News 200 Page Limit on Textbooks

1. May 31, 2005

TheStatutoryApe

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/opinion/11777621.htm [Broken]

As if we don't already have a problem with kids not wanting to read.

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
2. May 31, 2005

JamesU

I hate textbooks. but a 200-page kimit is kind of stupid. our textbooks have about 400+ pages in them. most of the pages provide very useful information. Even though we don't read all of the pages, I'd say about 350 is a good limit.

I know if anyone at my school found out about this post (and if I lived in california) I would be hated by all

3. May 31, 2005

Rabid

That's almost as bad as the Republicans that want to teach creationism.

4. Jun 1, 2005

Grogs

The textbook publishers are probably drooling over this one. Instead of selling a 600 page physics text for $50, they can sell Physics 1, 2, and 3, each 200 pages long, for$40 each.

And is it just me, or does referring students to the internet for additional learning scare the crap out of everybody. Jonny might come to class the next day with desgins for his new 'free energy' machine and 'absolute' proof the Apollo landings were faked.

Apparently ignorance is alive and well on both sides of the aisle.

5. Jun 1, 2005

Joel

I limit myself to say, WHAT?!

6. Jun 2, 2005

TsunamiJoe

i dont know about you,but when i do internet research, i stay on official websites and dont wonder google and such places...

7. Jun 2, 2005

Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
Is that for real?! Well, I guess that's one way to ban biology textbooks when they can't get their fiction taught in the classroom. Even the 1957 Catholic school version of a biology textbook that I have in my possession is over 500 pages long, and that's really biology-light.

They didn't put any restrictions on the other dimensions, did they? I can see it now. Sure, it's only 200 pages long, but it's 4 ft across! :rofl:

Grogs is right, this sounds like something the publishers would beg for...sell every textbook as a 5 or 6 volume set!

And, of course with education budgets already tightened, now they expect schools to go out and waste money buying new books when they already have perfectly good ones just because the current books are over 200 pages? I'd be hard-pressed to find any book in my library that's less than 200 pages!

8. Jun 2, 2005

Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
But how does a student assess what is an "official" or reputable website if they haven't yet learned the subject adequately from an approved textbook to know the difference yet?

Actually, there's a solution that publishers will also love. Sell every textbook as only 200 pages, and then bundle all the rest into a CD or DVD. Their profits will skyrocket when they can save on the printing costs! Oh, and sorry if you're too poor to own a computer, you just don't get to learn.

9. Jun 2, 2005

TheStatutoryApe

This actually came from the Dems. I think a big reason why I lean a bit right is because of how crazy the lefties here in California are.

They're supposed to site particular websites I believe but a good point brought up is figuring out how to decern what sites are suitable by California education standards. Also I can just imagine a slip up occuring and a site being referenced that shouldn't have been because it wasn't properly investigated before publishing. Or maybe it was but the site changed it's material.
Oh and imagine all the sites wanting to get put into textbooks for commercial reasons and people wanting to be advertised on the sites referenced for commercial reasons. It'll be the next great step in advertising, they'll get em while in the classroom.

Someone else brought up elsewhere the point that this may become the standard in other states aswell, by default, if all the major textbook publishers gear their production toward the standards here in California.

Last edited: Jun 2, 2005
10. Jun 2, 2005

kat

Well....regardless of what Cali's motives are, I'd be very glad to see a trend of shorter textbooks. I've actually even discussed this with our local school board. It would be preferable to have text books broken into quarterly units or some such thing, still covering the same amount of material. On the other hand, teaching older children to discern between information and disinformation on the internet might be one positive influence of such a move (see how some on this forum have difficulty with this, for instance)
Why would I support shorter text books? My number one reason would be Because, having to carry multiple large heavy textbooks home from school night after night is quite literally breaking our childrens backs. A second reason would be that large textbooks are costly and soon become outdated. utilizing smaller textbooks outlining material and giving research instructions, accessing the internet and yes, perhaps a greater use of material on discs would be cheaper then purchasing cases upon cases of large cumbersome and expensive textbooks.

11. Jun 2, 2005

brewnog

When I did my Physics A-level, we had two textbooks which were probably only 150 pages each. We were also given a CD with MASSES of information on it,- someone printed it off and the stack of paper was about 6 feet high. The CD had a really good search/browse feature, so that you could easily find a great deal about any relevant topic really easily.

