Textbooks, Textbook Publishers, and the Quality of Schooling
by Ian Westbury — 1990
The textbooks of a school, a district, or a state approves or uses are often the only symbols of what schools at large do. As a result, almost all concern about the curriculum finds its focus in concern about the textbooks used and this, in turn, leads to discussion of the developers and distributors of those texts—authors and publishers. But one often unnoticed by-product of this form of argument is the assumption that the source of control of what schools do is not in the hands of teachers and communities but, rather, in the hands of an industry which, as I will emphasize here, is profit-seeking. However, as I will argue, while it is the case that textbook publishers are in practice the only "national" agency with a presence as large-scale, nationally directed curriculum developers, it is not clear that these publishers have either an effective capability for this work or the authority they would need do it effectively.
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