Presidential Campaign Politics

There’s less than a month left of the 2016 Presidential campaign and The End can’t come soon enough.

On Sunday, Clinton and Trump held their second debate. The topic of education didn’t really come up, save Clinton’s invocation of “The Trump Effect” and the increased bullying in school. Slate’s Dana Goldstein has more on how teachers are responding to the campaign.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Donald Trump Actually Talked About Higher Education on Thursday. Here’s What He Said.” He talked about income based repayment of student loans, “administrative bloat” at colleges, tax exemption for endowments, and the danger of political correctness on campus.

Liberty University students have criticized their school’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr, and his media appearances supporting Trump. The Chronicle of Higher Education has Falwell’s response to the students.

According to excerpts of speeches published by Wikileaks – stolen data – Clinton called the Common Core a “political failure” in a speech she gave to Knewton. Neither Knewton nor the Clinton campaign have confirmed the veracity of this leaked speech.

Education Politics

The US Department of Education released new federal rules on teacher preparation programs. These rules say that schools need not be so selective about admissions “so long as they maintain a high bar to exit, to allow programs to recruit a more diverse student body while maintaining the requirements for quality preparation as shown by graduation.” More on the teacher prep law from The Hechinger Report.

Via Politico: “The NAACP is set to vote this weekend on a controversial resolution calling for a halt to charter school expansion.”

“Modern E-Rate Puts Telephones On Hold in K–12,” Education Week reports, noting that schools are struggling to pay for phone service (still totally necessary) as well as expanded broadband.

Via Education Week: “One million high school students from low-income families will receive free internet access under President Barack Obama’s ’My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative for minority males, the White House announced.” More on this scramble to serve (profit from) low-income broadband customers in the upgrades/downgrades section below.

Via The Star Online: “Germany plans to invest an extra €5 billion over the next five years to equip more than 40,000 schools and colleges with faster internet, wireless access points and tablet computers, the Education Minister said.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Wesley College, in Delaware, violated the gender discrimination law Title IX when it disregarded the due process rights of students accused of sexual misconduct, the U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday.”

President Obama talked to Wired magazine about artificial intelligence, Mars, self-driving cars, Star Trek and more. I don’t think there’s any doubt that he’s set to be a VC when he leaves office, right?

Education in the Courts

“How America Outlawed Adolescenceby The Atlantic’s Amanda Ripley.

Online Education (The Once and Future “MOOC”)

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Microsoft-Branded MOOCs for K–12 Leaders.”

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

DeVry University Reaches Settlement Deal With Education Department,” reports Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy. The settlement involves allegations that the for-profit’s marketing made unsubstantiated job placement claims. More via Inside Higher Ed.

“‘Apple store for education’ to debut in downtown Las Vegas” reads the Las Vegas Review Journal headline. The “store” is actually a startup accelerator run by the University of Phoenix and a place where UofP’s coding bootcamp Iron Yard will run its classes.

“One of India’s largest colleges, Amity University, is expanding into the US with the purchase of one campus in New York and a proposal to buy two more, drawing opposition from state officials in Massachusetts about the quality of the education it will offer,” the AP reports. More from Quartz.

Via NBC News: “Minnesota education officials have launched a review of online PhD programs at a for-profit college with ties to former President Bill Clinton. ‘We have seen an increased number of complaints related to dissertations at Walden University,’ Sandy Connolly of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (MOHE) told NBC News.” That for-profit is Laureate Education, the largest chain of for-profit schools in the world and an investor in Coursera.

Campus Technology reports that Davidson College is partnering with Revature to offering coding classes to its students and graduates. Revature recently received $20 million in funding from University Ventures and Eden Capital.

“Why For-Profit Education Failsby The Atlantic’s Jonathan A. Knee.

Via the Hechinger Report: “For-profit colleges stay quietly on offense.”

Meanwhile on Campus

I’m going with the full NY Daily News headline here (because, you know, NY Daily News): “EXCLUSIVE: Shocking Facebook videos reveal brutal ‘Fight Club’ run by Bronx High School of Science students (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT).” And this gem: “Bronx Science grads include eight Nobel Prize winners, eight winners of the National Medal of Science and six Pulitzer Prize winners – and no heavyweight champions.”

“San Francisco’s competitive lightsaber academy opens this week,” says BoingBoing.

Via Arab American News: “Muslim boy was beaten on school bus for refusing to eat non-halal sandwich.” He was 7.

