Education Politics

“The Washington Charter School Association has a $14 million fund from private donors set aside to keep the doors open this year at all charter schools in the state,” K5 reports. (Late last week, the state’s Supreme Court declared charters unconstitutional. Here’s why, according to education historian Sherman Dorn.)

Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig is running for president.

In other presidential candidate news, via Politico: "Walker’s latest target: College professors.”

According to Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Ramon Cortines, the district is close to a $6 million settlement with Apple and Pearson over its botched iPad program.

A group in Tennessee are protesting Islam’s inclusion in the Common Core curriculum. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Education in the Courts

Via the Philadelphia Inquirer: “A former Bucks County high school teacher who was fired after profanely blogging about her ‘utterly loathsome’ and ‘frightfully dim’ students cannot sue the Central Bucks School District for violating her right to free speech, a federal appeals court ruled.”

Testing, Testing…

The results of California’s test scores were released. “Among the poor news,” reports LA School Report, “was the continuation of a drastic achievement gap between the district's white students and its black and Latino students.” More via Edsurge.

Chromebooks’ Rise in U.S. K–12 Schools Fueled by Online Testing.”

“The Rebellion against Standardized Tests is Exploding,” The Nation claims.


Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Texas State University System on Thursday announced a Freshman Year for Free program in which students can earn a full year of credit through massive open online courses offered by edX and coordinated by a new nonprofit called the Modern States Education Alliance. The only costs to students would be either Advanced Placement or College Level Examination Program tests, which would be passed after completing various MOOCs. Appropriate scores would be required on the tests to receive credit from Texas State campuses.”

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) has launched its new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for Development portal”:

“Udacity, Coursera and edX Now Claim Over 24 Million Students,” claims Edsurge.

“Meet the Crowdfunded Professor,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education. “He's left his tenured job and gone online, solo.” (Related: Ian Bogost on “Quit Lit.”)

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The University of Florida is discussing changes in its partnership with Pearson Embanet for running the university's online bachelor's-degree-granting arm, UF Online, including possible termination of the contract.”

Also via The Chronicle: “HBCUs Aren't Sold on Course Partnerships With U. of Phoenix.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “New online credential program aims to turn out 10,000 new teachers in the next five years.”

“Technology investors shared their insights at a National Education Association panel on investing in education,” says Education Dive, “calling MOOCs a mistake for institutional investment.”

Meanwhile on Campus

At West Point, Annual Pillow Fight Becomes Weaponized,” The New York Times reports: “this year the fight on the West Point, N.Y., campus turned bloody as some cadets swung pillowcases packed with hard objects, thought to be helmets, that split lips, broke at least one bone, dislocated shoulders and knocked cadets unconscious. The brawl at the publicly funded academy, where many of the Army's top leaders are trained, left 30 cadets injured, including 24 with concussions, according to West Point.”

Students in the Pinellas County schools in Florida are now locked out of the district’s WiFi which is now available to teachers and administrators only.

James Franco will be teaching a high school film class in Palo Alto.

Uber is giving Carnegie Mellon $5.5 million to sponsor a new faculty chair in robotics (this after poaching many of the professors in its robotics department).

Via The Gazette: “University of Iowa Faculty Senate votes ‘no confidence’ in Board of Regents.” This comes on the heels of the board’s decision to hire businessman J. Bruce Harreld as the university’s new president.

Via Buzzfeed: “How A College You've Never Heard Of Became A Grad School Giant” (wherein “giant” means its students have taken out a gigantic amount of student loan debt.)

Via The Guardian: “Schools tighten grip on restrictive dress codes - and students are fed up.” Similar story, but from the BBC.

Richmond Community College in North Carolina will offer free tuition to high school students in the area: “The program, dubbed RichmondCC Guarantee, promises two free years of college for students of public, private and home schools who have at least a 3.0 grade-point average and two college courses under their belts.”

Divestment continues: “The University of California Just Sold Off $200 Million in Fossil Fuel Investments,” says Mother Jones.

Via ProPublica: “First Library to Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS Email.” The Kilton Public Library in New Hampshire was using Tor, but police have pressured the library to stop.

Higher Education’s Internet Outrage Machine.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Texas high school students are opting out of football.

Louisiana High School Football Player Dies After Being Injured on Punt Return.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The faculty union at Rutgers University on Wednesday urged the university to investigate whether its football coach, Kyle Flood, intimidated and bullied instructors while communicating with them about the grades of football players.”

From the HR Department

Seattle public school teachers remain on strike.

The University of Minnesota CIO has resigned because he says he’s training for an Ironman race. Sounds legit.

Jesse Stommel will be joining the University of Mary Washington as the new executive director of DTLT. (Jesse’s thoughts on “Leaving Wisconsin.”)

It’s a double win for DTLT: Lee Skallerup Bessette has been hired as instructional technology specialist.

Harvard University President Drew Faust opposes grad student unionization efforts, according to The Harvard Crimson.

Bernard Barton Jr has been named the new CIO of the Library of Congress.

Upgrades and Downgrades

Apple had one of its regularly-scheduled media hoopla thingies this week, so cue these sorts of headlines about the coming ed-tech revolution: “6 Reasons Why The iPad Pro Might Be A 1:1 Program Game Changer.”

