Monday, July 04, 2005

Book Report

Fri, Jul. 01, 2005

Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Unless the Texas Legislature gets off the dime -- actually, off a few billion dimes -- schoolchildren statewide will be starting classes this fall with worn-out and outdated textbooks.

In the regular session, the 79th Legislature failed to appropriate $378 million to buy books that were adopted by the State Board of Education last fall and approved and selected by school districts this spring.

The books have been printed and are stored in warehouses awaiting authorization of already existing funds by the Legislature.

The Texas Constitution requires the board of education to determine and set aside part of the revenue from the Permanent School Fund to pay for textbooks and other instructional materials.

School districts appoint a textbook coordinator to oversee the process. And the Textbook Coordinators' Association is hopping mad.

Association President Brian Squyres notes that unless the new books are released, this fall's students will be using texts that were printed before the incoming high school freshmen were born.

Worse, they don't cover material that the state requires students to know.

Some in the Legislature want to move toward computer-based texts -- and that's probably a fine idea. But it ought to start with the next generation of textbooks -- and not those in storage.

This seems simple enough for even the Texas Legislature to understand.

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