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Education Politics


The US Senate has voted to approve the nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden as the new Librarian of Congress.

Conservatives in Kansas are trying to rebrand public education with the label “government schools.”

Presidential Campaign Politics


Donald Trump has chosen Indiana governor Mike Pence as his running mate. Inside Higher Ed has a story on Pence’s higher ed policies. Here’s an old article from Chalkbeat on Pence’s K–12 policies.

Education in the Courts


Via Buzzfeed: “On Friday, the California attorney general won a groundbreaking $168.5 million settlement against the country’s largest operator of online charter schools. Or, after a lengthy investigation, it managed to collect only $2.5 million from a business that pulled in almost $1 billion in revenue in 2015 – with no fines, penalties, or admission of wrongdoing. Which one is true? It all depends on who you ask.” More on the settlement with the virtual charter school K12 Inc in Education Week and The Wall Street Journal.

“Ten more states sued the federal government on Friday over a directive to public schools on bathroom use by transgender students, adding their objections to those of 11 states that brought a lawsuit soon after the directive was released in May,” The New York Times reports.

“The Star Tribune is suing the Minneapolis Public Schools in an effort to force the release of data relating to student suspensions, school climate issues and district spending, among other concerns,” The Star Tribune reports.

Via The Wall Street Journal: “U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown (D., Fla.) and her chief of staff, Elias ‘Ronnie’ Simmons, were charged Friday with 24 counts of fraud and other crimes that federal prosecutors said allowed them to use a charity as a ‘personal slush fund.’” The charity in question: the One Door for Education-Amy Anderson Scholarship Fund.

Via Politico: “A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a legal challenge by student loan debt collectors who accused the Education Department of unfairly terminating them last year.”

Corey Menafee, an employee at Yale, took a broomstick and smashed a stained glass window depicting slaves carrying bales of cotton in the university’s Calhoun residential college dining hall. He was arrested and facing felony charges, although according to The New York Times, Yale has declined to pursue the case against him.

More on legal cases in the sports and for-profit higher ed sections below.

Testing, Testing…


Nevada officials announced Tuesday that a common-core assessment consortium will credit the state $1.8 million as compensation for problems that derailed a spate of its assessments last year,” Education Week reports.

Via Education Next: “The Politics of the Common Core Assessments.” The article notes that “The number of states planning to use the new [SBAC and PARCC] tests dropped from 45 in 2011 to 20 in 2016.”

Online Education (The Once and Future “MOOC”)


Are MOOCs Forever?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education in an interview with Coursera’s Daphne Koller. (Spoiler alert: no.)

Via Edsurge: “Oklahoma Joins Ranks of States and Agencies Cracking Down on Virtual Charter Schools.”

There’s more on virtual charters, namely K12 Inc, in the legal section above.

Coding Bootcamps (The Once and Future “For-Profit Higher Ed”)


Via Politico: “Advocates for Corinthian Colleges students are starting a new legal battle today to discharge the private loan debt students took on to attend the now-defunct for-profit college chain. An ex-Corinthian student is filing a federal class-action lawsuit against the firms that now own the private loans, as well as a collection company seeking to recoup the debt from borrowers.”

Via The Washington Post: “Justice Department is investigating whether a for-profit college company violated federal financial aid rules.” The company in question: Bridgepoint Education, which owns Ashford University and the University of the Rockies.

Welfare Reform, For-Profit Education, and Community Collegesby “Dean Dad” Matt Reed.

The for-profit Rasmussen College has been approved by the Department of Education to offer competency-based degrees in business management and accounting.

There’s more data on the “shrinking” for-profit higher ed sector in the research section below.

Meanwhile on Campus


Via Catalyst Chicago: “The question of tech equity.”

Via The LA Times: “UC Berkeley chancellor under investigation for alleged misuse of public funds, personal use of campus fitness trainer.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “New Mexico State U. Will Eliminate 126 Positions to Close Budget Gap.”

U. of California Increases In-State Admissions,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via The Hechinger Report: “Five-year olds and laser cutters – perfect together? Welcome to the first early childhood fab lab.”

“Schools That Integrate Technology: Silicon Valleyby Larry Cuban.

Accreditation and Certification


See the “for-profit higher ed” section above for news on CBE.

Go, School Sports Team!


“The Fight Between Berkeley’s Academics And Its Football Team Is Getting Ugly,” says Deadspin. “Despite Controversy, Berkeley Renews a Football Coach’s $150,000 Contract,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Via Newsworks: “New court documents reveal that Penn State football coach Joe Paterno knew about allegations of sex abuse against assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in 1976 and did nothing about it.”

