June 2, 2005

Textbooks I Won't be Buying

Here is a good example of why legislative sessions should be reduced(Free Reg) to, say, a week if not completely eliminated:

Maybe Democrats in the state Assembly should just go ahead and write textbooks for California's students. They're so confident they know what constitutes a good one.

For instance, who knew that making a textbook longer than 200 pages was such a bad idea that there needs to be a law against it?

These folks have way too much time on their hands.

The bill's sponser has been bashed a bunch but remember that 42 (mostly democrat) of the 70 representatives voted for this. That Californians elected 42 such bright people to rule their lives is a pretty good indicator that the eduction system there is broken.

Part of the alleged justification:

Textbooks are too laden with print supplemental materials, and too uninteresting in style. In the 21st century, the information age, information changes more rapidly than books can be printed. Educated, informed citizens of the 21st century will have to rely on technology and media for information. Textbooks should provide an overview of the critical questions and issues of a subject, and then become a roadmap to guide students to other means and sources of information.
To which I say, BS.

I'm long out of school and use the internet extensively to research areas in many subjects. Much, I'd expect, as a K-12 student might do once they've reached a certain level of competence. I also buy 2-4 high school/college survey textbooks a year (plus 20-30 volumes of more in depth material) for my own library. No 200 page textbook can cover the breadth and depth needed for any survey course even to provide the minimal requirements noted above.

Even if you reduce the range of focus 200 pages is still rediculous. For instance, if you are studying 13th-14th century world economic systems an excellent overview with references to a lot of primary material (much not available on the net) is Abu-Lughod's Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250-1350. It has just over 450 pages. Sure, you can find this subject reduced to a paragraph, a few pages, or a chapter or two but whatever chunk you prefer will be in a volume that should take more than 200 pages to be meaningful....unless its volume N of a series.

Via The Carnival of Education: Week 17.

Posted by Steve on June 2, 2005

Elected? Our (CA) legislators are less elected than the Democrats claim G.W. Bush is. Most of the state is under the thumb of the Democratic political machine, and they've got the districts so badly gerrymandered that a Republican has no chance of winning. (San Diego and Orange county being the notable exceptions)

Posted by Quincy at June 2, 2005 9:41 PM

I have to admit that I laughed my butt off when I read that story. Pretty soon, they'll reduce the content of the classrooms to 45 minute infomercials on topics as diverse as the Civil War and World Religions--I mean, we wouldn't want little Johnny getting bored with facts, figures, and thoughts when we can just speed the kids through the curriculum.


Posted by zombyboy at June 3, 2005 10:38 AM
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