Sunday, November 02, 2014

Putin’s Friend Profits in Purge of Schoolbooks

By JO BECKER and STEVEN LEE MYERS, NYT
NOV. 1, 2014

MOSCOW — The purge began in late winter. One by one, hundreds of textbooks that Russian schoolchildren had relied upon for years were deemed unsuitable for use in the country’s 43,000 schools. The reasons varied, but they shared a certain bureaucratic obstinacy.

One publisher saw all of his company’s English-language textbooks barred because he had failed to include their subtitles on the paperwork required for government approval. More than three dozen books that use a popular creative teaching style were dropped from a list of authorized titles because the publisher had submitted copies of supporting documents, rather than the originals.

Then there was the case of the colorful math textbooks published by a decorated educator, Lyudmila G. Peterson, cashiered for using characters from popular foreign children’s stories. Illustrating math problems with the likes of Snow White, Eeyore and Owl, in one expert’s decisive opinion, was “hardly designed to instill a sense of patriotism” in young Russian minds.

By the time the school year began this fall, the number of approved textbooks for Russia’s 14 million schoolchildren had been slashed by more than half. The summary winnowing by the Ministry of Education and Science upset lesson plans, threatened the livelihoods of nearly two-dozen small publishers and left principals, teachers and parents puzzled and angry.

(More here.)

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