A Textbook Problem: The Politics of Textbook Adoption

Policy Forum
January 12, 2004
5:00PM to 6:30PM EST
1st floor/Wintergarden
Featuring Diane Ravitch, New York University; Frank Wang, Saxon Publishers; and Stephen Driesler, Association of American Publishers.
In The Language Police author Diane Ravitch makes it clear that the process by which textbooks are adopted in the United States is hyper-politicized, and children are suffering as a result. Interest groups on both the left and the right have huge impacts on what does – or more often does not – go into textbooks, rendering them devoid of quality content. This is especially true in huge markets like California and Texas, where textbooks are adopted at the state level. Moreover, despite the disappearance of good content, textbooks keep getting bigger; children have to lug them in heavy backpacks or cart them around in pieces of wheeled luggage. How did this happen? More important, what can be done to fix it? Please join us as we address both those questions in a serious discussion about textbooks in American schools.