Education Politics

More news about the new ESEA keep coming out, now that folks have actually read the bill: “New U.S. education law includes ban on abortion funding by school-based health centers.” There’s the “Pay For Success” initiative, which “allows for private investors to profit from returns on the upfront financing of educational programs, for example, with social impact bonds.”

“The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid is investigating Bridgepoint Education Inc.’s Ashford University over the for-profit college’s marketing practices and other matters,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Via Education Week: “Education Spending Slated for $1.2 Billion Boost in Congressional Budget Deal.” This includes more money for education research.

The EU is considering “introducing a new law which means that anyone under the age of 16 will have to get permission from their parents before accessing the internet.” Good luck with that.

“Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says anyone found running an illegal backstreet school in England will face fines or a prison sentence,” the BBC reports.

The Perkins Loan program will be revived, thanks to a deal struck this week by lawmakers.

Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin has withdrawn his proposal that would strip the state’s college athletes of their scholarships if they participate in protests.

Education in the Courts

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A federal appeals court – lifting a lower court’s injunction – found that the State Technical College of Missouri may make drug testing mandatory for all students.”

Via The New York Times: “A state judge approved a settlement on Wednesday that ends a bitter legal battle over tuition at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, allowing the college to charge students in the short run while developing a plan for returning to its traditional tuition-free model.”

“The Los Angeles police department is moving toward charging celebrated teacher Rafe Esquith with one count of inappropriate touching of a juvenile, LA School Report has learned.”

The American Physical Society has issued a response following Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts’ comments about diversity in the physics classroom, made during the recent oral arguments in Fisher v Texas.

Testing, Testing…

The mystery of India’s deadly exam scam.”

The World Bank’s Michael Trucano writes about “The introduction of large scale computer adaptive testing in Georgia.”

From the Indy Star: "Scores on thousands of student exams could be incorrect because of a computer malfunction that inadvertently changed grades on Indiana's high-stakes ISTEP test, according to scoring supervisors familiar with the glitch."

“The West Virginia Board of Education voted to replace the state's Common Core-based math and English/language arts standards with revised education requirements, effective next school year,” the Charleston Gazette reports. Students will also take fewer standardized tests in the state.

“Kyoto University to Ban Watches at Entrance Exams,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Via The Atlantic: “A Shifting Education Model in China: An emphasis on success beyond test results takes cues from the U.S. but is only part of the plan to reshape the country's approach to learning.”


The Wall Street Journal looks at the MOOC partnership among Georgia Tech, AT&T, and Udacity. The online CS MS program has 2700+ students, but only 20 have graduated so far. Students are moving through the program more slowly than anticipated seems to be the main “hiccup,” according to the WSJ. Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill writes that the program is “Missing targets but still worth watching.” Me, I want to see more about the demographics of those in this program – who pursues the online MS versus the on campus version? How do job placement rates compare? Are most of those enrolled AT&T employees?

Via SZ International: “MOOCs And Privacy, German Fears About Online Student Data.”

Coursera has released a list of its “most coveted certificates in 2015.” Number one: digital marketing.

Justin Reich and John Hansen write in Mindshift: “What Achieving Digital Equity Using Online Courses Could Look Like.”

Tony Bates writes about “Innovation in online teaching in a Mexican university.”

Meanwhile on Campus

On Tuesday morning, parents, students, and staff of LAUSD woke up to the message that school had been cancelled. The second largest public school system in the US shut all 900 of its campuses following a threat one of its board members received. The threat was eventually found to not be credible, a conclusion that the NYC schools seemed to reach before they made any drastic decisions to close. Via Time: “This L.A. Teacher Fought the Terror Threat by Assigning a Final Exam.” Here’s a copy of the email received by LAUSD.

Gun rights activists staged a “mock mass shooting” near UT Austin. (The counter-protest was larger.)

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Iowa President Apologizes for Suggesting Unprepared Professors Be Shot.”

Via The Huffington Post: “An Epidemic Of Questionable Arrests By School Police.”

Via The New York Times: “A University of North Texas student holding an ax was fatally shot on Sunday by a campus police officer who was responding to a call about a man knocking out car windows, school and local officials said.”

Colorado College has suspended a student for 6 months for derogatory comments he made on Yik Yak.

Charter network Concept Schools, its contractors, and “many of its privately run, taxpayer-financed charter schools across the Midwest” allegedly tried to defraud the federal E-Rate program, the Chicago Sun Times reports.

Via Fast Company: “College Students Are Renting Out Their Dorm Rooms On Airbnb. What Could Go Wrong?”

Howard University might sell off the rights to its public TV spectrum, The New York Times reports. Howard runs WHUT, the only black-owned public station in the country.

Via Vox: “When a school assigned homework on Islam, it drew so many threats the district shut down.” Students were asked to copy the shahada in calligraphy. Parents and the community in Augusta County, Virgina freaked out.

Via The New York Times: “The University of Wisconsin has become the latest university system to officially affirm the right to free speech and academic freedom for all students amid concerns that academia is trying to protect students from being offended by classroom lectures and discussions.”

Via The Atlantic: “Alaska’s Disconnected Schools: On average, K–12 schools have 246 kbps of Internet connectivity – a third of what most people on the mainland U.S. need to stream Netflix.”

