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Education Politics


Election news round-up: Politico’s coverage. Via The Atlantic: “What School Proposals Failed on the Ballot?Via Education Week: “Three conservative school board members elected on promises to reform teacher pay and boost charter schools in suburban Denver were overwhelmingly recalled in a high-priced election that highlighted the continuing importance of teachers’ unions in education politics.”

Larry Lessig has ended his campaign for president.

Via Politico: “Education Department officials say a series of actions it is announcing today centering on transparency will force accreditors to focus more on student outcomes and hold failing colleges accountable, with Under Secretary Ted Mitchell saying the steps will help make a ‘substantial difference’ in how accreditors work.”

On the heels of giving the state of Ohio some $32+ million in grants to expand its charter school system, the Department of Education is now putting some restrictions on that money, sending a letter “to state officials in which it said it did not realize the extent of concerns regarding Ohio's charter schools.”

The Department of Education will allow some high school students to receive financial aid if enrolled in dual enrollment programs.

Via The New York Times: “Federal education authorities, staking out their firmest position yet on an increasingly contentious issue, found Monday that an Illinois school district violated anti-discrimination laws when it did not allow a transgender student who identifies as a girl and participates on a girls’ sports team to change and shower in the girls’ locker room without restrictions.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Xerox Under Federal Investigation Over Student Loan Business.”

Also via Buzzfeed: “California’s Attorney General Is Investigating The Online Charter School Industry.”

7 Senators Call for End to For-Profit-to-Nonprofit College Conversions.”

A Turkish religious movement has secretly funded as many as 200 trips to Turkey for members of Congress and staff since 2008, apparently repeatedly violating House rules and possibly federal law, a USA TODAY investigation has found.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “In the final months of Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, one of her advisors drafted ideas for how she could create a public policy school, newly released emails show.”

Testing, Testing…


ACT Says All September Scores Released.”

Everything You Need to Know About the New SAT.”

Walmart, fast-food chains offer employees free GED program.”

MOOCs and UnMOOCs


Udacity says it has graduated 1000 students from its program.

Institut Mines-Télécom joins Coursera.

You can watch Coursera videos on the new Apple TV. Whee.

Using MOOCs to Help Refugees.”

“Cheating in Online Classes Is Now Big Business,” The Atlantic reports.

DMCA Exemptions for Circumventing Copyright Protections on Motion Pictures, 2015 edition” now include MOOCs.

Meanwhile on Campus


Michigan 7-year-old handcuffed by officer on school grounds.”

Via NPR: “The Changing Role Of Police In American Classrooms.”

Remember when folks were thinking Eva Moskovitz was going to run for NYC mayor? Yeah… “High-Profile New York Charter School Kept List of Kids It Wanted to Force Into Quitting.” “Success Academy Founder Calls ‘Got to Go’ List an Anomaly.” “What the Success Academy fight over kicking out students says about the charter movement.” A FERPA complaint has been filed by a parent, accusing Eva Moskowitz of violating student privacy.

How For-Profit Colleges Hang on to Federal Funding.”

“The for-profit Westwood College has agreed to forgive the student-loan debt of graduates of its criminal-justice program, amounting to roughly $15 million,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The for-profit Dade Medical College has closed its doors. Meanwhile, the owner of the college “hired a private investigator to follow a Miami Herald reporter who has written critical articles about the sector, according to court documents given to the South Florida newspaper.”

As Transgender Students Make Gains, Schools Hesitate at Bathrooms.”

The Costs of English-Only Education.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Many Colleges Now See Centers for Teaching With Technology as Part of ‘Innovation Infrastructure’.”

Via NPR: “As New Tools Bust Down Barriers For The Blind, Schools Struggle To Keep Up.”

Via Pacific Standard: “Does Utah Really Think It's Protecting Sixth Graders by Keeping Climate Science Out of Classrooms?

LAUSD plans to expand computer science to every grade by 2020.” iPads will be super useful for that, LOL.

The latest in Bryan Alexander’s coverage of schools scrapping departments and firing faculty: “Queen sacrifice at Wartburg College.”

NPR profiles coding bootcamps.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “4 Stabbed at U California Merced; Suspect Killed.”

Two high school students in Connecticut were arrested after dressing up as the Columbine killers for Halloween and threatening to hurt other students.

Rift Emerges Among Gun Owners Over Concealing Weapons in Schools.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Miles College. North Carolina A&T State University. North Carolina Central University. Tennessee State University. Texas Southern University. Winston-Salem State University. All are historically black colleges or universities, and shootings have occurred on or near all of the campuses in the last month.”

Go, School Sports Team!


Adidas says it will “lead a nationwide voluntary initiative for high schools who want to change mascot names and identities. adidas will offer its design resources to any high school in America that wants to change their logo or mascot from potentially harmful Native American imagery or symbolism. Additionally, the company will provide financial assistance to schools who want to change their identity to ensure the transition is not cost prohibitive.”

