Thursday, July 16, 2009

Who Will Write The Lousy Textbooks?

I say with near certainty that there isn't a math textbook on the market today that is as good as textbooks from the 1970s or 80s.

McGraw-Hill Cos., hit by declines in its education, financial services and media properties, said Thursday it has cut 550 jobs.

The New York company, which publishes textbooks and owns BusinessWeek magazine and the credit-ratings agency Standard & Poor's, said it will take a $24.3 million pretax charge for severance costs in the second quarter.

McGraw-Hill said the deepest cutbacks were in the education unit, which lost 340 positions....

With all these cuts, how are we to get the lousy textbooks of today?

12 comments:

Mrs. C said...

What do you think of Singapore Maths books? They seem ok to me, but I am not trained as a math teacher. My 9 and 7-year-olds are in the middle of Maths 4B. I *thought* they taught from the US Standards edition in California public schools as well and would like to hear your thoughts. :]

Darren said...

I myself have never reviewed the Singapore books, but they get great reviews from people whose opinion on the subject I trust.

MiaZagora said...

Well, you could get some here, for the cost of paper and printing:

http://books.google.com/books?as_brr=1&q=grammar+school+arithmetic&btnG=Search+Books

Of course, some of them are a bit older than 1970's. ;)

allen (in Michigan) said...

Who'll write the lousy text books? I'm not concerned that our precious, natural resources of edu-crap are going to be depleted any time soon.

Ellen K said...

Did you know that California and Texas have the heaviest influence on the content of textbooks? I have a cousin who sells textbooks and have considered going into that field myself. I've just finished writing curriculum and I am thinking of adapting some of my lesson plans into a book. This may be the only way I survive in this economy.

PeggyU said...

I bought my 15-year-old son Paul Foerster's algebra, trig, and precalc books. I love 'em! What books do you keep on your shelf?

Darren said...

My high school didn't offer calculus so I had to go to the local JC to take the course, and I still have my book from there. I ditched the calculus book from West Point at the first opportunity--it was horrible by comparison. I have all my college math texts, one or two high school texts I got from the county surplus book room--and an elementary algebra book with 1969/70/84 copyrights written and given to me by Sherman Stein. It's awesome!

Gina said...

I got the Life of Fred Fractions book for my daughter to use over the summer for math review. Montgomery County MD uses a lot of "new math" so I'm constantly reteaching and ensuring that she has actual math skills. This series goes up through calculus. She is really enjoying the book because the lessons are presented in a story format - don't worry, it's not fuzzy math! I would love Darren's opinion should he get a chance to take a look at one of the books. As someone who has always loved math I look forward to seeing and using the more advanced books in this series - especially calculus. I did very well in college calculus, but I never understood what it was for - this still drives me crazy that I don't know why I needed to use the derivative of a number. I remember asking the professor what was calculus for and he looked at me blankly and changed the subject. Being shy and only 19 at the time I figured I was stupid for asking.

PeggyU said...

Gina ... all kinds of cool stuff :)

Derivatives, for example, give you the slope of a function (its rate of change) at a particular point. That's easy to do for linear functions without calculus ... not so easy to do for functions whose rate of change is not constant - and that would be most of them.

If you compare a non calculus physics text to a calculus-based one, for example, you will see how much easier the calculus-based approach is.

Ellen K said...

I was at Borders today and Danica McKellar-the love interest on the show "The Wonder Years" wrote a book on math. It seems she has a degree in math and wants people, especially girls, to stop being so intimidated by the concepts. I may have to buy it just so that I can finally put that ghost to rest.

Anonymous said...

i personally like mcgraw-hill texts, however, that's only in comparison to the connected math program.


~maia_orual

maxutils said...

Peggy U is absolutely correct. Trying to do computation which require calculus, without calculus, is horible . . .

That said, apart from changing dollar amounts in word problems to reflect inflation, would someone please tell me why we need a 'new' math textbook? Was there some new algebraic breakthrough I haven't heard of?