Teacher points out importance of current history books

Dear Editor: On behalf of the thousands of Texas social studies teachers, I strenuously oppose the proposal that denies the purchase of new textbooks and materials already adopted for the next school year. Our state legislators are assuming that it is acceptable to once again issue our students 10-year-old books that have missing covers and are held together with duct tape. Our current American history books have the Regan administration in the final chapter. Ann Richards is still the governor, according to the present Texas history book. Yugoslavia’ The ninth grade world geography book describes Sarajevo’s Olympic Games, but no mention of the violence in Kosovo. Renewing textbooks is not a “frill” to be offered on the chopping block in Austin. With our country at war with a nation that 87 percent of adult Americans cannot even locate on a map, are we going to shackle our children with that same ignorance’ When we desperately need our future leaders to have the skills of cultural sensitivity, how can we deny our students that vital information about their world’ We do not teach by books alone. The textbook packages that we reviewed offer multimedia resources and special materials for students with learning difficulties. In addition, for the first time, our students will be required to pass a social studies TAKS test to graduate from high school. Preparation for the test cannot begin only in the test year; it is a cumulative process that starts in the earlier grades. I challenge our legislators to remember one thing: nearly everything you learned about constitutional government you learned from a social studies teacher, and the one tool that your teacher allowed you to take home everyday was a textbook. Where would you be today with a ragged, out-of-print book taped together at the spine’ Those of us who spent numerous days both during and after school to review and select up-to-date textbooks now call on members of the Legislature to do their part and provide the tools necessary to educate our children. PAMELA HUNT; Hewitt, Tex.

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