Books Over 200 Pages Considered Harmful To Students
from the legislation-for-dummies dept
Leave it to lawmakers to replace one problem with a totally inane and dangerously misguided one. The California Assembly just passed a bill that bans textbooks longer than 200 pages, requiring publishers to shorten their tomes and include — get this — an appendix of related websites. The bill, California AB 756, ostensibly addresses the problem of outdated textbooks while encouraging use of the internet for learning. There are so many things wrong with this bill, it’s hard to know where to begin. Well-meaning as it is, catering to the short attention spans of kids is the most counterproductive thing the state could do. Teachers are complaining all the time they can’t get students to read more books and spend less time online. If the books are long and boring, find better books. Don’t commission shorter boring books. Failing that, maybe they should just go with the best books they can find and understand that education requires a modicum of an attention span. And kids don’t need a soon-to-be-outdated list of websites to encourage web research. On the contrary, they need more guidance on how to use it more judiciously and appropriately. Also, the law defines the books in question as “instructional materials.” Does that include novels? Dictionaries? Reference guides? If this bill does become law, looks like the makers of Cliffs Notes and Reader’s Digest will be pleasantly surprised.