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s/o How common is it for high schools to forgo textbooks?

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This is a spin off of my thread regarding ungraded math homework. Besides the math thing, there's another issue that puzzles me about my DS's high school. Also, just to be clear, I'm not knocking his school. It's overall a great school! DS is coming home excited to share about what he's learning and thinks most of his teachers make the classes interesting and engaging. So I'm curious because DS's classes don't use textbooks in subjects usually taught with them, at least in my school experience. I'm thinking specifically of math and science. Is this common? There seem to be other nice amenities, including the school buildings, a theater, science labs, Chromebooks on loan for any student who needs or wants one, and more. So I hesitate to guess it's a funding issue, but maybe? Your experience with textbooks if your children have gone to high school?

Edited by IfIOnly

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This is a spin off of my thread regarding ungraded math homework. Besides the math thing, there's another issue that puzzles me about my DS's high school. Also, just to be clear, I'm not knocking his school. It's overall a great school! DS is coming home excited to share about what he's learning and thinks most of his teachers make the classes interesting and engaging. So I'm curious because DS's classes don't use textbooks in subjects usually taught with them, at least in my school experience. I'm thinking specifically of math and science. Is this common? There seem to be other nice amenities, including the school buildings, a theater, science labs, Chromebooks on loan for any student who needs or wants one, and more. So I hesitate to guess it's a funding issue, but maybe? Your experience with textbooks if your children have gone to high school?

Variations of this are becoming more common.

 

Do they provide a digital textbook?  Sometimes they provide one to view on laptops, e-readers or other format in class and then a subscription at home as well.  Textbooks are becoming less popular in schools at a fairly rapid pace. Cost to school districts, physical storage between use at school, keeping track of accounts when books are lost, vandalism and the weight the student has to carry with them during the day are all major deterrents to paper textbooks.  

 

One school my daughter went didn't use traditional 2 inch thick textbooks, but did  provide packets of information or thin paperback sections of text books.  It was annoying because you couldn't look back to previous material. 

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My son has textbooks for a few of his classes, but they don't use them regularly --only for math, I think. The others have been used on occasion to placate the administration. They were told to keep the books at home and not bother taking them to class.

 

His teachers come up with their own curriculum mostly, in all cases much deeper than a textbook can offer.

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Schools have been moving this direction since the introduction of Common Core. Often teachers keep a class set of older textbooks to have available when needed, and those won't be replaced. 

 

 

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I find this trend disturbing.  Kids learn by different ways, so many kids will be happy without textbooks.  But, some people learn best by reading. 

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I find this trend disturbing.  Kids learn by different ways, so many kids will be happy without textbooks.  But, some people learn best by reading. 

 

One of the problems my kids ran into is they rarely were required to do any reading from textbooks in HS. Even at high level courses, as in AP. Then when they got to college the expectation was there that they be able to handle textbook reading at a rapid pace. They weren't prepared.

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It seems common here.  The teachers print them things off the internet.  I guess that makes sense to a certain extent, in that they only need to print what they use, though I have doubts as to whether it is cheaper long-term.  I'd say it's cheaper short term and allows for easy up-dates.

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My kids in middle school (7th and 8th) have zero textbooks and it drives me batty.  Everything is done online or via worksheets.  Some have a digital textbook online, but more frequently there is no textbook whatsoever.  instead they read articles on a site called Study Island.  

 

I hate it, because they have no real reference book, plus it discounts the fact that people learn differently when reading on-screen vs. hard copy.  I see the value in both.

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My son has a textbook for all classes you'd expect a textbook for and this year they are all real (so not e-textbooks).

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As crazy as it makes me, it's pretty common in my city.

 

A lot of the elementary and middle schools are skipping textbooks too.

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DD is now using e Textbooks for her Math courses. I suspect they will eventually move to e Textbooks for other subjects, but am not sure about that.

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My DS's school uses only ebooks for all high school textbooks. He had some physical textbooks for middle school, but his science courses in grades 6-8 did not use any textbook. There was plenty of reading, but just not in textbook form. It reminded me of when I was in college and some courses required a packet of article rather than an actual textbook.

