He’s square, he’s yellow, he’s large and he’s in charge. At first glance you might mistake him for SpongeBob SquarePants, but no—he is Textbook Rebel, fighting against big, bad Mr. $200 Textbook for the good of studentkind.
Those are the traveling mascots for TextbookRebellion.org, an initiative by students, professors and organizations to encourage affordable options for textbooks. Textbook prices have jumped by 22 percent over the last few years, according to the Student PIRGS. More than 2,500 people have signed the online petition in support of three main points:
— Textbooks should be affordable. Publishers should stop raising prices unfairly and offer a way to access each textbook for $30 or less per term without lowering quality.
— High-quality, affordable textbooks already exist in many subjects. Professors can reduce costs by considering these options.
— Open textbooks are an ideal solution, because they can be freely accessed, adapted and printed at a low cost. Decision-makers should prioritize support for open textbooks.
The cause is garnering national attention and gaining some big-name supporters like Hal Plotkin, Senior Policy Advisor for the U.S. Department of Education, who joined Textbook Rebellion today at a kick-off event at the University of Maryland College Park.
Nicole Allen, of the Student PIRGS, which is a member of the Textbook Rebellion Coalition, says the sentiment behind the movement can be summed up in one word: frustration.
“It’s pretty shocking that prices can rise that much and that quickly in a market that is central to the future of our country: higher country,” said Allen. “It’s a very unique type of situation because publishers have the ability to charge so much money because students don’t really have a choice once the book is assigned. That’s why it’s so important for faculty, students and universities to fight for affordable textbooks.”
Today’s kick-off at the University of Maryland is the first stop in a cross-country tour to 40 campuses in 14 states. Textbook Rebel and Mr. $200 Textbook could soon be duking it out on your college green. Will you join the fight?
Textbook Rebellion Campus Tour
Thursday 9/1 – Rutgers Camden NJ
Friday 9/2 – Rutgers Newark NJ, Rutgers New Brunswick NJ
Tuesday 9/6 – UConn Storrs, UConn Hartford, Trinity College
Wednesday 9/7 – UMASS Amherst, Worcester State College
Thursday 9/8 – UMASS Boston, Boston College
Friday 9/9 – UMASS Lowell, Salem State College
Monday 9/12 – UMASS Dartmouth
Wednesday 9/14 – Indiana University
Thursday 9/15 – University of Wisconsin Madison
Friday 9/16 – Truman College, Wilbur Wright College (City Colleges of Chicago)
Monday 9/19 – Colorado University Denver, Colorado University Boulder, Colorado University, Colorado Springs
Tuesday 9/20 – University of New Mexico
Wednesday 9/21 – University of Arizona, Arizona State University
Thursday 9/22 – University of California Los Angeles, University of Southern California
Friday 9/23 – University of California Irvine, University of California Riverside
Monday 9/26 – University of California San Diego
Tuesday 9/27 – University of California Santa Barbara
Wednesday 9/28 – University of California Santa Cruz
Thursday 9/29 – University of California Berkeley
Friday 9/30 – De Anza College, City College of San Francisco
Monday 10/3 – University of California Davis
Tuesday 10/4 – Southern Oregon University
Wednesday 10/5 – University of Oregon, Lane Community College
Thursday 10/6 – University of Washington
Friday 10/7 – Evergreen State College
Find more affordable textbook ideas on EducationOption.