Teachers in Minneapolis write district’s textbooks

November 12, 2011 by  

Three teachers at Minneapolis’s Blaine High School have saved the Anoka-Hennepin School District approximately $175,000 by constructing textbooks themselves in lieu of the mass-produced variety. The teachers spent more than 100 hours each developing the books over the summer.

One of the aforementioned teachers, Michael Englehaupt, explained that mass-produced textbooks are an unwarranted expense because they aren’t designed specifically around the state’s curriculum, so the school ends up paying for several chapters that aren’t used.

Englehaupt also mentioned that since the schools keep the textbooks for about 10 years, they are often out-dated long before they’re replaced. The new books eliminate this problem because they can be updated as needed. Englehaupt said:

“That’s the cool thing about it. The book is kind of a living document,”

Although many of the students are reading the material right off the web, others, due to a lack of computers, are using hard copies printed online. In addition, for only $5, the school can provide bound copies put together by local printing companies.

The Anoka-Hennepin School district is now at least the second district in Minnesota to write its own curriculum; the Byron Community School district, located in southeastern Minnesota, has also written its own curriculum, and Byron High School Principle Mike Duffy claims that although the data is still new, the scores are all up, rising six percent since adopting the new system. Duffy said:

“We see greatly improved scores here,”

While nobody can say for sure whether self-written curriculums are here to stay, lower costs and improved scores are making a loud statement.