”Vice-president Hodghead : It is our purpose to secure all the information on this subject possible and get the opposing views of educators. I invited Mr. Allison Ware, the president of the Chico State Normal School, to be present if possible, and participate in the discussion. He was not able to be here, but he wrote a letter expressing his views—not entirely in harmony with some of the opinions already expressed. I will ask the Executive Secretary if he will read it.
Letter from Allison Ware
The time has come for California to secure good text books at a reasonable price. This requires two things, first, reasonable efficiency and honesty in the management of the State Printing Office; second, reasonable efficiency and zeal in the selection of the right sort of books. We now produce on a co-operative basis, books at a price from twenty-five to forty per cent cheaper, value for value, than the same books can be distributed by the private printing houses. The next step must be reorganization of the State board in some way so as to secure to that body the undivided services of the keenest and most capable minds in education. In this way the best books may be determined and selected.
The local adoption plan that has been started to backfire Senator Shanahan’s amendment is the last effort of the book companies to save for themselves the spoils of the California text-book situation. If our State Printing Office is to be cleaned up, thus insuring the businesslike manufacture of books, and if the State Board of Education is to be reorganized, thus insuring an expert selection of books, it is evident to the book companies that some plan must be found, and that quickly, to maintain conditions as they are. From the book companies’ standpoint the plan is county adoptions.
To say that county adoptions are in use in other States is merely to declare what everyone knows, that but few States in the Union have thus far secured a text-book policy that puts educational above commercial arguments.
There is just enough clap-trap that may be served up in the form of argument and that has been accepted on faith by some honest and well-meaning school teachers, to give color to the county adoptions propaganda. It is not a strong color, however, and pales perceptibly when placed out in the open sunlight of common sense. People in general and most school people as well, know that the hope of elementary education is the fact that some of its work is becoming standardized, that there are subjects such as spelling, arithmetic, reading, and writing that have specific, definite values. Whether a child lives in San Diego or Truckee, he is entitled to a standard education in these things, and to the best text book assistance in securing that education that can be provided for him. As between an ex-officio county board selecting its books, and an ex-officio State board, it may be conceived that there is no disadvantage and perhaps even some slight superiority in the present system. But as between ex-officio county boards appointed and constituted as they are, and a State board or agents of a State board of marked ability, good judgment, and professional zeal, devoting their whole time to the selection of books, there should be no question at all that the State system is from every conceivable standpoint superior; save of course from the commercial standpoint of the book companies.
Very truly yours,
Transactions/ Commonwealth Club of California, Vol. 7, 1913, pages 332-3