Schwarzenegger plans to terminate textbooks for eBooks

June 9th, 2009 - 11:27 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

Arnold Schwarzenegger Action movie star and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to make textbooks history in favor of digital formats.

Trying to plug a budget hole of $24.3 billion, the star of the The Terminator series of movies thinks he can make savings by getting rid of what he decries as expensive textbooks.

According to an outline of the proposal he published in the San Jose Mercury News: “It’s nonsensical and expensive to look to traditional hard-bound books when information today is so readily available in electronic form,”

“When our school districts are strapped for cash and our state budget deficit is forcing further cuts to classrooms, we must do everything we can to untie educators’ hands and free up dollars so that schools can do more with fewer resources.”

Last year California set aside $350 million for school books and Schwarzenegger argues that even if teachers have to print out some of the material, it will be far cheaper than regularly buying updated textbooks.

Schwarzenegger plans to launch the scheme in August next year when California’s high-school pupils will have access to online maths and science texts. They will also use a digital textbook such as the Sony reader which can hold the same information as up to 160 books.

Schwarzenegger told pupils at a school he visited yesterday “kids are feeling as comfortable with their electronic devices as I was with my pencils and crayons. Textbooks are outdated, in my opinion.

“For so many years, we’ve been trying to teach the kids exactly the same way.”

But some teachers wonder whether Schwarzenegger’s idea of getting rid of textbooks might end up costing more not less, with digital textbooks going for $300.

Kristina Fierro, a high school teacher in Bakersfield, said it would be expensive to get the materials, train the teachers and train the students to use the materials properly.

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