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Presidential Campaign Politics


There was a Presidential Debate this week, but – no surprise and perhaps even a bit of a relief – education wasn’t much of an issue.

Via NPR: “Hillary Clinton’s Plan For America’s Students.” Also via NPR: “Donald Trump’s Plan For America’s Schools.”

Education Politics


Via The Wall Street Journal: “The federal government is pumping $245 million into the creation and expansion of public charter schools across the nation with hopes of helping students in low-income communities.”

Via the Data Quality Campaign: “Student Data Privacy Legislation: A Summary of 2016 State Legislation.”

Education in the Courts


Via The Guardian: “The Nevada supreme court has ruled that the state’s voucher-style education savings accounts program – seen as the broadest school choice initiative in the country – has an unconstitutional funding mechanism that should remain blocked.”

Maybe or maybe not education-related. Via The New York Times: “Creepy Clown Reports Continue, and Clowns Are Not Happy.” “At least 9 ‘clown’ arrests so far in Alabama,” AL.com reports.

More on legal battles in the sports section and the for-profit higher ed section below.

Testing, Testing…


Via the AP: “No average scores being released this year for new SAT exam.” More via Education Week, Edsurge, and Inside Higher Ed, which noted that “In Transitional Year, SAT Scores Drop on Old Test.”

Online Education (The Once and Future “MOOC”)


The University of Newcastle has joined edX.

Udacity has launched a VR nanodegree. It doesn’t look like Oculus Rift founder and alt-right meme funder Palmer Luckey is building the curriculum, so that’s a relief I suppose.

Via The Atlantic: “Virtual Classrooms Can Be as Unequal as Real Ones.” Shocking, I know.

Via Edsurge: “Online Classes Get a Missing Piece: Teamwork.” Can you believe no one has ever thought about adding “social” to online education until now?!

More odd observations, via Kevin Carey in The New York Times “An Online Education Breakthrough? A Master's Degree for a Mere $7,000.” (This story is about Udacity’s partnership with AT&T and Georgia Tech. MOOC hype deja vu.)

Via LA School Report: “LAUSD credit recovery vendor finds strong demand for online makeup courses nationwide.” Online credit recovery programs are notoriously terrible (although, hey! they do boost graduation rates.)

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


Via The Wall Street Journal: “ITT Educational Debuts in Bankruptcy Court.”

Via Cleveland.com: “Veterans harmed by ITT Tech’s closing can’t get congressional help yet.”

Via the Debt Collective: “Former ITT Tech Students on Strike!” (Debt strike.)

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Education Dept. Is Sued Over Debt Collection From Former Corinthian Students.” Senator Elizabeth Warren has also penned a scathing letter to the Department of Education, criticizing how it’s handled the debt collection for these students.

Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Election Casts Spotlight on an Unusual For-Profit With Global Ambitions.” That “unusual for-profit” is Laureate Education.

Via Buzzfeed: “The Industry That Was Crushed By The Obama Administration.” (And yet, the bootcamp thing. It lives.)

Via Campus Technology: “CUNY to Train, Hire 2,000 Students in Free Coding Bootcamps.” It’s a strategic partnership with Revature. You can get a Microsoft certification!

“Why Free Bootcamps + Inexpensive Bachelor’s Degrees Make Sense,” argues investor Ryan Craig in Edsurge, (whose VC firm invested in Revature – see above).

Meanwhile on Campus


(That's Sara Goldrick-Rab, talking about college affordability, on The Daily Show.)

Via Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy: “These Colleges Have The Worst Student Loan Default Rates In The Country.”

Via WYFF4.com: “2 students, teacher injured in shooting at Townville Elementary [in South Carolina]; teen in custody.”

Via the OC Weekly: “Cal State Fullerton’s Math Department Has More Problems Than Overpriced, Mandatory Textbooks.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Mississippi Students Stage Sit-In Over Racist Social-Media Post.”

“At a protest at East Tennessee State University, a white student shows up in a gorilla mask and taunts black students by dangling bananas at them,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

“School officials have dropped most of the Tennessee middle school social studies standards involving Islam as part of newly proposed standards,” the AP reports.

Via WXYZ Detroit: “Student suspended after posting picture of discolored water in school bathroom to social media.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “School police have used electroshock weapons on at least 4 kids since August.”

Via BoingBoing: “After School Satan Club gets approval in Portland.”

Via The New York Times: “CUNY Application Fee to Be Waived for Low-Income Students.”

Well, it looks like Yale will not go belly-up this year. Phew.

Via Quartz: “Stanford will pay for your MBA – provided you then go work in this ‘underserved region’.” That region, what journalist Sarah Kendzior calls “flyover country”: llinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, or Wisconsin. Keep flying, Stanford MBAs. Please.

Accreditation and Certification


“Military and veteran students who attend colleges that are accredited by the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) should be able to continue receiving Post–9/11 GI Bill benefits to attend those institutions, at least for another 18 months,” says Inside Higher Ed. This comes on the heels of last week’s decision by a federal panel to revoke ACICS’s accrediting powers.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Ed: “2 Projects That Promote Alternative Credentials Reach Key Milestones.” The projects are a credential registry, funded by the Lumina Foundation, and the 21st Century Skills Badging Challenge. It’s not quite clear what the milestones would be but I’m guessing including ITT in the credential registry wasn’t it. Ooops.

Go, School Sports Team!


Via The Bleacher Report: “Meet the team of 11- and 12-year-old mini-Kaepernicks protesting during the national anthem in southeast Texas – despite death threats and their coach’s suspension after a nonstop fight against injustice.”

