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Fedex Sued for Printing Eureka Math Without a License

October 6, 2016

Eureka Math (also known as EngageNY) was once owned by the nonprofit, Common Core, Inc., which is now the nonprofit, Great Minds, Inc. If you click this link, it will redirect you to

The Great Minds website has rewritten its history to remove any trace of its former identity as Common Core, Inc. However, the Common Core, Inc., history is archived here.

The nonprofit, Common Core, Inc., predated the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Whereas CCSS did not originate in connection to Common Core, Inc., the nonprofit, Common Core, Inc., AKA Great Minds, Inc., it is proud to note that its products are Common Core-aligned:


A group of education leaders founded the non-profit Great Minds in 2007 to define and encourage content-rich comprehensive education for all American schoolchildren. In pursuit of that mission, Great Minds brings schoolteachers together in collaboration with scholars to craft exemplary instructional materials and share them with the field. Great Minds’ Eureka Math curriculum has won accolades at the state and national levels, and is the only comprehensive math curriculum aligned to the Common Core State Standards at every grade. The non-profit also just released Wit & Wisdom, a new English curriculum that taps the power of literature, history and science to meet the expectations of the new standards.

Great Minds even brags that Eureka Math/EngageNY is featured on David Coleman’s Student Achievement Partners (SAP) website. (Coleman and his SAP were at the center of CCSS development.):

National Impact

Eureka Math is the only curriculum found by to be fully aligned to the standards for all grades, K–8. Lessons from Eureka are exemplars on Student Achievement Partners’ and at The version of the curriculum on has been downloaded 13.5 million times, reaching every state in the nation.

I wrote about Eureka Math in September 2014 because the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) tried to promote it as “grass roots”– “LSU developed.” However, the copyright for Eureka Math has never been tied to LSU.

The copyright for Eureka Math belonged to, which has since become… which brings us to the purpose of this post:

The nonprofit, Great Minds, is suing Fedex for reproducing Eureka Math without a license to do so.

Great Minds allows members of the public to reproduce materials free of charge, so long as such reproduction is for noncommercial use. However, it appears that Fedex is reproducing and selling Eureka Math, and it refuses to stop because it says that it is only doing so as a service to school districts; in other words, Fedex maintains that it is reproducing Eureka Math to “assist school districts in the noncommercial use of the materials.”

It seems that the key issue is whether Fedex is reproducing Eureka Math on a case-by-case basis as individual teachers solicit the reproduction, and in such cases, charging only for the cost of printing and finishing– or whether Fedex is reproducing the materials in bulk and advertising that it has such materials available for purchase.

Even if Fedex is only charging for the cost of copies and finishing (e.g., binding), in the latter case, Fedex is soliciting business that it might otherwise not have and is therefore indeed profiting from Eureka Math without purchasing a commercial license.

Stay tuned to find out what the US District Court, Eastern District of New York, thinks.

It is funny when two major drivers of corporate ed reform, the nonprofit and the for-profit, lock horns over boundaries associated with the likes of CCSS curriculum promotion.



Released July 2016– Book Three:

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of both A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

  1. When I worked there, the then-FedEx Kinko’s wouldn’t do course packs of any kind because of the copyright scare caused by a previous suit.
    Seems like the lure of district money was enough incentive to get them over that hangup.

  2. Great Minds Think Alike?

    ℞ Common Conformity™

  3. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Excellent report and of interest because I had some email exchanges with Lynn Munson, then of Common Core, just as their ELA “curriculum maps” were being rolled out.

    The history then was well documented. In December 2009, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation enabled the transfer of initial work on an ELA curriculum, started by the National Governor’s Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, through a grant in excess of $550,000 to a non-profit organization that happens to have the name Common Core (Gates Foundation database, 2009).
    Common Core (was then) said to be a non-profit organization operating independently since 2007 with no formal ties to the CCSS initiative. It advocated for content-rich education in the discipline-specific tradition of studies in the liberal arts and sciences (e.g., study original texts and works of art; not social studies but history, geography, civics).
    The first “Curriculum Maps” produced by Common Core were units of ELA instruction that ensured “coverage” of the CCSS year-by-year, with art and music included in twelve initial units and planned for most units. The units had been available free of charge on the Internet since August 2010. The website had received one million visits by February 2011.

    In my research, I also discovered that some of the writers for the ELA curriculum maps worked on Achieve’s American Diploma Project, the forerunner of the CCSS initiative.

    In any case, I thought that suggestions for the art projects “integrated” into the ELA maps were the work of writers who were not well versed in teaching, especially so in the case of several lessons for elementary school. I had also discovered a unit for grade 9/10 had content in the visual arts identical to that in the ADP project, and the CCSS, that had, in turn been retrieved from a college course at Sam Houston Community College—shoved down to grades 9/10.

    So I wrote to ask about the experts who were helping them with the art content in the ELA units.
    On March 30, 2011, Lynn Munson wrote back:

    Hi, Dr. Chapman. My staff just forwarded me your note. Indeed, the folks writing our maps include the first director of the ADP, so I’m not surprised to learn that she included an art exercise that she may have internalized from that work. I’d love to get your input on our project, if you have time to talk.
    Lynne Munson
    President and Executive Director (2011)
    Common Core

    In this early power point presentation, you see one version of Common Core and the history of the ELA curriculum maps, started with Gates Funding

    For the current version of history, see

    Lynn Munson lead the “Picturing America project while she was Executive Director of The National Endowment for the Humanities. The current ELA materials at the Great Minds website show how some of that work has been recycled. Click on her photo to see her bio.

  4. DanG permalink

    Below is an excerpt from a comment I made on another blog a year or so ago:

    “One example should be the disastrous Eureka Math Curriculum. After its dismal failure in NY, under the name of EngageNY, I guess that the suits in charge decided to rename it Eureka Math and to try to sell it to the hicks in the mildew belt. And guess what? THE HICKS BOUGHT IT! After two years of trying to implement this compost, which seemed like an incoherent and disconnected collection of plagiarized items from some precalculus textbook, I gave up and left public education. And from what I hear, most Louisiana parishes have carted it to the curb at this point after squandering how many thousands of taxpayers’ dollars.”

    I remain mystified as to the longevity and appeal of this train wreck, Perhaps my math degree was second rate and I lack the sophistication to fully appreciate the virtues of the Eureka Math Curriculum, but it is satisfying to see two profiteering entities at each other throats over the not-yet-dead carcass of EngageNY.

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