Education: Untested Textbooks

The "largest single group of unprotected consumers" in the U.S. consists of millions of students who are now deluged with more than 200,000 poorly tested textbooks, films, teaching machines and other complex learning gadgets. That Nader-like charge comes from P. Kenneth Komoski, head of the nonprofit, Manhattan-based Educational Products Information Exchange Institute. Testifying before a House subcommittee, Komoski estimated that 99% of the nation's teaching materials have never been systematically tried out to see how much students actually learn from them.

According to publishers' data, said Komoski, less than 10% of the current 60 "bestselling" school textbooks were tested before publication. Only...

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