 

I don't think this is just a recent trend. 10yrs ago I worked in a school district which did not use physical textbooks for math past elementary level. There were textbooks that students were issues, but they were not used (I guess they could be used for extra practice or as a resource, but really they just sat in the bottom of a bunch of lockers all year). The teachers primarily used a district created online curriculum.

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My dd2 (sophomore in hs) has no physical textbooks. Nearly all her work is online/or printed sheets for homework.

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Don’t educators read articles on how online reading is greatly inferior to actual print books? The lack of textbooks in upper grades is one of the main reasons my dd will not be returning to our local charter school. I found a school that eschews computers for learning because of the numerous studies about online reading.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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I find this trend disturbing. Kids learn by different ways, so many kids will be happy without textbooks. But, some people learn best by reading.

Um, they read.

 

At this moment DS is reading and comparing Arrian's Anabasis of Alexander and Plutarch's Alexander, translated from Greek, for a world studies paper. :)

 

He is relieved they aren't constrained to textbooks. Lol.

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I have a friend whose son is in high school and so frustrated by the lack of math textbooks.  So I assume it is not uncommon.

 

They expect the kids to figure stuff out in groups and using the internet somehow.

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I was told that one reason for this is the pressure to have AP courses in high schools and the high schools do not have the funds to purchase college level textbooks.  So, the teacher uses the PowerPoints and other supplemental materials and posts the PowerPoint slides for the students to "read."  Unfortunately, these students do not know how to read a textbook when they get to college.

 

My aunt taught fifth grade for years.  Toward the end of her career she was told not to use a math book.  She should be more "creative", etc.  A set of math books was kept in the classroom for "reference" but she was not supposed to teach chapter 1, then chapter 2, etc.  She though the whole thing was ridiculous--there is a reason the math book is structure the way it is; some topics come before other topics.

 

DS was in public school in fifth grade; after 6 weeks, he had brought home 4 math papers--all of which had been misgraded by the teacher.  DH and I met with the teacher about this.  They were spending two weeks on a "math project" to integrate technology.  They were going on to Google to search and get prices for items to through a dream party.  The would come up with their guest list, say 10 friends, then check and see how much a ticket to Jamaica would cost (or Orlando, or wherever they wanted to go)--and then multiply that number by the number of people on their guest list to come up with a budget...When I questioned the misgraded papers, the teacher responded, "When I got your note that 12 = 1, I started thinking you might be right and I looked on the internet and found out that you were..."  I asked if there were any math books in the classroom; she pointed to some on a high shelf left by the previous teacher but said they weren't using them.  When I asked what curriculum they were using, she literally started pulling paper out of the trash can that she had printed from various internet sources.    

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Having online textbooks and having no textbooks are completely different situations.

 

I've never been a fan of online texts but my kids adjusted well.  The more useful ones are newer, as I think they are much better designed for navigation purposes.  Sure beats hauling around multiple books that are 1000+ pages each.  Some books have features that include audio that reads the text, ability to expand the text size, etc.

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our district is switching to laptops for all students in middle/high.  everything is online, kids can't claim they lost their textbook or the dog ate their homework. and their parents will go after them if the claim they lost their laptop - becasue the parents will be on the hook for it.

 

parents (and students) are also supposed to be able to access grades and assignments much more easily - but that assumes teachers will actually use the electronic format.  and even young ones won't.

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His teachers come up with their own curriculum mostly, in all cases much deeper than a textbook can offer.

 

 

Meaning what, exactly?

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I find this trend disturbing.  Kids learn by different ways, so many kids will be happy without textbooks.  But, some people learn best by reading. 

 

I agree with you.   Both my daughter and I learn far better with books in hand.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that both of us would be hurt greatly by being made to learn without a book.  It is one reason she doesn't take any online classes, she must have the paper/book in hand.  I always print anything needed so that both of us can hold it and read it.  I don't like Kindles for the same reason.  I must be holding the book to even begin to really comprehend it.

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I was told that one reason for this is the pressure to have AP courses in high schools and the high schools do not have the funds to purchase college level textbooks.  So, the teacher uses the PowerPoints and other supplemental materials and posts the PowerPoint slides for the students to "read."  Unfortunately, these students do not know how to read a textbook when they get to college.

 

My aunt taught fifth grade for years.  Toward the end of her career she was told not to use a math book.  She should be more "creative", etc.  A set of math books was kept in the classroom for "reference" but she was not supposed to teach chapter 1, then chapter 2, etc.  She though the whole thing was ridiculous--there is a reason the math book is structure the way it is; some topics come before other topics.

 

DS was in public school in fifth grade; after 6 weeks, he had brought home 4 math papers--all of which had been misgraded by the teacher.  DH and I met with the teacher about this.  They were spending two weeks on a "math project" to integrate technology.  They were going on to Google to search and get prices for items to through a dream party.  The would come up with their guest list, say 10 friends, then check and see how much a ticket to Jamaica would cost (or Orlando, or wherever they wanted to go)--and then multiply that number by the number of people on their guest list to come up with a budget...When I questioned the misgraded papers, the teacher responded, "When I got your note that 12 = 1, I started thinking you might be right and I looked on the internet and found out that you were..."  I asked if there were any math books in the classroom; she pointed to some on a high shelf left by the previous teacher but said they weren't using them.  When I asked what curriculum they were using, she literally started pulling paper out of the trash can that she had printed from various internet sources.    

Good grief, I find all of this pretty horrifying and beyond unacceptable.

 

Edit:  What did you say to the teacher?   How did your aunt respond when she was told this?

Edited by peacelovehomeschooling
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Meaning what, exactly?

What do you mean? They don't teach to the book except where they are required to (except math-that's by the book). His teachers are passionate about the subjects they teach and it's reflected in their methods and what I hear and see come home. As a former homeschooler, I'm thrilled. :)

 

Mmm...in one class they did use a college textbook for the first semester in order to practice Cornell notes and appease the rules, I guess. It's clear his teachers have much more to offer than textbooks do, so they don't prioritize them.

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I teach in an elementary school and we do not use textbooks for math-not sure about science. We use Sharon Wells curriculum for math and it is aligned with the state standards. Any time there is a change in a state requirement, the curriculum will be updated to show that change. In being aligned with the standards, it is naturally geared to helping students be successful on the state test. Teachers are sent to workshops each six week grading period to help them become familiar with the text and receive tips on teaching it. Textbooks become dated so quickly. This way, the material is more up to date.

 

Our math teachers require students to keep a journal which is filled with supplemental material. This can be thought of as the student's textbook in which they are the author and illustrator.

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What do you mean? They don't teach to the book except where they are required to (except math-that's by the book). His teachers are passionate about the subjects they teach and it's reflected in their methods and what I hear and see come home. As a former homeschooler, I'm thrilled. :)

 

Mmm...in one class they did use a college textbook for the first semester in order to practice Cornell notes and appease the rules, I guess. It's clear his teachers have much more to offer than textbooks do, so they don't prioritize them.

 

 

If the teachers can come up with their own material, how is that material much deeper than a textbook can offer? What's intrinsically keeping textbooks from being as deep as what some teacher can come up with? Either way you're coming up with words, images, assignments, etc, no? If the teacher can come up with those, they could write them down, print them, and call it a textbook, right? What am I missing?

 

(I get that the teachers may be giving deeper material than what's in the textbooks the school assigns - but that's not the same as being deeper than what any textbook could possibly offer.)

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This is an older article, but it talks about why poor schools can't win at standardized testing and the answer all boils down to expensive textbooks that they can't afford. And if you don't have the newest textbooks *from the people who make the tests* then you cannot game the test and win. And if you don't game the test, then you can't get ahead or get your student ahead.

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/07/why-poor-schools-cant-win-at-standardized-testing/374287/

 

 

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Good grief, I find all of this pretty horrifying and beyond unacceptable.

 

Edit:  What did you say to the teacher?   How did your aunt respond when she was told this?

