History textbooks in many California classrooms won’t mention the election of President Obama or the subprime mortgage meltdown until at least 2016. Stem cell research and climate change could be absent from science texts even longer. And students will be using aging books for years longer than planned because of California’s education budget cuts.
To cope with funding cuts, districts may use textbook money for other purposes, such as paying teachers. The state Board of Education won’t approve new textbooks until 2016.
I was raised on old textbooks in the Baby Boom Era. It was a good thing we always ran out of time at the end of the year, because our history books — all approved by the John Birch Society — finished at the start of the Cold War. And yet we knew that Harry Truman was no longer the president. Even then, teachers went beyond the textbooks.
Districts with old books and no money can try the govenor’s Free Digital Textbook Initiatve. However, it’s not entire free, reports the San Jose Mercury News.
. . . many schools don’t have enough computers or teachers trained in online learning to fully take advantage of digital textbooks, experts say.
State officials counter that even classrooms without computers for every student can still use electronic textbooks, which can be downloaded, viewed on a computer monitor, projected on a screen or printed out.
That still leaves teachers with little training in how to use digital resources.