Via The Pacific Standard: “Why Student Loans Don’t Work for Native American Students.” The answer, in part, is in this Buzzfeed article by Molly Hensley-Clancy: “ Native American Colleges Have Abandoned The Student Loan System.” These colleges no longer offer federal loans because of students’ high default rates.

Via Telesur: “Brazil Students Occupy Nearly 60 Schools to Reject Austerity.”

Via The LA Times: “South African university engulfed in violence in protests over education costs.”

Via NSBA’s Legal Clips blog: “Satanic Temple withdraws request to start after school club at Washington state elementary school.”

Via Techcrunch: “A Flint, MI university turned vacant land into autonomous vehicle proving grounds.” Good thing there are no other pressing research issues in Flint than self-driving cars.

Elsewhere in autonomous vehicles and education: “Udacity open sources an additional 183GB of driving data,” says Techcrunch.

Accreditation and Certification

Khan Academy wants to start offering diplomas. What could go wrong?!

Meanwhile, via Inside Higher Ed: “Stackable credential pathways have plenty of promise, but a new study fuels worries about poorly designed programs shunting underrepresented student groups into short-term programs of questionable value.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Via ESPN: “In an unprecedented foray into college sports, the National Labor Relations Board general counsel has declared that Northwestern University must eliminate ‘unlawful’ rules governing football players and allow them greater freedom to express themselves. The ruling, which referred to players as employees, found that they must be freely allowed to post on social media, discuss issues of their health and safety, and speak with the media.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Sonny Vaccaro Plans One Last Push Against the NCAA.” Vaccaro is the advocate for student athletes who helped orchestrate O’Bannon v NCAA, arguing that students should be paid when their likeness is used commercially.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “NCAA stance against discrimination draws praise and raises questions about how association picks its battles and why it doesn’t similarly challenge its own members.”

From the HR Department

“No End in Sight to Strike by Harvard’s Cafeteria Workers Over Wages,” The New York Times reports. The workers are demanding a salary of $35,000 per year, which the richest university in the world – one with an endowment of $37.6 billion – appears unwilling to pay.

A strike of the Chicago Teachers Union has been averted. For now.

Via The New York Times Magazine: “The Professor Wore a Hijab in Solidarity – Then Lost Her Job.”

Awards and Prizes

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Of the six winners of Nobel Prizes affiliated with American universities so far this year, all are foreign born.”

Upgrades and Downgrades

Sherry Turkle Says There’s a Wrong Way to Flip a Classroom,” says Edsurge, which thankfully updated the first sentence that initially described the MIT professor as a “former Wired magazine cover girl.”

“Some Say Computer Coding Is a Foreign Language,” says US News & World Report. Some say the earth is flat. Some say the world is a computer simulation. Some say…

“What to Ask When Choosing Tech for Schools” – a new course offered by Edsurge (which is funded in part by’s founder. Small world).

Via Techcrunch: “Workplace by Facebook opens to sell enterprise social networking to the masses.” I look forward to the opinion pieces on how Workplace by Facebook will replace the LMS.

Via Buzzfeed: “ Facebook Recorded An £11 Million UK Tax Rebate In 2015, Accounts Show.” That’s after paying £4,327 in UK taxes in 2014.

Amazon Wants to Get College Students Addicted to Prime,” says Bloomberg in a story that fails to mention that Amazon recently scrapped its plans to offer student loans via a partnership with Wells Fargo to students via their Prime memberships.

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Telecommunications giant Sprint unveiled plans this week to bring devices and wireless connectivity to 1 million impoverished high school students, in what it describes as an ambitious campaign to close the ‘homework gap.’” The initiative is connected to President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance.

Via The New York Times: “Tech Companies Expect Free High-Speed Internet for Poorer Americans to Pay Off Later.”

Chromebooks destroyed Apple in back-to-school shopping,” says MarketWatch. DESTROYED. RIP Apple. Or something.

“As the Note 7 dies, Oculus loses face(s),” says Techcrunch, noting how the exploding Samsung devices are pretty key to the whole strap-your-phone-to-your-face-and-call-it-VR thing.

Nolan Bushnell's Modal VR launches next-generation virtual reality platform for enterprises,” says Venture Beat – a news item I am only including here because maybe this means Chuck E. Cheese and Atari founder Nolan Bushnell is no longer working on next-generation something something platform for education.

XYZ launches a $249 3D printer for schools,” says Techcrunch.

