Selling lessons online raises cash — and questions

Thousands of teachers are cashing in on a commodity they used to give away, selling their lesson plans online for extra money — a practice that has some officials questioning who owns material developed for public school classrooms, reports the New York Times. "To the extent that school district resources are used, then I think it’s fair to ask whether the district should share in the proceeds," said Robert N. Lowry, deputy director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents. The marketplace for educational plans is too new to have generated policies or guidelines in most places. Beyond the unresolved legal questions, there are philosophical ones, too. Some say the practice cheapens what teachers do and undermines efforts to build sites where educators freely exchange ideas and lesson plans. Teachers like Erica Bohrer, though, see the new demand for lessons as long-awaited recognition of their worth. "Teaching can be a thankless job," said Bohrer, who has used the $650 she earned in the past year to add books to a reading nook in her first-grade classroom and to help with mortgage payments. "I put my hard-earned time and effort into creating these things, and I just would like credit."

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