STUDENTS FORCED TO USE OLD TEXTBOOKS

Schools are being asked to hold off from buying new textbooks this year due to lack of funding. No money has been set aside in the budget which kicks into effect on July 1. The Oklahoma State Department of Education has recommended a one year delay on textbook selection which will be considered by the State Textbook Committee this month.

When students return to school after the summer break they will be asked to use outdated textbooks. This comes at a time when schools are trying to implement new standards for English language arts and mathematics. Skimming the front of textbooks in many of the schools often reveals a 2010 date of publication.

In all fairness, older dates are to be expected when publishers do not keep up with new editions each year. But when students are relying on information that is five or six years old this becomes a problem. I think this is especially true in the Social Sciences and Sciences where new ideas and discoveries means information becomes out of date very quickly. One of the important skills we are taught in university research is to consult the date and to always choose the most up to date source. In our information hungry world where so much incorrect information is available and often the wrong information to push certain ideologies and viewpoints, we need to heed this even more so.

There is also the separate issue of the condition of textbooks. Many of us have older books at home which we cherish and preserve. In schools, books may not always be treated with such care and over a short period of time can become frayed and worn.

We are not giving students our best when we fail to give them the proper resources for their learning. What message are we sending them about the importance of their education!

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