President-Elect Trump

It’s all so awful.

Trump and Chief Strategist Pick Bannon Disagreed on Foreign Student Policy,” says Inside Higher Ed. That is, Trump thought foreign students who graduate from “top” universities should get to stay in the US. White nationalist Bannon disagreed.

Via Chalkbeat: “Eva Moskowitz: I will work with Trump, but not as U.S. education secretary.” Moskowitz, a Democrat, is the head of the charter school chain Success Academy.

Via Education Week: “Weighing the Odds: Eva Moskowitz or Michelle Rhee as Trump Ed. Secretary?” I’m a little surprised that either of these women – both Democrats, both Common Core supporters, if nothing else – would be under serious consideration. I thought that Trump planned on returning control of K–12 to states, and as such, I’d assumed he’d pick a higher ed-oriented secretary. But who friggin’ knows. Other names being thrown about: Betsy DeVos. Scott Walker. Ted Nugent.

“The Education Platform I wrote for Mr. Trump” by Roger Schank.

Via The Seattle Times: “Fast-food fan Trump could remake healthy school lunches.”

Education Technology Under Trump: A Syllabus.”

“How will the presidential election results influence education technology in schools?” asks The Hechinger Report.

Some in ed-tech seem quite excited:

Deregulation of for-profits is “likely,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

I’ve been urging people to watch the private student loan market for a while now. And now this. Via Bloomberg: “Under Trump, Student Lenders Get a Chance to Cut Loose.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Higher Ed Innovation in a Trump Era.” We’re going to have the best innovation, I’m sure.

Via Buzzfeed: “Palantir Has Well-Placed Friends In Trumpworld.” Palantir is the data analytics company co-founded by Peter Thiel and funded in part by the CIA. “Peter Thiel’s Investment Portfolio Has A Lot of Government Ties,” says Dan Primack.

Another tech company ready and willing to support Trump: IBM. If you know the history of this company, it’s a rather frightening gesture.

Journalist Susie Cagle has calculated where some major tech firms and tech investors sent their political donations.

Via KPCC: “LAUSD board: If Trump administration asks for student data, district will resist.”

Via Chalkbeat: “Flooded with questions after Trump win, Denver Public Schools produces immigration fact sheet.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Cal State Says It Will Not Help Deport Students.” Many schools are looking at how they will become part of the “sanctuary” movement, ostensibly protecting undocumented students.

Via The Los Angeles Times: “Rep. Judy Chu asks President Obama to protect the information of ‘Dreamers’ before Trump takes office.”

Via Reuters: “Immigration hardliner says Trump team preparing plans for wall, mulling Muslim registry.”

Lots and lots and lots of racist, anti-Semitic, white nationalist messages in schools across the country. A sample: UCLA. Silverton High School. Iowa State. North Park University. Archer City ISD. Middlebury College. Penn. Some 400 incidents, according to the SPLC. Some threats are from teachers themselves. Also, via “Rutgers prof given psych evaluation after anti-Trump tweets.” And via the Monterey Herald: “A history teacher at Mountain View High School has been placed on paid leave after drawing parallels between Republican President-elect Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler in his lesson plan.”

Via Buzzfeed: “ There Was A Trump Protest On This Kids Game And People Are Shook.” Club Penguin!

Who’s to blame? Education, of course.

Alternate “who’s to blame” – people who make predictions.

All Trump University-related stories are in the courts section below.

Education Politics

Via CBS Baltimore: “Baltimore County Public Schools Superintendent S. Dallas Dance is facing backlash after retweeting a controversial message on election night.” The controversial message: love all students, regardless of their race or religious background.

Among the recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom: Bill and Melinda Gates, Grace Hopper, Eduardo Padrón, and Margaret Hamilton. I am having a hard time imagining who President Trump will select for this honor. Oh, who am I kidding – I can imagine. I can imagine.