12. Jun 2, 2005

FredGarvin

That has got to be the lamest reason I have ever heard of. How far are parents going to go so that their precious little ones don't even have to lift a finger to do anything? For most kids lugging books to school is probably the only exercise they'll see.

How do they become outdated? Short of a book on current topics, how does an local elementary school math, science or spelling book become outdated? They don't. School districts, like college professors change their minds on what is the fashionable book of the month to use.

13. Jun 2, 2005

Pengwuino

Soon kids will simply be bringing 4 ZIP disks for each of there 4 subjects!

14. Jun 2, 2005

hypatia

I was one of those kids that read ahead of my assignment, often finishing the books in several weeks. That would of sucked for me to only have 200 pages.

15. Jun 2, 2005

danAlwyn

I think it depends on the school. When I was in High School I routinely trudged about a mile and a half to school with a fifty or sixty pound backpack. Now that's not too far (I routinely take six to ten mile walks), but I've since been told that carrying more than thirty percent of your body weight on your back can cause stress. Especially since most backpacks are not well designed to balance out the weight. This may help explain that lower-back problems I'm beginning to develop (I'm 23 now). I'm fairly tall though, a shorter, lighter kid carrying my backpack would probably receive much more damage. In schools like that a lighter textbook might be better, and students would have more incentive to carry them too and from class.

16. Jun 2, 2005

FredGarvin

There are so many different things that influence lower back problems. Simply supporting your own body weight when you walk is going to induce stress on your body. I could understand it if the size of the books in comparisson to the kids was way out of balance, like a 20 pound book for a 50 pound little girl, but kids that will have a large textbook like this are not going to be that small.

If there is a move to put more textbooks in digital form, I'm all for it to save the paper. Just don't use the tired old "it's for the kids" routine.

17. Jun 2, 2005

1123581321

as if the school system hasn't dumbed down everything else...

Fibonacci

18. Jun 2, 2005

Art

19. Jun 2, 2005

kat

Riiight..

http://www.promoteot.org/AI_BackpackFlap.html
My 13 year old often has homework in 4 subjects, carrying home the text books along with research materials makes for a very heavy backpack. In fact I'm no weakling and I find it to be at least as heavy as th 40 to 50lb grain sacks I've carried for our animals.
I guess our region is different then that of the city or perhaps it's just the kids I'm familiar with but..they get plenty of excercise with their overwhelmingly busy schedule of sports and dance and quite frankly... carrying an overweight back pack isn't the best way for children to get their excercise and suggesting it should be considered as such is just..plain ignorant.

Yes, well in part I have to agree with you...since I've been in this school district I've seen a minimum of 4 different reading programs accessed. Each requiring a different set of texts. 3 different mathematical programs...each requiring it's own set of texts. Although this has nothing to do with "fashionable" it has more to do with incentives offered by the companies sponsering the new program which makes it less expensive to switch to a new program instead of replacing the worn out text books of the current program.
However, science, social studies as well as reading material does change and does become outdated..along with, as mentioned above, worn out. I believe most spelling books are paper back, fairly thin and already developed to be used in sequence so I really am not referring to spelling books at any rate.

Last edited: Jun 2, 2005
20. Jun 2, 2005

TheStatutoryApe

As far as motives go we have some pretty piss poor schools here in California. You may or may not have heard that the governator has "cut school spending". It's not quite accurate. They tend to fail to mention that it was the increase that was cut, cut down to a measily three billion dollar increase. The real problem is that the money is mismanaged.
So the thrust here is they have intimated it would cost less yet they have no estimates on what it will cost. As already pointed out it is not likely that it will cost any less and it may wind up costing more. I seriously doubt that the publishing companies are going to be very happy about losing money on this. Another indirect cost would possibly come in the form of internet access. As I already stated there are many piss poor schools here so what happens to the kids who have little to no access to the internet? If the schools adopt this they will be forced to be sure to have adequate internet access when they are already hurting because the teachers themselves are underpaid. Or else they will simply be forced to purchase these new books but the students will be hurting because they don't yet have adequate internet access for their use.

As far as the health issue goes I'd have to say that there must be a better solution. And by the way yes here in California kids aren't very physically active. At any rate as far as I can see it putting this cap on page counts will likely result in a loss of quality and content of the educational material. Personally I don't think this is a proper compromise to ease the health issue.

More or less I would say that updating materials and getting rid of extraneous material is probably a good idea but this particular way of approaching it seems rather misguided.