why textbooks are so bad

AAAS Dumbs Down Science
AAAS Dumbs Down Science Photo credit: Boogies with Fish
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Response: Ways To Deal With 'History Myths' In The Classroom - Classroom Q&A With Larry Ferlazzo - Education Week Teacher: "The longer I teach though, the more I realize these are not the most destructive myths that textbooks perpetuate. Rather, the most destructive myth is that "history is simple." In an effort to be comprehensible, textbooks too often take complex causations and individuals and turn then into neatly identifiable causes and caricatures."

It is not an effort to be comprehensible: it is an effort to supply content that can be mass tested and scheduled for 180 days. This approach to content, the attempt to neatly package and label, is driven by the current structure of our schools where we essentially manufacture credentials instead of provide services. We are attempting to ram a defined content into everyone's head and test to ensure it is there. And textbooks cooperate with the tests and organize bodies of knowledge in misleading and meaningless ways. This actually contributes to dumbing us down and it does not allow individuals to form independent views but drives conformity. No one needs a critical thinking workbook if they can explore and examine facts and ideas and have that process supported and honored. The model impacts textbooks, too.
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