No, I Will Not Post Copyrighted Materials

Did you know that PA teachers may have to post their curriculum, syllabus, instructional materials, etc., online for all the world to see? This post questions what “instructional materials” we are supposed to post.

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

There is a bill that passed the PA House of Representatives this past week, which requires educators to post everything online for all the world to see starting in the 2022–23 school year. There are several complaints about this bill, all of which are legitimate. My main concern centers on “instructional materials.”

Are we supposed to violate copyright laws to comply with this law?

I’ll tell you this: I won’t.

I have too many colleagues who create materials and share them, stipulating that they are to be used for educational purposes, i.e., in the classroom. I also use materials that are not supposed to show up on the web because of copyright restrictions. Either way, someone worked extremely hard to develop these educational artifacts and deserves to be compensated when individuals use them.

As I write this, the definition of “instructional materials” is still unclear. If they are referring to page numbers in a text book, that’s legitimate. However, my gut tells me they’ll want more.

Why? Because this is a fishing expedition, that’s why. Those who support this bill are looking for something to confirm their conspiracy theories about what the kids are learning. The Critical Race Theory nothing-burger comes to mind. This notion of bringing “patriotic education” to schools comes next.

I don’t want to focus on that, though. I want to return to the idea of being told to violate one law to comply with another.

I would also like to ask a Medium user, namely Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, what they think of this development? How would the company feel if teachers were forced to publish documents based on your textbooks for anyone to download, screenshot, or copy in some way? I would love to read your thoughts.

I’d also like to ask the College Board how they would feel about AP teachers being forced to publish AP Classroom materials. PA Legislators: We aren’t allowed to share those materials!

And what about those who create materials for Teachers Pay Teachers and other such sites? How will they feel? Many of these teacher-creators are developing materials to supplement their paltry income, or to raise money to buy things for their classroom, because, you know, that’s what teachers do. We teacher-curators are so grateful to have these wonderful ideas. We use them respectfully by not violating their sharing rules.

There are so many things wrong with this, but this concern is top of mind right now, so I thought I would share it with you. Thank you for reading this hastily crafted post.

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