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Education Politics


The FCC will seek public comments on a proposal to allow the Lifeline program to subsidize broadband, much as it has long subsidized phone service, to low income households.

Senators Angus King and (I-Maine) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) introduced the Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015, which they say will “support innovative ways to improve student access to the Internet and other digital learning resources outside of the classroom.”

New York has passed a bill that would require sexual assault charges be included on college transcripts.

Mark Zuckerberg just announced he'll pay for hundreds of undocumented students to go to college.” (That is, he’ll give $5 million in scholarships to undocumented students in the Bay Area.) Meanwhile… “What’s Left of Zuckerberg’s Gift? $30 Million of Funds Given to City's Schools.” (That’s what remains of his $100 million donation four years ago.)

PolitiFact Dubs Bush Education Claim ‘Mostly False’

Via Techcrunch: “Following FTC Complaints, Senator Nelson Asks Google For Answers On YouTube Kids App Content.”

Testing, Testing…


Measured Progress, a testing company that managed Common Core exams in North Dakota, Nevada, and Montana, denies a breach of contract occurred because of technical glitches that prompted the states to halt testing earlier this year. Only 37% of Nevada students completed the online test, which means that the state has failed to meet the federal mandate that 95% of students take the test. Oops.

Via Politico: “Oregon state lawmakers recently passed a bill that would allow parents to opt their children out of state standardized tests. It would also require that school districts notify parents of their ability to do so. The legislation passed despite warnings from the Education Department – officials said it could jeopardize $140 million a year in federal funding.”

Via Al Jazeera: “Common Core testing points out tech divide in rural, poorer schools.”

After errors were discovered in two sections of the June 6 SAT, the College Board is waiving the fee for those who want to retake the test.

“ACT is phasing out Compass,” Inside Higher Ed reports, “a popular but controversial college placement test that colleges use to determine whether students need to take remedial courses.”

Are the licensing tests for teachers racially biased?

Man receives fine for impersonating his girlfriend to take exam in her place.”

Some Australian universities are banning smart watches during finals. #notallwatches

The staircase at Utah Valley University that’s been painted with three lanes – one for walking, one for running, and one for texting – makes no sense. I mean, why would you run up the middle?

MOOCs and UnMOOCs


Hey guys. Remember MOOCs? The University of Pennsylvania has joined edX. (The university was a founding member and investor in Coursera. So that’s interesting.)

Coursera launches a Chinese language specialization.

There’s an art school MOOC platform now, called Kadenze.

Meanwhile on Campus


Art Levine, a longtime critic of teacher education programs, is launching a teacher education program. “The Woodrow Wilson Academy for Teaching and Learning, will offer master’s degrees entirely through a competency-based program,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

The AAUP has voted to censure the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for withdrawing its job offer to Steven Salaita. (In other Salaita news, a judge has ordered the university to release donor emails that Salaita argues influenced the university’s decision to revoke his employment.)

TEx – the “Total Educational Experience.” That’s the name of a new program at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley that will combine “big-data and personalized approaches” to keep students on track. It’s all available on an iPad, so you can be sure it’s terrific.

Also on the “big data bandwagon,” Virginia Commonwealth University.

The University of Washington and Tsinghua University are partnering to create a new institute in Bellevue Washington that “will open in fall 2016 with a master’s degree program in technology innovation.”

For-profit education is booming in Brazil, says Inside Higher Ed.

McGill University’s medical school has been placed on probation and is at risk of losing its accreditation, says the CBC.

Bryan Alexander points to a “queen sacrifice” at Kentucky State University, with the president “calling for the elimination of 31 additional campus positions, including 17 faculty and 14–15 staff jobs.”

Marian Court College will close later this month.

Bloomberg Philanthropies is donating $100 million to Cornell Tech, Cornell University’s new high tech graduate school to be build in NYC.

Muslim students banned from fasting during Ramadan at four British schools.”

A High School for the Homeless.”

Go, School Sports Team!


“The University of Texas at Austin has hired an independent investigator following allegations of academic fraud within the men’s basketball program,” says Deadspin.

How Star Athletes Evade Legal Consequences.”

From the HR Department


Nationally recognized LAUSD teacher Rafe Esquith has been removed from his classroom after charges of misconduct.

HarvardX researcher Justin Reich has a new gig: the Executive Director of the PK12 Initiative at MIT, and as a research scientist in the Office of Digital Learning.

