Educational CyberPlayGround ®

How to Stop Censorship
in the educational system.

Censorship, Text Book Publishers
& The Money

See Language Tangle: Predicting and Facilitating Outcomes in Language Education
by Thorold (Thor) May
B.A., Dip.Tchg., RSA/CTEFLA, Master of Applied Linguistics

Ellis, Karen (ed.) (2007) How to stop censorship in the educational system:censorship, textbook publishers & the money. Educational CyberPlayground website. Comment: A compilation of clippings.

The State of the Textbook Industry: Facts and Figures June 8th, 2010

Education historian Diane Ravitch thinks it's time to abandon the adoption system entirely.
Attempts to mollify all sides only create textbooks that "in almost every subject are awful," "The only way to stop that is to get rid of the process itself" and let teachers choose their own textbooks.

Disestablishing and deregulating the textbook adoption process so that teachers rather than state officials decide what books will be chosen and the leverage of political pressure groups is diminished.

The education system has institutionalized censorship. Censors on the right aim to restore an idealized vision of the past, censors on the left believe in the idealized vision of the future, a utopia in which egalitarianism prevails in all social relations and a world in which all nations and all cultures are of equal accomplishment and value.

2010 There are 4 million children in the Texas public school system, making it the second-largest market for textbooks in the country. As a result, changes to the Texas curriculum are likely to impact other states as well.

The Speak Up 2010 report and moderated a panel discussion with students and parents who shared their insights and experiences.

Key findings:

  • 67 percent of parents said they would purchase a mobile device for their child to use for schoolwork if the school allowed it, and 61 percent said they liked the idea of students using mobile devices to access online textbooks.
  • 53 percent of middle and high school students reported that the inability to use cell phones, smart phones or MP3 players was the largest obstacle when using technology in school. Additionally, 71 percent of high school students and 62 percent of middle school students said that the number one way schools could make it easier to use technology would be to allow greater access to the digital content and resources that Internet firewalls and school filters blocked.
  • Parents are increasingly supportive of online textbooks. Two-thirds of parents view online textbooks as a good investment to enhance student achievement compared to 21 percent in 2008. However, E-textbooks are still a relatively novel concept in the classroom. Slightly over one-third of high school students report they are currently using an online textbook or other online curriculum as part of their regular schoolwork.
  • Nearly 30 percent of high school students have experienced some type of online learning.

Futures Thinking For Academic Librarians: Higher Education in 2025, can be found online, but here is a sampling of what its members consider some of the more plausible scenarios:

  • Breaking the textbook monopoly: Most states have passed legislation that requires textbook publishers to make textbooks affordable. Faculty members, sympathetic to their students, have embraced online open educational resources (OERs). More faculty create and share openly their course materials, modules, streaming videos, tests, software, and other tools. Although widely accepted seminal OERs exist for introductory courses, faculty create materials for advanced courses based on their own knowledge and interests, inviting student contributions.
  • Bridging the scholar/practitioner divide: Open peer review becomes the norm for many fields, speeding application of discoveries. Online publications, by scholarly societies in partnership with trade organizations and professional associations, are open access. They support robust community-based dialogue on articles as soon as they are accepted via traditional editorial procedures. Scholars and practitioners alike discuss the findings, how the theory would apply in practice, and suggest additional research needed.
  • Everyone is a "nontraditional" student: The interwoven nature of work/life/school is accepted in higher education as life spans increase and students are unable to fund tuition in one lump. Co-op education is widely embraced and faculty increasingly value students' life experience. Knowing what the work force wants, students are active in designing their own learning outcomes, and the personalized curriculum becomes the norm. Faculty members evaluate students on demonstrations of learning -- such as policy documents, marketing plans, or online tutorials -- rather than old measures based on “seat time” and “credit hours.”
  • Meet the new freshman class: With laptops in their hands since the age of 18 months old, students who are privileged socially and economically are completely fluent in digital media. For many others, the digital divide, parental unemployment, and the disruption of moving about during the foreclosure crisis of their formative years means they never became tech savvy. “Remedial” computer and information literacy classes are now de rigueur.
  • Right here with me: Students “talk” through homework with their handheld devices, which issue alerts when passing a bookstore with material they need to cite. Scanning the title page, this information is instantly embedded in proper citation style with an added endnote. Checking in on location-based services, students locate study team members and hold impromptu meetings without the need for study rooms. Their devices have whiteboards and can share notes with absent members.

