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Presidential Campaign Politics


Via Politico: “Donald Trump has put wealthy universities on alert. He warned colleges and universities Thursday night that those schools that don’t spend their endowments to directly benefit students could lose the tax break on their endowments.”

Via the Pacific Standard: “Here’s the Lowdown on Trump’s New Childcare Proposals.”

Via Education Week: “See Who’s Been Tapped to Lead Trump’s Transition Team for Education.” Williamson M. Evers from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and Gerard Robinson, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Saved you a click.

Via The Daily Beast: “Palmer Luckey: The Facebook Near-Billionaire Secretly Funding Trump’s Meme Machine.” Remind me again, all you fans of VR in education, how this technology is going to promote empathy? Well, one thing’s for certain: between this and Peter Thiel on its board, Facebook is well-positioned for a Trump presidency.

There’s more Facebook fraud in the “upgrades and downgrades” section below.

Education Politics


“After Gayle Manchin took over the National Association of State Boards of Education in 2012, she spearheaded an unprecedented effort that encouraged states to require schools to purchase medical devices that fight life-threatening allergic reactions,” writes USA Today. The move helped to give Mylan, maker of the Epipen, a near monopoly in schools. And what a coincidence: the CEO of Mylan was Heather Bresch, Gayle Manchin’s daughter. And Manchin’s husband: Joe Manchin, the senior Senator from West Virginia.

Not directly related to education, but man, aren’t you curious what an investigation of the Department of Education would turn up? Via Scientific American: “How the FDA Manipulates the Media.”

State educational technology directors have outlined ambitious targets for increasing school bandwidth capacity in an effort to support digital learning and bridge the technology divide that exists in schools and in students’ homes,” says Education Week.

Via Edsurge: “How Proposed Title I Changes Impact School Funding and Edtech Vendors” – “A Win for Edtech Vendors.” Well, as long as ed-tech vendors benefit, it must be grand.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Two U.S. senators on Wednesday proposed legislation that would give selective colleges that enroll relatively few low-income students (the bottom 5 percent of all institutions) four years to boost their enrollment numbers from this group or face paying a fee to continue being eligible for federal financial aid.”

More political wrangling in the accreditation and for-profit higher ed sections below.

Education in the Courts


Via The Gothamist: “NY State’s Ferrari-Driving Nanotechnology Czar Facing Corruption Charges.” That would be Alain Kaloyeros, long-time head of SUNY Polytechnic.

Via KPCC: “On Monday Northern California Judge Barry Goode denied the claims in the Doe v. Antioch Unified lawsuit – the second legal setback in recent months to education advocates who believe ineffective teachers have too many job protections.”

Via the Lexington Herald Leader: “The Kentucky Supreme Court dealt a decisive blow to Gov. Matt Bevin’s executive power Thursday, finding that he exceeded his statutory authority by cutting state universities’ budgets by 2 percent last spring, after the General Assembly had already appropriated their funding.”

Via Inside Higher Education: “A group of 37 Nigerian students is suing Alabama State University, claiming that the university failed to properly disburse scholarship funds awarded by the Nigerian government.”

More lawsuits in the accreditation section below.

Testing, Testing…


Reuters continues its investigation into standardized testing: “Despite warnings, College Board redesigned SAT in way that may hurt neediest students.”

Via the press release: “U.S. Education Department Awards 41 States and the District of Columbia $28.4 Million in Grants to Help Students From Low-Income Families Take Advanced Placement Tests.” Congrats, College Board for the taxpayer-funded boost.

Online Education (The Once and Future “MOOC”)


edX unveiled more “MicroMasters” – “a New Credential to Advance Your Career and Accelerate Your Master’s Degree.” Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education have more details.

Inside Higher Ed has more details on the University of California Berkeley’s announcement that they’ll remove free online content rather than comply with a Justice Department demand to make it accessible to those with disabilities.

Here is venture capital well spent: “Coursera Promotes Its ‘Affordable Online Courses’ With New TV Ad Spots,” says Class Central.

