Schwarzenegger announced plans to rid schools in the state of textbooks in favor of digital books, a measure he calls California’s Digital Textbook Initiative.
The Free Digital Textbook Initiative aims to research free digital high school textbooks that meet state content standards - allowing them to be easily accessible and quickly updated.
The goal is to help decrease the state's $23.5 billion budget deficit. Last year, it spent $350 million on textbooks alone, which was down from $419 million the year before.
This fall, high school maths and science texts will be entirely digital and, as the program rolls out, all textbooks on all subjects, K through 12, will join them.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said it's "nonsensical and expensive" to stick with hard-bound books – "instructional materials made possible by Gutenberg's printing press" – when outside the classroom, "kids get their information from the Internet, downloaded onto their iPods and in Twitter feeds to their cellphones."
With education accounting for about 40 per cent of the state's budget, the move will save "hundreds of millions of dollar," he declared.
"The average textbook costs up to $100. So think about it, if each of California’s two million high school students use digital math and science books, that would mean that you could save the schools $300 to $400 million and that’s money that could be used for hiring more teachers or to make class sizes smaller," he said.
According to Schwarzenegger, California is the first state in the United States to introduce this kind of initiative.
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