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Standards and Textbooks: Hidden Connection

Written by Antero Garcia
May 10, 2013

“…how a student sees the world: sometimes opening new possibilities, sometimes threatening familiar ways of knowing and saying” (Reading Reconsidered by Dennie Wolf)

The above quote resembles the way that we can think of standards as teachers. They may be helpful because they don’t impose exact rules upon us. However, they may also be threatening because they act as if they were rules and give us a list of requirements that we must meet. The Colorado State Standards do not need to be something to fear though. Many teachers may think that the standards are overwhelming and they are hard to meet. However, we would like you to think of them more as guidelines to follow that you can twist and turn to meet your classroom needs. There are many ways that teachers can meet the expectations of the standards. This page focuses on meeting the standards when textbooks and other materials do not.  

Image originally uploaded on 2013-05-10 09:59

What you are looking at above is a graph of the cost of textbooks that different states spend on average per student. Also included is the publisher’s price of textbooks on average. Just by looking at this chart, it can be seen that textbooks are extremely over-priced. Schools get them cheaper when bought in bulk, but for some schools this may not be possible. For a low income school, buying textbooks every other year is just not something feasible.

Teachers do not need to have actual anthologies or textbooks in their classrooms to teach English. There are many poems that can be accessed online. By finding resources online, a teacher can print out poems or stories to use in a classroom rather than thinking that knowledge cannot be taught because there aren’t any current textbooks. The majority of an anthology is not taught in one year anyways because there’s simply not enough time. By printing the poems that you want to use, you save school funding. Then you may ask about the issue of saving on paper. However, with poems you can always print multiple on a page and cut them out. When wanting to do a novel study or studying a Shakespeare play, these can be found really cheap. A Shakespeare play, when sold alone, can be found for about two dollars. Novels can also be found for about six to seven dollars and even if they are not well-known novels, they can meet the standards. One does not need to use the newest literature in a classroom, nor the oldest, so you can find novels that meet what you want to teach and make it work with your budget.


1) Freedberg, Louis. “State Law Could Delay New Textbooks 8-10 Years.” California Watch. N.p., 29

Mar. 2011. Web. 08 May 2013.

2) Rado, Diane. “Illinois Textbook Costs Going up.” Chicago Tribune. N.p., 09 Aug. 2010. Web. 08 May 2013.

3) Kentucky. Legislative Research Commission. Kentucky State Senate. The Costs of College and High School Textbooks in Kentucky. By Lisa Cave, Mike Clark, and Christopher T. Hall. Frankfurt: Program Review and Investigations Committee, 2008. Print.

4) North Carolina. Department of Public Instruction. Division of School Business. Facts and Figures 2010-11. By William C. Harrison. Raleigh: Department of Public Instruction, 2011. Print.

5) “Utah Open Textbook Project.” Utah Open Textbook Project. N.p., 25 Jan. 2012. Web. 08 May 2013.

Open Textbooks and Standards.mp3

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