R. Preston McAfee, a Cal Tech economics professor, is annoyed at how overpriced textbooks are. “‘The person who pays for the book, the parent or the student, doesn’t choose it,’ he said. ‘There is this sort of creep. It’s always O.K. to add $5.'” To fight back, he’s foregone the potential six-figure advance traditional publishing would have granted, and published his textbook online for free.
Blogger Kelby Carr says that her local Walmart has totally fake but official looking back to school supply lists posted in their stores. The lists not only contain some extra supplies that are banned from the schools, but are actually missing some supplies. Here’s how she describes the lists:
The New York Times editorial board called on Congress to make college textbooks more affordable. The measure they endorsed wouldn’t do anything Soviet like directly cap prices, but it would require textbook makers to tell professors exactly how much books would cost impoverished students.
As some schools districts whore themselves out to corporate sponsors in a desperate attempt to raise funds (hey, we sympathize with them, but it’s still whoring), others are enforcing a zero-tolerance policy against unwelcome intrusions. In New Haven, Connecticut, the school district banned candy sales in 2003 “as part of a districtwide school wellness policy,” and when an 8th grade honors student was caught buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate two weeks ago, he was stripped of his title as class Vice President and suspended for a day.
Here’s a question where money meets ethics: should kids be paid for good results in school? No, we’re not talking about parents dishing out the occasional $5 or $10 bill to junior for getting an “A”. Instead, there’s a new sheriff in town. Now schools and teachers are doing the giving and are handing out much more than most moms and dads. The details:
The fourth graders squirmed in their seats, waiting for their prizes. In a few minutes, they would learn how much money they had earned for their scores on recent reading and math exams. Some would receive nearly $50 for acing the standardized tests, a small fortune for many at this school, P.S. 188 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
And it’s not only the kids making money off the scores…
South Carolina will begin selling ad space inside their public school buses—11-inch strips above the windows are now for sale, and “Interested school districts get about $2,100 per month per bus.”
The Harvard Crimson ran a story last week about a student who was asked to leave the premises for writing down the prices of six textbooks at the Coop, Harvard’s bookstore of record. The bookstore’s president says that there’s no official policy against students writing down information, but “we discourage people who are taking down a lot of notes.” But what’s more surprising, he tells the Crimson that the textbooks’ ISBNs—which can be used to look up the same books online—are “the Coop’s intellectual property.”
According to Consumer Reports’ Blog, the number of fires in campus housing has risen dramatically over the past few years—from 1,800 fires in 1998 to 3,000 fires in 2005.
That first trip to the college bookstore for textbooks is a transformative, and possibly scarring, event–for many people, it may be the first time you really understand the phrase “sticker shock.” But today’s students at least have some alternatives, the most popular of which (based on reader comments, articles, and personal recommendations) is abebooks.com. Our cousin, a junior this year, writes, “One book I’m buying this semester is 70 on Amazon, but like 25 or 35 on Abe.”
Because it’s every American’s right (duty?) to be scared, and to shop, someone has invented the perfect terror protection must-have for back-to-school: bulletproof backpacks! The inventors, both of them fathers of school-age children, say the special plate sewn into the back of the bag can withstand not only bullets, but machetes, hatchets, and Ka-bar knives.
Ahh, kids: nature’s little moneypits. The back-to-school season is a particularly appalling time, when parents everywhere struggle to stock up on all the goods they’ll need in the coming months. At Bankrate.com, professional parent and advice-giver Peter J. Sander suggests that you make saving money on back-to-school purchases a family project, by giving your kids budgets, helping them figure out how to save for big ticket items by scrimping on less important ones, and — our personal favorite — “deprogramming” them before you leave your house:
How will you get your child the name-brand items he wants while staying under budget? You won’t. Sander says that to avoid having your child fall into a I-can’t-possibly-wear-this-if-it-isn’t-Nike meltdown at the store, you need to de-program him from commercials. “We teach our kids the ‘disvalue’ of brands. We point out commercials and say, ‘They are trying to get you to buy that. You can either buy it or think for yourself,'” he says.
Staples has great deals on pencils, folders, glue, pencil cases, pencil sharpeners starting at 1 cent. Sale is from today through July 14th.
The 26-year-old has been living in his truck for nearly 19 months, skirting rules against sleeping in vehicles while otherwise living the life of a mainstream student. What started out as a way to save some cash has turned into a journey of self-reliance and independence.
- Consider: How often does someone have the authority to order consumers to purchase a product with a limited number of vendors? University professors have just that power, requiring students to purchase particular books for their courses. The often obscure titles must typically be purchased from the college bookstore, which obtains them through special order. With limited competition, at best, prices for new textbooks can easily climb to $100, and have tripled since the mid 1980s
Oh man, stop. We’re having flashbacks.
Myspace is quickly becoming Theirspace. In so-called “Libertyville” Illinois: