Education Politics

The Tories’ win in the UK elections could have a major impact on education.

Presidential campaigning updates: Huckabee (Common Core bad). Clinton (debt-free college?).

Via Inside Higher Ed: “It took the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, on average, 1,469 days to complete campus sexual assault investigations in 2014, according to data released Tuesday by three Senate Democrats. The average time it took to resolve a complaint in 2009 was 379 days.”

ProPublica reports that “Traditional colleges and universities have become unlikely allies of the beleaguered for-profit industry as each group tries to fend off the government's push for more accountability.”

The for-profit college chain Corinthian College is appealing its $30 million fine levied by the Department of Education. Meanwhile, “Corinthian Colleges Secretly Funded D.C. Think Tanks, Dark Money Election Efforts,” reports The Intercept’s Lee Fang.

The Oregon Justice Department has ordered for-profit Penn Foster College to pay more than $73,000 in order to refund a student’s tuition and to change its claims that it actually is accredited.

Testing, Testing…

Standardized testing was the topic of Sunday night’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Pearson was not amused.

Pearson explains how tests are created.

And The Plain Dealer explains how tests are graded: "a very focused assembly line operation: Scoring 55 to 80 answers an hour is no problem for most."

Glitches with Smarter Balanced testing continue in Nevada.

“New standardized tests bring technical challenges, concern” and the AP is on it.

Via Education Week: “California’s state board of education has approved a contract for assessments valued at $240 million with the Educational Testing Service, despite a rival bidder’s [Pearson] complaint that the procurement process was illegal and unfair.”

Education Week also reports that the ACT is expanding computer-based testing.


From MIT’s Otto Scharmer: “MOOC 4.0.” Rolin Moe responds: “MOOC 4.No.”

Downes vs Siemens, continued.

The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign will offer an online MBA through Coursera.

From the press release: “Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, announced today that it has launched a free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) designed to help medical students prepare for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1, the first and most daunting of the three exams medical students must complete to become physicians.”

Chrysler will pay for tuition at Strayer University for its dealership employees, Fortune reports.

Meanwhile on Campus

Via The Oregonian: “Six University of Oregon employees, including a vice president and the school’s interim top lawyer, are under investigation for alleged misconduct in the handling of therapy records of a student who says she was gang-raped by three Ducks basketball players.”

Following the murder of a student, a feminist group at the University of Mary Washington have filed a complaint with the Department of Education, saying that “the university failed to protect them from a ‘sexually hostile environment’ in which they were verbally harassed in person and threatened on Yik Yak.”

At the university’s annual Orgo Night, the Columbia University Marching Band made fun of the campus’s sexual assaults.

Howard University is asking its alumni to help pay off some students’ final balances so that they can graduate.

Corinthian Colleges has filed for Chapter 11. Via The New York Times: “Corinthian Colleges' Lean Business Model Leaves Little for Creditors.”

For-profit “Kaplan University will now offer personalized ‘competency reports’ to its 45,000 students,” says Inside Higher Ed.

Sweet Briar College is now closed.

The for-profit universities Career Education Corporation and EDMC Corp announced they would close schools – the former, closing all its “career colleges” and the latter closing a quarter of its Art Institute campuses.

According to The LA Times, 75% of LAUSD 10th graders are not expected to graduate because they have not met new graduation requirements.

47 schools in California still have no access to the Internet.

Via The Atlantic: “What Really Happened to Atlanta’s Students When Their Teachers Cheated.”

Another Use for Yik Yak on Campus? Cheating on Exams

Go, School Sports Team!

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Ohio State University spent more than $4 million to travel to two college football playoff games last season, according to financial numbers reported to the National Collegiate Athletic Association and obtained by CBS News. The University of Oregon, which lost to Ohio State in the final playoff game, spent $3.8 million. The University of Alabama spent $2.6 million on its semifinal loss to Ohio State, spending $580,000 more on that one trip than Ohio State despite traveling from a closer distance. Florida State University spent $2.3 million on its loss to Oregon.”

From the HR Department

Funnymonkey’s Bill Fitzgerald and Jeff Graham are joining Common Sense Media to work on the latter’s privacy initiatives.

Ken Michaels will be the new CEO of Macmillan Higher Education, Edsurge reports. It adds too that Follett will have a new CEO: “Ray A. Griffith, who surely knows a thing or two about sourcing, scaling and selling from his time as President and CEO of Ace Hardware.” Surely.

