Skip to comments.Obama To Take Over Control of College Textbooks?
Posted on 03/31/2010 6:57:04 AM PDT by Sopater
Candace de Russy over at National Review posted an alarming example  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.
This one slipped past my radar in August of 2009, but apparently Barack Obama signed the Federal Textbook Act (Download .pdf file ) 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 Obamas 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.
I totally detest “programmed learning”.
Is University of Dallas conservative?
I thought education was controlled at the local level?
I’m all for cheaper books. Text books are a rip.
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.
I know textbook$ are pricey as hell, but Bummer is doing us no favors by meddling in the matter.
“Purpose and Intent of the Bill...and enhancing transparency and disclosure”
That is rich.
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.
Our history is already erased, as far as public schools are concerned.
THis is more nanny government at work
the changes in content are about the fact that college text publishers change minimal content and move things around in their books then call it a new edition and charge top dollar, for example 100-150 for a basic English lit book. This prevents the secondary market of used books from gaining any traction.
A despicable practice, but not one for government interference.
As a starving student, I actually kind of like this law. My future as a contributing Conservative adult depends on me getting the best education I can afford. Textbooks are a scam! I have to spend hundreds of dollars every semester on books and if there is a registry somewhere that tells me what has changed between a cheap used book and a pricey new book, then I can buy the old one and download the changes from the registry to get the updates.
As has been pointed out above, this law was initiated under the previous president, so I don’t think it really qualifies as a power grab by the libs.
As I understand it, all that has happened is that loans which were previously issued by banks using 100% federal money with 100% federal loan guarantees (zero risk for the banks), will now be issued directly by the government. It's not clear to me why this change alone is an "outrage".
You might make the argument that perhaps the government will now be using political favoritism in issuing loans, but you could make the same argument about housing loans, SBA loans, etc.
The much more serious issue with education loans is how the availability of the loans is the major factor in driving up the cost of education. The billions of dollars saved by transferring the loan-issuing to the government will probably soon be eaten up by increased tuition.
my marketing professor did just that, and priced it @ $20. that barely covered the cost of printing. it's been 15 years, and i still respect him for doing that.
Or pocket parts that slip into the rear cover.
Been my sig for years..
I was in a school district that had a warehouse for used textbooks. The administrator of that warehouse allowed homeschoolers to provide a name and phone number, and then she would contact us each year when they would replace old textbooks with new ones. We were allowed to come and take whatever we wanted before it was ultimately destroyed. We obtained countless textbooks that had never even been opened. They were being replaced by new revisions with seemingly insignificant changes. It really appeared to be a huge waste of tax money.
HIDEOUS TREASON by the globalists.