AFT is jumping into the online lesson plan business with a collaboration with British firm TSL Education. This is of course, under the operational definition in our silly national education debate, “privatization” or the “corporate” approach. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea although the lesson plan sharing arena is getting increasingly crowded. Big question seems to be, will the AFT brand be powerful enough to distinguish this venture from the others? For every teacher making $700K selling lessons on peer-to-peer sites, there are other ventures struggling for traction. Still, considering the enormous need for curriculum and lesson plans it’s a welcome development overall.
Update: The smart-ass wing of the ed policy world wants to know, what happened to buy American?
[Related: On Twitter AFT President Randi Weingarten says there are no plans to make money on the content teachers generate but TSL’s CEO told The New York Times they plan to build a business. Weingarten’s statement isn’t incompatible with the CEO’s but it does raise questions about what exactly the business model is. From The Times:
Both TSL and the union have invested cash and staff time worth about $10 million combined in the American site. Louise Rogers, TSL’s chief executive, said that although the company would eventually want to make money from sharemylesson.com, teachers would always have free access to the material created by other teachers, as well as content from other partners including Sesame Workshop; WETA, the public television and radio station in Washington; and Student Achievement Partners, one of the architects of the common core standards that 45 states have agreed to adopt.]
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That’s obviously a different model than Teachers Pay Teachers, which is set up to help teachers make money off of good lesson plans and content they develop.
It’s also different than Better Lesson, whose terms seem to fall between the Share My Lesson and Teachers Pay Teachers approaches. Better Lesson’s terms read in part:
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