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Education Politics


“Does Online Ed Lack ‘Integrity’?” asks Inside Higher Ed, responding to a line suggesting such in Hillary Clinton’s higher ed plan. Clinton also exaggerated the student loan crisis, says “experts.” “Hillary Clinton’s student debt video misses the biggest problem with paying for college,” according to Vox’s Libby Nelson.

Lawrence Lessig’s Presidential Bid.”

California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that would allow children of nannies and nannies and other live-in workers to attend schools in the districts where their parents work.

California’s attorney general is investigating the University of Phoenix for deceptive marketing practices aimed at veterans.

Whatever Happened to the Department's Competency-Based Education Experiments?” asks Amy Laitinen. (“We’re flooring the accelerator and the brake at the same time,” “Dean Dad” Matt Reed observes.)

Education in the Courts


Pearson, Cengage, and McGraw-Hill have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against a company called Information Recyclers, accusing it of selling pirated textbooks.

Via The Guardian: “Lawyers representing Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk have filed a motion demanding the entire sexual history of a student who is suing the school after reporting being drugged and raped on her third day of freshman orientation.”

Via The New York Times: “A federal judge on Friday ruled that a new licensing exam for teachers given by New York State did not discriminate against minorities, saying that even though they tended to score poorly, the test evaluated skills necessary to do the job.”

Testing, Testing…


The New York Times reports that “20% of New York State Students Opted Out of Standardized Testing This Year.”

Via Education Week: “Nevada Hires Data Recognition Corp. as New Test Vendor.” And the Nevada Appeal says that the state has hired CTB/McGraw-Hill to run its tests.

MOOCs and UnMOOCs


MOOC development more expensive than many think.”

“Are Employers Key to the Success – and Relevance – of MOOCs?” asks Edsurge. Well, certainly that’s the new spin, one that I identified last year as the tech industry and politicians try to reframe the purpose of education as “job skills.”

“Five retired NBA players are receiving scholarships to attend Kaplan University and study online to earn certificates, bachelor’s or master’s degrees,” says Inside Higher Ed.

Meanwhile on Campus


The University of Illinois released some 1100 pages of emails pertaining to the hiring/firing last year of professor Steven Salaita. It turns out that Chancellor Phyllis Wise used her personal email account in order to – she hoped, eh – avoid scrutiny. “Email scandal plunges U. of Illinois into turmoil.” The university’s board of trustees voted to reject a deal in which Wise would receive $400,000 after resigning as chancellor. More legal battles to follow

And continuing its moves to be the terrifying “new American university,” Arizona State University becomes the first of the country’s ten largest public universities to not offer psychiatric services to students. Oh yeah, feel the disruptive innovation!

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges has upheld its decision to terminate the accreditation for the City College of San Francisco.

Watch John Oliver Blast Subpar Sex Education in U.S. Schools.”

Go, School Sports Team!


Via The New York Times: “The University of Minnesota will begin an outside investigation of its athletic department and its former director, Norwood Teague, who resigned because of sexual harassment complaints, a school official said.”

From the HR Department


Minerva is expanding its faculty and administration.

Upgrades and Downgrades


“The letters of the day on ‘Sesame Street’ are H, B and O,” says The New York Times, reporting on the deal struck this week between the Sesame Workshop and HBO that would give the latter first-run episodes of the children’s television show. 9 months after premiering on HBO, Sesame Street episodes will be available on PBS. Another blow for ed-tech and equity.

“The team behind ClassOwl has found a new nest and the founders are looking for a new home for the school planning tool that they’ve built for students,” Edsurge reports. And another ed-tech startup – this one having raised $900,000 – enters the dead pool.

Harvard student loses Facebook internship after pointing out privacy flaws.”

Google released an upgrade to its Course Builder tool.

Elsewhere in Google: the company restructures. Sundar Pichai will be the new CEO of Google. Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergei Brin will run its new holding company, Alphabet.

Edsurge profiles Slate, the open source SIS created by Science Leadership Academy. Via Vice: “Why Google is Restructuring Now.”

Funding, IPOs, and Acquisitions


Via the San Jose Mercury News: “Zuckerberg education fund expands reach of $120 million grant to help Bay Area schools.”

Front Row Education has raised $5.3 million in funding from Amasia, Harrison Metal, and Baseline Ventures. The company, which makes math practice software, has raised $6.6 million total.

Quad Learning has raised $4.8 million in debt financing. The company, which helps students complete community college, has raised $25.8 million total.

Crescerance has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from BIP Capital.

News Corp plans to sell off its unprofitable and unpopular education unit, The New York Times reports: “News Corporation, controlled by Rupert Murdoch, said on Wednesday that it would take a $371 million write-down on the education division and would move to wind down the production of tablets for schoolchildren, a key part of the unit's offering.” More via The Wall Street Journal and Buzzfeed.

Pearson sells its stake in The Economist to the company’s other shareholders for about $730 million. Why? Edsurge notes that “After Selling Stake in The Economist Group, Pearson Now Has Extra $2 Billion for Education Efforts.” Wheee.

School financial software provider Blackbaud will acquire Smart Tuition for $190 million.

Blackboard has acquired Nivel Siete, a Latin American Moodle provider. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, although Blackboard used the press release to tout its commitment to open source. Side eye.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has acquired the assets of MeeGenius, an e-book subscription service for kids 8 and under. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

On the heels of news last week that John Merrow is retiring, Education Week has acquired his show Learning Matters, which run on PBS News Hour.

Reuters reports that TPG Capital is close to buying Ellucian for $3.5 billion. Among Ellucian’s products, the higher ed admin system Banner. (Eww.)

Reuters also reports that Instruction plans to IPO (which we all knew would happen soon, right?) and has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley in order to prepare.

Via Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy: “Career Education Corporation's plan to transform its business was simple: stop providing career education. And so far, it seems to be working: in the first quarter of the company's ‘transformation plan,’ it beat analyst estimates, sending its stock shooting up more than 30% on Friday after results were announced.”

Data and “Research”


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Researchers at the University of Wisconsin at Madison say they are getting closer to designing a system to deliver the ideal lesson plan for each student, through a process they call ‘machine teaching.’” LOL.

CNN cites a study that says “early elementary school years are getting significantly more homework than is recommended by education leaders, in some cases nearly three times as much homework as is recommended.” Others cite other studies.

“A Peek at a ‘Smart’ Classroom Powered by the Internet of Things,” via Edsurge, which looks at a study from the University of Belgrade about sensors in the lecture hall. “The researchers used sensors to measure different aspects of the classroom environment – including temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide levels – and attempted to link these factors to student focus.”

Campus Technology goes with the headline “Three-Quarters of Students Say More Tech Would Improve Their Learning” for its write-up of a survey sponsored by an e-learning platform.

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Audrey Watters


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