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Obama To Take Over Control of College Textbooks?
Big Government ^ | Warner Todd Huston

Posted on 03/31/2010 6:57:04 AM PDT by Sopater

Candace de Russy over at National Review posted an alarming example [1] of an Obama power grab. Or perhaps more precisely it’s yet another alarming example of an Obama power grab. This time Obama apparently is setting the table to take control of what is printed in our nation’s college textbooks.

money

This one slipped past my radar in August of 2009, but apparently Barack Obama signed the Federal Textbook Act (Download .pdf file [2]) that made provisions for the federal government to take control of the pricing and availability of the text books in our institutions of higher learning (at least the ones that take federal funding).

According to the language of the act, it is all about keeping textbooks affordable for students.

Purpose and Intent- The purpose of this section is to ensure that students have access to affordable course materials by decreasing costs to students and enhancing transparency and disclosure with respect to the selection, purchase, sale, and use of course materials. It is the intent of this section to encourage all of the involved parties, including faculty, students, administrators, institutions of higher education, bookstores, distributors, and publishers, to work together to identify ways to decrease the cost of college textbooks and supplemental materials for students while supporting the academic freedom of faculty members to select high quality course materials for students.

Sounds good, right?

Maybe not so much.

National Review quotes George Mason economics professor Donald J. Boudreaux as saying that this act seems to be “a first step toward federal oversight of the contents of college textbooks.” As proof he points specifically to section C, the publisher requirements section.

(C) A description of the substantial content revisions made between the current edition of the college textbook or supplemental material and the previous edition, if any.

Why does Obama’s overlords need to know what revisions have been made to a textbook? This act is supposed to be concerned with pricing and availability, not content… isn’t it?

Of course, we all know that once government gets its tendrils into your business it takes all power away from you and reassigns it to government. So, once this act is implemented, any federal money involved will give government the opening to begin controlling everything in the process of creating and distributing college textbooks.

As prof Boudreaux points out, if people are upset over the recent newfound control that the conservative leaning Texas textbook commission had over new textbooks, then how upset might they be if the federal government takes over our college textbooks? There should be no difference at all in the reaction if it was really government control that was being opposed.

Naturally, its always about whose ox is being gored with liberals. Texas textbook control: baaaaad. Obama textbook control: gooooood.

I would also point out one other thing. Many professors in our nation’s colleges and universities have hit the lottery by writing textbooks for their own classes, books that their university will then adopt as the “official” textbook for class work. These professors make a tidy sum of money on these expensive, small print run books that their captive student audience is forced to buy. It would seem to me that this Federal Textbook Act could easily eliminate this lucrative but under-the-radar source of income for professors everywhere. Not that I am against that, but it is something for those lefty profs that so love their Obammessiah to think about.

This bill was originally signed in 2008 by President Bush and was introduced by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. It took effect this year during Obama’s presidency. But regardless of who signed it — and this shows that Bush was as bad as Obama for his love of big government — it is a bad idea to allow the federal government to get involved in the production of text books.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: bho44; bhoeducation; highereducation; homeschool; lping; publicschool; textbooks
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1 posted on 03/31/2010 6:57:05 AM PDT by Sopater
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To: metmom

ping


2 posted on 03/31/2010 6:57:28 AM PDT by Sopater (...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. - 2 COR 3:17b)
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To: Sopater

No need to.

The colleges and professors already control the textbooks, and they make sure that the texts support their indoctrination agenda.


3 posted on 03/31/2010 6:57:48 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: MrB

Its disheartening (which is the intention)....as I have kids that I want to go to college, but where?


4 posted on 03/31/2010 7:00:01 AM PDT by Blue Turtle
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To: MrB

Still...this is truly scary stuff. Our history is at stake. Which means our future is, too.


5 posted on 03/31/2010 7:00:05 AM PDT by Republic (Stop the horrific liberals from spending ONE MORE DIME before they destroy our nation.)
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To: Sopater

The greatest outrage is the federal monopoly on college loans now.

That passes almost without comment.

These people are totalitarians in intent, but I think as they say down in Louisiana that their alligator mouths are going to overload their mosquito asses.


6 posted on 03/31/2010 7:00:10 AM PDT by Psalm 144 (What is a slave, but someone robbed of his labor to sustain the idle?)
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To: Blue Turtle

Hillsdale or Patrick Henry University or University of the Ozarks


7 posted on 03/31/2010 7:00:43 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: MrB

Can this Federal Textbook Act be overturned?


8 posted on 03/31/2010 7:00:57 AM PDT by Republic (Stop the horrific liberals from spending ONE MORE DIME before they destroy our nation.)
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To: Republic

I read the back of the book.
We win, they lose.


9 posted on 03/31/2010 7:01:14 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: Republic
Dare I say the "S Word"?

secession

It's gonna come to that. He's guaranteeing it.

