New Textbooks Are on Chopping Block in the State Budget Crisis
In addition to losing teachers, Texas schools could also lose new textbooks in the legislature's struggle to balance the state budget, and it's turning into a tug of war between the legislature and the State Board of Education.
State Board members worry that lawmakers might not provide funding for new textbooks and instructional material - even though they're giving the Legislature nearly two billion dollars from the endowment that provides free textbooks for students.
The board says lawmakers must spend at least $500 million more on textbooks and instructional material for biology, chemistry and physics in high school, and for English language arts and reading in lower grades.
Board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, says without new and up to date textbooks students won't be able to handle tougher school accountability tests.
Some wonder why the state should buy new textbooks when schools face up to $11 billion in budget cuts. House Public Education Committee Chairman Scott Hochberg of Houston says it makes no sense to buy textbooks and then fire the teachers who would be using them.
This funding crisis over expensive printed textbooks has some people saying it's time to switch to digital textbooks. They say updating them could be done instantaneously, and most students find the most up-to-date information on the Internet anyway.