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The Great School Book Scam - advice required


inthemire

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
608
Well as September approaches, I find myself perusing both my children's book lists and am utterly amazed at the number of books which are now "redundant" 4 years after my older child has used them.

Regardless of subject, virtually every book used by my older child to become literate etc, is no longer in use in the school they attend.

Whilst i'm glad that the TUI seem to have taken some kind of role in discussing this - RTE Radio this morning - the level of silence on this issue from both the National Parents Council (NPC) and NPC-Post Primary leave me wondering about their business or political affiliations of both these bodies. It's not possible as a parent to register on either site - so which parents do they represent??

Given the state of our economy, it is surely incumbent on the Dept of Education to

1. creates a moratorioum on the issuing of "revised/updated/new Version" of the same book for the next two years, given the economic situation.

2. Establish a syllabus which doesn't change over say, a 5 or even 6 year period. It's not perffect, but it will reduce the annual spend on books.

3. Establish a "book-share" scheme in primary and post-primary schools which would allow the school to retain ownership of books whilst parents "rent" the books for the year, with responsiblity for keeping them in good condition, and replacement costs should the book be damaged/become unusable.


WHO is getting paid to continually change these books???

1. The Book Companies?
2. Inspectors at the Dept of Education who "revise/Update" the Syllabus ?
3. School Headmasters?
4. School TEachers both primary and Post-Primary?
5. Boards of Management?

Can anyone advise HOW books are chosen either by a school or by a teacher in relation to each year? Do book companies visit schools with books and suggest/offer them to schools?

Are "inducements" given to teachers/schools for choosing particular books (similar to inducements given to doctors for prescribing certain types of drug to patients) ahead of existing books?

IIRC, maths, english, Irish, languages, haven't changed in recent centuries- but the books used to teach have changed annually....

I'm about 400.00 worse off, for my younger child to attend the same school and study the same subjects, 4 years later....

Thanks
 


Hazlitt

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Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
1,092
A central body setting the syllabus doesn't help, we could start with abolishing the DoE and getting the state out of education, allowing competing schools and private accreditation agencies to set what is taught and how it is taught. Books in and of themselves in forward looking teaching institutions are being replaced with eBooks on eReaders, tablet PC's and laptops, but unless we allow these institutions to experiment and compete we will not benefit from the advances that rivalrous competition brings about.
 

nozzferrahhtoo

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Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
1,346
Website
www.catholic.ie
I think more information is needed before we should comment on this.

For example you speak of books that are "revised/updated/new Version" of the same book.

Maybe, since you clearly have both an older and newer version of these books, you can sit down and systematically work out what the changes actually were.

Then when you have them documented, consider them and see if the changes were cursory, useless, or in fact entirely necessary.

Without such information, on which to decide if the changes being made are in fact necessary ones, it is almost impossible to comment on whether you are right or wrong about whether they should be implemented.

Also, the publishers should be able to give you a "change log" between versions if you contact them, which should save you time.

For me, I would rather buy a new set of books with glaring errors corrected, rather than have falsehoods taught to me kids in order to save other parents pockets.
 

Ard Eoin

Active member
Joined
Apr 19, 2010
Messages
290
also...im constantly amazed at the weight of the schoolbag my daughter has to carry around...and thats just the books she needs for that particular day...

in this day and age...i wonder if it would be better for each child to have an ipad type device...this would be easy to manage...plus if a revised edition were required then all i would have to do is pay for the patch to that particular book and download it...
 

olamp

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Joined
Mar 24, 2010
Messages
1,452
This has been happening for many many years .I remember having to buy books on the syllabus which my children never had to even open for the school year -tried to sell these new unused books the following year and they were defunct -I can only presume that ,like everything in this appalling corrupt country,somebody was making fortunes from this practise.
 

inthemire

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Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
608
I think more information is needed before we should comment on this.For example you speak of books that are "revised/updated/new Version" of the same book.

Maybe, since you clearly have both an older and newer version of these books, you can sit down and systematically work out what the changes actually were. I think that should be the role of the person who is telling me which books i need to buy for my child. If i want to compare books, perhaps I should be teching the subject myself!

Then when you have them documented, consider them and see if the changes were cursory, useless, or in fact entirely necessary. I'm not the teacher of the subject. Who am I to decide on whether the changes are necessary.


Without such information, on which to decide if the changes being made are in fact necessary ones, it is almost impossible to comment on whether you are right or wrong about whether they should be implemented.

See my last statement above. I'm not the teacher.

