Thursday, April 5, 2007

California Dream Textbooks

Excerpted from Campus Report.
Some well meaning conservatives justify having their children in the government school system by saying that "at least I know that my child is receiving a quality education". This is based on the belief that no well-respected college would turn down an applicant that scores head-n-shoulders above his or her peers in a government school system. Especially a large one in a large state where the competition is immense and strong. However, an education is really only as good as the curriculum that is used to teach the children.

Publishers find it difficult to move texts that don’t sell in the two largest states—Texas and California—but once that hurdle is cleared the market is effectively cornered. The researchers at the Texas-based Educational Research Analysts have been reviewing textbooks in the Lone Star State for decades but when they branched out to look at class readers in the Golden State they found that they really had their work cut out for them.

“We found in California textbooks a higher factual-error rate than in Texas,” the researchers at the Mel Gabler’s Educational Research Analysts Newsletter report. “In 2002 we reviewed four Texas high school U. S. History books whose total page count about equaled these five California 8th grade U. S. History texts.”

“In the Texas books we found 249 factual errors; in California’s, 427.” The analysts posit an intriguing reason for the ratio: “Had publishers sold Texas books with 427 factual errors, a Texas rule levies fines of up to $5,000 per error, or over $2 million.”

The five publishing houses that produced the California texts, in turn, are quite prestigious—Glencoe, Holt, McDougal, Prentice and Oxford. “One text said Daniel Boone contributed to the Constitutional Convention (in fact, he had absolutely nothing to do with it),” the analysts report. Even the producers of the television series on the frontiersman got that one Right; McDougal did not.

If you're sending your child to public school in order to avoid possible ridicule from those who believe the mantra that a public school education will best prepare your child for both college and eventually the rest of their life, then so be it. However, you're truly interested in preparing your child for life and college, government school should be your last choice.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics;

  • Private school students generally perform higher than their public school counterparts on standardized achievement tests.

  • Private high schools typically have more demanding graduation requirements than do public high schools.

  • Private school graduates are more likely than their peers from public schools to have completed advanced-level courses in three academic subject areas.
  • If a quality education is of concern, a private school that shares your values is definitely the most advantageous choice that you can make for your child.

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