10 posted on 03/31/2010 7:02:10 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a humanist and a Satanist is that the latter knows who he's working for.)
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To: MrB

In the liberal arts, the textbooks are politically correct. In sciences, business, and engineering, politically correctness is a minor issue.

Democrats want to control the prices of textbooks. One way to control textbook prices is to restrict textbook revisions. Revised editions generate new sales. Older editions are primarily used sales.


11 posted on 03/31/2010 7:03:54 AM PDT by businessprofessor
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To: bamahead; WKB; Arthur Wildfire! March; NYer; wagglebee; little jeremiah; 2Jedismom; 6amgelsmama; ...

Our world is beginning to read more and more like a Left Behind novel every day, at an alarming rate.

The power grabs this guy is making is unreal and proceeding at an astounding pace.


12 posted on 03/31/2010 7:06:02 AM PDT by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: Blue Turtle

“Its disheartening (which is the intention)....as I have kids that I want to go to college, but where?”

Hillsdale!


13 posted on 03/31/2010 7:06:16 AM PDT by penelopesire ("The only CHANGE you will get with the Democrats is the CHANGE left in your pocket")
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To: MrB

It’s going to come to that? It’s already here!


14 posted on 03/31/2010 7:07:49 AM PDT by Comparative Advantage
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To: Sopater

Not that this law is a good idea at all ... but my guess is that this has little to do with content. Obama simply does not need to intervene to make college textbooks more liberal. Colleges self-regulate in that regard.

I took a college history class that was teaching from Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States”. He literally couldn’t make that book more liberal if he wanted to.

As to regulation of college profits from textbook sales ... I think they should be free to profit (as we all should be), but find it difficult to summon sympathy for lost profits at socialist institutions.

SnakeDoc


15 posted on 03/31/2010 7:08:24 AM PDT by SnakeDoctor ("The world will know that free men stood against a tyrant ... that even a god-king can bleed." - 300)
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To: metmom

This is his way of getting around things like the Texas board deciding to cut SOME of the liberal content from textbooks.


16 posted on 03/31/2010 7:09:05 AM PDT by Ingtar (Congress: proof that Entropy trumps Evolution)
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To: MrB

It seems that everyday we are learning about the leftists’ amazing creeping filthy dirty tactics bent on destroying what was and putting in their vision of a state run society where everyone’s spirit is enslaved and then crushed under the weight of total loss of freedom.


17 posted on 03/31/2010 7:09:05 AM PDT by Republic (Stop the horrific liberals from spending ONE MORE DIME before they destroy our nation.)
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To: penelopesire

Your children might be better off learning a trade...that could come in very handy as the infrastructure continues to collapse...


18 posted on 03/31/2010 7:09:21 AM PDT by who knows what evil? (G-d saved more animals than people on the ark...www.siameserescue.org.)
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To: Blue Turtle
Add another vote for Hillsdale. I'm not an alumnus, but am rather impressed by them.
19 posted on 03/31/2010 7:09:49 AM PDT by LearsFool ("Thou shouldst not have been old, till thou hadst been wise.")
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To: MrB; Blue Turtle

also, the University of Dallas.


20 posted on 03/31/2010 7:12:41 AM PDT by xsmommy
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To: Sopater

I don’t trust anything Obama does to ultimately be innocent.

But the rationale for tracking updated editions of textbooks I’m sure would be that it has become something of a scam for the publishers (and authors) to keep putting out minor updates, then require students to buy the newest edition rather than the previous editions that are widely available on the used market.


21 posted on 03/31/2010 7:12:58 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: who knows what evil?

My son already graduated college a few years ago, works in the oil and gas industry, is a solid conservative and just bought his first home all by himself. We are pretty proud of him. But I know what you mean about learning a trade. I think it’s stupid for every kid to go to college. We need to starve that liberal beast too. These leftist professors and universities are robbing our country blind.


22 posted on 03/31/2010 7:13:43 AM PDT by penelopesire ("The only CHANGE you will get with the Democrats is the CHANGE left in your pocket")
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To: Sopater

While the two parties are not the same, more evidence that the elites in both parties have the same goals- more control over us. New boss same as the old boss. The details change, but nothing else does.


23 posted on 03/31/2010 7:15:16 AM PDT by PghBaldy (Like the Ft Hood Killer, James Earl Ray was just stressed when he killed MLK Jr.)
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To: Sopater

Those ignorant of Mussolini’s ascendency in Italy are about to become intimately familiar with it.


24 posted on 03/31/2010 7:18:37 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Que me amat, amet et canem meum)
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To: Sopater
So when are the book burnings, and do they have a carbon permit for that?

If one can control the revisions, if one can control the price, then one can control content.

