Students deserve books

Students deserve books

Katie Maxwell

Christine Vassos reads from a Regular U.S. History textbook

Katie Maxwell, Media Editor

Can you ever imagine taking a history course or a math course and NOT getting a textbook from which to reference? Many wonder, including myself, how they can study properly or even understand the material sufficiently without that trusty guide.

What’s the problem? Why raise the issue of book supplies at a school like RB, where the administration has explicitly said there must be funding for textbooks, no matter what?

The issue is that, although the textbook budget for the entire school has increased from $13,000 last year to $36,500 this year, many of the departments only receive enough money to replace worn out books that cannot be rebound. This system works well when small numbers of books are needed, but it fails when many sets must be completely replaced.

This summer all the Regular and Honors Chemistry books were replaced. That purchase used up the majority of the textbook budget, and for good reason. Those books were ten years old and very outdated. The students who take that course this year are allowed to take their books home.

Unfortunately, not every subject was that lucky this year. Many subjects, including Algebra 2/Trig and Regular U.S. History, either have outdated books or not enough books for every student enrolled in that course. Those classes are required to only use class sets, and therein lies my ultimate issue.

Although some teachers have tailored their curriculum to work around only having class sets, often times it can result in challenges for the students. Textbooks are very useful when students need to review for exams or get extra help for a topic they don’t understand. Taking the books away from the students prevents them from doing those key activities. It also creates more dependence on the teacher because that is often the only other resource students will use. The high school years are the years in which students should learn more independence rather than less, and not providing texts to reference defeats the purpose.

Another option to hard copy textbooks is online textbooks. Those are relatively less expensive up front, but they do have renewal costs and sometimes technology glitches. There is also the issue of accessibility to a computer for some students.

Whatever the administration chooses to do, it needs to consider that students do their best when they have access to all available resources. That’s why I believe every student deserves their own textbook, whether hard copy or electronic.