Remember the smell of returning back to school? Floors freshly waxed, school paper supplies with that waxy crayon smell (at least in early grades)? Then there was the smell of textbooks being handed out. I’m guessing that aroma had something to do with the ink in my blood that led me into a writing/editing/marketing career.
But wait. Texas schoolchildren won’t be getting that textbook smell when they return to school, at least not for a few weeks. It seems our busy lawmakers snipped a little more than they thought. True, the upgrade to the Texas Education Agency’s online ordering system may be better, but coupled with the delay in state funding, textbooks won’t be ready when school starts.
According to a Fort Worth Star-Telegram article by Robert Cadwallader, the timing is especially bad since this year marks the first for the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, which will replace the decade-old Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) this spring.
“We’ve got the new STAAR testing and new requirements — everything’s new,” said Sandra Vatthauer, school board president in Mansfield, near Fort Worth. “So you’re starting the year with a handicap if you don’t have your textbooks.”
For teachers required to “teach the test,” missing two weeks of textbooks designed with the new testing requirements may hurt.
Houston Federation of Teachers President Gayle Fallon is quoted in a recent Austin article: “There goes the first two weeks of school. So much for us maximizing every moment.”
Other articles posted about the same time agree school will go on with or without the textbooks. Most agree, too, that the new ordering system will be much more efficient once it’s in place.
So it’s not the end of the world, but school’s just not going to smell the same.