Education Politics

It’s Black Friday. Maybe I’ll go out and buy the domain “,” although it appears as though the bill will be passed next month. Of course, we’ve thought that all year long. Via Education Week: “#StopESEA? Conservative Blogger Who May Have Helped Derail ESEA Has New Qualms.” Also via Education Week: “A New ESEA: A Cheat Sheet on What the Deal Means for Teachers.”

Via Politico, a look at the worst school system in the US, those on Native American reservations: “How Washington created some of the worst schools in America.”

An “update on British Columbia’s open textbook project” by Tony Bates.

According to the BBC, British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne plans to overhaul school funding in England “to remove big regional differences in levels of per pupil funding.”

At Donald Trump Rally, Ohio Students Become Part of a Lesson.”

Melinda Anderson looks at “The Other Student Activists” in The Atlantic. (That is, high school students.)

Education in the Courts

Via Education Week: “Ahmed Mohamed, the Irving teenager who made national news after he was suspended for bringing a clock to school, is seeking $15 million in damages from the city of Irving and the Irving school district.”

Via Bloomberg: “Testing companies failing to disclose to students’ that their personally identifiable information was sold at a profit to educational organizations doesn’t provide injury sufficient for Article III standing, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed Nov. 18. In yet another blow to putative class actions alleging privacy violations, Judge Michael S. Kanne agreed with the trial court that the plaintiffs didn’t establish how ACT Inc. and The College Board ‘deprived them of the economic value’ of their PII.”

Alejandro Amor, the owner of the for-profit college FastTrain, has been convicted of 12 counts of theft of government money and one count of conspiracy.

Testing, Testing…

“The Northwest Evaluation Association has been chosen to develop and implement one of the tests overseen by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in a move that will broaden the U.S. testing organization’s international reach,” Education Week reports.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The College Board has notified some students who took the SAT outside the United States this month that their scores are being delayed due to an investigation into a possible security breach.”

Via The Oregonian: “Oregon teachers despise the Smarter Balanced tests, survey says.”

Mark Guzdial writes “A Call to Action for Higher Education to make AP CS Principles Work.”

Via Edsurge: “BenchPrep Partners with Hobsons to Universalize Test Prep.” Woohoo! Universal test prep!

Credentials and Credits

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Southern New Hampshire U’s College for America releases a promising early snapshot of the general-education learning and skills of students who are enrolled in a new form of competency-based education.”

3 reasons open source needs Open Badges” by Doug Belshaw.

ACE’s Deborah Seymour on the Alternative Credit Project Ecosystem.


Via Edsurge: “EdX Stays Committed to Universities, Offering Credits for MOOCs.”

An interview in Inside Higher Ed with Robert Rhoads, the author of MOOCs, High Technology and Higher Learning.

“Introduction to Mao Zedong Thought MOOC & open course transparency” by George Veletsianos.

“No Rich Child Left Behind, and Enriching the Rich: Why MOOCs are not improving education” by Mark Guzdial.

Meanwhile on Campus

CNN aired the documentary The Hunting Ground last weekend, despite legal threats from former FSU quarterback Jameis Winston, who is accused in the film of a violent sexual assault. (More on FSU below.) Via NPR: “CNN’s ‘The Hunting Ground’ Scrutinized For Portrayal Of Campus Sexual Assault.” Via Science of Us: “The Hunting Ground Uses a Striking Statistic About Campus Rape That’s Almost Certainly False.”

From the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: “Custom-Redacted School Texts Make a Worrying Trend”:

In the past few months we’ve noticed an uptick in a different kind of censorship from what we usually see. Namely, a few schools across the country have assigned their students to read texts that were first edited by hand: words blacked out with marker and modified from what the author wrote.

Unlike the more familiar cases involving challenges, review committees, and school board meetings that happen in public for all to see, these instances of unauthorized editing are more insidious. On the surface, it appears that the students are reading complex, potentially controversial texts; in reality, though, the texts have been pre-sanitized so as to avoid even the possibility of a public challenge. Not only does this practice rob the students of a well-rounded education, but it also violates both the First Amendment and U.S. copyright laws designed to protect authors’ creations from tampering.

Western Washington University cancelled classes this week following threats via Yik Yak. Via the AP: “The student body president of Western Washington University said Wednesday she has received death threats involving her race and no longer feels safe on the Bellingham campus.”

Protests at Princeton. Via The New York Times: “At Princeton, Woodrow Wilson, a Heralded Alum, Is Recast as an Intolerant One.” “What We Owe the Students at Princeton” by Corey Robin.

‘White Student Union’ Groups Set Off Concerns at Campuses.”

Via Vox: “Why college protestors are telling the media to stay away.”

Via the Ottowa Sun: “Student leaders have pulled the mat out from 60 University of Ottawa students, ending a free on-campus yoga class over fears the teachings could be seen as a form of ‘cultural appropriation.’” (“Do you know the weird political history behind yoga?” asks Boing Boing.)