From the HR Department


Following the recent hiring of Margaret Spellings as UNC system president, “The UNC Board of Governors approved pay raises for some chancellors on Friday but did not disclose the new salaries – calling into question the legality of a closed session vote.”

Yale will spend $50 million to increase the diversity of its faculty.

CUNY Faculty Members Arrested After Staging Protest.” (That is, demanding a salary increase.)

Wisconsin Tenure Wars: Part Two.”

Recent Teacher Of The Year Resigns In Alabama Over Certification Issues.”

Upgrades and Downgrades


Via Fortune: “Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg Has A Few Ideas About Improving Education.” Because of course she does.

“Did Amazon Just Replace the Public Library?” asks The Atlantic, giving librarians everywhere a good chuckle at the headline. Um, no. it did not. Amazon did however open a brick-and-mortar bookstore.

“The six editors and 31 editorial board members of Lingua, a top linguistics journal, have all resigned to protest Elsevier pricing. They plan a new open-access journal,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Wikipedia will now use TurnItIn to makes sure its entries aren’t plagiarized or violating copyright.

Twitter changed “favorite” to “like” and “star” to “heart.” Yuck.

Edmodo Adds Enterprise Tools.”

The Desmos Activity Builder Community.”

Google says that Chrome OS is not going away, contrary to reports last week that it plans to merge it into Android.

Via The Atlantic: “Sesame Street’s New Brand of Autism Education.”

Instructure Dodges a Data Bullet,” says Phil Hill. That is, Canvas Data is out of beta and will offer free daily data logs to clients, not just monthly logs as initially planned.

Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey says schools are broken so they should buy VR equipment.

How McDonalds Is Using Schools to Try to Change What Kids Eat.”

Via USA Today: “As oil market sags, Norway drills new ground with education tech.”

Funding and Acquisitions


The publisher Bertelsmann has invested $230 million in HotChalk, which is described as a “solution provider for higher ed,” whatever the hell that means.

Via China Money Network: “Shanghai-based online education platform Hujiang.com has completed RMB1 billion (US$157 million) series D round of financing from China Minsheng Investment Corp. Ltd., Wanxin Media, and other investors.The company is in the process of corporate structure reorganization, and is planning an initial public offering inside China, according to announcements made at a press conference reported by Chinese media.”

“TAL Education Group, a K12 after-school tutoring services provider in China, has invested $30 million in Phoenix E-Learning, which operates zxxk.com, an online educational platform serving the Chinese public school system,” says Edsurge.

Cielo24 has raised $5.1 million from ff Venture Capital, North Base Media, Pereg Ventures, Indicator Ventures, Wavemaker Partners, and Educated Ventures. The startup which “wants to make videos more skimmable and accessible with searchable subtitles” has raised $8.5 million total.

SchoolGuru has raised $3 million in funding from unnamed investors.

Financial education app Apptuto has raised $500,000 from “Michael Staton, a partner at Learn Capital, and executives from Google, HSBC, Macquarie Bank, and Delta Partners Group,” says Edsurge.

PowerSchool has acquired InfoSnap, “a developer of online tools that help parents streamline registrations for a range of school services including student enrollment, meals and sports.”

“The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has sold Double Line Partners, an Austin, TX-based company, to Cross Street LLC, a local private equity firm,” says Edsurge. Double Line Partners were the developers of the “Ed Fi” data standards funded by the foundation. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Having filed for an IPO, we can now pour through Instructure’s financials. (Or rather, we can read what Carl Straumsheim when he did so.)

Data, Privacy, and Algorithms


What We Know About the Computer Formulas Making Decisions in Your Life.”

Data and “Research”


Via The Atlantic: data on “The Ever-Growing Ed-Tech Market.”

Via Vox: “A study suggests it’s easy to catch students cheating. So why don’t colleges try?” Uh…

“IDEA Public Schools reports success amid questions around data reporting,” says Education Dive.

The College Board has released reports on tuition prices and trends in student financial aid.

Campus Technology 2015 Salary Survey: IT Pay.” “Campus Technology 2015 Salary Survey: IT Job Satisfaction.”

NMC Releases Strategic Brief Exploring the Potential for Course Apps to Transform Teaching and Learning.”

Via The New York Times: “The Digital Disparities Facing Lower-Income Teenagers.”

Also via the NYT: “A small survey of parents in Philadelphia found that three-quarters of their children had been given tablets, smartphones or iPods of their own by age 4 and had used the devices without supervision.”

The Economist ranks schools based on how much graduates earn. The Atlantic and Vox repeat the story.

Via ProPublica: “How We Analyzed College Accreditation Data.”

Via Education Week: “Search for Quick, Rigorous Ed-Tech Evaluations Underway.”

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Audrey Watters


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