Music doesn't lie. How to Teach History through Song

Bill Bennett X Secretary of Education and President Bush's brother Neil Bush both cash in on education reform business

Given what we know was going on in 1942, when this book was printed, it is clear that textbooks too were a part of propaganda. Nazi Biology Textbook for Girls.
The sort of censorship being practiced today by textbook publishers can result in all manner of distortions and simplifications. The commissars of political correctness on the left and the fundamentalist sentries of morality on the right have clamped down on the education system, subjects, words and ideas that have become taboo, only to the selection of works deemed "relevant" to students.


The James Madison Center: Bill of Rights
Background about the Bill of Rights and James Madison's involvement with its passage in 1791. Includes antecedents (such as the Virginia Declaration of Rights), images of notes for and the text of Madison's June 1789 speech to the House of Representatives proposing the Bill of Rights, text and audio of the Bill of Rights, an article about Madison and the separation of church and state, and related material. From James Madison University.

Textbook publishers have capitulated to, and embraced, bias guidelines and language codes. Right-wing and left-wing pressure groups have succeeded in sanitizing textbooks, educational publishers have conspired in this censorship, and this over the past 30 years has diluted the teaching of literature and history. As a result big Educational publishers have reduced the school curriculum to priggish, censorious, bland, uninteresting sameness.

The state board of education selected the history and social studies texts it would buy for its 4.2 million public-school pupils. Because Texas accounts for a hefty 8 percent of America's $4.5 billion textbook market, whatever flies in the Lone Star State usually lands on desks nationwide. Winning Texas "is the first step to becoming a bestseller," says Gilbert Sewall, director of the American Textbook Council, a New York-based nonprofit research group. Only California, largest of the 22 "adoption states" (where textbooks are approved on a statewide rather than local basis), spends more, but it doesn't vote on books for the crucial high school market.

Reserved Electronic Postings - Follow the Money:
Publishers say they must protect $3.35 billion in annual U.S. college textbook sales. They do not want to allow professors unfettered "fair use". Textbook Sales Rise - The higher-education segment of the U.S. book publishing industry had 2005 sales of $3.35 billion, 5.3 percent higher than 2004, the publishers association says. Sales for the entire book publishing industry were $25 billion in 2005, an increase of 9.9 percent. Chris Dede, a professor of learning technologies at the Graduate School of Education, says the Internet may let faculty members publish their own material and cut the book industry out of the picture. ``If publishers push too hard, faculty may just decide they no longer need a middleman who collects all the profits in each direction,'' Dede says.

College students spent an average of $898 on books and supplies in the 2003-04 academic year, and textbook prices have climbed an average of 6 percent each year since the 1987-88 academic year, according to estimates by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, Congress's investigative arm.

Advantages of Using Online Digital Curriculum

Critics say the heated politics behind the Texas textbook wars end up shortchanging American schoolchildren. Top sellers don't necessarily make riveting reading. That's because the selection process too often forces publishers to sanitize content and avoid words or concepts that might offend "a score of heavy-duty, aggressive special-interest groups," contends Sewall.

5/2005 Money and laws catching up with technology. New law going through the legislature that would change the term for funding from "textbook" to "instructional materials."
Pres. Bush's brother Neil Bush owns one of those instructional media firms.

