Jimmy Wales wrote:
At the university level, professors generally have a
fair amount of
discretion as to what textbooks to offer, and there do not generally
exist detailed curriculum standards. Even here, though, if one wishes
to produce a textbook for an Introductory German course, one ought to
follow more or less the sorts of things that professors will expect to
find covered there.
But at the grammar school level, adherence to standards is of crucial
importance. If a book does not adhere to standards, then school
teachers MAY NOT use it. Such work will then be a wasted effort in
There can of course be reasoned exceptions to the idea of writing to
standards, but in general, it is a very good idea. As it turns out, it
is also quite helpful to generating and sustaining some consensus about
what a book is to contain.
What should a high school chemistry book cover? Well, we could argue
until the end of time about what would be a good idea from a
philosophical point of view, and it would not be harmful to have several
different variants. But at the same time, if the goal is to make
something that people will find actually useful, then adherence to
various official standards for what belongs in such a book is a great idea.
California and Florida publish very detailed standards. I am sure many
other US states do as well. In the UK, I believe there are similar
published standards. I would assume that more or less the same thing is
true in almost all languages.
An exceptional case with regard to the above might be home schoolers.
As I understand it they are growing at a remarkable rate largely as a
result of parents perception that:
1. Existing school standards are not an adequate grounding to excel.
2. Some groups of people have belief systems in opposition to the
standards. Examples might be devout religious types or different
economic or philosophic systems such as comunism or socialism that get
short shift in the U.S. Perhaps capitalism in some areas of the globe
is treated impractically by U.S. text for budding entrepreneur that need
more pragmatic gritty details to deal effectively with local markets.
3. Private schools might come to use exceptional etexts that embrace
and extend the standards or deviate substantially from in breaking out
the topics differently.
Certainly all of the above and the standards based text should be
clearly and honestly labeled and written from an NPOV as practical.
Disqualifying a text that treats Noah's flood at fact and omits
anthropological theory about it being an archtype based upon earlier
Sumerian sagas is probably asking for trouble by taking the NPOV concept
to an absurd extreme. Obviously it should be accurately labeled and
well written from the identifed approach.
Or not. It is wikibookeans problem after all.
Wikiversity groups who need the alternate material can alway link to it
elsewhere from within the proper context of their study materials.