Patriotism and Protest Under Friday Night Lights” by The Atlantic’s Melinda D. Anderson.

Via Yahoo Sports: “Nebraska regent wants players who knelt for anthem off team.” And via Raw Story: “Fans wanted me ‘hung before the anthem’: Emotional Nebraska football player reveals racist threats.”

Via The Huffington Post: “Former USC Football Player Sues NCAA Over ‘Unpaid Wages’.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Chapel Hill Football Player Denies Sexual-Assault Accusation.”

From the HR Department


Jeb Bush will be a guest lecturer at Harvard this fall.

The Chicago Teachers Union has set a strike date: October 11.

Contests and Awards


Amazon announced the Alexa Prize, a university competition dedicated to accelerating the field of conversational AI. From the press release: “The goal of the inaugural competition is to build a ‘socialbot’ on Alexa that will converse with people about popular topics and news events. The team with the highest-performing socialbot will win a $500,000 prize. Additionally, a prize of $1 million will be awarded to the winning team’s university if their socialbot achieves the grand challenge of conversing coherently and engagingly with humans for 20 minutes.”

Upgrades and Downgrades


Paging Roger Schank. Via The New York Times: “Next Target for IBM’s Watson? Third-Grade Math.” Quotes from the AFT in this story serve to remind us how easily people are fooled by the Watson parlor tricks.

Google announced it was adding to search results about colleges and universities data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard. It’s about “helping prospective students make decisions about their future.” You know what would be helpful Google? Not accepting advertising from the for-profit higher sec sector.

Via Edsurge: “A Timeline of Google Classroom’s March to Replace Learning Management Systems.” Color me skeptical about this replacement. As far as I know, the data shows otherwise.

Via the BackChannel: “Melinda Gates Has a New Mission: Women in Tech.”

PEARSONalized Learning” by Mindwire Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.

Also by Michael Feldstein: “Why Ed-Tech Software Patents Could Harm Innovation.” More on the topic on his website, e-Literate.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Workday’s Full Student Information System Launches.”

Teddy Ruxpin is back.

“Mattel’s ThingMaker, the 3D printer that let kids make their own toys, delayed until next year,” Techcrunch reports.

“This Accessory Makes VR So Real a Surgeon Could Train with It,” says MIT Technology Review. Something something “potential applications beyond gaming” something something education something something non-stop VR hype.

Via Edsurge: “When Teachers Build Edtech, Awesomeness Ensues – and Here’s Why.” Among the not-awesomeness of ed-tech built by teachers, please let’s not forget: Blackboard, TurnItIn.

Funding and Acquisitions (The Business of Ed-Tech)


Homework-help site Zuoyebang has raised $60 million from GGV Capital, Xianghe Capital, Sequoia Capital, and Legend Capital. The app, owned by the search engine Baidu, raised an undisclosed amount of funding last year.

OpenSesame has raised $9 million from Altos Ventures and Partech Ventures. The corporate training platform has raised $19 million total.

CodeSpark has raised $4.1 million from Kapor Capital, Felton Group, Idealab, NewGen Capital, PGA Venture Partners, and Umang Gupta. The company, which makes games to teach preschoolers to code, has raised $5.75 million total.

KidPass has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from the Bionic Fund, Cocoon Ignite Ventures, CoVenture, David Kidder, Dimitry Foux, Gidi Fisher, Ignacio Muñoz, Jere Doyle, Kevin Ryan, Lee Wang, Nina Cherny, Rick Bank, Rugged Ventures, Stephano Kim, Thomas Lehrman, Thought into Action Ventures, and Timothy Chi. The KidPass app locates activities and book classes for kids in New York City.

Lingumi has raised $649,870 from LocalGlobe for an app that teaches preschoolers foreign languages.

Education marketplace Fastudent has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Kanwaljit Sing, Ajay Lakhotia, Pavan Ongole, and Ashish Gupta.

LIQVID eLearning Services has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Gray Matters Capital.

I’m not sure what’s happening with the Ning acquisition. It’s not clear Ning really has a clue either.

Cengage has acquired WebAssign. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Geisinger Health Systems plans to buy Commonwealth Medical College. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The educational technology company Amplify is spinning off a service known as School by Design into a new, separate business that will provide schools with data and technical assistance focused on financial and instructional strategy,” EdWeek reports.

Data, Privacy, and Surveillance


Snapchat has rebranded and introduced Spectacles, glasses with an integrated camera that uploads your photos to Snapchat. I hope you got your ISTE proposals on “Surveilling Students with Snapchat Spectacles” in on time! (Just resubmit the ones about Google Glass, right?)

Via ProPublica, the first in its “Breaking the Black Box” series: “What Facebook Knows About You.”

Via Ars Technica: “As we speak, teen social site is leaking millions of plaintext passwords.” The site in question: i-Dressup.

There’s more on privacy legislation in the politics section above.

Data and “Research”


Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study: Remedial Education Costs Students $1.3B.”

Via InfoDocket: “New Reports: Trends on Use of Public Libraries, Reading Habits, and Bookstores in U.S.”

From the Department of Education’s press release: “National Student Loan Cohort Default Rate Declines Steadily.”

“Have Student Loan Guaranty Agencies Lost Their Way?” asks The Century Foundation in a report that suggests they are “severely diverging from their missions.”

Via NPR: “Bias Isn’t Just A Police Problem, It’s A Preschool Problem.” It’s an everyone problem.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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