Saturday, September 10, 2005

Schools with old texts adapting to new year

Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News: "Schools with old texts adapting to new year"

The Dynasty television references in the old textbooks are lost on Ty Gilbert's French students. Same with the nods to Surya Bonaly, a formerly famous French figure skater.

"The kids are going, 'Who?' " said Mr. Gilbert, who teaches at Molina High School in the Dallas Independent School District.

But worse than outdated cultural references, his students will be stuck with textbooks that are torn, missing pages and written on for another year. He'll be forced to teach without the new workbooks, videos and audiocassettes available with the new books approved by the state for use this year.

Distribution of millions of new textbooks for Texas foreign language, health, art and music classes were held up this summer because of legislative disputes about funding them. The state promised funding for new books only last month. Delivery from publishers can take longer than a month, leaving many districts with tough decisions about what materials to use in the classroom, several weeks into the school year.

Some teachers, including Mr. Gilbert, won't be able to put the new materials to use at all this year for consistency's sake, or because curriculum and tests corresponding to the new books couldn't be prepared in time.

"Look what it's done to us," he said of the delay.

Teachers don't have the tools they need, he said. "That's the shame. We were looking forward to everything, and we got nothing."

The problem is exacerbated in growing districts, where there aren't enough old books to keep up with growing populations. Many schools report that they've been unable to give students books to take home. Instead, books are left in class and shared by students.


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