Via Masslive.com: “Massachusetts state government announced a new partnership with an online education company on Thursday to help public employees and the state’s public universities take advantage of online classes.” The company in question: edX.

Via Westworld: “Adams State’s ‘Egregious, Unethical’ Online Program Should Be Scrapped, Report Says.”

Something something Brexit something something MOOCs will save British higher ed.

Via The Awl: “The Masterclass Collection: Who taught it best?”

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


ITT Educational Services has filed for bankruptcy.

The Department of Education has created a website for students from closed for-profits. It took them two weeks after the announcement that ITT was shutting its doors to do this. Heckuva job. More via a Department of Ed blog post on what it’s doing to support these students. tl;dr: emailing them, holding webinars, using social media.

The Department of Education announced that it would no longer recognize the accrediting powers of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, the accreditor for many of the country’s for-profit schools. Details from ProPublica, The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education,

Via The Denver Post: “ DeVry University to limit revenue from federal student aid.” More via Inside Higher Ed.

Via The Richmond Times-Dispatch: “[the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia] adopts contingency plan to keep 15 Va. for-profit schools open.”

Via Politico: “The Senate on Monday approved a VA bill that includes a provision allowing GI Bill educational benefits to continue to flow to student veterans for up to 18 months after their school’s accreditor loses its federal recognition. Under current law, student veterans affected by an accreditor shutdown immediately lose access to their GI Bill benefits, including housing.”

Meanwhile on Campus


Via The New York Times: “‘Fees Must Fall’: Anatomy of the Student Protests in South Africa.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Girl Suspended After Being Sexually Assaulted In School Stairwell.”

Also via Buzzfeed: “Black Students At American University Say They’re Being Attacked With Bananas.”

Via The Tennessean: “Belmont University ousted a student Tuesday after he made a social media post using the N-word to describe black NFL football players, who he said needed a ‘bullet in their head.’”

Via The Huffington Post: “Florida Schools Are Forcing Students To Stand During National Anthem.” I do believe this is unconstitutional.

Via AL.com: “Two more Alabama schools were on lockdown today after a social media posts and phoned-in threat warned ‘clowns’ might show up at two Birmingham area schools.” Clowns.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Accidental Gunshot Is Reported on Texas Campus That Now Allows Firearms.”

In related campus carry news, musician Ray LaMontagne canceled a gig at UT Austin because people would be allowed to carry concealed weapons into the show.

Also via The Chronicle: “The University of California at Berkeley has reinstated an undergraduate course about the history of Palestine that it suspended.” More on the course and the university’s decision via Inside Higher Ed.

Via the Hechinger Report: “Eligible but got nothing: Hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities blocked from college aid.”

Via the Knoxville News Sentinel: “The University of Tennessee is investigating a tweet by one of its law professors after the faculty member and contributing columnist for USA TODAY and the News Sentinel urged motorists to run over demonstrators blocking traffic in Charlotte, N.C.” That’d be Glenn Reynolds, @instapundit, who also briefly had his Twitter account suspended.

“What’s Causing The Increased Enrollment At HBCUs?” asks NPR.

Via Education Week: “More than 19,000 students on the small Canadian province of Prince Edward Island were evacuated Wednesday after police received a threat that bombs were placed at a number of schools. Police said nothing suspicious was found after officers searched all of the schools in the province.”

A moment of silence, please, for Harvard, which has posted negative returns on its investments and now has a meager endowment of only $35.7 billion.

Accreditation and Certification


Via Senator Elizabeth Warren’s website: “Senators Warren, Durbin, and Schatz Introduce Bill to Reform Higher Education Accreditation and Strengthen Accountability for Students and Taxpayers.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “In San Francisco, the Fates of a College and Its Accreditor Are on the Line.” The college: the City College of San Francisco. The accreditor: the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Paine College announced on Saturday that it would sue the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools after its college commission rejected Paine’s appeal of SACS’ June decision to strip the college’s accreditation.”

