The benefits of illegal proposals

Joe Pickett Joe_Pickett at HMCO.COM
Mon Feb 28 22:39:06 UTC 2000

Just a note on textbook adoptions.  I do not work in textbook publishing, though
I work for a publisher whose primary business is in this area, so I have some
knowledge of this, but not great familiarity.

Statewide adoptions of textbooks are not as common as they once were, but Texas
and a number of other states esp in the south continue to have these adoptions.
They remain mighty important to textbook publishers, who pay a lot of attention
to the demands of the adoption committees.   Sometimes special editions are made
for the Texas market, for instance.

Texas buys a whole bunch of books and then stores them for teachers to order.
Recall that Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK from a warehouse where textbooks were

Some states (like California) approve books that are then considered available
for purchase with state funds by teachers. If your textbook doesn't make the
list of approved books in a really big state like California, it is in some
trouble. Investors do not like it when a company has invested millions (often
scores of millions) of dollars in a reading or math program for K-8, only to see
it get shot down by the committee that approves such books. There is a lot of
money involved, and the potential losses and profits are significant.

Tom Kysilko <pds at VISI.COM> on 02/28/2000 05:20:21 PM

Please respond to American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>

cc:    (bcc: Joe Pickett/Trade/hmco)
Subject:  Re: The benefits of illegal proposals

Not to dispute Dennis' more general point, but the references to Kansas and
Texas aren't slurs.  The acts of the Kansas legislature regarding the
teaching of evolution should be well-known.  Less commonly known perhaps is
that in Texas public school textbooks are (or at least were until recently)
adopted on a state-wide basis.  That's an incredible amount of purchasing
power.  Consequently, textbook publishers who aim for big sales aren't
likely to put something out that doesn't pass muster with the Texas board
of ed.  You don't have to think of these folks as hopelessly retrograde to
see them as a seriously narrowing influence.

--Tom Kysilko (who is expressing his own views, not those of his kinfolk.)

At 02:47 PM 2/28/2000 -0500, Dennis wrote:
>Hmmmm. This is a very interesting reponse. Since teachers in US public
>schools aren't qualified to teach a subject, let's not do it. The second
>part I find hard to understand is that we should not even attempt such
>curricular innovation since school boards in Kansas and Texas (I hope y'all
>Kansans and Texans take care of this slur on your own; I got my own
>Kentucky problems) won't go for it. What if they don't go for math,
>physics, algebra? . . .

  Tom Kysilko        Practical Data Services
  pds at       Saint Paul MN USA

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