A new policy by Internet trading behemoth eBay that bans homeschool teachers' texts from its auctions is prompting a tirade of complaints from the company's faithful customers.So sales of textbooks for students can go on unimpeded. But sales of teacher's editions that would let a homeschooling parent check the work of her children are strictly a no-no.
"Really the homeschooling community is a huge participant in eBay when you get to thinking about it," said one customer who was identified as ''angels*wings'' on an eBay blog. "We buy textbooks naturally but we also purchase items like microscopes, slides, globes, maps, manipulatives, educational games, reading books, supplies for our classrooms ... stickers, idea books, folders, sheet protectors, school supplies, software, educational movies, models, post cards ... the list is enormous."
The policy, which is inclusive of all teachers' texts, was made known recently as those who were auctioning various books watched as their postings were deleted.
Another homeschooler on the blog said she questioned eBay when her listings were cancelled.
"They told me that it fell under their heading of 'illegal, dangerous, offensive, or potentially infringing,'" she said. "What are they thinking? I have a mess of curriculum here that I can't sell, and needing money from it to buy curriculum for the new school year."
The response from the company was posted for others to see.
"As you may know, eBay does not permit items that are illegal, dangerous, offensive, or potentially infringing. Additionally, eBay has just recently made the decision to prohibit the sale of Teacher's Editions of textbooks and solutions manuals that are intended solely for use by teachers. Since eBay strives to be a level-playing field, all Teacher's Edition textbooks, manuals and guides will be covered under this policy. Unfortunately, home schooling Teacher's Editions are not exempt from this policy and this policy will apply to all grade levels."
The company continued that those products often contain "special answer keys, exams, teaching tips, and guides"...
This may be one of the dumbest things I've ever seen happen on the Internet. Does eBay really believe they should now be "playing nanny" for their customers? Are they really that worried that students might (shudder) go looking for answers to questions? It's like they've never even heard of Google.
The only people I know of who would really be hindered by this ridiculous policy are kids who memorize everything they read... and that's got to be a very low percentage of the children at that. Otherwise, eBay is not only doing homeschool parents a grave disservice, they are angering a considerably vast customer base.