That is what is going to happen. It will be official, and done on a basis of price. The pool of approved authors will be subsidized in their efforts through other channels, of course.

We have already reached the point where a Bachelor's Degree is considered passe, to the detriment of those of us who worked our butts off decades ago to earn one.

The issue then, for many jobs was whether one had a High School Diploma, which actually implied a reasonable level of numeracy and literacy--no longer!

Now we will produce the best-educated ignoramuses in the world.

As Mark Twain said, "Never let your schooling interfere with your education."

25 posted on 03/31/2010 7:18:38 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Sopater

Even if that provision was put in for reasons dealing with cost. (they change minor things and make for new textbooks each year) It will be abused. They are always making minor changes just so the old books can’t be resold and used for the next class.


26 posted on 03/31/2010 7:19:05 AM PDT by pas
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To: Sopater
Why does Obama’s overlords need to know what revisions have been made to a textbook?

In the context of pricing & availability, many textbooks are often re-issued with trivial revisions designed to deprecate previous versions and force purchase of new, expensive tomes instead of buying old, used, cheap, yet still entirely valid copies. Since a slight change in page & section numbers, tweaking of content, and modification of student exercises all add up to compelling an impractical level of comparison & reconciliation between old & new texts owned by many students, the school just requires the latest version and the students are stuck with shelling out ~$100 for something they could get a viable copy of for under $10. I consider it an unfair practice, just a hair this side of illegal price fixing; since it's "unfair" (yeah, it is), the polypragmatons (gov't busybodies) get involved and write laws like this.

That's the formal, reasonable explanation. I'll even grant it's probably the real reason. ...thing is, gathering such info and making 3rd-party decisions about what changes are "acceptable" for the above reason will lead to further questions about content beyond the limit of this law, leading to more laws & more oppression.

27 posted on 03/31/2010 7:21:16 AM PDT by ctdonath2 (+)
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To: SnakeDoctor
Needs to be said again. "Obama simply does not need to intervene to make college textbooks more liberal. Colleges self-regulate in that regard."

If one reads the article, the law was passed by the Bush administration. Also it mainly deals with aspects that drive up the cost of textbooks. Publisher bundling of useless bits, frequent revision to stifle any used book market...

28 posted on 03/31/2010 7:21:34 AM PDT by listenhillary (Capitalism = billions raised from poverty, Socialism = billions reduced to starvation)
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To: Blue Turtle

Hillsdale College.............http://www.hillsdale.edu/


29 posted on 03/31/2010 7:23:31 AM PDT by Red Badger (Education makes people easy to lead, difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.)
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Friendly reminder / PSA:

ALL of MIT’s courses are available for FREE at http://ocw.mit.edu
If you want the _education_ it’s available at no cost. Diploma & personal classroom attention is extra.
More universities are doing this now.


30 posted on 03/31/2010 7:24:11 AM PDT by ctdonath2 (+)
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To: Sopater
"C) A description of the substantial content revisions made between the current edition of the college textbook or supplemental material and the previous edition, if any."

Without exploring base motive and agenda, and without making a judgement: I would say this section is aimed at the publisher practice of making only minor change in a textbook, then releasing it as a new edition. This has the effect of generating sales of the "latest, most up to date" edition of these VERY expensive books, thus reducing or eliminating the book's resale value.

31 posted on 03/31/2010 7:25:44 AM PDT by LZ_Bayonet ( I AM THE TEA PARTY LEADER !)
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To: metmom

The power grabs have been going on for quite a long time now.


32 posted on 03/31/2010 7:27:53 AM PDT by Jack Hydrazine
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To: metmom; Abathar; Abcdefg; Abram; Abundy; akatel; albertp; AlexandriaDuke; Alexander Rubin; ...
This bill was originally signed in 2008 by President Bush and was introduced by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. It took effect this year during Obama’s presidency.

Ugh...yet another 'gift' left to us by Bush that will assist with Obama's takedown of America. Thanks RINO party.



Libertarian ping! Click here to get added or here to be removed or post a message here!
View past Libertarian pings here
33 posted on 03/31/2010 7:28:08 AM PDT by bamahead (Few men desire liberty; most men wish only for a just master. -- Sallust)
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To: Sopater; LS

LS,
I beg your pardon in advance as you are probably aware of this thread’s topic,
but I decided to ping you as you might be interested.
Cheers!


34 posted on 03/31/2010 7:28:34 AM PDT by VOA
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To: Sopater
Why does Obama’s overlords need to know what revisions have been made to a textbook? This act is supposed to be concerned with pricing and availability, not content… isn’t it?

I have no doubt that the leftists want to control textbooks just like every other facet of our lives, but this is a dumb argument. The revision of textbooks between editions is VERY MUCH tied to pricing. The only real reason that many revisions are made by the writers & publishers is to force students to buy new books at $100+ instead of getting used editions.

