Friday, September 28, 2007

Wanting What’s Best for Our Kids

Something has been bothering me since the start of this new school year, and I would like to share my concerns and hope to gain a better insight. I also wish to learn what, if anything, can be done to resolve this dilemma.

The fifth grade of the elementary school my daughter attends is not issuing textbooks to the students.

I've had conversations with the teachers, exchanged email with the principal, and have talked with some other school district employees. And even after all these communications, I'm still not quite sure of the reasons behind the decision not to issue textbooks. I can't help but believe this is a cost-saving measure and not a decision based on our children's best interest.

One reason cited for the decision not to issue textbooks to the individual students is that they want to encourage our kids to use additional resources. They don't want our kids relying too heavily on a textbook. They want the kids to know how to look up information outside of a textbook. All fine and dandy, but what is wrong with their knowing how and using a textbook too?

Another reason mentioned is because they are using a new, advanced, hands-on curriculum and the textbooks are outdated. To that… I say buy new textbooks that are up to date.

I've also been told that this decision is so that we can encourage thinking outside the box. That we've raised a society of middle-managers and need to encourage more creative thinking. Great! But I still don't get how not having individual textbooks is going to help that.

Before school started, my sister told me that her child's school was not issuing student textbooks. No individual textbooks, just a classroom set that can be checked out! I was appalled and thought what kind of a school would try to teach students without books? What a surprise it was to learn that our school district is doing this too. Is this a trend? Are there others?

I believe most of us are reasonable people and open to change. We want what is best for our kids, and oftentimes change is for the better. This is one change however that is difficult for me, and I am very curious how other parents feel. Please share your comments. Perhaps together we can uncover the truth and come to a better understanding. Thank you.