Via Edsurge: “New Lumina-Backed Registry Aims to Bring Transparency to the ‘Credentialing Marketplace’.” Via the press release: “Using web 3.0 technologies, the registry enables job seekers, students, workers, and employers to easily search for and compare credentials, similar to the way travel apps are used to compare flights, rental cars, and hotels.” Because credentialing works just like transportation.

Some pushback on badges and alt-credentials via an Inside Higher Ed op-ed by Colin Mathews (who is building what appears to be a competitor to badges, so go figure).

More accreditation news in the for-profit higher ed section above.

Go, School Sports Team!


Via Inside Higher Ed: “At Saturday’s football game at Pennsylvania State University, the university played videos that honored the career of the late Joe Paterno on the 50th anniversary of when he became head football coach.” Which, you have to admit, is pretty fucking shameful. Also via Inside Higher Ed: “Penn State Professors Defend Student Who Questioned Paterno Honor.” Via The Undefeated: “Penn State doesn’t get to decide JoePa’s legacy.” “It’s up to the men who were molested. They get to decide,” writes Mike Wise.

Via The Seattle Times: “Garfield football team will continue to kneel during anthem, seeks meetings with police, community leaders.”

From the HR Department


Edsurge has hired Jeffrey R. Young, a long-time writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt CEO Resigns,” says The Wall Street Journal. Linda Zecher declined to explain to the newspaper why she was leaving the company.

The faculty at the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota have voted to form a union.

An op-ed in IHE argues that IT professionals should receive tenure.

Contests and Awards


Apply to MuckRock’s Thiel Fellowship, and FOIA the heck out of his efforts to shape the public sphere.

It’s MacArthur “Genius” time. Here’s the list of the 23 new fellows, which as IHE notes, includes many from academia.

Upgrades and Downgrades


From Desmos, one of the only ed-tech companies worth a damn: “The Desmos Guide to Building Great (Digital) Math Activities.”

“LinkedIn doubles down on education with LinkedIn Learning, updates desktop site,” says Techcrunch. (I love how those two updates are paired in the headline.) The price-tag for this particular version of “lifelong learning” is $29.99 a month. More hype via Edsurge.

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Facebook Overestimated Key Video Metric for Two Years.” But don’t worry. Facebook’s entry into the education technology market will be pure and good.

More deception from another tech company trying to make headway into ed-tech – via ProPublica: “Amazon Says It Puts Customers First. But Its Pricing Algorithm Doesn’t.”

“The Disruption of the College Bookstore Market Enters Phase Three,” says The Digital Reader.

I’m not sure why Inc calls ClassDojo “Slack for Classrooms” when it’s really much more “operant conditioning and surveillance for schools.” But hey. Anyway, the business magazine gives some details on how ClassDojo plans to make money: hopping on that “mindset” bandwagon, of course, and charging parents for the data on their kids.

In other ClassDojo news: “Tacoma 9-Year-Old Gets Explicit Report Card Through App Used by Teachers.”

Via Business Insider: “A top education VC says these 6 startups could transform how we teach kids.” That’d be Jennifer Carolan from Reach Capital.

And from Jennifer Carolan, an op-ed in Techcrunch: “Why VR matters, especially in rural schools.” Let’s ask Palmer Luckey what he thinks about this!

Via The Backchannel: “Microsoft Weaponizes Minecraft in the War Over Classrooms.”

Via Edsurge: “A Look at Square Panda, the Early Childhood Literacy App Funded by Andre Agassi.” Andre Agassi, early childhood literacy expert, right?

Elsevier Wants CloudFlare to Expose Pirate Sites,” TorrentFreak reports.

“What Does Innovation Mean in Higher Education?” – according to Edsurge.

Via Buzzfeed: “After Reporting Abuse, Many Twitter Users Hear Silence Or Worse.”

Via Edsurge: “Life After Merger: When Edtech Acquisitions Go Sour.” The story of UClass and Renaissance Learning. Lawsuits! Drama! Lessons!