From the HR Department


Facebook’s third diversity report in two years shows its demographics have shifted very little, with African Americans and Hispanics still comprising a tiny fraction of the tech giant’s workforce,” USA Today reports. Facebook blames its lack of diversity on public schools and on “the pipeline” (riiiiiiight) and so it’s giving $15 million to Code.org so that more kids learn to code.

CodeNow founder Ryan Seashore is stepping down as CEO. He’ll be replased by Neal Sales-Griffin, founder of the coding school the Starter League.

Via the Philadelphia Inquirer: “Temple University’s board of trustees on Tuesday took a unanimous vote of no confidence in president Neil D. Theobald during a private session, and announced its intention to dismiss him.”

Upgrades and Downgrades


Via Education Week: “Ed-Tech Software Group Objects to Messages in Feds’ #GoOpen Campaign.” (For those keeping score at home, the SIIA is also challenging other aspects of the Obama Administration’s digital efforts, including 18F and USDS.)

One of the trends I’m watching this year is the investment – in venture capital and in PR – in “social emotional development” products and practices. See Edsurge this week, for example: “In the Age of ‘No-Excuses’ Schools: A Case for Compassion and Better Social-Emotional Learning” and “Don’t Teach Grit. Embed It.”

Oh look. Another startup accelerator program, this one a partnership between NYU’s Steinhardt School and StartEd.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Virtual Reality on the Horizon.”

The Ed-Fi Alliance and IMS Global Learning Consortium have announced their plans to develop “a single, unified approach for rostering across the most adopted K–12 data standards and have now further solidified their joint support for IMS OneRoster™ as the cross-industry rostering API.” Hooray. Trademarked standards.

A “personalized learning explainer” from Mindwire Consulting.

Via Edsurge: “Not Sure What Courseware to Try? This Tool Wants to Make Your Decision Easier.” “This tool” is the Courseware in Context (CWiC) framework, “developed the framework in collaboration with the Online Learning Consortium and research firm SRI International, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

“About The Blackboard Partnership With IBM And Amazon Web Servicesby Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill.

In other Blackboard news: “Blackboard Releases ‘Ultra Experience’” – OMG, that name.

5.3 Reasons Pokemon Go will Replace the LMS” by Tom Woodward.

More on Pokemon GO in the privacy section below. Sigh.

Funding and Acquisitions (The Business of Ed-Tech)


Codecademy has raised $30 million from Naspers, Union Square Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, Index Ventures, and Richard Branson. The learn-to-code startup has raised $42.5 million total. (Noteworthy: this is the third recent ed-tech investment by Naspers – a South African media conglomerate and “the former mouthpiece of apartheid” – which recently backed Udemy and Brainly.)

Unique Heritage Media has acquired Pili Pop Labs.

Ray Business Technologies Pvt. Ltd. has acquired QuickEdmin.

Escala Educacional has acquired LeYa Educação.

Data, Privacy, and Surveillance


Pokemon Go wants to catch (almost) all your app permissions,” says Techcrunch. Bill Fitzgerald offers some “Concrete Steps to Take to Minimize Risk While Playing Pokemon GO.” (I really really really don’t want to have to weigh in on Pokemon and the ed-tech revolution, but maybe I’ll put something in the newsletter I send out tomorrow.)

The latest in bad blockchain ideas: the UK government will test using the blockchain to track welfare recipients.

Data and “Research”


According to data released by the Department of Education (and reported by Inside Higher Ed), “the number of for-profit colleges eligible to award federal financial aid fell to 3,265 last fall, down from 3,436 in fall 2014, a decline of 5 percent. The number of public institutions grew by one and the number of private nonprofit colleges grew by 26 over that year (from 1,883 to 1,909).”

Google has released its 2016 Scholar Metrics.

EduKwest has its latest market report – this one on Chinese investments – available for sale.

Via the Pacific Standard: “Youth Suicides in Utah Are on the Rise.”

According to Forbes, the top five bestselling children’s authors are Jeff Kinney, J. K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, Rick Riordan, and Rachel Renee Russell. Together, they sold some $73.6 million worth of books last year.

According to a survey by CDW-G, “67% of school IT solutions are now delivered either in part or in full through the cloud.”

A study has found companies are not happy with their corporate LMSes. Is anyone anywhere happy with their LMS?!

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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