Move to digital textbooks threatens to shut parents out

August 26, 2014

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Danette Clark Danette Clark

Danette Clark is a mom, former paralegal turned business operator, researcher, and writer. She previously contributed to RBO2.com.

NASHVILLE — According to K5 News, a growing number of school districts across the country have stopped purchasing new social studies textbooks and are encouraging teachers to instead use digital resources for instruction.

kid with ipad studentStefanie Wager, a social studies consultant to the Iowa Department of Education tells K5 that 100 of the state’s 338 school districts have one computer or tablet per student, and of those districts, one half to three-quarters of their social studies material is accessed digitally.

Fairfax County schools adopted new social studies textbooks in 2009-2010 but report that those books are no longer a central focus. And in Nashville, as K5 reports, the district expects to spend $1.1 million this year alone on digital social studies material and is asking its teachers to use the new digital alternatives for history, geography and other social studies.

With an increasing number of questionable lessons and texts surfacing daily, both with and absent Common Core, one has to wonder if this move toward strictly digital comes with an agenda.

In many districts, even tests are now given online. So with the switch from textbook to digital becoming common-place, won’t more and more parents find it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to see what their children are learning?

In the case of Nashville and Fairfax — districts already neck deep in questionable online resources — limiting parental access and oversight just might be the intent.

Fairfax County Public Schools, for example, uses Learner.org, an online provider of curriculum material and lessons powered by the far left Annenberg Foundation. Learner.org relies heavily on the writings of communist historians like Howard Zinn as a foundation for their American history lessons.

The Metro Nashville School District is a partner district to the Annenberg Institute and Fairfax County is a top user of Discovery Education’s online learning resources.

Although Discovery provides many fascinating and engaging lessons, it does also offer and proudly promote an unhealthy dose of biased material, as shown here.

There are a lot of good teachers out there, but as proven lately, many are not trustworthy and forthcoming, and this move to an all digital curriculum threatens to leave every one of them completely unchecked.

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