2007-10-19 How To Pass Textbooks Legislation In Your State (SWSLC)

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19 October 2007
Southwest Student Leadership Conference
Tempe, AZ

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2007-10-19 How To Pass Textbooks Legislation In Your State (SWSLC)

  1. 1. HOW TO PASS TEXTBOOKS LEGISLATION IN YOUR STATE Nicole Allen Campaign Director [email_address] 203 216 7112
  2. 2. THE PROBLEM TEXTBOOKS COST A LOT $900 per year on average About 1/5 tuition at 4-years About 1/2 tuition at 2-years Prices rising 4x inflation
  3. 3. CALL TO ACTION LEGISLATORS WANT TO HELP STUDENTS Higher education is important Public pressure States fund higher education Students = Constituents
  4. 4. PUBLISHER TACTICS Thomson’s Calculus (5th edition) 5th Edition: $130, Used 4th: $20-$90 There are no significant changes between the 4th and 5th…except for price! Pearson’s Chemistry (9th edition) Bundled: $130 Unbundled: $60 Difference: 53% THE PROBLEM PUBLISHER TACTICS DRIVE UP PRICES Bundling New Editions Keep Faculty in the Dark
  5. 5. WTF? Pearson’s Principles of Economics By N. Gregory Mankiw Plus: ThomsonNOW™ Interactive Study Guide InfoTrac® 1-Semester Online Pass Economics in the Movies Instant Access Code Price: $167.95
  6. 6. THE PROBLEM THE TEXTBOOK MARKET IS NOT NORMAL
  7. 7. THE PROBLEM NORMAL MARKET Supply & Demand: If price is too high, consumers will not buy it Competition: Suppliers compete to provide the lowest price
  8. 8. THE PROBLEM <ul><li>TEXTBOOK MARKET </li></ul><ul><li>Price isn’t a factor </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty choose, but don’t have to buy </li></ul><ul><li>Students have to buy regardless of price </li></ul><ul><li>No competition </li></ul><ul><li>4 major companies </li></ul><ul><li>Same business model </li></ul>
  9. 9. THE PROBLEM COMPLICATIONS Can’t tell publishers what to publish (1st Amendment) Can’t tell faculty what to use (Academic Freedom)
  10. 10. THE PROBLEM A VERY LARGE COMPLICATION Legislation can’t solve the problem. But, it can help.
  11. 11. THE PLAYERS INTEREST GROUPS Students: lower prices Faculty: academic freedom Administrations: $, power Bookstores: used books, competition Publishers: regulation, profits Taxpayers: $, education
  12. 12. IDEAS? STRATEGIES TO LOWER PRICES Change faculty behavior Promote competition Price transparency Bypass the market (used books) Shine the spotlight on the problem Eliminate additional costs
  13. 13. LEGISLATION <ul><li>SALES TAX EXEMPTION </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate reduction in cost </li></ul><ul><li>Publishers & bookstores support </li></ul><ul><li>Drawbacks </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t address problem </li></ul><ul><li>Costs state $ </li></ul><ul><li>Affects all students equally </li></ul>
  14. 14. LEGISLATION <ul><li>ADOPTION PRACTICES </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Helps faculty reduce costs </li></ul><ul><li>Drawbacks </li></ul><ul><li>Limits academic freedom if strong </li></ul><ul><li>Not very effective if weak </li></ul>
  15. 15. LEGISLATION <ul><li>PROHIBIT INDUCEMENTS </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Publishers can’t bribe faculty </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty make “honest” choices </li></ul><ul><li>Drawbacks </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty typically oppose </li></ul><ul><li>Not the biggest problem </li></ul>
  16. 16. LEGISLATION <ul><li>STATE SPONSORED STUDY </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes scrutiny/awareness </li></ul><ul><li>Informs future action </li></ul><ul><li>Drawbacks </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t actually address problem </li></ul><ul><li>We already know what the problem is </li></ul>
  17. 17. LEGISLATION <ul><li>ISBN/BOOKLIST DISCLOSURE </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Prevents bookstore abuses </li></ul><ul><li>Gives students more time to shop around </li></ul><ul><li>Drawbacks </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t address problem </li></ul><ul><li>Bookstores typically oppose </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty sometimes oppose </li></ul>
  18. 18. LEGISLATION <ul><li>RENTAL PROGRAMS </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Immediate reduction in cost </li></ul><ul><li>Reduces publisher profits </li></ul><ul><li>Drawbacks </li></ul><ul><li>Costs state lots of $ </li></ul><ul><li>Doesn’t address market problem </li></ul>
  19. 19. LEGISLATION <ul><li>PRICE DISCLOSURE </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Puts price on the table </li></ul><ul><li>Makes market function more normally </li></ul><ul><li>Only publishers oppose </li></ul><ul><li>Directly addresses problem </li></ul><ul><li>Free </li></ul>
  20. 20. LEGISLATION PRICE DISCLOSURE Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signs HB 2300 with students from WashPIRG and the Washington Student Lobby in the background States with disclosure legislation: Connecticut Washington Oregon Oklahoma Minnesota
  21. 21. THE DEBATE <ul><li>BEST ARGUMENTS </li></ul><ul><li>Lowers the cost of college without expense to the taxpayers </li></ul><ul><li>Makes the market operate more like a normal market, not artificial </li></ul><ul><li>Very simple requirement, only the publishers will oppose (I wonder why…) </li></ul>
  22. 22. THE DEBATE <ul><li>COMMON QUESTIONS </li></ul><ul><li>How do we know it will work? </li></ul><ul><li>It utilizes normal market forces to drive down costs </li></ul><ul><li>How is it effective if not enforcable? </li></ul><ul><li>Publishers don’t have to follow the law? </li></ul><ul><li>They know we are watching </li></ul>
  23. 23. THE DEBATE <ul><li>PUBLISHER ARGUMENTS </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty already have access to prices </li></ul><ul><li>That’s not the point, needs to be up front </li></ul><ul><li>Extra requirements will drive up costs </li></ul><ul><li>Every other industry does it, why can’t you? </li></ul><ul><li>The responsibility should be shared </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty will not always ask </li></ul><ul><li>Only publishers are in the position to disclose </li></ul>
  24. 24. INSIDE STRATEGY Make the bill bi-partisan Co-sponsors are key: prime, chair of higher ed committee, co-sponsor of opposite party from prime Stick to the facts Research proves problem, Econ 101 proves solution Rock the hearings Testimony from the student lobby Testimony from the faculty lobby Testimony from a student with a personal story
  25. 25. OUTSIDE STRATEGY Media, media, media Positive accountability, hero opportunities LTEs, Op-Eds, diligent press releases Grassroots State legislators rarely hear from their constituents, so this makes a HUGE difference Coalition Building Get everyone on board to demonstrate a broad base of support - Bookstores, Administrations, Faculty, Student Groups
  26. 26. CURRENT EVENTS Schwarzenegger vetoes California bill CA passed 2 textbooks bills, a disclosure bill and a bill the publishers pushed through. MA and OH disclosure bills on the move MA bill hearing generated over 20 media hits OH hearing on Oct 30 National Legislation in the works Bill in House has disclosure language, may move before the end of the year
  27. 27. QUESTIONS? Keep in touch: Nicole Allen (503) 231-4181 x322 (203) 216-7112 [email_address]
  28. 28. BREAK OUT <ul><li>Things to discuss: </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of legislation? </li></ul><ul><li>Timeframe </li></ul><ul><li>Potential sponsors </li></ul><ul><li>Strategies and tactics </li></ul>Keep in touch: Nicole Allen (503) 231-4181 x322 (203) 216-7112 [email_address]

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