Other Campuses: Book bill would standardize texts

By Daily Texan

(U-WIRE) AUSTIN, Texas – Beginning this fall, buying and selling textbooks may get cheaper and easier for students.

State Rep. Abel Herrero (D-Corpus Christi) filed a bill Wednesday that would require higher education institutions use the same textbooks and editions.

“The purpose behind it is to try to not change the textbook from one year to the next because of the high cost,” Herrero said.

Textbook costs have always been high, but now that tuition is deregulated and rising, the cost of textbooks is enough to make the expense too much for a student, Herrero said.

The bill would not only require all teachers of any one core subject to use the same books and editions, but would also require them to use that edition for at least three years.

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“I agree there may need to be some homogeneity, but there should be some area of freedom of difference between classes,” said Craig Wheeler, University of Texas astronomy professor.

Under the bill the only reason textbooks could be updated to a new edition is if there were significant changes in knowledge or technology.

“If there is something that students would lose by not having the correct textbook, then we want to be able to prevent that with this provision,” Herrero said.

In fields such as astronomy, there are constant advances, making it impractical to require keeping a textbook for three years, Wheeler said.

The intention is to help students recover some of the cost of their books with sell backs.

George Mitchell, University Co-op president, said that the bill wouldn’t affect the Co-op’s business in a negative way.

“I think the bill would be great, because we wouldn’t have to be ordering as many new books,” Mitchell said.

Some professors are concerned with the bill’s infringement on the freedom of teaching in a classroom.

“I would support it as long as it is more of a strong guideline rather than a rule,” said Gary Jacobsohn, a government professor. “The presumption for continuity is good, but if it’s a binding rule, it could be binding on academic freedom.”

-Jimmie Collins