Does your school provide lockers or second set of books?

I was surprised to learn that our middle school does not have lockers for the kids to use. Instead, the students are given home copies of each book. They keep a school copy in a cubby in each classroom and then keep the second copy at home. No more lugging it back and forth in heavy backpacks. (They send them home intermittently at first so the kids didn’t have to carry them all in one shot.)

(Kids are only supposed to carry between 10 to 15 percent of their body weight in backpacks. For more information on what it can do to your child’s body click here.)

It seems like most middle schools and high schools have lockers but I am glad we don’t have them. I remember it being very stressful trying get the locker open. You’re already nervous about starting middle school or high school and now you’ve got to open a safe. One friend posted a shot on Facebook of  her daughter trying to figure out how to open the darn thing.

Even with the locker the kids still have to transport the books back and forth for homework. So then you get into the heavy backpack situation again.

Also I like that with the home set of books there is no forgetting the book. It’s already there.

Now I can’t imagine it’s cost effective to buy every student two books for each subject but I’m really glad they do.

How does your school handle books and lockers? Which would you prefer? Is your child carrying too much? Does your school allowed the wheeled backpacks?

82 comments Add your comment

Atlanta Mom

August 10th, 2012
1:31 am

I don’t think they buy two sets of books for each child. Each child gets a book and then there is a “classroom” set of books, used by a number of classes each day.
This sounds great! Can’t use the excuse of forgetting the books at school, so they can’t do their homework.
Also, my kids could have walked to middle school, except for the weight of their backpacks.

T.S.

August 10th, 2012
4:01 am

“You’re already nervous about starting middle school or high school and now you’ve got to open a safe.”

Good heavens! High school and even middle school is not too young to handle learning a combination lock.

NAGA

August 10th, 2012
6:38 am

When are schools going to join the rest of us in the 21st century??? How about kids being assigned tablets with all the books downloaded??? It amazes me that schools are still operating like they were in the 19th century.

malleesmom

August 10th, 2012
7:20 am

In our old school, (Gwinnett) Thing 1 only had duplicate books for certain subjects, not all. Here locker was a small square one in homeroom. She lugged around a huge, heavy backpack all day in order to have her needed books and supplies. Not to mention where does she put a coat during cold weather? She had to lug it around as well. Since moving to MN this year, the school has a rule of no backpacks in the classroom, no coats in the classroom so she carried what she needed for a class then had time to get to her locker in between. Again, we had duplicate texts for some but no all subjects so if she forgot something…. it could be a challenge.

Locker anxiety has always been around. The staff spends ample time w/ new middle schoolers so they get the hang of it and kids learn from their peers what to do if the locker fails. What I suggested to my kids is that from the beginning of the year, make sure you have phone numbers for friends in your classes (and they could share ours). In the event of a homework “crisis” they would have someone to call. Granted some teachers now post assignments online, but many times it’s incomplete. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve emailed a homework page, written down questions, or gotten a copy of a syllabus/rebus.

Sorry, got off track :) My understanding is that rolling book bags aren’t allowed at our elementary school. Too bad. That’s what we brought from GA and I’m not replacing it until it wears out.

shaggy

August 10th, 2012
7:29 am

Surely, you don’t think this is for convenience or thrift. They do it so they can better intercept pistols, knives, bazookas, partially assembled M1A1 battle tanks, and little baggies just full of all kinds of stuff. Principals have been known to have instant panic attacks, and curl into the fetal position when the subject of locker contents comes up in meetings with the Superintendent.

The “locker” has long stood as THE intimidating factor for teachers and principals throughout time, even to the ancient Greeks…where do you think they came up with “Pandora’s Box” from anyway…it was a girl’s locker, most likely a cheerleader…at least that is what we have found in the archaeological record of ongoing excavations at Mycenaean high school sites.

In recent times administrators have turned to police action, including SWAT teams, with several large German Shepherds, just to open the cursed box that often doubles for storage of small, annoying classmates.

NEVER underestimate the locker, and be afraid, be VERY afraid.

Tired

August 10th, 2012
7:41 am

Duplicate texts? Now THERE’S a place to cut back spending. Our school district has lockers, but they must be rented for the year.

Techmom

August 10th, 2012
8:08 am

I’ve always thought this was a great idea. My son’s math books have been online for several years so he never brings one home but the rest of his books are not.

As more and more text books are available in electronic format, I think you will see a shift towards eReaders but until they make a nearly indestructible one, I doubt it will happen for elementary or middle schoolers quite as fast. And forget about it in the public school setting unless the school systems suddenly come up with more money. Although some parents would be willing to spend $200-300 on a device for their kid; too many would complain that it’s “public school” and therefore should be paid for by someone else.

