Are we serious?
While everyone is fighting over what is going into the Texas textbooks, we are quite literally missing the point of educating our youth through SOCIAL STUDIES.
I was infuriated by the Huffington Post article that made everything look like conservatives were manipulating language to mold our youth http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/21/texas-board-of-education-_n_584697.html. I'll quote them here:
"With little criticism from Democrats on the board, conservatives added language that would require students to discuss the solvency of "long-term entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare." "
I mean, are you kidding me? Is it a negative to require that students DISCUSS long term effects of social and government programs?... in Social Studies?
They seem to have a problem with language that points out the second amendment above some of the others. You mean... It's a bad thing to make students discuss the impact of an amendment to The Constitution? One particularly that affects our society right now in many ways? The one that's always a hotbutton topic? You wouldn't want to STUDY the impact on our SOCIETY or anything would you?
Then Fox News reports on how the NAACP shows up and fights for their agenda followed by the ACLU. All these evil doers are fighting for specific language that OUTLINES the topics that should be explored. Of course they are there! Of course they want their issues studied! They had to form an entire national union just to get heard!
Now everyone is all worked up about semantics.
Here's my point, here's how it applies to technology in education.
Why are we using textbooks again?
If we set National Standards - the topics to explore and what to explore in what directions... Then one could direct a group of students to a Google Custom Search engine. This could be set to receive information from various sources, including the extremes of both sides of the issues. And guess what would happen...
No one could manipulate the information! The information would be ALIVE. It would be affected by real change in REAL TIME!
How long do you think it will take for these Texas standards to be published and then spread to the rest of the nation and then bought by schools? And then when will these standards be revisited, and what yearly rotation are the textbooks on? I can almost guarantee we will have the answers and data as to the "solvency of long-term entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare". It won't even be worth "exploring" by then.
Imagine what the science textbooks that show Global Warming as the threat that it was perceived to be this time last year look like to a scientist right now? Do you have any idea how many people will use "Lucy" as their evidence for the evolution of man? That's because of a textbook.