The Gates Foundation has released its list of higher ed priorities, doubling down on many of its terrible ideas, including measuring and counting the things it thinks matters to “innovation” in education.

Funding and Acquisitions (The Business of Ed-Tech)


Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Pledges $3 Billion for Science Research,” Philanthropy.com reports. “Of that $3 billion, CZI will spend $600 million to create a ‘biohub’ in San Francisco, where scientists and engineers from Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of California at San Francisco will collaborate on disease-eradication research.” (Related, via Devex: “An early look at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s investments in education.”)

Via a Medium post by the company co-founder: “Kahoot! Closes $10m Financing Round To Help Improve Learning For All.” Investors include Fredrik Cassel, Nagraj Kashyap, and Tellef Thorleifsson. The “game-based learning platform” company has raised $16 million total.

Guild Education has raised $8.5 million from Redpoint, 1776, Cowboy Ventures, Fern Mandelbaum, Harrison Metal, and Social Capital. The “lifelong learning” platform has raised $10.5 million total.

Lightneer has raised $3.15 million in seed funding from GSV Acceleration and IPR.VC. The learning games startup has raised $4.04 million total.

PikMyKid – “a platform that seeks to streamline the end-of-day student dismissal process for parents and schools” – has raised $1 million from Florida Funders and The Fan Club.

Stoodnt, certainly in the running for one of the dumbest startup names in ed-tech, has raised $300,000 from Rajan Anandan.

Yellowdig has raised an undisclosed amount of money from QB! Ventures and Rosecliff Ventures. The social-collaboration-software-for-schools startup has previously raised $1 million.

Private equity firm L Squared Capital Partners has acquired Learners Edge. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Data, Privacy, and Surveillance


Congrats, Yahoo, on the worst hack ever. The information of some 500 million users was stolen in 2014, according to Yahoo, by “a state-sponsored actor.”

Via Edsurge: “The George W. Bush Institute released a ‘State of Our Cities’ tool providing education data on some 100 cities.”

The big data revolution: Will it help university students graduate? ” asks The Globe and Mail. And Betteridge’s Law tells us what?

I’m sticking this here in the surveillance section as it crosses the line into creepy. Via Campus Technology: “MIT Teaches Wireless Routers to Know How You’re Feeling.”

According to a survey by Webroot, “Students Say They’d Only Pay Ransomware Operators About $50.”

“Kids need to reclaim their data and security... especially at school” says Techcrunch op-ed. Productize privacy violation. Productize privacy solutionism. Rinse. Repeat.

Via The Intercept: “Tech Money Lurks Behind Government Privacy Conference.”

Via The New York Times: “Who’s Too Young for an App? Musical.ly Tests the Limits.” (Once upon a time, Musical.ly was an ed-tech startup.)

More on privacy-related research in the research section below.

Data and “Research”


Via Inside Higher Ed: “The State of Undergraduate Education.” According to the report by the Commission on the Future of Undergraduate Education, “more Americans are attending college than ever before.”

2016 E-Rate Trends.”

Via the Pew Research Center: “The state of privacy in post-Snowden America.”

Also via Pew: “Digital Readiness Gaps.” “Americans fall along a spectrum of preparedness when it comes to using tech tools to pursue learning online, and many are not eager or ready to take the plunge.” Time to buy more TV ads, Khan Academy and Coursera!

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Zero Correlation Between Evaluations and Learning.”

“What Business-School Application Trends Say About the Economy” – at least according to The Wall Street Journal.

Many academics are fooled by robot-written peer reviews, Inside Higher Ed reports.

“The Typical Undergraduate Takes More Than 5 Years to Graduate,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education, drawing on data from National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

“Student Diversity at More Than 4,600 Institutions.” Data via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via Education Week: “K–12 Computing Market Moves Toward 2-in–1 Devices.” I need to write up something on how these market research firms’ predictions are treated like The Truth…

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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