Yup. I said it.
I think schools should get rid of text books.
Hasta la bye-bye.
I mean, let’s be honest, the way the first week of the new presidency has gone, if we project out a couple years, I could see some government mandated book burning anyways. But that is neither here nor there.
Whether or not we HAVE to get rid of textbooks, we SHOULD get rid of textbooks.
To be more specific, we should get rid of all textbooks, but only in high school.
The Elimination Of High School Textbooks
Before I get in to the disgusting numbers, let’s start with some practicality.
Because of phones and the internet, we will never need to remember facts again.
Who was the 29th president of the United States? Google it.
What does chlorophyll do? Google it.
How do you do I find the exact value of tan (s + t) given that sin s = 1/4, with s in quadrant 2, and sin t = -1/2, with t in quadrant 4?
WTF is that?
Google, tan. Google, sin. Google, exact value. Google, trigonometry and quadrants. Google, Kahn Academy and watch videos on trigonometry. Aaaaaannnnnnd done. Thank you very much Mr. Google.
What the hell do you need textbooks for?
In fact, if we are trying to get our students to be more prepared for the real world, wouldn’t we want them to have the ability to find formulas and solutions on their own anyways? How many text books do you have at work? I would put my money on one. It is a general, literal explanation of your job, and it does you little more than no good because your job involves so much more than anything they could ever write in a textbook. Sort of like real textbooks. What a kawinki-dink!
So what do you do?
You search, you research, you talk to people, you get answers, and you solve the problem.
Why not start that with 9th graders?
Not only do they do it anyways (mostly looking up stupid s***, scanning Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.), but they need to know how to do it to be successful in life.
The earlier they are practicing (deliberately) the better, right? So when they get older and their boss needs a spread sheet, or a power point, or whatever crap they need for work, the employee can say, “got it.”
Then run back to their office and figure out how in the hell to do it, just like we all do.
To be honest, my whole job is looking up how to do things. I see a picture I like, or an effect that is new, an editing trick, or a marketing technique, and I look it up. I learn how to do it, then I apply it for my clients.
What happens even more often, just like the employee described above, a client says, “I really like this, can you do that?” What is my answer 99.99% time? Of course! Then I run home and look it up, sweating, hoping I can actually do it!
There are no text books for life.
I move that we don’t need text books in high school either.
Can teachers write problems? Yes.
Are teachers experts in their given subject matter? Yes (you hope).
So why do we need books?
In fact, if teachers have to come up with their own problems, I bet the homework load would go WAY down. It’s not as easy to give 50 geometry problems if you are writing them out yourself. I think homework is stupid anyways. I like the reverse homework strategy. Do all the work in class, and get research based homework. Learn at home, where special instruction is not needed. Just gather information for when you have a teacher to explain it to you.
Ok. So there is the practical reason.
Now for the…..
Dolla Bills Yall!
Get ready to puke, or crap your pants. Either way, do not read this section on a full stomach.
Lots of numbers here (big ones).
Here we go.
The average text book cost: $68 (I think this is low, but I will roll with it)
The average number of academic classes per student: 5 (PE, Art, sports, etc. Probably don’t have text books. Unless you have a real hard ass PE teacher. If you do, adjust the numbers in the formula below).
Here is the first part of the equation: 68 (avg. cost of books) x 5 (avg. number of academic classes) = 340
That means a text book, per academic class, per student, per year = $340.
“But wait (says the school district employee. Insert whinny, annoying voice here), we have a 7 year cycle on textbooks in California, so that number is much lower!”
So let’s adjust the formula: 340 (books per year)/7 (how often they update textbooks in years) = $48.57 per year, per student.
Not bad, huh? Not even $50 per student on textbooks! Yay, budget!!
(This is the point where I normally would say, you get what you pay for, but this next section’s numbers are so high, I will refrain).
The current number of high school students in California (including continuation, alternative, and community schools): 1,891,060
Now, take the $48.57 (book cost per year, per student) and x by 1,891, 060
$48.57 x 1,891,060 = $92,140,204.20
$92 MILLION DOLLARS!!!!
Have you said holy s*** yet?
I did, and I wrote it!
And that is one year!!!
I already said that, didn’t I?
How much would the state be saving in a 7 year textbook cycle?
Hold on to your hats: $644,981,429.40!!!
ALMOST $650 MILLION DOLLARS!!!!
Is there even a swear word for that?
I didn’t think so.
This is where you just stare and drool.
Wipe your face.
Savings For The Biggest School Districts In California
I am going to make this simple. I am just going to multiply the $48.57 by the number of high school students in the given school districts.
Here we go. The savings per year, for 3 of the biggest districts in California.
Los Angeles Unified: $7,407,264.99
San Diego Unified: $1,450,057.35
San Francisco Unified: $768,425.97
Keep in mind, this is per year. If we expand these out for the 7 year textbook cycle, the numbers are ridiculous.
Think Of The Possibilities
What could your district do with all of that extra money?
More teachers? Better teachers? More programs? Better programs? Unbelievable technology for your school site? Sports programs that have been cut? Art programs? Music? Maybe you give the students a stipend to buy novels, biographies, and autobiographies to help them customize their learning. Maybe invest in tablets for them all so the books are cheaper?
Do what your kids need the most! The possibilities are endless! Think of what this could mean for your district, your community, and your city?
I know this will start small, a school or two, but I know it will grow. Why? Because all of these kids are on their damn phones all the time looking up s** they don’t know anyways. Why not take advantage of that and apply it to school?
The question almost answers itself, I know.
I can’t wait to hear about this being developed. I know it will happen. Some ideas are too good to pass up.
Good luck all you crazy ones, misfits, and rebels.
It’s time to change the world.