35 posted on 03/31/2010 7:29:26 AM PDT by Sloth (Civil disobedience? I'm afraid only the uncivil kind is going to cut it this time.)
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To: Sopater
Why does Obama’s overlords need to know what revisions have been made to a textbook? This act is supposed to be concerned with pricing and availability, not content… isn’t it?

Although I am against goverment control of most things, including college textbooks, the answer to this question should be obvious: College faculty often require their students to purchase the latest edition of the textbook that they or their collegues have written even though the changes to the latest edition from the previous edition are insignificant. The result is that a student spends $150 for a new book, rather than $30 for a used prior edition of the same book from the same author, and the only difference between the two editions is a footnote on page 442, the size of the graph on page 561, and correction to a citation in the bibliography.

36 posted on 03/31/2010 7:34:18 AM PDT by Labyrinthos
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To: Sopater

There are few college textbooks that are worth the paper. I teach college economics and have used the McConnell and Brue textbook...actually shows free markets in a positive light.


37 posted on 03/31/2010 7:36:02 AM PDT by The Great RJ ("The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." M. Thatcher)
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To: Red Badger

Thanks...will check it out.


38 posted on 03/31/2010 7:42:24 AM PDT by Blue Turtle
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To: The Great RJ

McConnell:Economics list price in 1973 $11.50

Same book today $189.38


39 posted on 03/31/2010 7:42:35 AM PDT by listenhillary (Capitalism = billions raised from poverty, Socialism = billions reduced to starvation)
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To: Blue Turtle

Hillsdale, Grove City to name two...


40 posted on 03/31/2010 7:42:41 AM PDT by Russ (Repeal the 17th amendment)
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To: Russ

I totally detest “programmed learning”.


41 posted on 03/31/2010 7:45:24 AM PDT by Birdsbane ("Onward through the fog!" ... Oat Willie)
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To: xsmommy

Is University of Dallas conservative?


42 posted on 03/31/2010 7:47:49 AM PDT by tbw2 (Freeper sci-fi - "Humanity's Edge" - on amazon.com)
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To: Sopater

I thought education was controlled at the local level?

I’m all for cheaper books. Text books are a rip.


43 posted on 03/31/2010 7:51:50 AM PDT by goseminoles
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To: tbw2

yes. My daughter is a junior there, we are very happy with it. It’s a small authentically Catholic university. Last Monday, the day after the passage of the healthcare bill, her Politics professor, in her class on Aristotle, scrapped the day’s lecture and they engaged in a discussion of the horrors of the passage of the bill. She attended a lecture series last weekend that featured R.J. Pestritto, who is a former UD politics professor, now on the faculty of Hillsdale.


44 posted on 03/31/2010 7:53:55 AM PDT by xsmommy
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To: Sopater

I know textbook$ are pricey as hell, but Bummer is doing us no favors by meddling in the matter.


45 posted on 03/31/2010 7:54:15 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: Blue Turtle
Rush and Sean talk about it. They don't take ANY FEDERAL MONEY at all, INCLUDING student loans, Pell Grants, etc. That way the Feds have NO CONTROL over their curriculum..............
46 posted on 03/31/2010 7:55:07 AM PDT by Red Badger (Education makes people easy to lead, difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.)
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To: Sopater

“Purpose and Intent of the Bill...and enhancing transparency and disclosure”

That is rich.


47 posted on 03/31/2010 7:57:41 AM PDT by gathersnomoss (General George Patton had it right.)
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To: Labyrinthos

Do they get kickbacks from the astronomical prices of the newest books?

One scheme that might cut the cost of textbooks would be to release all in a binder format, where future updates would consist of small kits to replace superseded pages and every effort would be taken not to upset pagination.


48 posted on 03/31/2010 7:58:59 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: Republic

Our history is already erased, as far as public schools are concerned.


49 posted on 03/31/2010 8:03:48 AM PDT by arthurus ("If you don't believe in shooting abortionists, don't shoot an abortionist." -Ann C.)
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To: ctdonath2
I had only recently read about universities adopting an open courseware model. Thank you so much for the link!
My first reaction to this article is that it's designed to discourage creating new editions that consist of fixing a minor typo or replacing a case study. Unless the professor is completely reliant on students doing the case studies and exercises, it's usually not a problem to get a prior edition (or international edition) online for much cheaper. As opencourseware, online education and ebooks become more prevalent, I think there will be a natural decline in print textbook costs. I see this as unnecessary legislation with good intentions that has the possibility of being exploited.
Throwing in my recommendations: Grove City College in PA, and Amberton University, TX, as a good online option.
50 posted on 03/31/2010 8:06:53 AM PDT by Sisku Hanne
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