Saturday, May 26, 2012

Alabama Ahead Act [for eTextbooks] Signed By Governor Bentley

25 May 2012 6:12 AM

MONTGOMERY--Wednesday, Governor Robert Bentley signed the Alabama Ahead Act into law. The measure would create a $100 million bond issue that would be used to buy e-textbook computers for students in Alabama's public high schools. The new electronic devices would replace the heavy stack of clunky text books that students now tote around.

The bill’s sponsor Alabama Representative Jim McClendon (R) from Springville told ‘The Alabama Political Reporter’, “There is no question that this is the direction that the whole nation is going. Alabama just decided to be first, not 31st on this issue.” “We are going to move our schools forward. We are going to move our students in to the 21st Century.”

Rep. McClendon said that the first issue would be to define the characteristics of the devices that are most suitable for the program to set a standard for the school systems to follow. Rep. McClendon said that the plan is to offer pilot programs for the fall of 2013 in select school systems throughout the state beginning with 9th graders. Over the course of four years all the high school students in the state will become equipped with this technology.


While the system would save the state money, it potentially would also provide students with much more resources and capabilities than the classic textbook with accompanying workbook format used for almost half a century. Publishers and e-textbook makers likely will provide students with access to a library of supplemental materials as part of any negotiated deal. Teachers also would benefit from the system and would be issued their own device.

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