Voice of Reason

August 10th, 2012
8:15 am

The wave of the future is to publish books online and allow students to access them via their own username and password issues by the county/city school system.

In a few years, this discussion will be irrelevant, depending on the adoption rates of said county/city school systems.

Colleges and private schools pretty much already do this.

RJ

August 10th, 2012
8:24 am

Many textbooks are online, which is much more economical. Buying two sets is a waste of money. Classroom sizes are growing, teachers are being laid off, but kids have two sets of books? Yea, that makes perfect sense.

Angie

August 10th, 2012
8:34 am

I love my e-Reader but would have HATED it as a textbook format. There were so many times I was flipping back and forth in my textbooks from chapter to chapter and that is a pain in most e-Readers. I can see it being useful for some textbooks but in others, no so much. Until they get the page turning feature worked out, your going to see resistance to full adoption of textbooks via e-Reader format. I have discussed this with a number of college/graduate students I am around on a weekly basis and they have similar thoughts. e-Readers are great for some things but not the best textbook option.

As for lockers – give me a break! If you can’t master the combo lock after a few attempts, you have bigger issues that need to be addressed. Having a classroom set of textbooks is silly. Part of the school process is to learn responsibility. If you can’t remember to bring your textbook home when needed or back to class when needed, pay the consequences of your irresponsibility. In the “real world”, if you forget your needed supplies at work on a consistent basis, you’ll be shown the door. Part of the school experience is learning how to grow up and take care of yourself. We’ve forgotten that in this day and age.

camille

August 10th, 2012
9:07 am

Great idea!! The districts aren’t purchasing an extra set of books for each student.. The school order according to an estimated enrollment and the vendor typicallys provides a few extra’s (I am in purchasing). There are usually books left over so… leave a let in the classroom for several students to use and allow the assigned books to be taken home. No extra money involved.

catlady

August 10th, 2012
9:07 am

Not enough money for a book for every kid, much less two!

catlady

August 10th, 2012
9:09 am

Angie, the problem with that is that the “forgetting” children (and there will be more than one) disrupt the lesson for the day, since they have to “look on with” someone, etc.

Me

August 10th, 2012
9:14 am

What can possibly be stressful about opening a locker?? I honestly don’t think I’ve ever heard that before.

Augusta

August 10th, 2012
9:18 am

@NAGA – who is going to pay for those tablets? Do you think the public school system is going to pony up for that????? I highly doubt it, as much financial trouble as the schools are in right now……and I don’t think every single parent can afford those things. I’m not about to run out and spend that kind of money for a middle schooler….

HB

August 10th, 2012
9:39 am

Opening a locker is very stressful?! Bless your heart, Theresa.

The Coz

August 10th, 2012
9:45 am

How can opening a locker be stressful? Good grief! That is the most idiotic thing I’ve heard all week.

motherjanegoose

August 10th, 2012
9:46 am

@ Voice…
Colleges and private schools pretty much already do this.

News to me! We have spent a pretty penny on textbooks. Some professors “require” them and never use them. We have also saved quite a bit on CHEGG. JJ suggested it a while back and it has been very helpful here. My daughter is very thrifty and hates to spend $$$ on text books but she and her peers do it every semester. They also swap out books and share, if they can.

@malleesmom…do you feel the schools are better in MN or here in Gwinnett? We had a friend who taught at a college here and then moved to MN with his family for a new job. Their realtor showed them houses in the best school districts near MSP. When the student went to register for his Senior HS classes, they did not have much to offer him as he had already taken most of the advanced classes here. That was about 10 years ago and things could certainly be different! I am curious. I love the MSP area in the summer…it is beautiful!

motherjanegoose

August 10th, 2012
9:48 am

I do remember being stressed when I had my first locker combo, as we had a short time between classes and I was afraid I would not remember the code and be late to class. That was 1973 and I was 14. As with anything else, practice makes perfect!

Retired Teacher

August 10th, 2012
9:48 am

Actually, Catlady, teachers that let “forgetters” look on with someone else create a problem. Looking on is fun for students. Teachers who make “forgetters” sit and listen for the class period create a simple (and harmless) consequence for forgetfulness and the number of “forgetters” diminishes. Students quickly learn it’s better to bring the books. Learning responsibility is part of school.

FCM

August 10th, 2012
10:05 am

Most of the East Cobb classrooms (MS and up) provide for access to the text book online. There is one set of actual hardback books in the classroom but they cannot even be checked out. I did try to get a second set of books (at that time no internet or computer in the house, just the cell phone internet access) was told to go online and rent or purchase like you do college text books. They cost as much too.

The schools do have lockers….how about we just issue each kid a tablet in 6th grade and get a general license to the digital text? Less books in a backpack killing them….less lost assignments,

HECK we don’t even need schools at that point everyone can stay home and learn online. We wouldn’t have discipline problems then either or bullying….

