Top Public School Signs Multi-Million Dollar Deal To Copyright & Sell Its Curriculum
from the progress? dept
If you go back to the original intent of copyright law, it was to improve learning and knowledge. “Promoting the progress of science” really mean “knowledge” at the time it was written. But, these days, we’ve lost pretty much all touch with that original intention. Last year, we noted that there was a growing battle over whether or not teachers could sell their lesson plans, with some districts claiming copyright over all teacher curricula and lesson plans to make sure that only they could determine how those plans were used. Of course, in the past (and, for many, the present) teachers often freely shared curricula and lesson plans with each other, in an effort to spread the knowledge and help each other out.
But throw in a bit of copyright, and a chance to “profit” — even for a public school — and apparently the whole concept of sharing gets tossed out the window. Kevin Donovan alerts us to the news that publishing giant Pearson has signed a multi-million dollar deal with a public school district. Basically, Pearson is giving the Montgomery County Public Schools $2.25 million for the right to their curricula, which it will sell. The schools will also get a 3% royalty. Pearson can change the curricula if it wants, so it might not even be what the teachers there put together, but they’re apparently trying to build up a big brand around this school district, which tends to do well in various metrics.
Of course, some people are quite uncomfortable with this. Now the teachers won’t be able to share the curriculum they themselves develop. And that could come back to haunt them. Will teachers at other schools be willing to share their own curricula with schools that are locking down and selling their own? One of the dissenting school board members (only two were against the deal) is reasonably worried that deals like this may turn teachers into sales people, rather than teachers.