Good use for Impenetrable Textbooks

Critics of US curriculum have noted differences between slender textbooks in Japan that highlight the most important concepts in the subject, and massive textbooks in the US with such vast compendia of vocabulary items that students can neither master all of the material nor distinguish what is and is not important.

Bill Crozier, Republican candidate for Oklahoma state superintendent of education, has come up with a way to put those massively impenetrable textbooks to good use: If students are taught to use them to protect themselves from gunfire in the schools, school safety can be improved without using more taxpayer money.

A blog item on this is posted at People for the American Way, which puts it in the context of “the so-called ‘65% Solution'” proposed in that state, which “would have required public schools to dramatically cut funding for non-classroom expenses, including school security.” Their page includes this link for a video clip “via KOCO TV in Oklahoma City” in which you see people testing different textbooks by firing into them with different weapons. A search for “crozier” and “textbooks” on YouTube right now turns up two videos on this.

This could be passed off as just a quirky incident in US politics, or a more serious reflection on the politics of support for public education, or on firearms, etc. For purposes of this particular blog, however, what strikes me as interesting is how such ideas enter into the curriculum — or the course of experience — in which students are being formed (see these posts on what is curriculum).

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