This was one of the many reasons we pulled our son out during 5th grade to homeschool and moved our daughter to private school the same year.  We discussed with the issue with the principal and the district superintendent that just praised the teacher for being innovative, creative, etc.

 

My aunt had many years of successful teaching experience and kept teaching math in the sequence of the book as much as possible--she has since retired; she probably would have continued teaching longer if it weren't for some of this nonsense.

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I teach in an elementary school and we do not use textbooks for math-not sure about science. We use Sharon Wells curriculum for math and it is aligned with the state standards. Any time there is a change in a state requirement, the curriculum will be updated to show that change. In being aligned with the standards, it is naturally geared to helping students be successful on the state test. Teachers are sent to workshops each six week grading period to help them become familiar with the text and receive tips on teaching it. Textbooks become dated so quickly. This way, the material is more up to date.

 

Our math teachers require students to keep a journal which is filled with supplemental material. This can be thought of as the student's textbook in which they are the author and illustrator.

I have a difficult time seeing how an elementary school math book can become dated quickly.  (state standards may change but that is different than elementary math changing or the way to teach it in a coherent, structured, logical way changing.)

 

I also do not see how a journal can be thought of as a textbook--or how an elementary school student can be the author and illustrator of their own textbook.  This is why I have college students in my classes who seriously ask me when I say they should read their textbook, "Oh, do you mean look at the PowerPoints?" or who have no idea what an index is when they need to look something up.  

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I've got one in high school and he has exactly 1 textbook at home (geography/world cultures). His bio teacher uses all power points, which they have access to from home. English is using novels and handouts. Math uses in-class textbooks and take home handouts. Spanish uses online textbooks and handouts.

 

My middle schooler has 2 textbooks at home- math and social studies. ETA- I forgot, she also has a science textbook. The only textbook that gets consistently used is math. The other 2 are sporadic. 

 

Having given my kids a K-7 education without using textbooks other than math, this seems like a pretty normal way of teaching.

Edited by Sassenach
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Well, my dual enrolled son is using online textbooks for 2 classes at a community college this semester as another data point.  

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Well, my dual enrolled son is using online textbooks for 2 classes at a community college this semester as another data point.  

Two of my 3 college classes feature textbooks, but only one of them is the basis for the class (math). My physio textbook is only used to enhance lectures.

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Dh teaches high school social studies. He has taught in three different public schools in our state in the last 11 years. All of them have had a classroom set of textbooks, but none issued a textbook to each student. The AP students are issued them in most classes, though. 

Edited by mom31257

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We have horrible textbooks for science in my district. I don't think any of the science teachers are using the textbooks that the district provides aside from the AP classes. If I could choose my own textbook, I would use Tro's Introductory Chemistry. It's pre-AP level, but it could still be used for on-level by picking problems carefully.

 

In science, we have them build their interactive notebooks to act as their source material for the class. Most of us have Google Classroom set up and post all of our powerpoints (actually Google Slides) and assignments along with tutorial videos and practice websites.

 

I know that the math teachers are using the textbooks for their courses. 

 

One of the issues is that students are not allowed to carry backpacks in the school. In order for students to be able to use a textbook, there need to be enough for the students to have one to check out and leave at home and another full class set for in the classroom. It just isn't reasonable to expect the students to be able to carry around those giant textbooks all day without a bag or backpack to put them in. Your locker might be in a part of the school that's far away from any of your classes and then you just don't have time to get to your locker in between classes to swap out books. Our district doesn't have enough copies of the textbooks to do that for every class.

 

 

Edited by AngieW in Texas

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I hate our hs for many reasons (and it is one of best in San Antonio).

 

My 10th grader has one textbook. I have seen him use it once all year. None of them have books. Most of them don’t bother ever going to their locker, there is no need.

 

He is getting A’s/B+’s. He has zero homework, never studies. But still great grades. I love my kid, but he is certainly not an A student, especially with zero work.

 

I think getting rid of text books is all part of making the work easier. The only ‘homework’ he ever has is two current event articles for history. After christmas his teacher changed it from two articles to only one. Not as a reward, but because too many people were not turning them in. Instead of punishing, she made it easier.

