Textbooks in American Society

Politics, Policy, and Pedagogy

Edited by Philip G. Altbach, Gail P. Kelly, Hugh G. Petrie, and Lois Weis

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series, Frontiers in Education
Paperback : 9780791406700, 261 pages, September 1991
Hardcover : 9780791406694, 261 pages, October 1991

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Table of contents

Philip G. Altbach

Part I: Social and Political Issues

1. Regulating the Text: The Socio-Historical Roots of State Control
Michael W. Apple

2. The Politics of Textbook Policy: Proposing a Framework
Kenneth K. Wong and Tome Loveless

3. The Determinants of Textbook Content
Sherry Keith

4. The New World of Textbooks: Industry Consolidation and Its Consequences
Gilbert T. Sewall and Peter Cannon

5. Constitutional Challenges to Textbooks
Edward J. Larson

Part II: Reform and Improvement

6. Nineteenth Century Policies for Twenty-First Century Practice: The Textbook Reform Dilemma
Harriet Tyson-Berntein and Arthur Woodward

7. California's Experience with Textbook Improvement
Bill Honig

8. State-Level Textbook Selection Reform: Toward the Recognition of Fundamental Control
J. Dan Marshall

9. American Textbook Reform: What Can We Learn From the Soviet Experience?
Howard Mehlinger

Part III: From the Trenches: Publishers and Authors

10. From the Ivory Tower to the Bottom Line: An Editor's Perspective on College Textbook Publishing
Naomi Silverman

11. Textbook Writing and Ideological Management: A Postmodern Approach
Joel Spring

Part IV: Literacy and Reading: Case Studies

12. Basal Reading Textbooks and the Teaching of Literacy
Allan Luke

13. Basal Readers and the Illusion of Legitimacy
Patrick Shannon

Part V: International Perspective

14. The Unchanging Variable: Textbooks in Comparative Perspective
Philip G. Altbach




In recent years, textbooks have been widely criticized for low standards, lack of imaginativeness, and insensitivity to racial and gender issues. Increasingly, they are cited as another "weak link" in American public education. This book goes beyond the headlines to examine how textbooks are produced, how they are selected, and what pressures are placed on textbook authors and publishers. The book focuses on the relationship of the textbook to the educational system and includes important issues such as the politics of textbook policy, the determinants of textbook content, the role of textbooks in educational reform, and the process of selection at the state level. The authors offer current research on textbook policy including perspectives from those directly involved with textbooks—from several thoughtful analyses by textbook editors and publishers to the views of California's Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Philip G. Altbach is Professor and Director of the Comparative Education Center Gail P. Kelly was Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational Organization, Administration, and Policy Hugh G. Petrie is Dean of the Graduate School of Education; and Lois Weis is Professor and Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Education, all at the State University of New York at Buffalo.


"This book is particularly important in light of the recent reform movement in education. It is clear that textbooks and policies affecting their creation and distribution will be undergoing major scrutiny in the future. "—Eugene F. Provenzo, Jr. , University of Miami