Wednesday, July 13, 2005

What Books are Being Used by our Teachers?

Have you gone to a classroom lately to look at the books the teachers are using to teach your children? Here’s a way to do so and not have to visit each class.

• Ask administration to set up a room with some library shelves and ask that a copy of each book or text being used in the whole system be placed on shelves. For example; a copy of each book or text used in each freshman class at Manual would be on a shelf and identified by subject and class. If Woodruff, Peoria High and Richwoods are using the same book or text for the same subject and class, just state so on a card placed in a plastic card holder on the front of the book or text. More detail as needed could be entered on this card.
• If the same book is used to teach math in, say, all the 8th grades, one book with the multiple school users would be all that would be needed. If some schools use a different book to teach the same, say, 8th grade math class, this book or text would also be on the shelf in the proper school category and reasons why entered in a single master binder, properly indexed by school and class. This master binder and the books on the shelves, could be viewed by all visitors, whether they are parents, guardians, grandparents, the business community or just people like me who wonder why are kids aren’t learning more for all the money and time being spent on education.
• As stated above the library shelves would be indexed by school, grade and subject. The master binder would be indexed in exactly the same manner.

Why do this? If we as a community aren’t interested in what book information is being placed in our kids heads, it no wonder we are often disappointed in the finished or unfinished products that comes of our schools. If, say, Dist. #150 is already doing something like this, I doubt if many people know about it. I will find out tomorrow by stopping by Administration and asking and I will comment on this later with exactly what administration is doing to inform the parent, ect., what books are being selected as teaching books and what message these books are saying to our kids. Some of you, if you go look, or look at the books your kids are bringing home, may be surprised and in some cases, you may be disappointed or disturbed. You can have a say in what books your school is using, but only if you are informed.

Each year publishers bring out new books and too many times these books are tailored to the “dumbing” down of our teachers, administrators and kids. Each year, each school district decides whether there is enough money for new books and each school is responsible when they do buy new books for accepting the contents put forth by the publishers.

Don’t you believe you and the public should know what these books are saying without visiting every school and every class in the district?

I look for your informational comments on this blog. After my visit tomorrow I may find the Administration I am most concerned about, is way ahead of my thinking.


C. J. Summers said...

You should read this article from The New Atlantis -- specifically the subsection "The Problem with Textbooks." The article is about science/physics instruction in particular, but the part on how textbooks are produced is true of all textbooks, not just science texts. I found it very interesting, and a little disturbing.

Chase Ingersoll said...

I know that they are not teaching the same level of math that I was learning when I was in Junior High. They have been severely dumbed down.

Merle Widmer said...


I checked both Peoria Public Libraries and Borders without success in finding a copy. Where can I secure a copy to read?


C. J. Summers said...

I read it online at:

The name of the periodical is "The New Atlantis," and the article is called "Science Education and Liberal Education" by Matthew B. Crawford. (No. 8, Spring 2005, pp. 49-60)