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I have a difficult time seeing how an elementary school math book can become dated quickly.  (state standards may change but that is different than elementary math changing or the way to teach it in a coherent, structured, logical way changing.)

 

I also do not see how a journal can be thought of as a textbook--or how an elementary school student can be the author and illustrator of their own textbook.  This is why I have college students in my classes who seriously ask me when I say they should read their textbook, "Oh, do you mean look at the PowerPoints?" or who have no idea what an index is when they need to look something up.  

 

Exactly this. For that matter, I fail to see how a high school-level calculus book or US history book or chemistry book becomes dated after only a year or two. While certainly there are advances, especially in the sciences, high schoolers aren't exactly on the cutting edge of these fields. And they're not supposed to be.

 

Clearly what's changing here isn't the material, it's what's on the TEST. The publishers are racking up while the schools scramble to keep up and the kids get left behind.

 

I'm all about living books and project-based learning, but there does come a point where it all needs to be tied together in a straightforward way, and I think in most cases some kind of spine is the best way to do that. That can be teacher-created, sure -- but why reinvent the wheel? Certainly good teachers find ways to bring the textbook to life, but it seems to me that what's lacking in a lot of classes these days is a sense of coherence.

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I am not a huge text-book fan, at all - I think they have a place, especially at higher levels, but they also have limits.

 

But this isn't a question about the relative value of textbooks vs living books, so I don't really see how all that comes into it. I absolutely cannot see how printing off random pages from the internet, or trying to recreate the sequence of a textbook without using one, is better than just using a good text-book.  It has all the disadvantages inherent in textbooks plus some others, unless you are really lucky.

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I hate our hs for many reasons (and it is one of best in San Antonio).

 

My 10th grader has one textbook. I have seen him use it once all year. None of them have books. Most of them don’t bother ever going to their locker, there is no need.

 

He is getting A’s/B+’s. He has zero homework, never studies. But still great grades. I love my kid, but he is certainly not an A student, especially with zero work.

 

I think getting rid of text books is all part of making the work easier. The only ‘homework’ he ever has is two current event articles for history. After christmas his teacher changed it from two articles to only one. Not as a reward, but because too many people were not turning them in. Instead of punishing, she made it easier.

Interesting. My friend has a daughter in 10th grade at the local public high school. She says her daughter is a straight A student, but shouldn’t be. Our state awards scholarship money for grades and ACT scores to every child. She says the teachers are giving out all the A’s they possibly can so kids can get more scholarship money.

Edited by BearWallowSchool
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Is anyone else disturbed by the idea of Education By Internet Articles?  

 

Yup.

 

Dh has judged a science fair the last two years.  He didn't expect them to read academic literature at the level they were at, but he noticed they didn't actually seem to read books either.  Everything was off the internet.

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Our local high school definitely uses textbooks, as does our cc and my daughter’s university. My kids’ cousins who live in a lackluster, poorer school district have switched to everything on an iPad. They’re attempting to use technology to catch up to better school districts and have missed the point entirely. It can be a crutch for underperforming schools.

 

I live in a very tech-literate place. Parents have largely caught on that we have a huge screen-time problem with today’s kids. There’s a reason that we’re reading articles about tech-free Silicon Valley schools largely populated by the children of tech executives.

 

We LOVE technology at my house, but I really think kids spend enough time online without teachers keeping them there all day. Not EVERY assignment requires access to the very latest information. Kids know how to find information online. They need to learn to lengthen their attention spans and generate their own thoughts.

 

Now that my youngest is 12th grade next year, I think my educational philosophy has shifted. If I had to form an elementary school today, I’d make it largely tech-free. I’d lengthen the school day but include more free play and eliminate homework. Children shouldn’t work later than their parents! I’d include significant outdoor time in all but dangerous weather and instead of a glut of executive-style administrators, each teacher would have a secretary and a classroom assistant.

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I live in a very tech-literate place. Parents have largely caught on that we have a huge screen-time problem with today’s kids. There’s a reason that we’re reading articles about tech-free Silicon Valley schools largely populated by the children of tech executives.

