The PBS NewsHour and Ed Week regularly produce great segments on education and regularly share them here. However, I watched their piece tonight on Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT), and was less than impressed.
Listen, I understand that they only have a few minutes to cover a story, but this is not the first time a media piece on Teachers Pay Teachers, in my humble opinion, missed several key issues (some of my critiques are similar to the ones I voiced when The New York Times published a profile on the business – see Disappointing NY Times Article On Teachers & “A Sharing Economy”.
Instead of having someone complain that TPT was somehow going to discourage teachers from working together, I wish they had highlighted both all the absolutely free resources that teachers share through non-TPT connections and made a much bigger deal of how teachers need to be paid more so they don’t have to moonlight for extra money by selling their lessons (see Statistic Of The Day: Teachers Are Under-Paid and The Best Data On How Much Money Teachers Pay Out Of Their Own Pocket – What Do You Spend?).
Instead of highlighting one particularly bad lesson plan that is on TPT, I wish they highlighted the fact that so many schools don’t provide high-quality materials, lessons or professional development to their teachers (that could assist them to develop better judgment). And, as an aside, I’ve certainly see a lot of terrible school district-approved lesson materials.
If they were going to portray a problem with TPT, I wish they had mentioned the rampant sale by some on the platform of materials illegally taken from resources under copyright:
If you're buying/ selling materials on TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers) that are "based" on a published author's work, please stop. You're violating copyright laws. pic.twitter.com/sKThtw1vy9
— Donalyn Miller (@donalynbooks) January 6, 2018
I’ve got no problem with educators who want to earn some extra money by offering their lessons for sale – jeez, I’ve written nine books for which I earn (minimal) royalty payments.
I just wish in this case and, in so many reports and discussions on education, we could all recognize a lot more nuance in what’s going on….
Here’s tonight’s segment: