Another Way Teachers Would Benefit From a Competitive Education Market
Some teachers who want to sell lesson plans online are running into trouble with the districts that employ them, according to this New York Times article. The concept of mutual gains from trade is foreign to the education establishment:
Joseph McDonald, a professor at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University, said the online selling cheapens what teachers do and undermines efforts to build sites where educators freely exchange ideas and lesson plans.
“Teachers swapping ideas with one another, that’s a great thing,” he said. “But somebody asking 75 cents for a word puzzle reduces the power of the learning community and is ultimately destructive to the profession.”
If this were just one professor’s theory, it would be no big deal; what matters for teachers is that many districts use these ideas to justify forbidding the sale of lesson plans and curricula.
There are districts that allow teachers to sell their work online, and others that don’t yet have policies for or against it. In a competitive education market, those districts would be rewarded, because the best teachers would choose to work in schools where they could keep the rights to their lessons. Students, in turn, would flock to the schools with the best teachers, and money would follow.