 

 

This is very true! Dd is enrolled in an online high school with synchronous class meetings using meeting software and moodle class management tools. She has a physical textbook in every class except literature and that class expects them to print out the materials and mark them up. If you live your life immersed in screens, online books lose their luster really fast.

 

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I am not a huge text-book fan, at all - I think they have a place, especially at higher levels, but they also have limits.

 

But this isn't a question about the relative value of textbooks vs living books, so I don't really see how all that comes into it. I absolutely cannot see how printing off random pages from the internet, or trying to recreate the sequence of a textbook without using one, is better than just using a good text-book.  It has all the disadvantages inherent in textbooks plus some others, unless you are really lucky.

 

Amen.

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Variations of this are becoming more common.

 

Do they provide a digital textbook?  Sometimes they provide one to view on laptops, e-readers or other format in class and then a subscription at home as well.  Textbooks are becoming less popular in schools at a fairly rapid pace. Cost to school districts, physical storage between use at school, keeping track of accounts when books are lost, vandalism and the weight the student has to carry with them during the day are all major deterrents to paper textbooks.  

 

One school my daughter went didn't use traditional 2 inch thick textbooks, but did  provide packets of information or thin paperback sections of text books.  It was annoying because you couldn't look back to previous material. 

 

My son will be in middle school next year. They told us that the children will not be carrying textbooks home everyday. There is a class set of textbooks in the class and you can "Check out" a set of textbooks to keep at home if you want (and they are due back at the end of the year). Or you can choose to access the information online.

 

 

As crazy as it makes me, it's pretty common in my city.

 

A lot of the elementary and middle schools are skipping textbooks too.

 

As a 5th grader, the only year my son has had consistent use of a textbook that came home was last year -- 4th grade Texas history.  Several years I've seen Science textbooks in hte classroom but they do not come home nad I don't know how much they get used. Last year there was a classroom set of English textbooks in the class as well.

Through third grade, Math was not a textbook, it was a set of sheets pulled out of two workbooks, with all the unused workbooks coming home at the end of the year.  They still do that, but he's in a special program that is covering 4-6th grade math in two years so the teachers supplement a lot with other worksheets.

 

Edited by vonfirmath

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One of the problems my kids ran into is they rarely were required to do any reading from textbooks in HS. Even at high level courses, as in AP. Then when they got to college the expectation was there that they be able to handle textbook reading at a rapid pace. They weren't prepared.

 

We had textbooks when I was in high school (Late 80s) and didn't have to do hardly any reading from them.  Math used them the most.

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Yup.

 

Dh has judged a science fair the last two years.  He didn't expect them to read academic literature at the level they were at, but he noticed they didn't actually seem to read books either.  Everything was off the internet.

 

Your husband should go to the library and try to find books on these subjects.  We have gone to using Internet for research after utterly exhausting what is available at the local library (two. But only one typically has good non-fiction coverage) in encyclopedia, books, and magazines at my son's understanding level and not finding enough.

 

His science fair project this year was about pendulums. There's an encyclopedia article, and a page here and there that says the same information about them.  We got out the adult books and they were too technical though he did write down the math equation he found there.  But going online he could find some youth science journals that gave him a lot more information about pendulums, good pictures and even some videos.

 

We had the same experience when trying to find more information about the brain and how it works.  OR even about neurologists and neurosurgeons.  Lots of information about doctors, almost nothing about specialists.

 

Edited by vonfirmath
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This is an older article, but it talks about why poor schools can't win at standardized testing and the answer all boils down to expensive textbooks that they can't afford. And if you don't have the newest textbooks *from the people who make the tests* then you cannot game the test and win. And if you don't game the test, then you can't get ahead or get your student ahead.

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/07/why-poor-schools-cant-win-at-standardized-testing/374287/

 

 

I call BS. Yes, if you don't use the newest textbooks that are perfectly aligned with the test, you're less likely to have kids get perfect scores, but you certainly don't need the latest textbooks for kids to get good scores (as in, >90th percentile). I'm sure that tons of boardies can attest to this, since possibly most of us don't use the latest perfectly aligned textbooks. 