Also, the publishers should be able to give you a "change log" between versions if you contact them, which should save you time. I'm not paid to make editorial decisions- i'm taking it that the teacher of the subject has asked for the updated book on teh book list for a reason!

For me, I would rather buy a new set of books with glaring errors corrected, rather than have falsehoods taught to me kids in order to save other parents pockets.[/QUOTE] I think this is an incredible statement. You are either a bookseeller r a book publisher, with that kind of line!

For a second consider what you're saying. Book companies are publishing books with falsehoods/glaring errors - have you never heard of editing/editorial correction? And it's completely contrary to what you said above - either the change log you talk would reveal inaccuracies -in which case the company should not be in the business of educational text publishing!


Most glaringly of all the comment i've bolded in red - WE????? Who ARE you?

The Dept of Education syllabus Inspectorate?
Folens?
The National Parents Council?

I think your arrogance in telling nobody to comment reflects a particular vested interest in this subject!

You've ignored all the questions i've asked!!
 
Last edited:

jacko

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Joined
Mar 6, 2009
Messages
2,668
the uniform pricing no matter which shop you go to suggests resale price maintenance which is a criminal offence under irish competition law.

you should contact the competition authority at The Competition Authority
 

johnfás

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Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
2,727
I remember when I was in secondary school there was a maths book which released an "updated edition" the changes literally amounted to jumbling the pages around and replacing £ signs with € signs.

Book loan schemes are a very good idea - but the reality is they require alot of capital up front and they can only be organised on a local (i.e. school specific) basis. Not many schools would have enough cash to buy 30x8 school books for all the children in the school, irrespective of whether they may be able to recoup it all back by renting them back to them for a period of years.

It is quite clear that the school book market is a scam. As is the majority of the "educational resources" sector. For example, students having to buy a whole new set of past papers each year for State exams, rather than just the most recent year's. The Leaving Certificate English poetry syllabus is also a farce and basically a money making exercise.
 

Vega1447

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Joined
Oct 18, 2007
Messages
5,759
The system is intended to keep Irish Ed. book publishers in business

That is the only (semi-) rational explanation.

What does puzzle me is why teachers go along with it...

I work in 3rd level education and write my own notes for my students - give them the pdf file - they can print if they want...
 

johnfás

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Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
2,727
That is the only (semi-) rational explanation.

What does puzzle me is why teachers go along with it...

I work in 3rd level education and write my own notes for my students - give them the pdf file - they can print if they want...
Of course you are a rare exception. A great many university lecturers still ask students to buy a number of expensive books for their course - most of which the students will never open because the core text book constitutes such a small proportion of the overall reading list for the module.
 

nozzferrahhtoo

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Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
1,346
Website
www.catholic.ie
inthemire,

I wonder if you could try posting again. The result of your posting above is almost entirely unreadable and I have no idea what you are saying and where my post ends and yours begins. The quote function is not hard to use.
 

Xiogenes

Active member
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
140
Its about time Kids were using E-book readers.

This will not displace writing, only the heavy and environmentally unfriendly books they use.

It doesn't even have to be used for all books, just some or what ever suits.

They are cheap - and the obvious way forward. Books then should drop in price as there are no manufacturing, distribution, or environmental factors.

$140 is fairly cheap, compared to most kids having mobiles these days worth more.

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pY6kEr7ugw]YouTube - Amazon Kindle 3 - Complete Overview - OFFICIAL[/ame]
 

Ard Eoin

Active member
Joined
Apr 19, 2010
Messages
290
Its about time Kids were using E-book readers.

This will not displace writing, only the heavy and environmentally unfriendly books they use.

It doesn't even have to be used for all books, just some or what ever suits.

They are cheap - and the obvious way forward. Books then should drop in price as there are no manufacturing, distribution, or environmental factors.

$140 is fairly cheap, compared to most kids having mobiles these days worth more.

YouTube - Amazon Kindle 3 - Complete Overview - OFFICIAL
exactly....
 

nozzferrahhtoo

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Joined
Jun 2, 2009
Messages
1,346
Website
www.catholic.ie
Inthemire

In the interest of helping you I trawled through your mess of a post and extracted what I could. I felt a little like your username while doing so though.

I hope we can work together to improve this in future so I do not have to trawl through such a mess again. It should also help you get your point across better in the future so we both benefit from the time I just invested.

