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Textbooks no longer primary resource for students, educators

Sept. 20, 2013
By G. Michael Dobbs


CHICOPEE – A recent inquiry by a parent of a Chicopee Comprehensive High School student about the role of textbooks in class yielded a answer many people may not know: textbooks are only part of the resources used by educators today in the high school.

Principal Derek Morrison explained to Reminder Publications that there was a concern expressed about the number of textbooks being made available to students and that not every student in a class was issued a textbook.

Morrison said that changes in how classes are taught have made textbooks a part of the resources available for a teacher to use with his or her students, bit not necessarily a primary one.

Morrison said that instructors use printouts, material on the Internet, magazine articles and other resources to teach a class. The school has a wireless Internet system, which allows the use of iPads and laptops in classes.

When a teacher uses a textbook, they are signed out to students for that particular use.

“They’re not using the textbooks every day,” Morrison said.

With Massachusetts schools preparing students for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System and adapting to the Common Core curriculum, the schools need up-to-date textbooks.

Morrison said, “We don’t hang onto antique textbooks in English, math or history.”

He added that schools in the district regularly update their textbooks that represent a considerable financial investment. He noted a modern world history text costs $100 per book.

Because of the cost, Morrison said that loss of textbooks is a real concern with the goal of the school retaining as close to 100 percent by the end of the school year.

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