Via “Charter operator ASPIRA Inc. of Pennsylvania is seeking to block certification of a union at its Olney Charter High School, despite recent assurances that it would negotiate in good faith.”

Part-time faculty at Cayuga Community College have won the right to unionize.

Upgrades and Downgrades

Thinkgate LLC has closed its doors “after receiving millions in Race to the Top funds,” reports The Washington Post.

“Berkeley to Stop Adding Lecture Videos to YouTube, Citing Budget Cuts,” reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Coming soon on Hack Education: a history of UC Berkeley lecture capture and the creation of iTunesU.)

Google added new features to Classroom. The full list is here.

No Internet security for those in the developing world, I guess:

Is Rupert Murdoch’s Bid to Fix Education With a Tablet Failing?

By Evan Selinger: “The new Crystal app creates profiles ‘for every person with an online presence’ so its users can craft the ideal e-mail for every recipient. That’s not only troubling for privacy, but also threatens to strip individuality out of our digital dialogue.”

Common Sense Media to Release Privacy Ratings for Ed-Tech Products.”

You can now add CC licenses to posts on Medium.

E-Literate TV is back with an episode on “personalized learning.”

Mozilla is changing many of its “Webmaker” tools, rolling Thimble into and sunsetting Popcorn Maker.

Alexander Russo has a new column on education news in the Washington Monthly. Hopefully he will write about horrible ed-tech coverage is (example.)

Edsurge reports on one of its investor’s annual summit: “NewSchools New New Thing.”

Funding and IPOing

Stephen Colbert has agreed to fund every South Carolina teachers’ DonorChoose project, totaling about $800,000.

McGraw Hill Education is planning to IPO, says Reuters.

VC firm Rethink Education is looking to raise a $125 million second fund, says PE Hub.

AltSchool has raised $100 million in funding from Founders Fund, Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, John Doerr, Harrison Metal, Jonathan Sackler, Learn Capital, and Omidyar Network. It brings the total raised by the private school to $133 million. Coverage – almost entirely love letters to Silicon Valley “disruption” – from Edsurge, Wired, Buzzfeed, BloombergBusiness, The New York Times, and Techcrunch. Instead of reading any of that drivel, read Swartmore’s Timothy Burke on AltSchool, “algorithmic culture,” and education.

Kano has raised $15 million from Jim Breyer, Collaborative Fund, and Jim O'Neill, (former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management). The “learn to code” startup has raised $16.5 million total.

Edsurge reports that Inkling has raised $15 million for digital textbooks (although I think Inkling stopped focusing on digital textbooks this time last year).

Test prep company Toppr has raised $10 million from Fidelity, Saif, and Helion. The company has raised $12 million total.

Wonder Workshop (formerly Play-i) has raised $6.9 million in funding from WI Harper Group, Madrona Venture Group, CRV, Maven Ventures, and Bright Success Capital. The startup, which offers programmable robots called “Dash” and “Dot,” has raised $17.3 million total.

Tutoring company Vedantu has raised $5 million from Accel Partners and Tiger Global Management. The company has raised $5.6 million total.

LightSail has raised $3.5 million from Scott Brook, bringing to $12.2 million the total raised by the literacy startup.

KleverKid has raised an undisclosed round of funding from Aarin Capital, Sunil Kaul, Ananda Kallugadde, and Maina Sahi. “Since 2014, KleverKid has provided an online marketplace for afterschool kids' activities in the Delhi region,” says Edsurge.

Springboard Education has raised an undisclosed round of funding from Bridges Ventures. The company offers before- and after-school programs.

Data and “Research”

A report from the Level Playing Institute “found that public schools with a high number of students of color are half as likely to offer computer science classes as schools with a predominately white or Asian student body.”

The OECD wants to measure teaching quality in higher ed.

Teachers Know Best” – a survey on ed-tech products by the Gates Foundation.

For-profit university Laureate Education surveyed its students and found they want higher education to focus on “career outcomes.”

Via The Atlantic: “The Disproportionate Burden of Student-Loan Debt on Minorities”

According to math education professor Jo Boaler, “data from the 13 million students who took PISA tests showed that the lowest achieving students worldwide were those who used a memorization strategy – those who thought of math as a set of methods to remember and who approached math by trying to memorize steps. The highest achieving students were those who thought of math as a set of connected, big ideas.” And the US has more memorizers than most countries in the world.

There is a correlation between education and wealth, research has found. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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