OK, how about just allowing those of who bought a tablet to let the kid use it in class?

@Angie

August 10th, 2012
10:07 am

Apparently you do NOT have any kids. You can always tell when a poster does NOT have kids….they are the experts at raising them.

FCM

August 10th, 2012
10:10 am

I don’t think your school is buying 2 sets of books for every child. Everychild seems to get a take home and then there is a classroom set.

I still like the tablet better b/c the handouts and stuff can be sent pdf to the class list so no excuse of losing them

Augusta

August 10th, 2012
10:24 am

And what happens when the student looses the school issued tablet?

DB

August 10th, 2012
10:48 am

Hmm. My first thought was that “wow, that must be a mighty rich school district”. Since my kids were in a private school, we had to buy the books anyway, so I picked the two or three heaviest books and bought extras (the used copies that were all marked up and cheaper :-) We kept those at home.

My son just missed the eBook revolution in college — too bad, most of his books would have been perfect for eBooks. My daughter can’t really use them too much in college except for an occasional non-major class.

I can understand why a tablet might be pricey, but an e-reader is cheaper than buying all those books to have an extra copy of them. (PS: Just heard that this year, the school my kids went to are now providing tablets to the middle and high school students. Interesting . . . )

SayWhat

August 10th, 2012
10:48 am

Our school provides a hallway crowded with 2000 kids and five minutes for a student carrying a 25 pound back pack to get from one class to another. No 2nd set of books, no time to stop at a locker.

DB

August 10th, 2012
10:49 am

@T: Locks are only stressful the first day or so. After that, they are a walk in the park. At some point, you might want to have Rose practice with an inexpensive combination lock at home, just to be able to use one as a life skill.

FCM

August 10th, 2012
11:19 am

@ Augusta…the media center in the schools my kids attend offer these audio book deals complete with earbuds. In order to check them out I have to sign something and put down a deposit. If the child breaks/loses the thing I am on the hook for $80. If I don’t pay it they don’t release the kids grades and all to the next level. Seriously.

Just like school lunches have a sliding fee…there will be some “thing” to help the kids that don’t have the money for the tablet. The parent either is on the hook for the replacement. I would imagine these things would be insured as well.

Tablets really would be a good option.

Dixie Chick

August 10th, 2012
11:22 am

For those of you wondering how opening a locker could possibly be stressful–I’m 40 years old, and I STILL have nightmares in which I’m back in high school (at my current age) and can’t remember my locker number / combination! For me, this ranks up there with the usual “not knowing there’s an exam” or “realizing I forgot to go to a class all year” nightmares.

Maybe it’s just me.

FCM

August 10th, 2012
11:34 am

You know the best way to cut the costs (textbook and otherwise) would be to toss the illegals out of the PUBLIC schools. Only American citizens should be allowed to use the PUBLIC school system.

HB1 visa and any other non American should pay to go to school in this country.

FCM

August 10th, 2012
11:36 am

(And I will say it is often those I am suggesting shouldn’t be in the schools that value education more than Americans).

Kat

August 10th, 2012
11:41 am

Kids can’t carry their books (so much more history is in those books since WE were kids) because they are too heavy, they can’t use lockers because they are too complicated (and their parents freak them out), they can’t remember their homework, they can’t…

Don’t scare your kids and assume they will screw everything up. Practice on a combination lock at home – like tying your shoes – just with numbers that hold the key to all of the knowledge in your class.

MatthewH

August 10th, 2012
12:35 pm

This has already been said by many, but I just wanted to chime in. As a former teacher, I liked it when the high-school began doing this. I had a classroom set, and it cut down on distractions and wasted time. Students could no longer use the excuse of having left it in their locker or at home. There was no more looking on with a neighbor. Schools need to move to tablets or iPads, but this is an excellent step.

April

August 10th, 2012
12:47 pm

The first poster was right: there is not a complete second set of books, just a set to use in the classroom by multiple classes. This does save money in the long run because it saves wear and tear on the books and they stay in good shape years longer.

Most schools are moving toward e-readers but for many the funds are just not available at this time. It would be wonderful if all schools could adopt the latest technology the moment it comes out, but this is not the reality for most schools – public or private.

Online textbooks are great, but “the dog ate my homework” has been replaced by “my internet was down.” Many students have limited or unreliable internet access at home. You can expect a student to read all assignments online if he can not access them.

wolfman

August 10th, 2012
12:49 pm

That’s what IPads are for…..

