Letters to the Editor

Books a necessity for students

I understand some in government look at the expenditures for public education and see an easy target for budget reductions. No doubt there is wasted money in education, as there is in any very large endeavor. However, when I hear of reduced funding for teaching materials, I take issue with the decision process. It is a fact that to succeed in life a certain level of literacy, knowledge of the world and basic understanding of citizenship is required. Without these, people have no chance to contribute to society or to better themselves.

My daughter, who attends high school in what is considered a well-off district, was issued books at the beginning of 10th grade this year. We had to return one of them because it was plainly unserviceable: covers falling off, pages loose and torn - basically it was a mess. The school staff had to root through a stack to find a decent copy. For another class she had no book at all for the first three months of the school year because the school was completely out of serviceable copies. In some South Carolina districts, even new schools do not get new books. Rather, used books are scrounged from existing schools and shipped in to technically cover requirements, so new schools often start with old books and no teacher guides or resource materials.

With a service life of about six years for a textbook it is obvious that some subject material must be replaced on an annual basis. If that is not done then the state will be looking at a huge bill to replace several subjects at once. Some things just cannot be deferred until better times. It seems some politicians do not realize teaching materials have a finite service life - as does anything more complicated than a rock.

The writer lives in Chapin.