OER Policy Coalition Calls on White House for Executive Action on Open Licensing of Federally Funded Educational Resources

Washington, D.C. — Today, New America's Education Policy Program, along with a broad coalition of education, library, technology, public interest, and legal organizations, have called upon the White House to take administrative action to ensure federally funded educational materials are made available as Open Education Resources (OER) that are free to use, share, and improve.

Through this response to the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s call for ideas to strengthen the U.S. Open Government National Action Plan, this coalition hopes to build upon the strong Administrative leadership in advancing public access to publicly funded resources. In this third Open Government Plan, we calling on the Administration to include a strong Executive Branch-wide policy for the open licensing of educational, training, and instructional materials created with federal funds.

In issuing this public statement, this coalition hopes to ensure that the billions of taxpayer dollars invested in the creation of educational materials produce resources that are freely open to the members of the public that invested in them. The Administration has both an educational and economic imperative to increase access to learning and workforce development opportunities. Further, it has the opportunity to spur innovation through opening access to a wealth of resources that can be improved and built upon.

To ensure Administrative policy advances these goals, the coalition has outlined five core principles for executive action:

  1. Adopt a broad definition of educational materials.
  2. Provide free access via the Internet.
  3. Create conditions for resources that enable reuse.
  4. Require prompt implementation.
  5. Regular reporting of progress and results.

A copy of the complete coalition letter is available here.

The following can be attributed to Lindsey Tepe, a policy analyst with the Learning Technologies Project at New America's Education Policy Program: "The federal government has invested billions in the development of educational materials, the bulk of which are unavailable to the general public. Through broadly defining 'educational materials' and ensuring that these materials are widely available online, government investment will have a much greater impact."

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Author:

Lindsey Tepe is a senior policy analyst with the Education Policy program at New America. She is a member of the Learning Technologies project and PreK-12 team, where she focuses primarily on innovation and new technologies in public schools.