California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzeneggar is used to playing the role of a Terminator hunting humans but now he’s about to terminate the existence of textbooks in the California education system in favor of eBook readers.
Governor Schwarzeneggar says textbooks are outdated and cost too much to buy when more updated “information today is readily available in electronic form.” He went on to say last year California put aside $350 million towards text books but that money could be saved if electronic versions of the texts were available.
Personally, I’m all for the advancement of technology to make it easier for kids to read and write while saving money but the cost of eBook readers might become problematic. eBook readers are great for what they do, easy access to hundreds of books and can update information using a USB or wireless connection. It will eventually replace most books but right now the costs of eBook readers are too high to actually warrant a full scale change. That will be the problem Mr. Schwarzeneggar faces, who will be providing the children with expensive eBook readers, the state of California?
Some teachers believe the actual cost of switching to digital format will ultimately end up costing the state more money because of the high eBook reader costs. Currently the cheapest mass marketed eBook reader is Cool-er’s for $250.
If California can somehow find a way by August of next year, when Governor Schwarzeneggar wants to implement his new plan, to get a company to provide cheap eBook readers, there’s still the problem of kids without computers at home. As common as computers have become in the last decade, it’s still a commodity many poor families cannot afford.
We’ll just have to wait and see what comes from this debate, whether or not Governor Schwarzeneggar’s plan actually works and if California ends up saving money in the long run. The change to eBook readers from textbooks might be something other states consider in the future, especially if the cost of eBook readers gradually drop.