 

Now, having slightly dated textbooks is of course an additional obstacle on top of all the other problems poor schools have, but IMO, it's one of their smallest problems (assuming they do actually have enough books in usable condition for all students and the books are less than, say, 25 or so years old and were good books to begin with).

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Your husband should go to the library and try to find books on these subjects.  We have gone to using Internet for research after utterly exhausting what is available at the local library (two. But only one typically has good non-fiction coverage) in encyclopedia, books, and magazines at my son's understanding level and not finding enough.

 

His science fair project this year was about pendulums. There's an encyclopedia article, and a page here and there that says the same information about them.  We got out the adult books and they were too technical though he did write down the math equation he found there.  But going online he could find some youth science journals that gave him a lot more information about pendulums, good pictures and even some videos.

 

We had the same experience when trying to find more information about the brain and how it works.  OR even about neurologists and neurosurgeons.  Lots of information about doctors, almost nothing about specialists.

 

We have a good public library system, I'd be surprised if there was nothing on most of the topics - I know there is lots of stuff about science fair topics, and there are also quite a few journals.

 

There are also at least three different university libraries with science books.

 

I don't think it's that they can't get there either, it's a private school.  

 

Some kids with more unusual topics, sure - but there is no way they are all unable to find books.

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In this area its common not to have middle or high school textbooks for math..the district is short on funding and students are below grade level in reading.  Teachers are expected to use a variety of instructional methods and actually teach, not stick to any one approach.  The first time a textbook is used is pay-for-play DE College Algebra, and the student will be buying it.  The district money that was used for textbooks appears to have been designated for photocopies. The actual day to day homework from grade 6 to A2 is a problem set printed out from various resources.  MIF is the elementary school curriculum and if the teacher isn't too good, one just hits the internet for explanations (or pulls out one's SM textbook) and extra practice as the dc aren't allowed to bring those textbooks home.

 

 

 

 

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We have a good public library system, I'd be surprised if there was nothing on most of the topics - I know there is lots of stuff about science fair topics, and there are also quite a few journals.

 

There are also at least three different university libraries with science books.

 

I don't think it's that they can't get there either, it's a private school.  

 

Some kids with more unusual topics, sure - but there is no way they are all unable to find books.

 

It doesn't have to be "Nothing" -- it can just be "Not enough"

 

And yeah -- we've got University libraries -- University of Texas at Austin and the Austin Community Colleges. Since no one in our house attends the colleges 1) We do not really have access to them and 2) I would not expect to find books there written to even a precocious child's understanding level (we found DS could read at a higher level than he can really do effective research)

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I call BS. Yes, if you don't use the newest textbooks that are perfectly aligned with the test, you're less likely to have kids get perfect scores, but you certainly don't need the latest textbooks for kids to get good scores (as in, >90th percentile). I'm sure that tons of boardies can attest to this, since possibly most of us don't use the latest perfectly aligned textbooks. 

 

Now, having slightly dated textbooks is of course an additional obstacle on top of all the other problems poor schools have, but IMO, it's one of their smallest problems (assuming they do actually have enough books in usable condition for all students and the books are less than, say, 25 or so years old and were good books to begin with).

 

Ime farrar is right.  These tests include obscure material - if the dept chair decides a unit or a subuni isn't going to be taught due to low chance of being on test, the students who don't have a tutor or the right text will be caught short.  What we found is that the school was using dumbed down textbooks for some subjects, such as science, and there wasn't a snowball's chance in Hades of getting enough out of the text to grab more than a pass on the Regent's or even answer all the questions in the problem set bank...we did what eveyone else did and bought the amsco test prep books and we bought the graphing calculator so the kid wouldn't have to play 'pass the calculator' during the algebra exam and had enough experience with it to not waste test time.

 

The only place we didn't see the updated text necessary was R. Global History.

 

And in NY, its not poor schools that have issues as they have Title 1 money..it's the rural schools and the diverse schools...they don't have the tax base or the Title 1 funding to do the remediation they need and buy materials for the on or above grade level students.  

Edited by Heigh Ho

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