California Open Source Textbook Project
The California Open Source Textbook Project (COSTP) is a collaborative, public/private undertaking created to address the high cost, content range, and consistent shortages of K-12 textbooks in California.
There are three main goals to COSTP:
- Leveraging free, already-existing, and widely available K-12 educational content in the public domain
- Better leveraging the substantial curriculum-based intellectual capital of California's best K-12 teachers
- Using innovative copyright tools to secure new and dormant K-12 textbook content that would not otherwise be made available
The cost of K-12 textbooks has risen steadily over the years and critics contend publishing companies artificially increase prices. The state of California currently spends more than US$ 400M annually for K-12 textbooks, and with enrollment projected to rise in the coming years, revenue demands for textbooks and other curriculum materials will surely increase.
COSTP will employ the advantages of open-sourced content and innovative licensing tools to significantly reduce California's K-12 textbook costs — eventually turning K-12 curriculum and textbook construction from a cost into a revenue generator for the State of California. Open sourced, distributed content can be made available gratis, and/or through the use of innovative copyright tools provided by organizations like Creative Commons, its partners, and other organizations.
COSTP's currently projected benefits are:
- Complete elimination of the current US$ 400M+ line item for California's K-12 textbooks
- Significant increase in the range of content afforded to California's K-12 textbooks
- Permanent end to California's textbook shortages
- Creation of fully portable content holdings database that scales with classroom technologies as they are introduced.
It is important to note that COSTP's mandate does not replace printed textbooks, but simply making them less expensive to produce. This creates many additional efficiencies that will fully leverage California's activities in the K-12 textbook publishing domain.
COSTP is projected to augment the current K-12 textbook supply chain, be self-supporting with 18 months of starting up, and save the State of California upwards of US$ 200M+ per year for K-12 textbook allocation within five years.
In phase two of the COSTP plan (following year five), California will be able to offer (by license, at nominal cost) K-12 textbook and curriculum materials to other educational organizations and international agencies. This should create substantial cost savings for those entities, and will result in a revenue generator for California.