Textbooks Put to Test Educators, Parents Review Materials

Article excerpt

WAYCROSS -- Teachers are traveling to 11 schools around the

state for the next three weeks, examining the social studies and

art textbooks they may use in coming years.

The state Board of Education is asking school administrators,

teachers, parents and others to review a massive number of books

for possible inclusion on the state's list of texts. The books

can be reviewed in Waycross at Ware County Middle School and in

Valdosta at S.L. Mason Elementary School.

Some teachers liked what they saw. Others had concerns about a

book's durability, not to mention its appropriateness for the

grade targeted.

Martha Carswell drove to Waycross yesterday from Douglas, where

she teaches Georgia history at West Coffee Middle School.

Of the two Georgia history books under review, she found one

she really likes.

"I love this book," she said, examining its pages. She looked

long enough, however, to find a problem.

"I don't think this will hold up," she said, noticing the cover

was somewhat loose. "The books have to last two or three years."

And she wishes that all Georgia history books, including the

one she likes, would talk more about what went on in the rest of

the world. That knowledge is important on the Iowa Test of Basic

Skills, a standardized test used to gauge student progress.

Bari Sims also drove from Douglas, where she teaches

second-graders, thus far without social studies books. In the

lower grades, it typically falls to teachers to create their own

lessons for some subjects and, Sims said, she was looking for

some help.

"Trying to find materials is so hard," she said.

Some have found high school texts too simplistic, while Sims

said some materials for lower grades are too difficult.

"Community. Museum. Apartments," she said reading through the

text. "Those are tough words for second-graders."

Ed Flowers, who teaches seventh-grade social studies students

at Ware County Middle School, is coordinating the review process

at the school, where the social studies materials are in one

cafeteria and the fine arts materials in another.

There are 250 pieces in social studies and more than 100 in

arts, including maps, prints, compact discs, videotapes,

workbooks, flash cards and, of course, textbooks.

Flowers, who has reviewed some texts himself, said it is good

that parents can look at the materials early and make their

objections known.

"It's better to hear the complaints now than after the state

buys the books and little Johnny takes it home. …