Extra Textbooks a Casualty at Edgar School

| 21 Comments

backpack.jpgStudents' backpacks at Edgar Middle School will be a good bit heavier in the 2009-2010 school year. For the last seven years, students have been allotted two sets of heavy texts for classes such as science and social studies so that they can keep one at school and leave another at home, minimizing the amount of material they have to carry back and forth to school each day. A Metuchen Educational Foundation grant originally made these additional volumes available. But, since each incoming class is bigger than the one preceding, monies that would update and improve the inventory of the double textbooks are hard to come by. As everyday costs of running the school in general rise, any money that comes in is used for various other basic curriculum needs, including the rising cost of paper.

Next year middle-schoolers will have to put more muscle into hauling the extra poundage each day. However, more and more textbooks are published online--some Edgar students use online math texts right now--and this trend is sure to continue. There's a good chance that present Metuchen students may be among the first generation of American students who have no books to carry at all.

Until that day comes, however, concerned parents can check out www.chiro.org to find chiropractors' suggestions for making sure heavier packs don't lead to back problems.

21 Comments

I don't think we can control that. That is up to the publishing companies, and with the market now especially, a little school like Metuchen has no say in how to publish a textbook or how much it should be. Oh well.

"When these kids get to high school, Mommy can "help" write their papers and when they move on to college, Mommy can write notes to professors asking for extensions. When they get a job (hmmm), Mommy can help negotiate the salary."


Now you understand how the wealthy folks in our country do it. Switch Mommy in the above quote with Daddy and thats how our last President got elected.

Maybe the textbooks should be published in multiple, smaller volumes. That would solve the weight issue.

As a junior high school teacher I have seen expectations for children have risen, but not the amount of work expected of them. In other words, the pressure to perform well is high, the investment of time and energy to get there is lacking. My students, in an affluent school district, receive less homework and reading than in years past because of parental pressure to "take it easy" as these kids who are pulled in many directions with many extra and co-curricular activities. This is surely true for many children. However, one thing I've noticed across the years is a vastly reduced work ethic among students. While only one teacher's opinion, I thought I'd chime in.

If you don't think spending the money on extra books is a good idea then fine, lets spend the money on some extra footballs or something. You can call it an unaffordable luxury in a bad economy but we have a 30 million dollar school budget no matter what the economy is doing. Whatever.

But Metuchen is a small town where, even if you don't have kids, you certainly know many from our town. Are you really so cynical and crotchetty(sic?) that you don't see how much more is expected of them in school now then in the past? That the "few textbooks" you are referring to remind me more of the books I used in college then anything I ever saw in seventh grade! It has nothing to do with "Mommy" writing, coddling, or doing anything. It is a simple matter of respect. In the same way we as adults demand respect for our work, kids should get respect for the work do in what is in essense their profession, going to school and being educated. So,again, you can disagree with continuing to fund this concept, but don't you think talking about Mommy doing this and that is slightly condescending to our kids?

Lots of Mommies and Daddies are already doing that.

When these kids get to high school, Mommy can "help" write their papers and when they move on to college, Mommy can write notes to professors asking for extensions. When they get a job (hmmm), Mommy can help negotiate the salary.

zz

uphill both ways in a blizzard with no shoes!

Having an extra set of books is a luxury. We are not in an economy that can afford these luxuries anymore. Are you kidding? Carrying a few textbooks home everynight is not going to hurt! I cannot believe this arguement is even going on! I thought the story goes, "I walked uphill both ways to and from school and never compained!" We make life way too easy for kids these days!

Agreed that we should be moving forward to digitized texts and all that, but what does that do for the situation at hand? This coming school year the kids in these classes will have to drag these texts home, in book bags that are already filled and too heavy. It is not a matter of raising a "nation of wimps". The amount of work we expect children(after all they are children) to do in school and after school has grown to such a degree that they can't even lug the necessary books around, let alone get any time for unstructured activities. Is that the way you remember being a 10 year old? I don't. Once again I say if were going to demand this much of a workload out of these kids, is it so hard to spend a couple of grand on some books so we can continue what everyone, I think, agrees was a good idea?

An alternative to this mess would be a move toward digitalized texts and an emphasis on technology resources where possible. The problem with this is often the publisher. Students would need only to bring home their history DVD or science DVD and all the material of a textbook would be contained thereon. Publishers have not yet gone this route; I imagine profit margins have something to do with that. A textbook could be used in school only, for times when the entire class needs to be "on the same page" (sorry, terrible joke). Who knows....maybe technology will altogether replace teachers one day and budget woes will go away! A(nd I'll be out of a job.)

A huge waste of money. Kids don't need to bring home every text book, every night. I read a great book this past summer: A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting. While we're ordering tons of extra books, let's throw that title on the list as required reading parents!

I think that the quantity of books already being carried is quite a bit and the person who thinks they weigh 10 lbs should find out exactly before they think it is for premadonnas. By the way - wheeled back packs are not used by Edgar students because the kids have to go up and down the stairs and so wheeled back packs in this school are not practical. Maybe the school should consider finding a textbook that has an online version - this definitely helps - the online mathbook is very helpful and my child uses the online version routinely. Unless such an option is found I hope the district reconsiders.

Irresponsible how? They have already had the double sets for 7 years. Have you seen the amount of books these kids have to carry as it is? The amount of work required of children has grown exponentially since I was in the 7th grade 30 years ago. Is it really so hard to help them where we can? This is a program that has been nothing but helpful since the original grant. What type of "transformational-type" programs would you suggest with the couple of thousand it would cost for the extra books?

Double textbooks sounds like an irresponsible expense. I would prefer this budget be transferred to transformational-type programs that bring more state-of-the-art resources into the classroom - at all levels of education.

It is amazing that in a 30 million(!) dollar school budget they can't find a few thousand dollars to continue this already existing program. This is not strength training and it is not a joke. These texts are heavy for an adult, let alone an 11 year old 80 pound child. The point is it wouldn't take very much money to continue having the second set. It would probably be a good idea to expand it to more classes instead of cutting it.

"chronic neck and back pain" Chiropractor studies? Just kidding....sort of. I don't advocate a ten year old carrying a 35 pound backpack, but I don't a couple textbooks weigh 35 pounds. Certainly a ten year old can manage 10 pounds. Sounds like strength training to me.

And for those not inclined to strength training on the walk home, those packs on wheels make it no work at all!

It is well documented that carrying backpacks that are too heavy can lead to chronic neck and back pain.

Interesting that one article said a reason some schools are providing double textbooks is so they can eleiminate lockers, not because they are concerned about the students' health.

Double textbooks? Seems really silly to me---maybe a bit more strength training, carrying heavy books home from school for instance, could solve another problem: childhood obesity and laziness.

If they are still using the same edition of the textbook, can't the kids share the extras in the classroom?

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Recent Comments

  • Anonymous: I don't think we can control that. That is up read more
  • Anonymous: "When these kids get to high school, Mommy can "help" read more
  • Anonymous: Maybe the textbooks should be published in multiple, smaller volumes. read more
  • Anonymous: As a junior high school teacher I have seen expectations read more
  • Anonymous: If you don't think spending the money on extra books read more
  • Anonymous: Lots of Mommies and Daddies are already doing that. read more
  • Anonymous: When these kids get to high school, Mommy can "help" read more
  • Anonymous: zz read more
  • Anonymous: uphill both ways in a blizzard with no shoes! read more
  • Anonymous: Having an extra set of books is a luxury. We read more

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