Students deserve books

Katie Maxwell

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

Katie Maxwell, Media Editor

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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 Those books were ten years old and very outdated.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 Many subjects, including Algebra 2/Trig and Regular U.S. History, either have outdated books or not enough books for every student enrolled in that course.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.

About the Writer
Katie Maxwell, Editor-in-Chief

Katie Maxwell is baaaack! Once again, her enthusiasm is helping the paper to continually improve itself. But wait,there’s more! Katie is the new Cyborg...

1 Comment

One Response to “Students deserve books”

  1. Ms Dean on September 30th, 2011 9:00 am

    Great article Katie! I love hearing a student’s prospective on the class set issue. I’d like to share a teacher’s prospective… As a bio teacher for the last 5 years, I’ve done both – passed out books for students to take home, and used a class set, and I’m still trying to figure out the best method. I used to pass out the books, but I experienced some problems with giving everyone a copy. That meant there weren’t very many left to use in the classroom. We did not use the book everyday in class, so students were in the habit of leaving them in their lockers unless I asked them to bring it. Often when they were needed in class (even when reminded ahead of time), students wasted precious class time going to their locker to get them, or worse, they couldn’t use it because they left it at home. The opposite was also true. Sometimes students didn’t have their homework done because they had left their book at school. I could’ve required them to bring books every day, but that seemed unnecessary, especially since so many students don’t utilize their lockers and would end up carrying 30+ pounds of textbooks around with them all day.

    After battling with that the past few years, I recently decided to use a class set. There are extras, so students who were absent, or wanted supplemental material around a test or quiz can check them out and take them home. There is also online access to the text, so students with computer access can use the online book as needed. I’ve tailored my curriculum and teaching so students can utilize the book in the classroom, and they won’t need it at home. Finally, because of the wonders of technology, students have tons of additional resources on the internet. They can find videos, pictures, articles, and sometimes even taped lessons of teachers teaching similar things to what they’re learning all at the click of a mouse. I would encourage any student looking for supplemental material to start there (but to of course be weary of the sources)! This method seems to be working so far.

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