, former coworkers (or a co-worker just more removed) sent me this link: A textbook case of failure: Politically driven adoption system yields shallow, misleading materials.
American textbooks are both grotesquely bloated (so much so that some state legislatures are considering mandating lighter books to save students from back injuries) and light as a feather intellectually, flitting briefly over too many topics without examining any of them in detail. Worse, too many of them are pedagogically dishonest, so thoroughly massaged to mollify competing political and identity-group interests as to paint a startlingly misleading picture of America and its history.
In one of my rants that my family is privileged to hear from me at Sunday dinners, I noted that the chemistry textbooks I had to work with in the last year were so cluttered with images, sidebars full of tangential information, and all manner of other "features," students couldn't possibly focus on what they needed to learn from their chapters. It's probably just as well, because they'd see that there wasn't much there if they could see it.

This is just one reason why I'm glad I never managed to go into teaching.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 16th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
Remind me to show you the size of Caitie's school backpack when you're here.

I'm amazed my daughter hasn't become a hunchback from the weight of all those books....sheesh.
May. 16th, 2006 07:59 pm (UTC)
There was a comment in the article that said some states are considering making laws that would require textbooks to be smaller and lighter, for the good of the students' health.

I never had to take all my schoolbooks home every night, did you? That always seemed excessive when I saw my nephew with his books. No wonder he quit at 16.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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