Education Politics

The House of Representatives voted on the “Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015,” an update to No Child Left Behind. The bill – some 1000+ pages in length – now heads to the Senate. Via Vox: “Congress is getting rid of No Child Left Behind. Here's what will replace it.” Robert Pondiscio writes on “ESEA and the return of a well-rounded curriculum.” Rick Hess “scores” the new law. “Why the ESEA Bill Seeks a Pardon for Heavyweight Black Boxer Jack Johnson,” by Andrew Ujifusa. Blake Montgomery observes that “Revisions to No Child Left Behind Attempt to Define Education Technology.”

“More than two dozen House Democrats on Thursday implored Appropriations Committee leaders to resist lawmakers who would seize on the 2016 spending bill as an opportunity to block the Education Department's gainful employment rule,” Politico reports.

Richard Culatta, the head of the Office of Ed-Tech, is stepping down at the end of the year.

“Education Dept CIO comes under fire from Congress for major security loopholes,” says EdScoop, which notes the department had 91 data breaches this year.

“Education Department has received more than 1,000 filings on racial harassment in higher ed in last seven years. But only a fraction result in any findings,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

From The LA Times’ Howard Blume: “PAC shielded $2.3 million in donations by L.A. charter school backers.”

In Ohio, “Parma City School District bills the state for $46 million for ‘excess’ charter school funding.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday that it has granted the requests for debt forgiveness made by more than 1,300 federal student loan borrowers who attended Heald College, a subsidiary of the now-defunct for-profit Corinthian Colleges chain.”

Also via Inside Higher Ed: “Three Senate Democrats are criticizing the Obama administration for settling a fraud lawsuit against Education Management Corporation last month without forgiving the loans of students who attended the for-profit college chain or holding the company's executives personally accountable.”

Education in the Courts

“Students’ Protests May Play Role in Supreme Court Case on Race in Admissions,” says The New York Times.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The battle between a national accrediting organization overseeing many for-profit colleges and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is now making its way through federal court. The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, known as ACICS, argued in a court filing late Tuesday that it shouldn’t have to turn over records to the CFPB because the agency lacks jurisdiction over college accreditors.”

Via the NSBA: “According to The Tennessean, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) has filed suit against Giles County Schools challenging the prohibition on students wearing pro-LGBT apparel at school.”

Testing, Testing…

Via Education Week: “The state of Maine, which pulled out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium earlier this year, awarded its newest assessment contract to Measured Progress, the state department of education announced Thursday. The $4.14 million contract is for the 2015–16 Maine Educational Assessments in mathematics and ELA/literacy for grades 3–8 and the third-year high school.”

Via NPR: “To Measure What Tests Can’t, Some Schools Turn To Surveys.”

Is New York’s algebra exam too hard?

“Responding to budget constraints and priorities for the NAEP program,” the National Assessment Governing Board has decided “to postpone the administration of grade 12 in four subjects and the next long-term trend exams by four years.”


Research from Justin Reich and John Hansen in Science: “Democratizing education? Examining access and usage patterns in massive open online courses.” The Pacific Standard covers their research: “The Internet Isn’t Education’s Savior.”

“How Udemy Is Profiting From Piracy,” Rob Conery writes. Udemy responds. “Of course people are ripping off online courses,” says Sarah Jeong.

The University of Cape Town joins Coursera.

Via the Portland Press Herald: “Maine professor ensures course is taught, even after he dies.”

From The Plains Dealer: “Online schools are losing support, creating divisions in the national charter school movement.”

Meanwhile on Campus

University of Chicago Cancels Classes After Online Threat.”

Via the Boston Globe: “Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police sent a notice to students this week asking them to put the brakes on various types of ‘wheeled devices’ when navigating the expansive hallways to get to class, citing a recent surge in such activity.”

Elsewhere at MIT: “The MIT grad students occupying the hallway outside President Reif’s office until MIT divests from fossil fuels have hit the 10000000000-hour mark (base 2 - in base 10, that’s a still-impressive 1024 hours). The sit-in began October 22.”

Pizza Hut is investing in its future workforce by partnering with a UK university to offer 1,500 apprenticeships.” (The university in question: Manchester Metropolitan University.)

Via Mother Jones: “This Junk-Food-Funded Elementary School Curriculum Is Bonkers.”

“This is not a day care. This is a university!” says the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, and The New York Times is on it. Via Vox: “President of a college that won’t hire LGBTQ people: student protesters should ‘grow up’.”

Protests at Princeton continue, and “Woodrow Wilson’s Legacy Gets Complicated.”

Protests at Amherst.

Campus Politics: A Cheat Sheet.”

Chicago High Schoolers Launch Website Against School Food.”

“Newark Launching Community Schools with Facebook Money,” the AP reports. That’s another $12.5 million from the Foundation for Newark’s Future. Much more on Facebook money and politics below.

“Can a coding bootcamp replace a four-year degree?” asks Education Dive.

The Atlantic covers the inability of many highly qualified California students to get accepted into California’s universities.

Threats against Black students at Kean University turned out to be a hoax. .

Via NPR: “ExxonMobil, Columbia University Clash Over Student Journalists’ Reports.”

Harvard to Discontinue Use of ‘House Master’ Title.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Homeless and Mentally Ill, a Former College Lineman Dies on the Street.”

The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill has spent some $10 million on PR consultants and lawyers in order to deal with its academic and athletic scandals.

Rutgers has fired its athletic director and head football coach.

“There are currently only 75 bowl-eligible teams that can fill the 80 slots needed to complete the lineup for this year’s record-setting number of games, which has exploded in recent years,” Inside Higher Ed reports. Oh noes!