Educators in Australia say Pearson is profiting from a conflict of interest as it provides the country both the textbooks and the tests. Hmm. Sounds familiar…

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A Textbook Market Strategy That Moves Beyond Professors.” Direct sales to students. Good luck with that.

Meanwhile: “Does Amazon's Edtech Strategy Involve $50 Tablets?” asks Edsurge. (Well, it certainly doesn’t include the Fire Phone, with the company axed this week.)

“Why Moodle Matters,” according to MindWire Consulting’s Phil Hill.

Via Venture Beat: “Uber taps Duolingo to let riders request English-speaking drivers, kicking off in Colombia.”

The New York Times profiled – “A Sharing Economy Where Teachers Win.” “You blew it,” math teacher Glenn Waddell responds.

A computer scientist is writing a book about programming for babies.”

“Intel to End Sponsorship of Science Talent Search,” The New York Times reports.

An open letter to the now-Gates-Foundation-funded EdCamps from Gary Stager and Sylvia Martinez.

NCTE have released a statement “affirming #BlackLivesMatter.”

Funding and Acquisitions

Ugh. “In exchange for $725 million, the National Geographic Society passed the troubled magazine and its book, map and other media assets to a partnership headed by 21st Century Fox, the Murdoch-controlled company that owns the 20th Century Fox movie studio, the Fox television network and Fox News Channel.” So much for that 125+ year old institution. More via Buzzfeed.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Graham Holdings Company, which controls Kaplan Inc., announced Friday that the sale of its Kaplan Higher Education campuses to Education Corporation of America was completed Thursday, according to a corporate filing. ECA is a for-profit chain that announced in February it would purchase all 38 of the nationally accredited Kaplan campuses and related assets. Kaplan will continue to operate Kaplan University and eight professional schools.”

“Baidu, China’s largest search engine and an investor in Uber, is giving its Zuoyebang 'after school' service, which helps school students with their studies, wings of its own after it revealed that the business raised an undisclosed Series A funding round,” Techcrunch reports. The investment comes from Sequoia China and Legend Capital.

Planet3 has raised $10 million from data center company Switch.

DecisionSim has raised $1.85 million from Rittenhouse Ventures and Ben Franklin Technology Partners for its simulations for training health-care workers.

Indian online test-prep company Online Tyari has raised $750,000 from 500 Startups, Aloke Bajpai, Tandem Capital, Mohnadas Pai, and Vikram Chachra.

The charter school chain KIPP has received a $4 million donation – the largest in its history – from Playtex CEO Joel Smilow.

The English language tutoring company Langrich has been acquired by EnglishCentral.

Data Breaches, Hacks, Privacy, and Surveillance

“Cal State data breach hits nearly 80,000 students,” The LA Times reports. “The Cal State system had hired the vendor We End Violence to provide the noncredit class on sexual harassment, which is required of all students under state law. Students who took the training with that company had their data hacked.”

Via Techcrunch: “The American Library Association Lost Control Of Their Facebook Page This Weekend.”

Bill Fitzgerald on the privacy implications of Facebook’s efforts to build ed-tech software for a charter school chain.

Data and “Research”

According to research from the Brookings Institution, “The spike in student loan defaults over the last decade has been fueled by students attending for-profit colleges and, to a lesser degree, community colleges, according to a new analysis of millions of federal student loan records.” More via Buzzfeed and Vox.

“Does Edtech Hurt – or Help – Those Most in Need?” asks Edsurge. (Spoiler alert… nevermind. I bet you can guess how this question gets answered.)

A report by iNACOL says that online credit recovery programs, which help students make up high school credits (and help schools maintain their graduation rates) are “in need of improvement.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Eduventures, a Boston-based higher education research firm, estimates the market [for online program management] is worth $1.1 billion.”

The American Institutes for Research will partner with UVA’s ed-tech accelerator to help research “what works” in ed-tech (or at least in the startup’s that UVA’s accelerator is investing in).

The latest Pew Research: “A Look at What the Public Knows and Does Not Know About Science.”

Via The Atlantic: “America’s Teaching Force, by the Numbers.”

New Personality Profiling Technique to Identify Potential School Shooters Revealed in Study by Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Researchers.” Gee, what could go wrong.

The Downside of Mindfulness.”

Via the US Census: back-to-school factoids.

Via Edsurge: “Which US States Are Most 'Future Ready' For Digital Learning?” (Wherein being “Future Ready” means signing a pledge. Cool story, bro.)

“Parents Spending Less on Back-to-School Season Despite Growing Lists of Supplies,” The New York Times reports, based on data from the National Retail Federation.

Via Education Week: “Chromebooks Command Close to Half of K–12 Computing Market, Analyst Says.”

Bryan Alexander says that “Most campuses still refuse to recognize faculty using technology.” His observation is based on “a new EDUCAUSE Review article by Kenneth Green, looking back at years of work carried out by his Campus Computing Project.”

“US education is a $1.5 trillion industry and growing at 5 percent annually,” says McKinsey.

Rankings, Schmankings

Teachers aren’t dumb.” A NYT op-ed. So there's that, I guess.

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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