BessBear

August 10th, 2012
1:18 pm

My son’s 6th grade teacher was just telling parents how much the kids LOVE having a locker. I think it is good to give kids the responsibility, and I’d rather those that stuggle with it learn in 6th grade rather than high school.

fred

August 10th, 2012
1:25 pm

My school district has ordered iPads for all high school students. I am sure there will be some issues, but in the long run, I am looking forward to having students use them in the classroom.

catlady

August 10th, 2012
1:29 pm

Dixie Chick–Or, my personal favorite, I forgot to put on my clothes before coming to school!

Retired teacher: We are not “allowed” to let a student just sit and listen. And, by the way, they don’t do it very well anyway, and get into more trouble than “looking on.” I get so annoyed at the way we coddle students and don’t work to extinguish unhelpful behaviors! Forget a book? Parents should be called and told to bring it, and if they can’t, kid is in ISS the rest of the day so they don’t disturb others. THAT would extinguish 90% of the “forgetting.”

MomOfTeens

August 10th, 2012
1:34 pm

Please, a home set of books? My kids have had that luxury once or twice, but in many classes in Henry County ALL they have is a classroom textbook – none to put in a locker or take home or even look at online. The kids take a ton of notes and hope they understand it all later. I would gladly buy e-readers for my kids to be able to have textbook material available all the time!

Techmom

August 10th, 2012
1:49 pm

TWG – my last comment on yesterday’s blog is still awaiting “moderation”. Can you check it out? I think FCM will find it useful.

JOD

August 10th, 2012
2:09 pm

@Techmom – I don’t think these requests are fulfilled anymore, unless you are Shaggy. None of my posts that got eaten made it out of the black hole. Perhaps if you say that you are Shaggy, but posted as Techmom?

FCM

August 10th, 2012
2:09 pm

@ April….We got a puppy last year. My daughter did do her work. She put it in her bookbag and it looked (to me) like it was zipped up. Guess who got in the book bag. I felt so bad for her I took her to school and showed it to the teacher (elementary school). The teacher laughed b/c she had 2 new puppies at home. My daughter sat at her desk to redo the assignment but she knew that book bag had better be where puppy could not get into it, because it was a one time “excuse”. Lesson learned for everyone!

It is true that the schools are still largely stuck somewhere around 1988 – 92 in many ways. The blog yesterday indicated that my children’s teachers were not the only ones not updating the county provided class blogs. All the stupid paper forms…

pleanty of room to cut costs and do better by embracing better tools.

Techmom

August 10th, 2012
2:14 pm

MomOfTeens – I swear, Henry will never get their act together. I’d heard this was an issue in some classes but didn’t realize it was that widespread. I’ll just add this to my long list of reasons why I keep paying private school tuition.

Mmm mmm good!

August 10th, 2012
2:34 pm

Kids can’t figure out how to open a locker? Seriously?

How in the world can they play every video game , change the hard drive on your computer and text 200 wpm then?

Sheesh!

Patrick

August 10th, 2012
2:43 pm

I remember when I first entered middle school, back when fire and the wheel were invented, I could never remember how to open the locker. I had three or four different students help me, so of course everyone knew my combination. Luckily I never kept anything in the locker that was valuable, and at the end of the year, all of my books were present and accounted for.

When I was in high school, we started doing block schedules. A block schedule meant you had all of the classes on one or two days, but only some classes on some days, and others on others. You might have one class every day. Since my locker was always on the opposite end of the school from where my classes were (wasn’t that always the way?), I had learned to use my bedroom as my locker. I would leave the books at home I didn’t need, and take the ones I did. By my senior year, I quit using a backpack altogether, and resorted to carrying the books, binder (had a Trapper Keeper, but a good one), and anything else in my arms. Made life a whole lot easier.

Techmom

August 10th, 2012
2:44 pm

JOD – I’m pretty some days TWG just sets these topics to post and doesn’t monitor what’s going on.

FCM – go back to yesterday’s blog and read my last couple of comments. I split my message up and adjusted the urls so that I could get past the filter.

shaggy

August 10th, 2012
3:16 pm

Wait a minute, here. I get no special treatment. I just ask.
So, now you are getting jealous when some poster’s comment is pulled from the filter, AND keeping track of it too????
Wow! Just, Wow!

catmom

August 10th, 2012
3:41 pm

What a pansy society we are now that we can’t expect American kids to carry books or be smart enough to work a combination lock. There are low-income school districts all over the country that struggle to provide even one set of books for their students. Excuse me while I go beat my head against the wall.

FCM

August 10th, 2012
3:51 pm

@ Techmom….thanks for the info you reposted to yesterday’s blog. I copied it and will work on it over the weekend. I absolutely appreciate you helping me to get up to speed!

FCM

August 10th, 2012
3:52 pm

oh and I just spoke to my daughter. I said you going to use your locker this year? She said no, I am less likely to forget something if I have it in my book bag and have the bag with me…duh! I hope she marries a chiropractor.