St. Charles Herald-Guide

Will new school textbooks lift a weight off kids’ shoulders?

By Caleb Frey - April 11, 2007

The St. Charles Parish School Board voted to buy newer social studies books for students to meet current state standards at a regular meeting at their administrative offices in Luling.

And board member Stephen Crovetto brought up the possibility of having two books for students to use - one for the classroom and one they can keep at home.

The issue came up during the Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Committee Meeting on April 2. That’s when Crovetto asked how likely the possibility would be of having one set of books for children to use in class and one they can keep at home, reducing the need to carry the big texts.

“I’d like to look at the feasibility to have one classroom book and one they don’t have to carry around,” Crovetto said. “Some of these books weigh 30-35 pounds. Maybe this way they wouldn’t have to carry around two book sacks as some kids have to.”

“I’m not exactly sure what they weigh but they aren’t light.”

Rachel Allemand, the school board’s executive director of curriculum and instruction, said that two books might not be a necessity as most of the textbook companies they deal with offer versions of the same text online.

Board member John Smith said that this year the state requires textbooks that are submitted for review, and they must also include a version of the text to be submitted for online use.

The problem lies in knowing how many books to order, Superintendent Rodney Lafon said. He noted that books are ordered well ahead of when they are actually used. If they ordered two per student, he added, there is the possibility the schools would end up with an excess that will never be used.

The board also discussed the possibility of having one book for the classroom and allowing students to use the text online for assignments at home, but were unsure of the feasibility of that as well.

The new texts range anywhere from $37.65 to $81.57 per book, depending on the grade level and subject matter.