So as the gods would have it, I’ve now become a textbook editor and sometimes-author. I’ve been contracted with a large publisher (name withheld) to update their Texas high-school geometry text to national, common-core standards. And I’m having a lot of fun with it!
But I’ve learned a few things. First among them being that books written by committee are rarely good. And usually, barely passable. Yep, of course I’m doing all that I can to change this, but there’s only so much of it that I’m allowed to write. Here are the main reasons that such books go astray:
- They try to plug companion software and websites to the point of being reliant on them
- They introduce concepts in strange order, since different chapters are written by different groups
- The introduction of keywords and definitions is likewise inconsistent
- Examples and problems are clearly recycled from older texts (how many people can relate to plowing a triangular field?)
As I said, I’m doing my part. But I find myself wishing that I could do more, just for the sake of making the kids’ experience better.