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Textual Artifacts

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Unfortunately, textbook inadequacies are also a part of America. A Chicago Tribune investigation has found that, in Illinois, nearly 80 percent of the districts surveyed are using textbooks that are out-of-date, or at least eight years old. Twenty-two percent of the districts are working with books that are at least 15 years old. The report attributes the problem in part to overreliance on unstable local funding for book purchases. In any case, it hasn't been easy on teachers. Examples of tomes currently in play include a high school contemporary history text that ends amid the Reagan administration and an elementary-level science book that doesn't account for more than 40 of Jupiter's moons. The Tribune also found that many schools were systematically relying on duct tape and rubber bands to hold aging books together. "Duct tape is our friend; it's our Band-Aid," admitted one district superintendent.

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Who says you need a textbook, anyway?

It is a supplement, not the curriculum. Find other ways to teach without relying on the textbook.

Textbooks are merely a tool. The updated info can be learned through research projects. The fact that the texts are not current could be a lesson itself - teach students research skills and that often information is learned using numerous resources not just one. The cost of new textbooks can be put toward other expenses, like field trips that could offer opportunities for hands-on learning and a chance for children to learn rather than be bored by just reading a textbook.

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  • A.R.: Textbooks are merely a tool. The updated info can be read more
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