Via NPR: “Sesame Workshop CEO Outlines Vision To Ensure Show’s Survival.”

“The hottest trend in education actually started in special-ed classrooms 40 years ago,” says Business Insider, demonstrating once again how venture capitalists and tech journalists just make up history. Perhaps, instead of tying “personalized learning” to special ed policies of the 1970s, you could read some Rousseau?

The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at how college recruiters are using Snapchat.

LinkedIn has published a “35 under 35” list. None of those chose for the education section are classroom educators, no surprise.

When the Gates Foundation isn’t funding education companies and policies… via Business Insider: “Inside the Bill Gates-backed startup on a mission to reinvent meat.”

Keeping an eye on the loan market: Goldman Sach’s new online lending platform Marcus has launched. More on loan companies raising venture capital in “the business of ed-tech” section below.

Funding and Acquisitions (The Business of Ed-Tech)

Affirm, a loan company that offers private student loans (as well as other types of financial services), has raised $100 million in debt funding from Morgan Stanley. The company has raised $420 million total.

Everwise has raised $16 million in a Series B round from Canvas Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Webb Investment Network. The professional development platform has raised $26.35 million total.

Coorpacademy has raised $11 million in funding from Debiopharm Group, NextStage, and Serena Capital. The company, which offers online training for corporate education, has raised $15.26 million total.

Noodle Partners has raised $4 million from Osage Venture Partners, New Markets Venture Partners, and 500 Startups. The company, which says it will help colleges deliver courses online, was founded by John Katzman, founder of the Princeton Review and 2U.

Late last week, The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Goldie Blumenstyk broke the story about the “sudden demise” of textbook/course material supplier Rafter. Edsurge’s Jeffrey Young (formerly of The Chronicle of Higher Education) weighed in today: “Why Rafter Failed and What It Means for Edtech.”

Techstars will take over Startup Weekend Education, Edsurge reports. The startup accelerator acquired the Startup Weekend franchise last year, but the education vertical was run by 4.0 Schools.

Data, Privacy, and Surveillance

Via The Washington Post: “Facebook-backed school software shows promise – and raises privacy concerns.”

Via the ACLU: “Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter Provided Data Access for a Surveillance Product Marketed to Target Activists of Color.” More via The NYT. This particularly tool is sold by Geofeedia, which also sells schools surveillance tools to monitor students’ social media profiles.

Via Mic: “Crime-prediction tool PredPol amplifies racially biased policing, study shows.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As Concerns Grow About Using Data to Measure Faculty, a Company Changes Its Message.” The company in question: Academic Analytics.

“The UK government’s National Pupil Database has already been used to combat ‘abuse of immigration control’ – despite ministerial assurances that the collection of pupils’ nationality will not be passed to the border officials,” The Register reports. The Guardian has more details.

Via the EFF: “Google Changes Its Tune When it Comes to Tracking Students.” Maybe.

G Suite Found to Comply With Federal, State Privacy Laws,” says Edsurge – that is, compliant according to the California Educational Technology Professionals Association, not a court of law.

Part 3 of ProPublica’s investigation into machine bias: “When Machines Learn by Experimenting on Us.”

Data and “Research”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “America’s Dazzling Tech Boom Has a Downside: Not Enough Jobs.” This is an important counterpoint to the narrative that “everyone should learn to code” because of some shortage of high-tech workers.

Via NPR: “Race, School Ratings And Real Estate: A ‘Legal Gray Area’.”

Virtual reality is rapidly coming to the classroom,” according to an infographic published by District Administration. Infographics are the most reliable education research, right?

Edsurge has published the latest in its AT&T sponsored research into “The State of Ed-Tech” – this one on “How Edtech tools evolve.”

“How the Stress of Racism Affects Learningby Melinda D. Anderson in The Atlantic.

“The Challenge of Food Insecurity for College Students” – a new report from Students Against Hunger.

“The Fractured Chinese Higher Education Marketby Alex Usher.

The investment analyst firm CB Insights on venture funding for ed-tech startups so far this year:

Ed tech startups faced a chilly investment environment earlier this year, with deal count dropping to a four-year low in Q1’16. However, the sector began to recover in Q2, and stabilized in Q3 with a comparable deal count and slight funding growth compared to the previous quarter.

Still, even if ed tech funding continues at its current pace, 2016 will snap the sector’s four-year growth streak with drops in both deal count and investment dollars.


RIP Jack Greenberg, a lawyer who helped argue Brown v Board of Education.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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