Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Columns

May 22, 2010

BELCHER: Rick’s right

Perry’s e-textbooks idea may be best move of all

Corsicana — It’s not too often that I say this — Rick Perry is right.

It’s not because I’m a big Perry fan — it’s because his idea to strongly consider “computerizing” school instructional material could be a great idea. Especially in light of the “battle of the school board” that took place in Austin this week, over content of school text books.

Would there still be fights like the one we just witnessed — pretty plainly split among party lines — over what, and presumably how we’ll be teaching social studies to our kids?

Of course there will.

But here’s the kicker — changing something, whether an error, an omission, or an out-and-out bad decision by lawmakers, becomes a “software update” as opposed to an “out of the question” reprint of millions and millions of text books.

Maybe I’m over-simplifying the process (maybe a little) but things that need to be changed, corrected, revised, or detracted, could be done electronically much easier and cheaper than killing a few thousand trees. Just download the “e-book update” and you’re good to go.

Of course, Perry’s good idea comes with a dilemma that most such good ideas come with — how are we going to pay for it?

That is a good question. No, that’s a great question.

It is also one I challenge our elected folks to come up with an answer for, sooner rather than later.

Last week, I wrote about my belief of the importance of keeping our schools and classrooms up-to-date technologically. The concept of the “e-book” would certainly be an important part of that, in my view — an expensive, but important part of the puzzle.

There are probably a lot of educators that don’t agree with the concept of the “e-book.” I certainly respect that. They teach. I don’t. But I think most would agree that our children today are far more “tech-savvy” than their moms and dads are, and, probably more likely to be comfortable with the technology.

Having the “e-book” also would allow for yearly (or semi-yearly, or monthly) updates to books, incorporating current events, medical or scientific breakthroughs, or other important information into the instructional materials. Or, to correct the aforementioned error or respond to “political winds” that may blow.

I guess the real solution for that one is to take politics out of education.

Maybe I’ll ask Santa for that next year — assuming, of course, we’re still teaching the concept of “Santa” in our schools. I haven’t checked the new text book yet.

                    —————

Bob Belcher is Managing Editor of the Daily Sun. His column appears on Sundays. He may be reached by e-mail at belcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? E-mail: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

 

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