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Rice Bill to Require Individual Textbooks for Every Public School Student Advances

Senator Rice

TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice that would require the board of education of every school district in the state to provide an individual textbook for every student enrolled in any class that uses a textbook was approved by the Senate Education Committee today.

“When you look at school districts throughout the state, there is a great disparity between the ‘haves and have nots’,” said Senator Rice (D-Essex).  “Our current law requires that textbooks be made available free of charge, but it doesn’t ensure that each child is issued their own individual copy to have at their desk or to bring home to study. This puts students from poor neighborhoods who are already falling behind academically, at an even greater disadvantage.”

Supported by the New Jersey Education Association and the New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association, the bill, S-2304, defines “textbook” to mean any book, workbook or manual, bound or in loose-leaf form, or electronic textbook, that is intended as the principle source of study material for a given class.  Providing each student with the means to learn both in the classroom and at home with the proper tools could be classified as part of a “thorough and efficient” education.  By providing a student with a text for each class, a student can bring home their studies and increase the time they learn the material.

The bill was released from committee with a 5-0 vote and now advances to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for further consideration.