Monday, December 24, 2007

Trust teachers to select their own textbooks 4

[See post 1 of the series for context.]

Argument for top-down, one-size-fits-all textbook adoption:
It would allow the district to negotiate a better deal from the publisher: a volume discount would become available.

To the best of my knowledge, this is a myth. Like any persistent myth, it is intuitive and compelling. But a myth nonetheless.

Short of a presentation of publishers’ price lists showing the volume discounts, let’s dismiss this issue apocryphal. On the odd chance that this is in fact the case, I would nevertheless contend that it is not the best use of the funds available. Any monetary benefit is outweighed by the corresponding pedagogical detriment:

Forcing textbooks on teachers who would not choose them does damage to their instructional program.

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