Via Politico: “The Education Department estimates that in fiscal year 2016 it incorrectly calculated more than $2.2 billion in Pell grants – an error rate of 7.85 percent that is up considerably from last year’s 1.88 percent. Most of the improper payments for Pell grants – slightly more than $2 billion – were the result of overpayments, while nearly $200 million reflected underpayments, according to the department’s annual financial report released this week.”

Via Reuters: “Congress could undo Obama-era student loan relief.” (Something else to keep an eye on: restricting loans to students based on grade, major, other data that’s been collected about them.)

Via The Texas Tribune: “Texas State Board of Education rejects Mexican-American studies textbook.” The book was racist.

E.D. Hirsch Jr. is disappointed in Common Core.

Education in the Courts

Although there had been some talk of trying to postpone the Trump University trial until after the inauguration – when he claimed he wouldn’t be so busy – or to run the thing without Trump, it looks like there won’t be a trial concerning fraud allegations after all. According to The New York Times, “Donald Trump Agrees to Pay $25 Million in Trump University Settlement.” There’s no admission on the part of the President-Elect of any wrongdoing. But the New York State Attorney General certainly saw otherwise, as is clear in his statement:

In 2013, my office sued Donald Trump for swindling thousands of innocent Americans out of ​millions of dollars through a scheme known as Trump University. Donald Trump fought us every step of the way, filing baseless charges and fruitless appeal​s​ and refusing to settle for even modest amounts of compensation for the victims of his phony university.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Jurors Deadlock in Case of Shooting by U. of Cincinnati Police Officer.”

Online Education (The Once and Future “MOOC”)

Via The New York Times: “Udacity, an Online Learning Start-Up, Offers Tech Job Trials.”

The program, called Blitz, provides what is essentially a brief contract assignment, much like an internship. Employers tell Udacity the skills they need, and Udacity suggests a single candidate or a few. For the contract assignment, which usually lasts about three months, Udacity takes a fee worth 10 to 20 percent of the worker's salary. If the person is then hired, Udacity does not collect any other fees, such as a finder's fee.

This sounds pretty anti-worker, but recall, Thrun promised to bring about an "Uberification" of education. Here’s the blog post from Udacity on Blitz, as well as one announcing it was opening shop in Saudi Arabia.

(Related, from the Social Media Collective: “Spike in Online Gig Work: Flash in the Pan or Future of Employment?” And from MIT Technology Review: “Is the Gig Economy Rigged?”)

The University of Oxford has joined edX.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “U of Florida Online finds stability after canceling deal with Pearson, but scales back its plan for ”exponential“ growth in online education for undergraduates.”

Make Writing Classes Larger and Other Heresies of Connected Courses” by Justin Reich.

There’s some data on the growth of online education at private colleges in the research section below.

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

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Newt Gingrich and U.S. Representative Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, are slated to join Career Education Colleges and Universities at an event Friday. The group, which is the primary trade organization for the for-profit sector, is announcing a new campaign to close the skills gap with five million trained professionals.”

“Doing Well By Doing Good: For-Profit Schoolsby Larry Cuban.

Apple to offer free ‘Hour of Code’ workshops for full week,” says Techcrunch. So that’s something to look forward to: a week full of corporation promotions surrounding CS education. Maybe instead of learning to code, people should read up on anti-fascist activism.

There’s more on for-profits under the President-Elect Horror Show section above. And I’m not sure if Udacity now better fits here in this for-profit higher ed section, but there’s news about it in the MOOC section above.

Meanwhile on Campus

Via The New York Times: “Video Shows Baltimore Teacher Using Racial Slur in Class.” The teacher has been fired.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A student at the University of Oklahoma at Norman who sent racist text messages last week to students at the University of Pennsylvania is no longer enrolled at the university, Oklahoma’s president, David L. Boren, said in a written statement on Tuesday.” How did that student get Penn students’ names to send them racist messages? Data-mining a Facebook group.

A Q&A with Chris Newfield: “Public universities have ‘really lost our focus’.” His just-released book is The Great Mistake: How We Wrecked Public Universities and How We Can Fix Them.

