Texas has issued an Request for Offer (RFO) for “state-developed open-source textbooks” for literature and ESOL.

They say, “The purpose of this offer is to identify and acquire state-developed/state owned open-source textbooks that are available for downloading from the internet at no charge to a student and without requiring the purchase of an unlock code, membership, or other access or use charge, except for a charge to order an optional printed copy of all or part of the textbook.”

In reading some (though admittedly not all yet) of the 73 page bid package, this appears to follow previously published Texas definitions of “open source textbooks” as owned by the state and licensed to Texas schools without charge. They say that “a state-developed open-source textbook is the property of the state.”

No apparent mention of any requirement that the material actually be open licensed.

I’d say the open ed movement has some education and awareness-building work to do.

Additional notes of interest upon further reading:

“A state-developed open-source textbook must be irrevocably owned by or licensed by the state, and the state must have unlimited authority to modify, delete, combine and/or add content to the textbook after purchase….

A state-developed open-source textbook is the property of the state. The COE shall provide a license to each public school in the state, including a school district, and open enrollment charter school, and a state or local agency educating students in any grade from prekindergarten through high school, to use and reproduce a state-developed open source textbook.

The COE may provide a license to use a state-developed open source textbook to an entity not listed. In determining the cost of the license, the COE shall seek, to the extent feasible to recover costs of developing, revising, and distributing state-developed/state owned open-source textbooks.”

So this really seems to be a work-for-hire arrangement in which the state owns the content. (Not that this doesn’t have merit of its own, but it isn’t “open.”) The state could then sell licenses to other entities (e.g. out-of-state schools) to recover costs.

This seems to be very similar to the state co-development projects of the ’90s. Having led one of these projects myself, I’m familiar with the dynamics.

Texas issues RFO for “open textbooks”

3 thoughts on “Texas issues RFO for “open textbooks”

  • Pingback:More on Texas “Open” Textbooks «

  • February 11, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    For those following this, an addendum was issued. There seems to be a fair amount of confusion among various folks about this RFO and its intent.

  • February 28, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Wonderful State of TEXAS.

    We are international. We would like to access Texas ebooks as well.
    As they say and I agree 100 % some fee. No problem.

    But I ho─▒pe this reches to so many millions or at least several hunbdreds thousands so that fee would be anominal one.
    But a test is just useful.
    Please inform me your fees to Turkey. I may have 50.000 students to access Texas Science books.
    I envisage a fee of $ 5-10 per book per year per person .

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