Education Politics

Via The New York Times: “Riot police officers and students protesting against tuition increases clashed on Wednesday outside the Parliament building in Cape Town, the latest in a series of student demonstrations that have gripped South Africa this year.” Following this week’s protests, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma announced he would scrap the plan to raise tuition fees.

Elsewhere in South Africa: “Students in mainly-black South African townships around Johannesburg and Pretoria are being given shiny new tablet computers as part of the provincial government's ambition to create a ‘paperless classroom’,” The Economist reports. “But the investment in technology is having an unwanted side-effect: it is attracting the attention of criminals. Along with lessons, education officials are issuing tips on how to avoid muggers.”

“Education Secretary Arne Duncan is preparing to unveil a package of proposals aimed at forcing colleges that receive federal money to improve graduation rates and to provide students with job skills,” says The Wall Street Journal. More via Inside Higher Ed.

In order to “move innovation forward,” Arne Duncan posted on Medium. Or something like that.

According to The Digital Reader, the Affordable Textbook Act has been reintroduced in Congress.

From the US Presidential trail: via The Atlantic: “In an interview with Glenn Beck, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson declared that if elected, he wouldn’t eliminate the Department of Education, as parts of the conservative movement have long urged. ‘I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do,’ he said. ‘It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.’”

And congrats to Canada for ousting Prime Minister Harper. The Liberals won this week’s elections, meaning (former teacher) Justin Trudeau will be the new PM.

Via Vox: “What Scotland learned from making college tuition free.”

Via TechDirt: “UK Goes Full Orwell: Government To Take Children Away From Parents If They Might Become Radicalized.”

The US federal government says it supports OER.

The H–1B visa program is coming under increasing scrutiny, says Inside Higher Ed.

Airbnb ad campaign in San Francisco riles locals and librarians.”

The Evolution of the GI Bill.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “On Wednesday 72 women’s and civil rights organizations urged the U.S. Education Department to tell colleges that they must monitor anonymous apps like Yik Yak – frequently the source of sexist and racist comments about named or identifiable students – and do something to protect those students who are named. The groups said they view anonymous online abuse as an emerging issue under provisions of the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.”

The University of Phoenix is facing another investigation by a federal agency.”

Education in the Courts

Via The Atlantic: “On Friday, a federal circuit court made clear that Google Books is legal. A three-judge panel on the Second Circuit ruled decisively for the software giant against the Authors Guild, a professional group of published writers which had alleged Google's scanning of library books and displaying of free ‘snippets’ online violated its members’s copyright.” More via Inside Higher Ed and Buzzfeed. The Authors Guild plans to appeal.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Student loan borrowers and others will be able to sue a national student loan corporation after a federal appeals court said Wednesday that the corporation’s affiliation with a state government does not shield it from lawsuits.”

Via the AP: “A federal judge has issued a final judgment rejecting Gov. Bobby Jindal’s federal lawsuit against the Common Core education standards, clearing the way for him to take his case to an appeals court.” Jindal’s lawsuit contends that the Department of Education is illegally compelling states to adopt the Common Core.

Testing, Testing…

Via Education Week: “The Department of Defense Education Activity, which operates schools for children from military families, announced Wednesday that it is joining the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) testing consortium.”

More students are taking the CS AP exam, CS professor Mark Guzdial observes (although way more take the physics AP test).

The number of people getting their GED since recent changes to the test is declining. Nine times fewer people in Mississippi, for example, have passed the test.

“Major Delay in Obtaining ACT Scores,” Inside Higher Ed reports.


Well look at that. MOOCs – or “certain coursers” at least – on Coursera will no longer be free.

The end of the Open University as we know it?

People are still signing up for MOOCs, and The Chronicle of Higher Education is on it.

Via Justin Reich: “Are MOOC Forums Echo Chambers or Bridging Spaces?

Philanthropy University” – MOOCs to teach people how to donate their money.

“Value of MOOCs more nuanced than completion rates,” says Education Dive.

The University of Florida has cancelled its contract with Pearson that would have had the the company brings the school’s degree programs online. More via Inside Higher Ed and Buzzfeed.

The New York Times looks at the edX course “Introduction to Mao Zedong Thought,” taught by Feng Wuzhong, an associate professor at Tsinghua’s School of Marxism. “It was like watching propaganda,” one student said. An NYU professor called the class “pure hack stuff” and said it should be cancelled.

Meanwhile on Campus

I really can’t summarize all the drama from this NYT story on Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

Via the New York Post: “A Bronx principal ordered her teachers to give up their desks last week, and had the furniture dumped at the curb — telling staff she doesn’t want them sitting in class.”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, are starting a private school in East Palo Alto.

History Class and the Fictions About Race in America.”

Via Vox: “Goldman Sachs paid to expand pre-K in Utah. It worked.”

The first School in the Cloud learning lab in the United States opens in Harlem.” This is part of Sugata Mitra’s $1 million TED Prize.

Via The New York Times: “$300-a-Night Hotel Houses N.Y.U. Students.”

“Cal State U System Expands E-Portfolio Option,” says Inside Higher Ed.

