Reality Check: Textbook Funding
North Carolina state budget cuts have slashed funding for textbooks by 80 percent over the past four years. In 2009-10, more than $111 million was spent on textbooks. That amount dwindled to just $23 million a year for the past three years. Some may wonder if going digital is replacing the need for updated textbooks. Buncombe County school leaders say no. Eric Grant, a curriculum specialist with the school district, says more than 20 percent of Buncombe County's students do not have any home computer internet access. Therefore, the textbooks play a bigger role than many think.
Grant says not only are many of the current textbooks outdated and falling apart, but many do not match the new curriculum. He says this leaves teachers on their own to find material on the internet to supplement the outdated textbooks. Grant says that time takes away from other important teacher duties, like lesson planning. This concerns parents like Christy Swing, mother to two first graders. She says it's important the books match the curriculum, even at her children's young age.
by Karen Wynne