June 9, 2009

CA Schools To Replace Textbooks With Digital Tools

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced a new "Digital Textbook Initiative" that would replace school textbooks with digital learning aids as the state moves to reduce costs amid a massive budget shortfall.

The measure would see California's schoolchildren replace "outdated" math and science textbooks with digital versions later this year, the AFP news agency quoted Schwarzenegger as saying.

"Kids, as you all know, today are very familiar with listening to their music digitally and online and to watch TV online, to watch movies online, to be on Twitter and participate in that and on Facebook," the Republican Governor said.

"So this is why I think it is so important that we move on from the textbooks," Schwarzenegger told schoolchildren in Sacramento on Monday.

"The textbooks are outdated, as far as I'm concerned, and there's no reason why our schools should have our students lug around these antiquated and heavy and expensive textbooks."

"California is the home of Silicon Valley. We are the world leader in technology and innovation, so we can do better than that."

California is the first state to introduce such a program, according to Schwarzenegger.  The plan comes amid broad spending cuts as Schwarzenegger moves to close California's estimated $24 billion budget deficit.

With the average price of a school textbook around $100, the program's initial savings would be between $300-400 million, said Schwarzenegger.  Hundreds of millions more would be saved if the plan grows to include more subjects, he added.

"I know this is, of course, a dramatic shift from the status quo and there is some resistance in some cases."

"But I feel that this is the wrong time now to hold onto the status quo, because this is one of the worst economic and financial crises that the state has been in since the Great Depression."

"The state has a tremendous lack of money; therefore we had to make severe cuts to schools, billions of dollars of cuts, so we have to find every possible way to think outside the box."


On The Net:

Digital Textbook Initiative