Sunday, May 3, 2009

Public Education Woes

This is a little bit off topic for this blog, but it's something I wanted to talk about anyway. I read a disheartening news story today about teachers and how it's ridiculously hard to get rid of the ones that are mistreating or simply failing their students.

I know that a major impetus for me to start working at Wikibooks was the textbooks that I was using for my various classes. In short, some of them were absolutely terrible and I was forced to search the internet for quality alternatives. I don't know if the situation is specific to engineering books, but I suspect that books in that subject area are some of th worst offenders. Since I've started writing engineering books on Wikibooks a few years ago, I can't even count how many thank-you emails I've received from students who were also desperately searching for quality books to replace the lousy ones they were forced to use (and pay huge prices for) in school.

So that's my short off-topic news post for today. I like to think that we can keep this kind of thing in mind as we do work on Wikibooks and elsewhere to create quality free educational materials. After all, the real issue of concern is the students, many of whom are children and won't have the foresight to pursue education if it isn't properly provided to them by teachers and parents.

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