Teacherspayteachers.com, a for-profit online marketplace where teachers pay other teachers for lesson plans, homework, and handouts for use with classes, is the subject of a fascinating dispatch in Sunday's New York Times:
To date, Teacher Synergy, the company behind the site, has paid about $175 million to its teacher-authors, says Adam Freed, the company's chief executive. The site takes a 15 percent commission on most sales.
A former chief operating officer of Etsy and former director of international product management at Google, Mr. Freed is a veteran of data-driven growth companies. By selling tens of thousands of items, he says, 12 teachers on the site have become millionaires and nearly 300 teachers have earned more than $100,000. On any given day, the site has about 1.7 million lesson plans, quizzes, work sheets, classroom activities and other items available, typically for less than $5. Last month alone, Mr. Freed added, more than one million teachers in the United States downloaded material, including free and fee-based products, from the site.
The article doesn't talk about the effects on educational quality, but it would be interesting to try to measure. What if technology and the profit motive can improve education independently of government education bureaucrats or the complicated-by-influential-unions politics of education reform?