Education Politics

Education history Sherman Dorn and doctoral student Amanda Potterton on Arne Duncan’s legacy. Education Week on Duncan’s ed-tech legacy. Politico on Duncan’s replacement, John King.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is investigating Wells Fargo over its student loan servicing practices, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Eva Moskowitz, the founder of the Success Academy charter school chain, said she was going to make a major political announcement this week. It turned out to be a non-announcement announcement: she’s not running for mayor of NYC, she says.

“The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General has pumped the brakes on competency-based education, partially due to concerns about the level of interaction between instructors and students in some of those programs,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

These states spend more on prisons than colleges.” (Saved you a click: Michigan, Oregon, Arizona, Vermont, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Delaware, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.)

“Marco Rubio Wants to Be the Tech Industry’s Savior,” says Wired.

Education in the Courts

Via the AP: “The former CEO of Chicago Public Schools will plead guilty in an indictment that alleges she was involved in a scheme to steer $20 million worth of no-bid contracts to education companies in exchange for bribes and kickbacks, her attorney said Thursday.”

Via The Guardian: “The personal data of Europeans held in America by online tech corporations is not safe from US government snooping, the European court of justice has ruled, in a landmark verdict that hits Facebook, Google, Amazon and many others. The Luxembourg-based court declared the EU-US ‘safe harbour’ rules regulating firms’ retention of Europeans’ data in the US to be invalid….”

Testing, Testing…

Test Scores Under Common Core Show That ‘Proficient’ Varies by State,” NYT’s Motoko Rich reports.

UMass Lowell will no longer require that applicants submit their SAT or ACT scores.


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “MIT Unveils ‘MicroMaster’s,’ Allowing Students to Get Half Their Degree From MOOCs.” (That is, a master’s degree in supply chain management.)

Also via The Chronicle: “Can Online Education Help Refugees Earn Degrees?

The University of Michigan, a founder partner of Coursera, “will ramp up its online presence via a new partnership with edX,” says Education Dive.

The University of Exeter will be the first UK university to partner with Pearson to offer online classes.

Meanwhile on Campus

Purdue University deleted the video of a presentation given by Barton Gellman at a colloquium because three of Gellman’s slides contained classified information leaked by Edward Snowden.

Lynn University is partnering with General Assembly to offer a 15 credit “study abroad” program facilitated by the coding school.

The University of Phoenix has been barred from recruiting on military bases, says The Wall Street Journal, and troops will not be able to use federal money to pay for classes at the school.

Via District Administration: “Of the 2,000 high school students in Albemarle County Public Schools, only 25 requested lockers last school year, as more students carry their devices and books in backpacks.” Instead of lockers: charging stations.

Go, School Sports Team!

How Video Games Are Becoming University-Approved Sports.”

From the HR Department

Why I Was Fired” by Steven Salaita.

Michael Horn is leaving the Clayton Christensen Institute.

Humanities Majors’ Salaries.”

Via Boing Boing: “‘The only 3D printing company anyone’s heard of,’ MakerBot, is laying off 20 percent of its staff for the second time in the last six months.” (Just last week, Edsurge reported the company was shifting its focus to schools. Ominous.)

Upgrades and Downgrades

McGraw-Hill says it will update its geography textbook that, in a chapter on immigration, refers to slaves as “workers.”

The Gates Foundation held an event this week where Bill and Melinda (et al) talked about how they’ve spent $3 billion on education and how they plan to use their riches to shape the future of education. Here’s Education Week’s coverage and Edsurge’s live-tweets.

Via Al Jazeera: “Schoolchildren in the UK who search for words such as ‘caliphate’ and the names of Muslim political activists on classroom computers risk being flagged as potential supporters of terrorism by monitoring software being marketed to teachers to help them spot students at risk of radicalisation. The ‘radicalisation keywords’ library has been developed by the software company Impero as an add-on to its existing Education Pro digital classroom management tool to help schools comply with new duties requiring them to monitor children for ‘extremism’, as part of the government’s Prevent counterterrorism strategy.”

“How will Disney use technology to captivate the children of the future?” asks The New York Times. Um, neuroscience and data collection by the looks of the startups participating in its new accelerator program.

Via Ars Technica: “More than any other American company, Apple holds $181.1 billion in offshore accounts, according to a Tuesday report released by Citizens for Tax Justice, an advocacy group. Other major American tech firms – including Cisco, Google, Hewlett-Packard, and Oracle – are among the largest companies that are using legal but questionable tax tricks to keep money overseas and effectively pay little to no American federal corporate taxes.”

New Google Parent Company Drops ‘Don't Be Evil’ Motto.”

Funding and Acquisitions

MacArthur Spins Off Digital Media & Learning Work with $25 Million Seed Investment.”

Newsela has raised $15 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Zuckerberg Education Ventures, the Knight Foundation, Owl Ventures, and Women’s Venture Capital Fund. The startup, which offers news articles at different reading levels, has raised $22.16 million total.

CampusLogic has raised $7.5 million from Continental Investors, Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation, University Ventures, Select Venture Partners, and Peak Venture Capital. The financial aid startup has raised $7.75 million total.

Aceable has raised $4.7 million to offer online drivers’ ed. Investors include Silverton Partners, Capital Factory, Floodgate Ventures, and NextGen Angels.

Corporate e-learning platform Velpic has raised $4 million from Baillieu Holst, Sanlam Private Wealth, Alignment Capital, Shaw and Partners, and Tony Gandel.

Picmonic has raised $2.3 million from 2M Companies of Texas, Tallwave Capital of Arizona, Arizona Tech Investors, Desert Angels, and Matt Pittinsky. The mnemonic platform has raised $4.95 million total.

The world’s biggest for-profit college,” Laureate Education has filed for an IPO (again). It also says it’s becoming a public benefit corporation. (Related: “The rise of the covert for-profit college.”)

Workday has acquired Media Core.

Consolidation Hits Library Tech Market,” Inside Higher Ed observes, as “ProQuest will acquire Ex Libris, which provides technology solutions for libraries, and Bibliotecha will take over 3M’s library division.”

Data and “Research”

According to Ambient Insight, “2015 Edtech Investment Spikes to $3.76 Billion in First Three Quarters.”

Via The New York Times: “Nearly two-thirds of the top 71 investment funds have no women as senior investment team members, according to the data compiled by the Social and Capital Partnership and the Information, a news site. Roughly 30 percent of those funds have a senior investment team that is composed entirely of white members.”

From the Pew Research Center: Social Media Usage 2005–2015.

Via the BBC: “The Economic and Social Research Council-funded project examined computer use in 2,000 families with one or more tablet computers – and found that 31% of under-fives had their own device.”

Via Stanford University professor Larry Cuban: “Data-Driven Teaching Practices: Rhetoric and Reality.”

Intellectual arrogance is linked to better grades, according to a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality.

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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