Career Education Corporation says it will close all its Le Cordon Bleu schools, citing the new “gainful employment” regulations.

Kaiser Permanente will open a medical school in California.

The for-profit education company targeting the whole world.” (That’s Laureate Education.)

Bryan Alexander chronicles the “queen sacrifices” at the College of Saint Rose and at Western Illinois University.

“The prestigious St. George’s School in Rhode Island has been investigating what it says are "multiple credible reports" of sexual abuse of students in the 1970s and '80s by three former employees, and said in a statement that its investigation was nearing an end,” The New York Times reports.

Via Edsurge: “BYU’s Bold Plan to Give Students Control of Their Data.”

The charter chain Success Academy is shortening its school day.

Washington state’s first charter school will go back to being a private school, following the decision this year by the state’s Supreme Court that charters are unconstitutional.

Students at DuSable High School in Chicago staged a “read-in” to protest the elimination of the librarian position at their school.

Via ProPublica: “Kids Get Hurt at Residential Schools While States Look On.”

Via The Atlantic: “Where Teachers Are Still Allowed to Spank Students.”

From the HR Department

Wheaton College has placed Larycia Hawkins, a political science professor, on administrative leave following comments she made about Christians and Muslims sharing the same god. More via Inside Higher Ed.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Florida Atlantic University announced Wednesday that it is seeking to fire James Tracy, an associate professor in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies. The university’s announcement did not state why it was seeking to dismiss Tracy, who is tenured. But Florida Atlantic has been urged to take action against Tracy – known for denying that many mass shootings are real – by the parents of a boy who was among the victims of the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.”

Education Week asks, “Will ESSA Trigger Significant Layoffs at the Education Department?

Adjuncts at the LA campus of Emerson College will unionize.

Chicago teachers have voted to call a strike.

Upgrades and Downgrades

“The beleaguered education giant Pearson faces a crisis in its British universities business after it imposed steep price rises on academic libraries. A string of leading universities have stopped buying the FTSE 100 company’s teaching materials in a row over charges for ebooks, The Daily Telegraph has learned. Some top institutions, including Imperial College London, have gone so far as to seek to purge all Pearson materials from their courses, according to publishing industry sources.”

From Desmos (and Dan Meyer): Marbleslides.

The Atlantic on “The Convoluted Profits of Academic Publishing.”

Google is launching an ed-tech accelerator program in Brazil.

Google has released some updates to its Classroom product, including the ability to sort by name. Wowza. It’s also updated Course Builder, which now hits v1.10.

Techcrunch examines “the consumerization of edtech.”


Via The LA Times: “UC officials announced Tuesday the launch of a $250-million venture fund led by entrepreneur Vivek Ranadiv√© that will invest in innovation from the UC ecosystem.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Investors Rebel Against Controversial Online School Operator K12.”

Via The Washington Post: “Facing new government regulations, Higher One Holdings, one of the country’s largest providers of financial services for college campuses, is selling off its student checking and refund disbursement business to Customers Bancorp.”

Blackboard CEO Addresses Sale Rumors.”

Apollo Education has acquired Career Partner GmbH for $105 million.

Chinese online education platform Xioazhan Jiaoyu has raised $84 million from Sequoia Capital, Vision Knight Capital, GGV Capital, Milestone Capital and Shunwei Capital Partners, and Bertelsmann Asia Investment.

Test prep company Raungguru has raised a “seven figure” round of funding from Venturra Capital and East Ventures.

Allovue has raised $5.1 million in funding from Rethink Education. Red House Education, Serious Change II, Kapor Capital, and Baltimore Angels. The startup, which sells accounting software to schools, has raised $6.9 million total.

Test prep company MasteryPrep has raised $3.6 million in (debt and equity) funding from the Catalyst Group, Liquid Ventures, Jennifer and Sean Reilly, Maple Leaf, the Frazer family, and Advantage Capital.

Sliderule has raised $1.7 million in seed funding from Allen Blue (co-founder of LinkedIn), John Katzmann (founder of The Princeton Review and 2U), 500 Startups, Blue Fog Capital, and “several other company founders,” says Edsurge. The company, which offers PD in data science, will change its name to Springboard.

Data, Privacy, and Surveillance

Coming To Texas: Special-Ed Cams To Protect Students From Their Own Teachers.”

“Police in England said they arrested a 21-year-old man on Tuesday in connection with last month’s breach of VTech, a Hong Kong electronic toy maker, which exposed personal data for 12 million people, including 6.4 million minors,” The New York Times reports.

Data and “Research”

According to analysis published in Inside Higher Ed, there’s been “a steady rise in the proportion of college graduates paying too high a percentage of their annual income to repay student loan debt.”

Via Pacific Standard: “Mustaches Outnumber Women in Med School Leadership.”

The latest research from Pew: “Gaming and Gamers.” (Related from Education Dive: “Learning games have Ed Dept’s attention, but is it warranted?”)

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The several-year decline in enrollment in American colleges and universities continued and arguably intensified this fall, driven by sharp dips in numbers of students at for-profit colleges, full-time students at community colleges and students aged 24 or more, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse.” Bryan Alexander and “Dean Dad” Matt Reed respond to the news.

The US high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high.

2016 predictions: It’ll be the “Year of Agency” according to Education Week blogger Beth Holland.

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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