As is becoming clearer every day, the terrible burden on society of educating children - in public schools no less! - is getting to be one of those luxuries we as a society can no longer afford. Not, that is, unless they can be turned into a profit center for somebody. Hence the Charter Schools movement, among other innovations.
Prince George’s considers copyright policy that takes ownership of students’ workemphasis added
By Ovetta Wiggins, Published: February 2
A proposal by the Prince George’s County Board of Education to copyright work created by staff and students for school could mean that a picture drawn by a first-grader, a lesson plan developed by a teacher or an app created by a teen would belong to the school system, not the individual.
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According to the Washington Post article, the logic is simple:
The proposal is part of a broader policy the board is reviewing that would provide guidelines for the “use and creation” of materials developed by employees and students. The boards’s staff recommended the policy largely to address the increased use of technology in the classroom.emphasis added
Board Chair Verjeana M. Jacobs (District 5) said she and Vice Chair Carolyn M. Boston (District 6) attended an Apple presentation and learned how teachers can use apps to create new curricula. The proposal was designed to make it clear who owns teacher-developed curricula created while using apps on iPads that are school property, Jacobs said.
It’s not unusual for a company to hold the rights to an employee’s work, copyright policy experts said. But the Prince George’s policy goes a step further by saying that work created for the school by employees during their own time and using their own materials is the school system’s property.
Got that? Here's how the regulation, as currently drafted, reads:
“Works created by employees and/or students specifically for use by the Prince George’s County Public Schools or a specific school or department within PGCPS, are properties of the Board of Education even if created on the employee’s or student’s time and with the use of their materials,” the policy reads. “Further, works created during school/work hours, with the use of school system materials, and within the scope of an employee’s position or student’s classroom work assignment(s) are the properties of the Board of Education.”There's a lot of discussion going on about this, as you might expect. Think of the important life lessons that students could learn for one. Put your classroom learning to work, use the tools they've given you to come up with something really valuable, really useful - and expect to get nothing as a reward for your work except a (hopefully) passing grade, no matter how much money it might make the School District. Sounds like good preparation for the contemporary world of work.
What of the student who writes an award winning play, or the student musician whose performance is commercially viable? Do they need an agent to negotiate for them? If students are to be considered as de facto employees of the district, does that mean they get health insurance or retirement benefits? Will parents decide to home school instead, to keep the money in-house?
Well, the only good side I can see of this is if schools can cash in on the creative efforts of their students and their faculties, just maybe they'll start restoring art, music, and writing to the curriculum.
But don't hold your breath.