Harvard’s Computer Science 50: ‘Introduction to Computer Science I’ saw a significant drop in enrollment at Yale University as it kicks off its second year,” The Harvard Crimson reports.

Via “Queensland children as young as four will learn coding and robotics as a compulsory part of their education from next year.”

Via the Bristol Herald Courier: “Bank planning to foreclose on Virginia Intermont campus.”

Accreditation and Certification

Via the San Francisco Business Times: “LinkedIn CEO says college degrees are overrated and more vocational training is needed.” (He has a college degree.)

Via The Wall Street Journal: “College Accreditors Largely Staffed by Employees of Schools They Oversee.”

Go, School Sports Team!

“High graduation rates for African-American men’s basketball players are ‘fueling an all-time high graduation success rate for Division I college athletes,’” says Inside Higher Ed.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Baylor Faces Rising Calls for Transparency in Sexual-Assault Scandal.”

From the HR Department

Via the LA Times: “Plumbers, carpenters, electricians at UCLA strike for higher wages and back pay.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “THL Hires Ex-Blackboard Exec to Hunt for Tech Deals.” That’s Jay Bhatt and investment firm Thomas H. Lee Partners.

Via the Pacific Standard: “Why Black Lives Matter Protestors Become Teachers.”

Robot Takeover of Higher Ed Hits a Snag,” Inside Higher Ed reports. So that’s encouraging, I guess.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Via The Washington Post: “Did the idea of free public higher education go down with the Democrats?”

Via The New York Times: “’Is It Safe?’ Foreign Students Consider College in Donald Trump’s U.S.”

(Reminder: according to Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”)

Upgrades and Downgrades

Via The Guardian: “‘Post-truth’ named word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries.”

Speaking of “post-truth,” via the Google blog: “Google Earth VR – Bringing the whole wide world to virtual reality.”

And speaking of “post-truth,” Facebook. I’ll say more about Facebook’s role in spreading propaganda during the election in my newsletter tomorrow.

“With legalization, college marijuana enterprise stands to increase,” says Education Dive. But frankly, let’s see what the Trump administration does about legal marijuana before we get too excited about profiteering, okay?

Via Inside Higher Ed: “IBM picks Blackboard and Pearson to bring the technology behind the Watson computer to colleges and universities.”

Via Edsurge: “What Edtech Can Learn from Theranos.” (Perhaps a starting place would be to be much more skeptical of the claims of IBM Watson and PR about “mind reading robot tutors.”)

Via Edsurge: “The Road to Disastrous Educational Businesses Is Paved With Good Intentions.”

“Why I’m Leaving the Thiel Fellowshipby Cosmo Scharf.

Via Laughing Squid: “Adam Savage Announces the Launch of Nation of Makers, A Nonprofit Supporting Makers in the US.”

Via Education Week: “Ed-Tech Pilots: New Resource Tries to Help K–12 Districts Get Them Right.” The resource in question is a framework from Digital Promise.

Another resource, via Education Week: “K–12 Districts to Get Price Transparency on Broadband Rates With New Tool.” This one is from EducationSuperhighway.

Via ProPublica: “These Professors Make More Than a Thousand Bucks an Hour Peddling Mega-Mergers.”

Microsoft joins the Linux Foundation,” Techcrunch reports. RIP Linux.

Via the MIT Technology Review: “If Apple Builds Smart Glasses, They’d Better Be Spectacular.” Smart glasses. The world is burning, and we’re still talking about smart glasses.

Via the USA Today: “As college costs skyrocket, more students try crowdfunding.”

Via ProfHacker: “Help Defray Scott Eric Kaufman’s Medical Bills.”

Look for more crowdfunding to pay for health care and education under President Trump.

Funding and Acquisitions (The Business of Ed-Tech)

“The Tri-Valley Learning Corporation, which runs two Livermore charter schools, has filed for bankruptcy,” reports the East Bay Times.