Via ESPN: “Davidson does not make exceptions to its rules for honoring former athletes. Not even for favorite son Stephen Curry. The school retires only the jerseys of players who graduated. And Curry, the most recognized and accomplished player in school history, has not completed his degree requirements after going to the NBA a year early in 2009.”

From the HR Department

“Underemployment rates for college grads have sharply declined since the 2008 recession,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Upgrades and Downgrades

Penn State imagines a world where robots write the books.” Great.

Carnegie Mellon Software Intends To Teach Kids Without Teachers.” Awesome. is partnering with “more than 40 publishers, technology firms and scholarly websites, including Wiley, CrossRef, PLOS, Project Jupyter, HighWire and arXiv” which will incorporate the startup’s annotation tools.

Via Infodocket: “The National Federation of the Blind and Scribd, Inc. have agreed to work together to provide access and make content available in Scribd’s subscription reading service and website accessible to the blind by the end of 2017.”

Edsurge has received funding from AT&T to write about ed-tech trends.

“Chromebooks Thriving in U.S. K–12, but Is Microsoft Poised for Global Growth?” asks Education Week.

Via Campus Technology: “The MIT Media Lab, Tufts University and PBS Kids have partnered to release a free app based on the ScratchJr coding language and designed to help kids aged five to eight learn coding concepts.”

Michael Feldstein writes that “Moodle Moves Give Hints of What a Post-Fork World Could Look Like.”

Via Edsurge: “A Look Inside Intel Education Accelerator’s First Demo Day.”

Funding and Acquisitions

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan wrote a letter to their daughter and posted it on Facebook. In covering the news, the New York Times got the headline totally wrong: “Mark Zuckerberg Vows to Donate 99% of His Facebook Shares for Charity.” The paper later clarified that it’s not a charity but an LLC. Here’s the SEC filing. So many hot takes: “Mark Zuckerberg and the Rise of Philanthrocapitalism.” “Mark Zuckerberg Will Donate Massive Fortune to Own Blinkered Worldview.” “A primer for Mark Zuckerberg on personalized learning – by Harvard’s Howard Gardner.” “How Mark Zuckerberg’s Altruism Helps Himself.” “Mark Zuckerberg’s $45 Billion Loophole.” “The Surprising Math In Mark Zuckerberg’s $45 Billion Facebook Donation.” “You’re Not an Asshole, Mark Zuckerberg. You’re Just Wrong..”

CollegeDekho has raised $1 million from Girnar Software.

Tutoring marketplace Studypool has raised $800,000 in funding from unnamed investors.

College Select has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Brown Holdings.

Fastudent has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Ashish Gupta.

Blackboard has acquired predictive analytics company Blue Canary.

Data, Privacy, and Surveillance

Via Troy Hunt: “ When children are breached – inside the massive VTech hack.” Via Boing Boing: “Bad toy security led to massive toy maker hack that leaked data for 4.8 million families.” “Vtech toy data-breach gets worse: 6.3 million children implicated,” Cory Doctorow writes in a follow-up. More coverage from The New York Times and ZDNet. “Privacy, Parenting, and the VTech Breach,” by Common Sense Media’s Bill Fitzgerald. “VTech vs EDTech,” by Tony Porterfield

Google Deceptively Tracks Students’ Internet Browsing, EFF Says in FTC Complaint.” Coverage from Buzzfeed, The Wall Street Journal, and Techcrunch. Google responds. Google-funded Future of Privacy Forum responds. EFF responds to the responses.

What happened when a parent fought for his kid’s privacy at an all-Chromebook school.”

Via Detectify Labs: “Popular Google Chrome extensions are constantly tracking you per default, making it very difficult or impossible for you to opt-out. These extensions will receive your complete browsing history, all your cookies, your secret access-tokens used for authentication (i.e., Facebook Connect) and shared links from sites such as Dropbox and Google Drive. The third-party services in use are hiding their tracking by all means possible, combined with terrible privacy policies hidden inside the Chrome Web Store.”

A study from ID Analytics found that 140,000 identity frauds are perpetrated on minors each year.”

The Prince George’s County school system posted students’ disciplinary records on a Weebly site, “where anyone could see them.”

The Elf on the Shelf is a surveillance-normalizing little creep.”

Data and “Research”

This report on the future of the LMS market in the US will cost you $2500, so no matter what 2015–2019 holds for learning management systems, the market for spendy research reports remains strong.

From the Center on Online Learning and Students with Disabilities: “Equity Matters: Digital and Online Learning for Students with Disabilities.”

From the GAO: “Federal Funding for and Characteristics of Public Schools with Extended Learning Time.”

According to a survey conducted by the National Coalition Against Censorship, trigger warnings are neither widely used by professors nor widely demanded by students, despite the media writing about trigger warnings again and again and again this year.

“Districts Struggle to Judge Ed-Tech Pilot Projects,” Education Week reports, drawing on a survey by Digital Promise.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Many educators have expressed concern about the findings in a new analysis from the American Council on Education, which note a significant drop since 2008 in the proportion of low-income recent high school graduates who enroll in college. But some analysts are raising questions about the analysis because it is based on data from the Current Population Survey of the U.S. Census Bureau.”

Via Vox: “Stat check: Is 98% of research in humanities and 75% in social science never cited again?”

Larry Cuban examines biases in the Gates Foundation’s survey of ed-tech “Teachers Know Best.”

Your Facebook Friends Who Post BS Inspirational Quotes Really Are Dumb, Says Study.”

Should kids learn to code?

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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