Texas pays excessively high prices for textbooks

Texas pays excessively high prices for textbooks, multiple times higher than prices paid for textbooks in Japan, Korea, Singapore, and other places.  The cost of one set of textbooks that cover math and science for grades 1 through 8 was more than 7.5 times higher in Texas than in Japan, more than 15 times higher in Texas than in Korea, and more than 4.5 times higher in Texas than in Singapore:

  Japan           9094 Yen = (118.59 Yen/$)($ 76.68)
  Korea          48080 Won = (1241.5 Won/$)($ 38.73)
  Texas                                     $591.26
  Singapore     217.10 SGD = (1.7592 SGD/$)($123.41)

These costs are based on data provided by government sources from 21 February 2003 to 21 March 2003 (see below).  The approximate exchange rates are from 14 March 2003.  Mark Loewe presented testimony on costs to the Texas House Public Education Committee at an 18 March 2003 hearing on House Bill 689.


Costs of math and science textbooks in Japan

According to a 3 March 2003 message from Hiroshi Kamiyo, Embassy of Japan, the average costs of elementary and middle school math and science textbooks in Japan as of Fiscal Year 2002 were

  Math    grades 1-6    569 Yen/grade
  Math    grades 7-9    563 Yen/grade
  Science grades 3-6    797 Yen/grade
  Science grades 7-9    683 Yen/grade

and these costs were paid by the national government, which means that parents did not need to pay anything for textbooks.  Summing these costs over grades 1-8 and grades 1-9 gives

  Grades   Math       Science    Math+Sci

  1-8      4540 Yen   4554 Yen    9094 Yen
  1-9      5103 Yen   5237 Yen   10340 Yen

Prices of math and science textbooks in Korea

According to textbook lists received on 5 March 2003 from Kyewon Ryuk, Education Director, Embassy of the Republic of Korea, the prices of required elementary school math and science textbooks (as supplemented with 12 additional required elementary school science textbooks, noted below by asterisks) and the prices of the most expensive approved middle school math and science textbooks were

  Grade and
  Semester    Math            Science

  1 A          730             580*
  1 A          740 Workbook
  1 B          760             610*
  1 B          780 Workbook
  2 A          740             680*
  2 A          740 Workbook
  2 B          770             650*
  2 B          770 Workbook
  3 A          900             800
  3 A          900 Workbook    560* Activities book
  3 B          800             650
  3 B          800 Workbook    460* Activities book
  4 A          900             730
  4 A         1040 Workbook    560* Activities book
  4 B          810             650
  4 B          890 Workbook    460* Activities book
  5 A         1040             680
  5 A         1110 Workbook    490* Activities book
  5 B          970             640
  5 B         1070 Workbook    470* Activities book
  6 A         1030             670
  6 A         1120 Workbook    490* Activities book
  6 B          970             640
  6 B         1020 Workbook    470* Activities book
  7 A         2080
  7 B         1680
  7 A+B                       3420
  8 A         2240
  8 B         1760
  8 A+B                       3560
  9 A         2020
  9 B         1760
  9 A+B                       4020

Summing these prices over grades 1-8 and grades 1-9 gives

  Grades   Math        Science     Math+Sci

  1-8      29160 Won   18920 Won   48080 Won
  1-9      32940 Won   22940 Won   55880 Won

Prices of math and science textbooks in Texas

According to 21 March 2003 downloads from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/textbooks/materials/bulletin/index.html, the state contract prices of the least expensive elementary and middle school math and science textbooks on Texas' conforming list were

  Grade    Math      Science   Math+Sci

  K          15.24      None     15.24
  1          18.75     33.48     52.23
  2          18.75     35.49     54.24
  3          36.48     30.00     66.48
  4          36.99     31.98     68.97
  5          36.99     34.50     71.49
  6          33.50     54.45     87.95
  7          40.50     54.45     94.95
  8          40.50     54.45     94.95

Summing these prices over grades 1-8 and grades K-8 gives

  Grades   Math      Science   Math+Sci

  1-8      $262.46   $328.80   $591.26
  K-8      $277.70   $328.80   $606.50

Prices of math and science textbooks in Singapore

According to 21 February 2003 downloads from http://www1.moe.edu.sg/textbooks.htm, the prices of the most expensive elementary and middle school math and science textbooks on Singapore's Approved Textbook List were

  Grade   Math                 Science

  1       4.70 Textbook        None
  1       2.25 Workbook
  1       2.25 Workbook
  1       4.70 Textbook
  1       2.25 Workbook
  1       2.30 Workbook
  2       4.65 Coursebook      None
  2       2.05 Activity Book
  2       2.20 Activity Book
  2       4.70 Coursebook
  2       2.05 Activity Book
  2       2.05 Activity Book
  2       1.10 Workbook
  3       1.10 Workbook         4.20 Coursebook
  3       4.95 Coursebook       4.15 Coursebook
  3       2.05 Activity Book    4.75 Worksheets
  3       2.00 Activity Book
  3       4.95 Coursebook
  3       2.00 Activity Book
  3       2.00 Activity Book
  4       3.95 Textbook         3.00 Coursebook
  4       1.25 Workbook         2.35 Worksheets
  4       1.35 Workbook         3.55 Coursebook
  4       4.05 Textbook         2.35 Worksheets
  4       1.25 Workbook
  4       1.25 Workbook
  5 EM3   3.90 Textbook         4.40 Textbook
  5 EM3   2.20 Workbook         1.25 Activity Book
  5 EM3   2.20 Workbook         4.40 Textbook
  5 EM3   3.85 Textbook         1.25 Activity Book
  5 EM3   2.00 Workbook
  5 EM3   1.85 Workbook
  6 EM3   3.70 Textbook         5.25 Textbook
  6 EM3   1.95 Workbook         2.15 Workbook
  6 EM3   3.70 Textbook         2.15 Workbook
  6 EM3   1.95 Workbook
  7 S/E   7.35 Textbook        11.90 Textbook
  7 S/E   3.20 Workbook         4.40 Workbook
  7 S/E   6.55 Textbook         4.25 Workbook
  7 S/E   3.40 Workbook
  8 S/E   5.85 Textbook        10.30 Textbook
  8 S/E   2.80 Workbook         3.20 Workbook
  8 S/E   5.90 Textbook         3.20 Workbook
  8 S/E   2.90 Workbook

(EM3 = English and Basic Chinese/Basic Malay/Basic Tamil, S = Special, E = Express.)
Summing these prices over grades 1-8 gives

  Grades   Math         Science     Math+Sci

  1-8      134.65 SGD   82.45 SGD   217.10 SGD