I will reply to you using the same formatting and quoting options that you failed to use, in the hope that you can learn from the example how to post in future. May I also help out by recommending the PREVIEW button before you submit your posts? I myself find it INVALUABLE in showing you where your post is likely to be partially, or in your case almost entirely, unreadable. If not as a courtesy to others, you at least owe it to yourself to represent yourself in a readable fashion.

Anyway to your post...

Your post is a little reactionary and is addressing things I never said and in some cases never would. I suggest you re-read it and try again. However to further help I will clarify my points here in relation to what you said to them.

You ask WHY books are being published with errors. I do not mean to demean you by saying this, but this is the real world. Books with errors are published all the time. This is why many books, in and out of schools, go through several “editions” all the time. Have you really never heard of someone referring to “The book called X by author Y 3rd edition”?

The correction and editing process is far from perfect and this is just when considering errors being made that should have been noticed at the time. There are other kinds of errors! I ALSO refer to things that are errors because at the time of printing they were considered correct, but we learned better since then and our knowledge has been updated and so the books must be too.

Also not all changes are errors. Other things can change that have knock on requirements for changes in the material. Such as changes in best teaching practices and methodology for one example of many.

I think your arrogance
Insults demean only the insulter and never the target. I stopped using insults as a means of communication when I left my first school yard and I am afraid I am not about to go back to doing so now, and I would request you do the same. If you want to discuss, I am here for you.

If you want to let yourself down and bandy around random insults then I am not about to pander to this and join you in the practise so you are on your own with it. I do not deserve such comments, and you do not deserve to take away from your own points by reducing your game to this level.

either the change log you talk would reveal inaccuracies
I am talking about the log of what they changed and why. I am not talking about a log of errors that were known about before the book went to print. I just mean that if you want a short cut to finding out what was changed between two editions of a book, then rather than trawl the books yourself, a quick request to the publisher would likely result in a document that has done this for you. More often than not they are freely available.

telling nobody to comment
Where did I do any such thing? Find it for me? You can not can you? I think commenting on this issue is a GOOD thing which is why I posted and not ONCE did I suggest no one comment. Please do me the courtesy therefore of keeping your words out of my mouth. Clearly I have enough of my own to be going on with.

No what I said is that BEFORE we comment there are certain information and data that it would be helpful to get and consider. This is entirely the opposite of saying do NOT comment.

I honestly see nothing wrong in this comment! Suggesting that before we discuss publishers editing books, that it would be useful information to know exactly what changes were made and why. Do you think having your facts straight before commenting is some kind of bad thing? I was under the impression it was GOOD practise to do so! I have never had it suggested to me otherwise anyway.

Who am I to decide on whether the changes are necessary.
You tell me! You are the one here suggesting a freeze on changes. Not only are you therefore telling us what changes are necessary, you are doing so in a very risky blanket fashion by pre-denying all changes before you even know what they are or why they are being made! 6 years is a long time and freezing a syllabus for that long can mean that for 6 years we are consciously teaching children facts that we have since learnt are entirely false. This is not a good approach.

You are either a bookseeller r a book publisher, with that kind of line!
Neither. You should not assume things about people you do not know, you will almost invariably end up wrong. I am merely a parent. And as a parent I want to know that the books I am sending my child to school with are as accurate as they possibly can be given our current knowledge and editing processes.

I realise that a lot of our books, especially in the sciences, have errors and our knowledge is being constantly updated. I am also aware that as our knowledge about teaching methods increases with experience that the contents of books must change to reflect what we know about best teaching practises.

And therefore as a parent, I do not want to send my child to school with inferior books merely because some other parent, who is less concerned with ensuring their child gets the most up to date education possible, feels a little out of pocket.

However, as I said, given that neither you nor I are aware of what the changes are, or why they were made, neither of us are in the position to comment on this as neither of us has our facts straight.

You may be entirely right that the Publishing houses are just moving a font a little left, adding a bit of color to a photo, an re-releasing the books to make a quick profit. If you are then I would entirely agree with much of what you have written and would stand on the front lines with you to have this prevented.

The fact is we… do… not… know… which is exactly why I made the comment about how we could do with more information before commenting on this issue. Our mutual ignorance is dangerous here and with the best of intentions we could be arguing against something that if we knew more we would be entirely in agreement with.

The suggestions on this thread already however of moving our books to Easy Reader Electronic formats, which have been shown to be of equivalent strain on the eyes to normal textbooks, would be a massive improvement I warrant and would allay many, if not all, of the concerns you open this thread with. However I am sure there are massive concerns about the cost of such options, especially given the durability of the electronics. They are very easily broken by adults, let alone boisterous and playful children.
 

seanmacc

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2009
Messages
1,022
The founder of one of the beneficiaries of the scool book rip off was CJ Fallon was a very well known ex Nazi who fleed Germany before the trials.