“Indiana University at Bloomington has expelled Triceten D. Bickford, a sophomore who has been charged with physically attacking a Muslim woman and trying to remove her head scarf,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

PBS ran a segment on the charter school chain Success Academy and its discipline practices. The segment prompted a dust-up with founder Eva Moskowitz demanding an apology and releasing one student’s school records, purportedly to counter claims made in the show. Related: “Student Discipline, Race And Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy Charter Schools” by the Shanker Institute’s Leo Casey.

A man armed with a sword killed a teacher and a student at a school in Sweden.

One person was killed and two were injured in a shooting at Tennessee State University.

“Is this the beginning of the end for ITT?” asks The Washington Post. More on ITT via Inside Higher Ed.

Via The LA Times: “UC President Janet Napolitano said Wednesday that she is preparing a plan to significantly increase the number of California undergraduates in the 2016–17 school year throughout the university system, including at UCLA and UC Berkeley, where admission is the most difficult.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of Kentucky is asking a small distillery, Kentucky Mist Moonshine, to stop using the word ‘Kentucky’ on T-shirts and other materials, saying that the word is covered by a university trademark.”

Via Buzzfeed: “A $20 million donation to the small, struggling Paul Smith’s College by the wife of a finance billionaire came with a significant string attached: the school had to rename itself after her, changing its name to Joan Weill-Paul Smith’s College.” A judge ruled that the school could not change its name; so Joan Weill withdrew her donation.

Via Quartz: “Ole Miss students vote to take down the state flag, with its Confederate symbol.”

“This Is What a Rapist Can Look Like, Actually,” writes Jamil Smith in TNR about a college student’s photo that’s gone viral.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “George Wythe University, a tiny, unaccredited institution in Utah that is known for its unorthodox curriculum and its ties to several conservative state lawmakers, will shut its doors after reaching a settlement with the state’s consumer-protection division.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Hocking Community College faces criticism after recruiting Trent Mays as quarterback. Mays was one of the Steubenville High School students convicted of rape in 2013.

Via the AP: “College of The Albemarle trustees indefinitely suspend athletics.”

“Cleveland Browns cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu collected a $3 million insurance policy on Monday for slipping in the NFL draft, a source confirmed to It’s the most a college player has ever collected on a loss of value policy, which insures the player if he slips in the draft. Olomu and the University of Oregon bought the loss of value policy for the first team All-America cornerback before his senior year. Olomu tore his ACL in practice two weeks before the college football semifinal playoff game at the Rose Bowl against Florida State.”

From the HR Department

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The National Labor Relations Board – voting 3 to 1 – agreed Wednesday to reconsider whether graduate teaching assistants at private nonprofit universities are entitled to collective bargaining.”

“Competency-Based Education Gets Employers’ Attention,” says Education Week.

Via The Atlantic: “When the Boss Foots the Bill for College.”

Why Is Blackboard Laying Off Staff Despite Improved Market Share Position?” asks Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill.

Upgrades and Downgrades

Via The LA Times: “Why Sesame Street’s new character isn’t representative of most kids with autism.”

And the winner for the silliest ed-tech headline this week: “Google, micro-learning & the future of education.” Congratulations, The Next Web, for posting an article by the CEO of a company called Lrn.

The Digital Public Library of America has released “Primary Source Sets” designed for education.

“As the Online Learning Consortium unveiled a $2.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to reward digital education initiatives that help underserved students,” says Inside Higher Ed. More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Skills Fund is a new private lender for the coding bootcamp market. Inside Higher Ed has the details. (Meanwhile, the credit rating agency Moody’s says that bootcamps are a “credit positive” for institutions.)

Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old Texas teen who was arrested after bringing a homemade clock to school, is moving with his family to Qatar.

Edsurge’s “guide to a nation of edtech accelerators.”

Amazon Announces New Kids Pilots for Its 2015 Fall Pilot Season” including If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Money Stuff

“Pearson Stock Stumbles After Slashing Earnings Forecast,” Edsurge writes.

The Internet Archive has received a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to improve the Wayback Machine.

Via Edsurge: “Six Questions About Reach Capital’s $53 Million Edtech Fund.” (That is, a new VC firm spun out of NewSchools Venture Fund.)

Data, Privacy, and Surveillance

Via Education Week: “A Special Report on Student-Data Privacy.”

Via “Three Commack High School students were arrested Tuesday morning and charged with hacking into the district’s computer system and changing student grades and schedules earlier this year.”

Data and “Research”

Via the Hechinger Report: “Schools exacerbate the growing achievement gap between rich and poor, a 33-country study finds.”

High school graduation rates rose in most states in 2014.

“Does a new study on Tennessee’s pre-K program prove preschool is ineffective? Not quite,” says Sara Mead in US News & World Report.

The latest from the Pew Research Center: “Slightly fewer Americans are reading print books.”

Via the Christian Science Monitor: “A study published in the Journal of Research in Personality threatens to put a damper on America’s grit mania, with research that suggests that knowing when to throw in the towel is just as important as the willingness to put up a fight.”

From a paper titled “Changing Distributions: How Online College Classes Alter Student and Professor Performance”: “Using an instrumental variables approach and data from DeVry University, this study finds that, on average, online course-taking reduces student learning by one-third to one-quarter of a standard deviation compared to conventional in-person classes. Taking a course online also reduces student learning in future courses and persistence in college.”

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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