Budgeted to fail: NC's textbook shortage worsens

It's hard to teach by the book when you don't have one:

Lucas said that districts across the state used to adopt a new set of books each year, working on a five-year rotation to cover each subject area. That meant that almost no textbook was older than five years. The last time the district bought a set of books to cover an entire subject area was six years ago. More and more classes are now working with books that are more than 10 years old.

It’s unclear whether the state’s textbook budget will ever return to its peak in the 2009-10 school year. That school year, the state budgeted $111 million for textbooks. Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools received more than $2 million for textbooks that year. The next, it received just $88,000.

Of course there's no mention in this article of what government changes occurred between the 2009-10 school year and the 2010-11 school year. That's when Republicans finally got a chance to run things (into the ground) and "reform the failing public schools." Apparently the first step was to put a stop to all that book-learnin' and get down to the basics of forcing teachers to magically produce materials for students to study for homework assignments. Mediocrity, here we come.


I've had this discussion

with many friends on the left, and a sizeable portion of them make the (imo) erroneous argument: "Digital learning is the future of the classroom! We shouldn't waste money on textbooks when you can download anything you need to an iPad or a Kindle!"

When the day comes the state and/or local governments are prepared to lease or purchase enough of these devices for every child to have one, count me in. But until that day arrives, both students and teachers need up-to-date textbooks to facilitate learning.


an internet that can provide for the demand at home.

You should come to Rutherford County and observe the kids doing homework in their parents' vehicles. They're parked at McDonald's doing homework over Mickey D's wi-fi because they can only get dial-up or some outrageously expensive, undependable satellite access at home.

There's no point in relying on digital learning without a satisfactory, dependable and affordable internet connection in rural areas.


Rural broadband isn't just an issue about bringing entertainment to everybody, it's about economics and education and a whole slew of other issues.

Digital 'books' aren't cheap,

Digital 'books' aren't cheap, either.

They are not a magic panacea.

One school district uses some of their school buses as mobile hot spots, and park them in neighborhoods where kids need the access.

Textbooks can be a

Textbooks can be a traditional hardback book or they can be downloaded books on a reader issued by the school. You don't have to have internet access for that. But what you do have to have are the funds to purchase them.

I'm a moderate Democrat.