Education Law and Politics
Michael McVey, a school superintendent in Steubenville, Ohio has been indicted on charges of obstructing justice and evidence-tampering for his role in the cover-up of the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two of football players.
The Connecticut Attorney General released a report (PDF) on the Newtown school shootings that occurred in December of last year. While there are lots of details about the shooter, the report uncovered nothing to explain his motivations.
Faith Christian Academy told 12-year-old Vanessa Van Dyke that she needed to either cut her hair or leave the school. The school initially said that Van Dyke’s “puffy” hair was a distraction, but after the story was picked up by numerous news organizations, the school backed away from its expulsion threats.
It looks like New York governor Andrew Cuomo is joining the growing list of politicians who are distancing themselves from the Common Core. (Mercedes Schneider counts 17 states experiencing Common Core “unrest.”)
Solidarity Forever… Or Not
After a lengthy legal battle, NYU has reached an agreement with graduate students, allowing them to vote to unionize. The Chronicle of Higher Education has more details.
An email from UC Berkeley professor Alexander Coward went viral last week (after it was heavily promoted by the university, it’s worth noting). In it Coward told undergraduates that he planned to cover classes that would otherwise be cancelled as graduate students were taking part in a sympathy strike alongside the service workers’ union. More via In These Times.
Upgrades and Downgrades
Creative Commons has unveiled version 4.0 of its licenses. The CC “chooser” that helps people pick the appropriate license is available here.
Chicago Public Schools have opted not to use inBloom at its data storehouse. This makes New York the only state still moving forward with the non-profit.
More problems for LAUSD’s iPad rollout as it appears the software licenses that come with the machines expire after 3 years. Renewing these could cost between $50 to $100 per iPad – about $60 million. (I cannot understand how no one noticed this ’til now. Nobody really does read those Apple Terms of Service, do they?!)
The principal of Mountrath Community College is calling the school’s tablet adoption and move “from book to e-book” “an unmitigated disaster.” The school has had technical issues with the majority of the HP Elite Pad tablets families were asked to purchase.
The online for-profit Strayer University is slashing its tuition by as much as 40% and is laying off 20% of its workforce in order to stem losses stemming from declining enrollment.
Those who’ve enrolled in Coursera-run classes taught by Wesleyan faculty found themselves on the receiving end of emails asking them to donate to the university’s fund in order to support its efforts to offer more Coursera courses.
Inside Higher Ed’s Carl Straumsheim examines a report by MIT that discusses the university’s plans for the future. A key part of its strategy: edX.
Funding and Acquisitions
Edsurge reports that Pearson is selling its financial news service Mergermarket to a private equity firm so that it can focus on its plans for world domination global education.
Moonfrye, an art app for kids from a startup founded by Soleil Moon Frye (best known as the actress who played Punky Brewster) has raised another $1.1 million in funding, reports PandoDaily.
Baltimore-based startup An Estuary tweeted this week that it’s raised $100,000 investment from MDTEDCO.
From the HR Department
David Hanson, Virginia Commonwealth University’s chief operating officer, will be leaving the university at the end of the year to become the chief financial officer for Phillips Exeter Academy.
“Research” and Data
The Wall Street Journal covers a study by Moody’s Investors Service which finds that “nearly half of the nation’s colleges and universities are no longer generating enough tuition revenue to keep pace with inflation.” Phil Hill and Bryan Alexander respond.
And in other Moody’s-related news, “a growing number of Michigan school districts face higher borrowing costs after downgrades this year by Moody’s Investors Service.” Since January, it has downgraded the credit ratings of 53 districts in the state.
Cue the STEM shortage panic! “About half of bachelor’s degree candidates in science, technology, engineering and math leave the field before completing a college degree, according to a report from the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics,” writes Inside Higher Ed, which then adds that “That might seem high, but it roughly tracks the rate at which students in other majors – like humanities, education and health sciences – switched majors or dropped out of college, too, the study found.”
Maricopa Community College said that it was in the process of notifying some 2.5 million students, employers, and suppliers that their personal data might have been compromised and exposed to “unauthorized viewers.” This includes birth dates, Social Security numbers, and bank account info.
Valleywag’s Sam Biddle attempts to raise some red flags about the “iffy fine print” in the agreements that schools are signing with Code.org, including collecting students’ achievement data for the preceding 4 to 6 years as part of a longitudinal study. The contract also requires teachers to agree to 2 years participating in the project (which includes professional development and a proprietary curriculum that teachers aren’t supposed to deviate from).
Image credits: Andrea Westmoreland and The Noun Project