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Re: [school-discuss] Open Content and open source

On 16 Sep 2002 at 23:18, Paolo Pumilia wrote:
> From William Abernathy, Sat Sep 14, at  9:53:
>                     Making life more difficult is the fact that in
the US, we
>  .have 50 states, each of which has its own regulations with
respect to what
>  .goes into schoolbooks. (When Kansas tried to ban teaching
evolution in
>  .schools, the first thought that crossed my mind was literally,
>  .New Science edition! Awright!")

OK, as a native Kansan, a school employee in Kansas, and the husband
of a science teacher in Kansas, I'm constantly fighting this, but
here goes.

They never tried to ban teaching evolution in schools. That was
settled long ago in the Scopes trial. It wasn't even taken out of
the "learning outcomes" (standards) in the science program. All that
was said was that it would no longer be a question on the state
assessment exams.

Neither I nor my wife knew of anybody changing their curriculum to
not teach evolution. (The newspapers carried a story of one school
district that tried to do so, but even that was using a textbook
that was already written, not a new edition of anything.)

In other words, it was WAY overblown. Stuff is added to and taken
away from the testing all the time (including lots of stuff that I
would be willing to bet every person on this list takes for granted
will be taught), but since this is a "hot button" issue, it got a
disproportionate amount of press.

>                        While not every state is large enough to to

>  .dictate terms to the publishing houses, there nonetheless remain
>  .compliance issues with respect to the acceptability of texts in
>  .Teachers frequently are not at liberty to use curricular
materials that are
>  .not on the list of approved texts. Given these legal
constraints, there is
>  .no way that an open curriculum can become an official curriculum
in the US.

That must vary by state as well. Our teachers are free to choose any
text they like (within budget constraints), and we even have a
couple of classes that use no textbook at all.

Kyle Hutson /  Director of Technology  / Rock Creek Schools:  USD323

smyle@rockcreekschools.org                              785-494-8591

Actually I am a laboratory mouse posing as an engineer as part of an

               elaborate plot to take over the world