Sometimes it pays to be a squeaky wheel.
Based on her (and her family’s) review of the unfavorable Terms of Participation in the Scholastic Art & Writing Award program, 8th-grader Sasha Matthews took to the internet to make her case. With more than a passing interest in issues of intellectual property in education, I amplified her story.
And then this happened:
Update! @Scholastic @ArtAndWriting read my story on @BoingBoing and emailed to tell me they plan on revising their terms before next year’s contest in September. They haven’t said yet what they’re going to change. Hope they keep us involved!https://t.co/jkPgMr7Wky
— Rumble Comics (@RumbleComics) February 16, 2018
I reached out to the awards program organizers to confirm the news, and Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, offered the following public statement in response:
The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the independent nonprofit that administers the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, is exploring a revision to the Terms & Conditions for students participating in the program. The bulk of this work will take place over the summer months during a broader program-review process, and will be reflected in our materials for the 2019 program year, which launches in September 2018. We are confident that changes resulting from this review will allow the program to reach more creative young people and provide them with opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarships.
This is good news and a good faith response to a complicated issue. I’ve offered my assistance to the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers as they undertake their revision process and am hopeful that next year’s program will be more respectful of the intellectual property of student participants.