I never thought I would title a post in all caps, but I can’t believe I’m reading what I’m reading. H.R. 1464, introduced by Bill Foster of Illinois, is titled:

To require Federal agencies to collaborate in the development of freely-available open source educational materials in college-level physics, chemistry, and math, and for other purposes.

After quoting a number of findings about how completely out of control the textbook market and textbook prices are, the bill goes on to say:

The head of each agency that expends more than $10,000,000 in a fiscal year on scientific education and outreach shall use at least 2 percent of such funds for the collaboration on the development and implementation of open source materials as an educational outreach effort… There are authorized to be appropriated $15,000,000 to carry out this section for fiscal year 2010 and such sums as necessary for each succeeding fiscal year.

The program is to be jointly run by the Director of the NSF and the Secretary of Energy, and the money dedicated to the program will be used to award grants of two kinds:

(1) to develop and implement open source materials that contain educational materials covering topics in college-level physics, chemistry, or math; and

(2) to evaluate the open sources materials produced with the grant funds awarded under this section and to submit a report containing such evaluation to the Director and Secretary.

Wow. I am speechless. I’ll now have to split my energy between working to defeat HR 801 and working to get HR 1464 passed. I may not sleep for a very long time….

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Peter Murray June 3, 2009, 5:57 pm

    Nice. I cringe at the use of “open source” to describe the effort — that terms means something more specific to me as a technologist. But I suppose it can’t be helped — they wouldn’t have the cool acronym without it.

    Learning Opportunities With Creation of Open Source Textbooks (LOW COST) Act of 2009