Just a point of info.
 

TradCat

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 5, 2005
Messages
1,992
The founder of one of the beneficiaries of the scool book rip off was CJ Fallon was a very well known ex Nazi who fleed Germany before the trials.

Just a point of info.
Are you suggesting a statue like the one of Sean Russell?
 

florin

Well-known member
Joined
May 17, 2008
Messages
1,365
Its about time Kids were using E-book readers.

This will not displace writing, only the heavy and environmentally unfriendly books they use.

It doesn't even have to be used for all books, just some or what ever suits.

They are cheap - and the obvious way forward. Books then should drop in price as there are no manufacturing, distribution, or environmental factors.

$140 is fairly cheap, compared to most kids having mobiles these days worth more.

YouTube - Amazon Kindle 3 - Complete Overview - OFFICIAL
Not only that, but one could just download an "updated" edition free.
 

Macy

Well-known member
Joined
May 22, 2007
Messages
772
"Free" education - don't you just love it.

Clearly they should be moving to e-readers or even laptops so that children don't have to carry so much. In conjunction, the workbook pages (another scam) could be printed off.
 

inthemire

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2009
Messages
608
Inthemire

In the interest of helping you I trawled through your mess of a post and extracted what I could. I felt a little like your username while doing so though.

I hope we can work together to improve this in future so I do not have to trawl through such a mess again. It should also help you get your point across better in the future so we both benefit from the time I just invested.

I will reply to you using the same formatting and quoting options that you failed to use, in the hope that you can learn from the example how to post in future. May I also help out by recommending the PREVIEW button before you submit your posts? I myself find it INVALUABLE in showing you where your post is likely to be partially, or in your case almost entirely, unreadable. If not as a courtesy to others, you at least owe it to yourself to represent yourself in a readable fashion.

Anyway to your post...

Your post is a little reactionary and is addressing things I never said and in some cases never would. I suggest you re-read it and try again. However to further help I will clarify my points here in relation to what you said to them.

You ask WHY books are being published with errors. I do not mean to demean you by saying this, but this is the real world. Books with errors are published all the time. This is why many books, in and out of schools, go through several “editions” all the time. Have you really never heard of someone referring to “The book called X by author Y 3rd edition”?

The correction and editing process is far from perfect and this is just when considering errors being made that should have been noticed at the time. There are other kinds of errors! I ALSO refer to things that are errors because at the time of printing they were considered correct, but we learned better since then and our knowledge has been updated and so the books must be too.

Also not all changes are errors. Other things can change that have knock on requirements for changes in the material. Such as changes in best teaching practices and methodology for one example of many.



Insults demean only the insulter and never the target. I stopped using insults as a means of communication when I left my first school yard and I am afraid I am not about to go back to doing so now, and I would request you do the same. If you want to discuss, I am here for you.

If you want to let yourself down and bandy around random insults then I am not about to pander to this and join you in the practise so you are on your own with it. I do not deserve such comments, and you do not deserve to take away from your own points by reducing your game to this level.



I am talking about the log of what they changed and why. I am not talking about a log of errors that were known about before the book went to print. I just mean that if you want a short cut to finding out what was changed between two editions of a book, then rather than trawl the books yourself, a quick request to the publisher would likely result in a document that has done this for you. More often than not they are freely available.



Where did I do any such thing? Find it for me? You can not can you? I think commenting on this issue is a GOOD thing which is why I posted and not ONCE did I suggest no one comment. Please do me the courtesy therefore of keeping your words out of my mouth. Clearly I have enough of my own to be going on with.

No what I said is that BEFORE we comment there are certain information and data that it would be helpful to get and consider. This is entirely the opposite of saying do NOT comment.

I honestly see nothing wrong in this comment! Suggesting that before we discuss publishers editing books, that it would be useful information to know exactly what changes were made and why. Do you think having your facts straight before commenting is some kind of bad thing? I was under the impression it was GOOD practise to do so! I have never had it suggested to me otherwise anyway.



You tell me! You are the one here suggesting a freeze on changes. Not only are you therefore telling us what changes are necessary, you are doing so in a very risky blanket fashion by pre-denying all changes before you even know what they are or why they are being made! 6 years is a long time and freezing a syllabus for that long can mean that for 6 years we are consciously teaching children facts that we have since learnt are entirely false. This is not a good approach.



