This space explores issues in public education policy, and it advocates for a commitment to and a re-examination of the democratic purposes of schools. If there is some urgency in the message, it is due to the current reform efforts that are based on a radical re-invention of education, now spearheaded by a psychometric blitzkrieg of "metastasizing testing" aimed at dismantling a public education system that took almost 200 years to build. JH August, 2005
A school board vote looms this week on which companies to use, and irregularities have surfaced, raising concerns among Dallas ISD educators, trustees and one major textbook company.
Documents obtained by The Dallas Morning News show:
•The school district's textbook committee is recommending getting books from a publisher that could have been disqualified for breaking selection-process rules – a decision one publisher called "a blatant rewarding to dishonesty."
•Electronic voting by educators was skewed because two publishers were inexplicably missing from the list of companies from which teachers could vote.
•Teachers voted overwhelmingly for one company's elementary books, but the district's textbook selection committee picked another publisher.
The findings are in a district internal investigation, e-mail exchanges and other records that open a revealing window into the lucrative and competitive world of textbook sales. Across the country last year, textbook publishers reported sales of $3.5 billion, and in Texas, almost $500 million in taxpayer money is budgeted to buy books for K-12 students next school year.