Textbooks Put to Test Educators, Parents Review Materials
Dickson, Terry, The Florida Times Union
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
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
"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
"It's better to hear the complaints now than after the state
buys the books and little Johnny takes it home. …