August 14, 2002 by The Pew Interenet and American Life Project

Bridging The Tech-Education Gap 8/02,1383,54791,00.html
According to a recent study by Grunwald Associates, many parents and kids believe that technology can help provide a better education. "Across all income levels there's a whole lot of faith and hope that technology is going to help parents achieve their aspirations for their kids," said Peter Grunwald, president of Grunwald Associates. But often, parents' hi-tech hopes put pressure on schools to have technology before the school can legitimately use it. Some parents focus on the student-to-computer ratio rather than on what the school is doing with the computers. For computers to have any beneficial effect, say educators, the technology has to be integrated into the curriculum.

The Need For Digital Learning
The Power of Digital Learning: Part I
The continued success and quality of American public education depends on our collective ability to close the gap between technology's mere presence and its effective integration into the curriculum to enhance student performance and deliver the skills necessary for the 21st century. The CEO Forum believes the solution begins with what we term digital learning.

What does this all mean in light of preparing the child for the future workforce?

William A. Draves IV, CAE President of LERN <> is one of the foremost authorities in the world on teaching online. He did his graduate work in education, with an emphasis on adult education, from The George Washington University in Washington DC.

Draves has taught for over thirty years, including teaching at the graduate level. His books include "How to Teach Adults," the most popular book ever written on the subject, and "Energizing the Learning Environment."

He has been interviewed by, The New York Times, NPR, NBC Nightly News, Washington Post, Virtual University News, Chronicle of Higher Education and other national media.

Draves is author of the new book, "Teaching Online," which is used as the text book for this course. He is currently working on another book "Learning Online."

How the Internet Will Change How We Learn by William A. Draves EXCERPT: FULL TEXT

In the 21st century, online learning will constitute 50% of all learning and education. The rapid rise of learning on the Internet will occur not because it is more convenient, cheaper, or faster, but because cognitive learning on the Internet is better than learning in-person. Of the growing number of experts seeing this development, Gerald Celente, author of the popular book Trends 2000, summarizes it most succinctly: Interactive, on-line learning will revolutionize education. The education revolution will have as profound and as far-reaching an effect upon the world as the invention of printing. Not only will it affect where we learn; it also will influence how we learn and what we learn" (Celente, 1997, p. 249). Recent research reported in the Washington Post cites studies showing that online learning is equally as effective as learning in-person. And note that we state "cognitive learning," not all learning.

The Software & Information Industry Association
Testified before Congress March 8, 2001 (Washington, DC)
The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) today testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Commerce Committee, represented by Jenny House, Vice President for Strategic Relations for Classroom Connect, Inc. of Brisbane, CA. The presentation to the Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee outlined how education technology is improving teaching and learning, and encouraged Congress to support these investments to ensure all students gain 21st Century knowledge and skills. In her testimony on behalf of SIIA, Jenny House outlined elementary and secondary schools' need for technology infrastructure and access, software and digital curriculum, and educators well-trained to integrate technology tools into their instruction. She also described the importance of federal resources and public-private partnerships in promoting successful technology solutions.

Virtual Schooling and Online Courses

A Textbook Example of What's Wrong with Education - A former schoolbook editor parses the politics of educational publishing.

Some years ago, I signed on as an editor at a major publisher of elementary and high school textbooks, filled with the idealistic belief that I'd be working with equally idealistic authors to create books that would excite teachers and fill young minds with Big Ideas.

Not so.

I got a hint of things to come when I overheard my boss lamenting, "The books are done and we still don't have an author! I must sign someone today!"

Every time a friend with kids in school tells me textbooks are too generic, I think back to that moment. "Who writes these things?" people ask me. I have to tell them, without a hint of irony, "No one." It's symptomatic of the whole muddled mess that is the $4.3 billion textbook business.

Textbooks are a core part of the curriculum, as crucial to the teacher as a blueprint is to a carpenter, so one might assume they are conceived, researched, written, and published as unique contributions to advancing knowledge. In
fact, most of these books fall far short of their important role in the educational scheme of things. They are processed into existence using the pulp of what already exists, rising like swamp things from the compost of the past.
The mulch is turned and tended by many layers of editors who scrub it of anything possibly objectionable before it is fed into a government-run "adoption" system that provides mediocre material to students of all ages. <snip>