If you're a reader of my blog, there's a good chance that you're already familiar with the textbook problem. While there are a wide variety of factors that make this problem intractable, I was thinking that it would be incredibly helpful to have a really high quality free alternative set of textbooks for all standard K-12 courses. I'm not talking about a standardized curriculum here. In fact, a well structured series of core textbooks would be built as flexible tools that would allow teachers to customize instruction and support it with their own additional content.
In addition I'm not talking about policy here. School districts could choose to use whatever books they wanted to. The point would simply be to create a high quality free and open (print on demand) textbook series that would at least give those districts looking for great textbooks an affordable option. At that point, if it actually starts to give the publishing giants a run for their money, they'll have to adapt to the real market rather than suffering under the onerous weight of Texas (and to a lesser degree California) politics.
There are obviously vested interests that would never want to see something like this happen. On the other hand, the publishing giants have started to adapt. As they pivot towards a data centric service model, free textbooks become less of a threat. Regardless of the stance of the textbook industry, the question remains, what's the best source to fund a project like this? A federal agency? A philanthropic organization? A kickstarter? Hmmm.