Neither. You should not assume things about people you do not know, you will almost invariably end up wrong. I am merely a parent. And as a parent I want to know that the books I am sending my child to school with are as accurate as they possibly can be given our current knowledge and editing processes.

I realise that a lot of our books, especially in the sciences, have errors and our knowledge is being constantly updated. I am also aware that as our knowledge about teaching methods increases with experience that the contents of books must change to reflect what we know about best teaching practises.

And therefore as a parent, I do not want to send my child to school with inferior books merely because some other parent, who is less concerned with ensuring their child gets the most up to date education possible, feels a little out of pocket.

However, as I said, given that neither you nor I are aware of what the changes are, or why they were made, neither of us are in the position to comment on this as neither of us has our facts straight.

You may be entirely right that the Publishing houses are just moving a font a little left, adding a bit of color to a photo, an re-releasing the books to make a quick profit. If you are then I would entirely agree with much of what you have written and would stand on the front lines with you to have this prevented.

The fact is we… do… not… know… which is exactly why I made the comment about how we could do with more information before commenting on this issue. Our mutual ignorance is dangerous here and with the best of intentions we could be arguing against something that if we knew more we would be entirely in agreement with.

The suggestions on this thread already however of moving our books to Easy Reader Electronic formats, which have been shown to be of equivalent strain on the eyes to normal textbooks, would be a massive improvement I warrant and would allay many, if not all, of the concerns you open this thread with. However I am sure there are massive concerns about the cost of such options, especially given the durability of the electronics. They are very easily broken by adults, let alone boisterous and playful children.
Lets start at the beginning of your post!!

Thank you for your patience in trawling through my edited post. You do me a great service. I thought the bold type would have helped you, but perhaps not. Still, blogs like this bring new learning opportunities, so I will seize it! AND there is no charge for a book!

Regarding Insults - pot/kettle/black - but hey, you still got lots of them in there in the first 3 paragraphs :)) - maybe you should re-read what you posted!

Your second posting revealed that you too are quite reactionary in your opinions, when compared to your first reply. But your efforts at being reasonable & measured in the second posting almost masked this!

Now on to the thrust of this thread, which you have quite cleverly avoided.

I've asked a number of questions - you've failed to address any of them.

Our mutual ignorance here is quite valid, which is why I asked several questions in my opening Thread, but which you either didn't or couldn't answer. I'd surmise that you're using diversionary tactics to stall this thread for what reasons, I cannot consider.

I respect your honest opinion that most books are updated to reflect errors. I think it's a nonsensical argument to be honest. And to this nonsense I don't subscribe.

If a book needs to be updated to reflect errors, it's far cheaper to insert an Erratum (or even an Errata) slip in the latest version. I think that has even happened with Leaving Cert papers on the day, IIRC.

If it contains so many errors as to require a reprint, then really, neither the book company/the writer/the editor should be allowed sell any kind of educational book!

You mention the sciences as examples of books requiring updates in question. If you had read my First post you'd have seen that i referred to Maths, English, Languages...most of these courses have not changed in the last 4 years. But the textbooks sure have. If they contained errors, i'm sure someone would have seen them in that time. After all, they ARE used by educational professionals.

Workbooks are the latest craze among book companies, strangely these were "out of Print" on all 3 websites selling Educational books - unless you bought the text book with them. Amazing eh! No option to download teh workbook on any site, nor to receive an Erratum slip for current material in Version 27 of the Soundings English book. I'm glad you can use the various buttons on this site as you can understand computers and software. So perhaps you can consider why, if these same websites have figured out how to use Electronic payment software they find it impossible to either provide downloads of Errata slips on their error ridden books, or PDFs of the workbooks that you cannot buy on their own?

Your argument that updated educational books should reflect best teaching practice is a little bizarre. As a parent, I thought books for students should be about the subject, not the way the subject is taught!! Silly me!!

Your warning that freezing the syllabus is somewhat risky! Why?? Maths - Irish - English - ?? Would you care to refer to recent changes in these areas which warrant new books every 2nd year? The only case you've brought up is Sciences - and i'd agree with you but EVERY Subject has new books. Scam!

Finally, I trust the teachers to provide direction for my children in learning ahead of book companies whose sole aim is to provide profit for their directors and whose either provide "latest versions" because of either editorial incompetence (errors) or to maximise profit streams.

As I should said at the beginning - Methinks the poster doth protest too much. You do.
 

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