Handshake has raised $20 million from Spark Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Lowercase Capital, and True Ventures. The career placement startup has raised $34 million total.

Unlike Handshake, CodeFights isn’t pitched at students. But I think the “job placement” space is something to watch, so I’m including this funding news here: CodeFights has raised $10 million from for its “skills-based recruiting platform.” The company has raised $12.5 million total.

Firefly Learning has raised $5.63 million from Beringea and BGF Ventures for a “teaching support platform.”

The tutoring app Yup has raised $4 million from Sesame Street Ventures – its first investment – which is pretty gross considering how private tutoring expands educational inequality. Yup has raised $7.5 million total.

Echo360 has acquired testing company Astute Technology.

The City & Guilds Group has acquired e3Learning from Open Universities Australia

It’s not an ed-tech company – unless you believe all the stories that it’s the future of campus visits, college recruitment, and so on – but Snapchat’s parent company has filed for an IPO.

Data, Privacy, and Surveillance

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The American Civil Liberties Union this week declared its opposition to a federal database of student-level outcomes in a letter signed by a handful of education advocacy groups.”

Via Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Piazza Response To Blog Post On Student Privacy.”

Wearable Tech Weaves Its Way Into Learning,” says Edsurge. Surveil all the things.

Via Techcrunch: “UK parliament rubberstamps mass surveillance law.”

Via the EFF: “Tech Companies, Fix These Technical Issues Before It’s Too Late.” “If a tech product might be co-opted to target a vulnerable population, now is the time to minimize the harm that can be done.” Education technology companies. Get your shit together now.

Via the Brennan Center for Justice: “Map: Social Media Monitoring by Police Departments, Cities, and Counties.”

Via The Verge: “The FBI just got its hands on data that Twitter wouldn’t give the CIA.” Good thing @jack’s so woke.

Holy shit. Phrenology 2.0 “Automated Inference on Criminality using Face Images.”

And speaking of horrors, this via The Conversation: “How genetics could help future learners unlock hidden potential.” Eugenics 2.0.

Lots of questions and concerns about data and surveillance under the incoming administration in the President-Elect section above.

Data and “Research”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Student engagement survey finds black students are more than twice as likely as other students to feel ‘physically unsafe’ on campus, and that black professors interact more with their students than do other professors.”

Via ProPublica: “Hate Crimes Are Up – But the Government Isn’t Keeping Good Track of Them.”

Via Politico: “The average incarcerated adult in the U.S. scores so low in the ability to understand and work with numbers – numeracy skills, in research parlance – that they lag behind the unemployed, according to a report released today by the National Center for Education Statistics. The report looks at the educational background and work history of prison inmates. It finds that greater percentages of incarcerated adults scored at the lowest levels of proficiency in literacy and numeracy skills when compared to the overall U.S. population.”

Via the Pew Research Center: “A Divided and Pessimistic Electorate.” and “Social Media Update 2016.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Private colleges are growing more accepting of online education, according to a survey of chief academic officers conducted by the Council of Independent Colleges and the Learning House.”

From the press release: “Education Department Releases New Graduate Earnings Data for Career College Programs.” Among the findings: “Overall, mean earnings of graduates of public undergraduate certificate programs are nearly $9,000 higher than mean earnings of graduates of for-profit undergraduate certificate programs.”

From Google Research: “Community college pathways to a four-year computer science degree.”

Via LinkedIn: “The Most Popular Entry-Level Jobs and Companies for College Graduates” (based on LinkedIn data).

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Thirty-eight percent of master’s degree students and 36 percent of doctoral students worry about their ability to meet monthly expenses, found a research study from the Council of Graduate Schools and TIAA.” These financial fears seem low, to be honest.

The latest report from the Whiteboard Advisors Education Insider survey panel speculating on the future of education policy.

Via Education Dive: “K–12 system is failing to leverage data.” Good. Then we can delete it before Trump takes over.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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