Textbooks approved by BOE in 5-2 vote

Published Mar 17, 2018 at 4:00pm

Differing views were aired on the need and suitability of updated textbooks and workbooks for the technology instruction program before the Board of Education voted 5-2 to approve the purchase of 247 books.

Voting against the purchase at the board’s meeting Thursday night were board members Karen Fontana and John Leonard. Absent were members Richard Hitchings and Timothy Safin.

The price for the books totaled $17,308, school district Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Christopher Brewer said prior to the vote. The publisher of the books, which are divided among about 10 different titles, is the Goodheart-Willcox company. Among some of the titles listed are Machining Fundamentals; CNC Machining; Construction Bldg. Tech; and Energy Power Transportation.

​Leonard said he was voting against the purchase because the school district is moving toward a “1-to-1” technology initiative; this would include students each being assigned a computer. Leonard said he would want to see books that “we’re not getting rid of in a year or two.” He suggested using books that could be shared on a device such as an iPad.

Brewer said he did not know if there were electronic versions of the books, but could check into it.

Board President Paul Fitzpatrick said it “may be three or four more years” before the 1-on-1 technology initiative is ready.

Fontana, meanwhile, objected to the new books’ relationship to the curriculum. For the past six years, she said, textbooks had been “set to meet curriculum,” and “not curriculum set to meet textbooks” which she said is now being done.

Fitzpatrick, however, said he believes the technology instruction program “does have a curriculum” that it follows. The “books they have” do “meet the curriculum,” he remarked, and “the new books probably do it better.” He added he did not see why there was opposition.

The new books should be available in about two weeks, said school district Superintendent Peter C. Blake.