My Response to the ridiculous article published in the Desoto Times Tribune by Robert Long. Mrs. Weeks whined about the unfavorable things Legislators, parents and news outlets in the state had to say about Common Core and Textbooks, so she got Ms. Dee Thompson to set the record straight.

ATTENTION ROBERT LONG, Desoto Times Tribune and DEE THOMPSON, Desoto County Schools – Let me educate you both on the facts!! You seem to be confused about the definition of a textbook. I would like to clear this up for the both of you and for the public.

In the Mississippi Textbook Administration Handbook of 2008, in Section 37-43-1 of the Mississippi Code of 1972: “Textbook shall be defined as any medium or manual of instruction, which contains a systematic presentation of the principles of a subject and which constitutes a major instructional vehicle for that subject.” This definition does not state that worksheets constitute a manual or textbook by definition. Textbooks have been created for years and years for ALL subjects, NOT JUST READING! They may be in print or in the way of e-books! The textbook law violation does NOT come from the lack of textbooks in just READING for lower grades.

Students throughout the county and in all schools are regularly and consistently NOT assigned textbooks. I find it interesting that MDE wasted so much time writing this Textbook Manual for the State of Mississippi in 2008 if textbooks are pointless no matter what form they come in. For each class, the teacher should have to provide a manual for the student that outlines the material being taught that year, guided instruction on the subject, examples outlining the method to be used and the steps to be taken in order to reach the required solution and appropriate reading material or information needed for the subject. Let’s go to 5-10 schools in the district and check 3 different grade levels of kids in those schools and see what “textbooks” they have been assigned, that they are regularly taking home and are used as the manual for the class. OUR TEACHERS DON’T EVEN HAVE TEACHERS’ MANUALS!

Thanks to the brains of our leadership in Mrs. Weeks, the teachers are not just required to teach a subject, they are required to write the curriculum for it. If textbooks are null and void, why are they wasting the teachers’ time by making them write a curriculum in a 100 lb. 3 ring binder for certain subjects?! Why don’t you ask the real questions, Mr. Long?! Why do universities and institutions of higher learning use textbooks for every subject they teach whether it be a printed manual or online textbook? Where in the world do you see that textbooks are no longer used? And FYI… a Smartboard has not one thing to do with textbooks. As it pertains to DCS, an e-book is like ‘Curious George Goes to the Store’ or ‘Junie B. Jones and The Stinky Smelly School Bus’. Those are NOT textbooks.

Students in lower grades have NEVER used Reading books as their only source of reading material, hence that is why we have always had BOOK REPORTS, Weekly Readers, Library time at school, Scholastic and Highlights just to name a few! DeSoto County Schools has NOT developed a cutting edge program or system for doing things! And again, we are not talking about children reading books! We are talking about ALL students in every grade having a manual or book that is the outline and main source of the material being taught in each of their subjects that year!

And these are the people, Desoto County, that we have representing us, leading us and responsible for our children’s futures! God Help Us All!!!!



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