Rachel Dolezal is no longer an employee of Eastern Washington University. (More via Inside Higher Ed.)

The University of Cambridge is hiring a professor of Lego.

“Key Amplify Execs Leave as News Corp. Cuts Staff,” says Edsurge, observing that former New Jersey Education Commissioner Chris Cerf’s name is no longer on the staff page.

Digital Public Library of America Seeks Educator Advisors.”

Upgrades and Downgrades


Messaging app Remind has launched “Remind Chat” so that teachers at the same school can chat. I mean, finally, a way for teachers to communicate with one another!

Remind is also open-sourcing its platform-as-a-service, Empire.

A new feature in Federated Wiki: rosters.

LinkedIn Offers Users Free Lynda.com Courses for the First Time.”

MakerBot Offers 3-D Printing Resources, Ebook for Educators.”

Funding and Acquisitions


Professional development company Fullbridge has raised $15.4 million “through the sale of a series of preferred stock.” The company has raised $27.9 million total.

LinguaLeo raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Social Discovery Ventures and Runa Capital. It’s previously raised $3 million.

Brightwheel has raised $2.2 million in seed funding from RRE Ventures, Eniac Ventures, CrossLink Capital, Golden Venture Partners, Red Swan Ventures, and Sherpa Ventures. The startup offers an app that provides a real-time feed – video and photos – from the preschool classroom.

Tutoring startup Arcterus has raised ¥130 million (about $1 million) from Dentsu Digital Holdings, Startia, and Bon Angels. The company has raised $1.6 million total.

Actively Learn has raised $1.03 million from 19 unnamed investors.

Vista Equity will pay $350 million to buy PowerSchool from Pearson.

Techstars has acquired UP Global and the Startup Weekend franchise for an undisclosed sum.

gphomestay has acquired Brooks Institute from the Career Education Corporation. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Latin American workforce development company Kuepa has acquired language learning provider First Class for an undisclosed sum.

According to an SEC filing, VC firm Learn Capital is raising $79 million for a new investment fund.

Privacy and (School-as-) Surveillance


“A group of 16 California teachers filed formal letters of complaint against online charter schools operated by K12 Inc., alleging violations including misuse of public funds and breaches of student privacy rights,” Bloomberg Business reports.

Newark Memorial High School in California has become the first high school in the US to install “gunshot-sensing technology” which places microphones and sensors in hallways and classrooms. The $15,000 system isn’t designed to record conversations. LOL. OK. Sure.

From the EFF: “Who Has Your Back? 2015: Protecting Your Data From Government Requests.” (Who does not have your back? AT&T and WhatsApp.)

Consumer Groups Back Out of Federal Talks on Face Recognition.”

Via Edsurge: “Are We Overregulating Student Data Privacy?” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Data and “Research”


“Ed Tech Is Booming in China,” CB Insights reports.

A Quantitative Investigation into the Impacts of 1:1 iPads on Early Learner’s ELA and Math Achievement” by Damian Bebell and Joseph Pedulla.

Excelencia in Education has released a report on Latino STEM graduates, listing which schools graduate the most Latino students in STEM fields.

“Our findings, consistent with previous evidence, suggest that passage of state medical marijuana laws does not increase adolescent use of marijuana” according to a study published in The Lancet.

Green Spaces Make Kids Smarter.”

Via the Shanker Institute: “How Effective Are Online Credit Recovery Programs?”

Via Education Week: “U.S. Millennials Know Technology, But Not How to Solve Problems With It, Study Says.”

Via The Washington Post: “Twenty percent of young women who attended college during the past four years say they were sexually assaulted, according to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll.”

7 billionaires who made their fortunes in education.” (There’s only one American on the list, for what it’s worth: Apollo Group a.k.a. The University of Phoenix’s Peter Sperling.)

MOOC review site Coursetalk has published a report on “What Reviews Divulge About Online Education.”

MOOC review site Class Central has published a report on how much studying students in free online classes do.

Edsurge summarizes a new report from Pearson on “What Doesn't Work in Education.” Shockingly, “giant multinational textbook and testing corporations driving education policy” was not listed.

Following LEGO Kit Instructions Shown to Reduce Creativity.”

This teenager discovered a new planet on his third day at work.”

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Audrey Watters


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