Via The Columbus Dispatch: “The state has ordered the entire administrative and teaching staff at a Columbus middle school to undergo training in identifying warning signs for behavioral disabilities among students after they suspended an unruly sixth-grader for 70 days last school year.”

Missing Maryland College Student Is Found Dead in Apparent Suicide.”

The BBC looks at “merger madness” – that is, the consolidation of European universities.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “American Indian College, which describes itself as the nation’s only private college for Native American students, will teach out its 91 students and close its doors after having its accreditation withdrawn by the Higher Learning Commission, the Phoenix institution’s president said Monday.”

Via The Atlantic: “A For-Profit College Initiative That Just Might Work” – a partnership between Strayer University and Fiat-Chrysler car dealerships.

Go, School Sports Team!

Via Deadspin: “Former FSU Official: Football Players Receive Special Treatment As Dozens Accused Of Sexual Assault Or Domestic Violence.” Via The New York Times: “F.S.U. Reported Few Rape Cases to the U.S.”

A $15 million buyout for LSU’s football coach?!

From the HR Department

Jamienne Studley, the “number 2” higher ed official in the US Department of Education, will leave her post at the end of the month.

Maps: Collective Bargaining, State By State.”

“Just How Few Professors of Color Are at America’s Top Colleges? Check Out These Charts,” Mother Jones asks you to click.

Contests and Competitions

A 14-Year-Old Just Solved A Rubik’s Cube In Under Five Seconds.”

Announcing the 2015 Dance Your Ph.D. winner.”

Upgrades and Downgrades

The New Wordpress Dot Com.” More from Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg.

The world’s largest OER collection has been released by the Smithsonian.

YouTube Kids App Faces New Complaints Over Ads for Junk Food.” More via Wired.

Pi Zero: A full Raspberry Pi for just $5.”


Via Reuters: “ Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple Inc co-founder Steve Jobs, is the lead investor who funded the buyout of News Corp’s money losing digital education business Amplify earlier this year.” Other investments by Powell Jobs: AltSchool, Udacity, and Nearpod. The amount invested in Amplify was not disclosed.

Study tool startup Quizlet has raised $12 million – its first founding round after being bootstrapped for a long, long time – from Union Square Ventures, Costanoa Venture Capital, Owl Ventures, Altos Ventures, Geoff Ralston, Tim Brady, and Greg Brockman. Here’s founder and CTO Andrew Sutherland on why the company opted to raise VC and “what’s next.”

Data, Privacy, and Surveillance

From Pearson VUE: “We recently were made aware that an unauthorized third party placed malware on Pearson VUE’s Credential Manager (PCM) system, which is a platform that supports adult professional certification and licenses. The unauthorized party improperly accessed certain information related to a limited set of Pearson VUE’s PCM system users. As of now, we do not believe that U.S. Social Security numbers or full payment card information were compromised as a result of this issue.”

Is ‘Hello Barbie’ spying on your kid?

Data and “Research”

From the OECD: “Education at a Glance 2015.” (Write-ups on the news include Inside Higher Ed’s take and this from Education Week: “International Survey Finds U.S. Lagging in Early-Childhood Education.”)

Data Mining Reveals How Smiling Evolved During a Century of Yearbook Photos.”

A peak at the upcoming Horizon Report for higher education from Bryan Alexander. (Hopefully not on the horizon: “Tech Tats, A New Biowearable Technology In the Form of Temporary Circuit Board Tattoos.”)

Google donated $760K to a university that wrote pro-Google policy papers.” The “research” in question was done by George Mason.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study finds notable drop in proportion of recent high school graduates from bottom 20 percent of family incomes who are enrolling in college.” Via Bryan Alexander: “Fewer and richer high school grads heading to college: ACE analysis.” Via Mic: “One of the Biggest Problems on College Campuses Is One We Never Talk About.” (That is, classism.)

According to a study by the American Institute of Physics Statistical Research Center, “in a recent 10-year period while there has been an increase in the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the physical sciences and engineering, the share of such degrees awarded to black students has fallen, as other groups are seeing larger increases.”

Via The Atlantic: “The Missing Black Students at Elite American Universities.”

“Children are becoming more trusting of what they see online, but sometimes lack the understanding to decide whether it is true or impartial,” according to a study by Ofcom, which uses the phrase “digital natives” in its headline. Ugh. Don’t do that. Here’s a better headline, from Motherboard: “Only 31% of Preteens Can Distinguish Paid Ads from Real Search Results.”

Via Phil Hill: “New Visual From LISTedTECH Shows LMS Market By New Implementations.”

Via Susan Dynarski in the NYT: “Urban Charter Schools Often Succeed. Suburban Ones Often Don’t.”

What Roadblocks Stand in the Way of a Digital K–12 Market?

Not Even Scientists Can Easily Explain P-values.”

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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