Education Politics

Via The New York Times: “President Trump on Wednesday rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, overruling his own education secretary and placing his administration firmly in the middle of the culture wars that many Republicans have tried to leave behind.”

The Department of Education press release: “U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Issues Statement on New Title IX Guidance.”

More on this story: Via The Atlantic: “The Federal Government’s Reversal: Let the States Deal With Transgender Kids.” Via NPR: “Trump And Transgender Rights: What Just Happened?” Via US News & World Report: “Bathroom Wars.”

Via Politico: “Spicer denies Cabinet feud over transgender student protections.”

Arne Duncan and Catherine Lhamon – that’s the former Secretary of Education and the chair of the US Commission on Civil Rights – wrote an op-ed in WaPo: “The White House’s thoughtless, cruel and sad rollback of transgender rights.”

Trump Will Lose the Fight Over Bathrooms for Transgender Students,” writes NYT op-ed writer Ria Tabacco Mar.

More on trans high school student Gavin Grimm’s Supreme Court case in the section below.

Do keep all this in mind whenever you hear ed-tech entrepreneurs and venture capitalists and ed-reform types cheer for Betsy DeVos: Via Chalkbeat: “Betsy DeVos, reportedly opposed to rolling back protections for transgender students, defends the changes.” Via Buzzfeed: “Betsy DeVos Defends Decision To Rescind Transgender Protections.” Via ABC News: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos slams Obama’s transgender bathroom rule as ‘overreach’.”

An interview with Betsy DeVos in Townhall. The highlight:

I visited a school on Friday and met with some wonderful, genuine, sincere teachers who pour their heart and soul into their classrooms and their students and our conversation was not long enough to draw out of them what is limiting them from being even more success from what they are currently. But I can tell the attitude is more of a ‘receive mode.’ They’re waiting to be told what they have to do, and that’s not going to bring success to an individual child. You have to have teachers who are empowered to facilitate great teaching.

And the response from those teachers, via The Washington Post: “DeVos criticized teachers at D.C. school she visited – and they are not having it.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Betsy DeVos Starts Her Time As Education Secretary Taking On Her Critics.” Because being cruel and thin-skinned seems to be the policy priority for everyone in the Trump administration.

Betsy DeVos is Publicly Polite, but a Political Fighter,” says The New York Times. Well then.

Via The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss: “So far, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is just what her critics feared.”

From the Department of Education press release: “Statement from Secretary DeVos regarding the restoration of IDEA.ED.GOV,” claiming that the special education site had been neglected for the past four years before going offline. AFT president Randi Weingarten calls bullshit.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Betsy DeVos Criticizes Professors in Remarks to Conservative Conference.” That is, she told college students at the event that “faculty, from adjunct professors to deans, tell you what to do, what to say, and more ominously, what to think.” More on DeVos’ CPAC speech in Inside Higher Ed. (The transcript.)

Via The Hechinger Report: “DeVos praises virtual schools, but new research points to problems.” More on that research in the research section below.

Via The New York Times: “Popular Domestic Programs Face Ax Under First Trump Budget.”

More on the possible elimination of AmeriCorps via Chalkbeat: “Trump’s proposed AmeriCorps cuts would trim .03 percent of the federal budget – but slash support at 11,000 schools.”

Via WaPo: “Trump’s hiring freeze leads some Army bases to suspend pre-K and other child programs.”

“New Trump Deportation Rules Allow Far More Expulsions,” says The New York Times. DACA – purportedly – is not affected.

Via The Intercept: “Civil Rights Groups, Funded by Telecoms, Back Donald Trump’s Plan to Kill Net Neutrality.”

Maine governor Paul LePage has finally nominated an education commissioner – the post has been open since 2014.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Iowa Bill Would Force ‘Partisan Balance’ in Hiring” at universities.

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Feds Drop Investigation Into Los Angeles District Over $1 Billion iPad Purchase.”

Oh, how very different “the politics of education (technology)” drumbeat sounds from some ed-tech publications:

Trump will mean more “innovation” in higher ed, according to eCampus News.

Via Edsurge: “​Rhode Island’s Plans to Become a ‘Lab State’ for Personalized Learning.”

Education in the Courts

Via the ACLU blog: “SCOTUS Rules Unanimously on Behalf of Michigan Girl with Cerebral Palsy Who was Prevented from Bringing Service Dog to School.”

Via The 74: “Obama-Era Protections for Transgender Students to Be Revoked, Gavin Grimm Supreme Court Case at Risk.” That is, the Supreme Court could now punt on Grimm’s case, which involves his challenge to his school that had banned him from using the boys’ bathroom.

Via Politico: “The Education Department must determine by next week if it will continue to enforce the Obama administration’s ban on collection of some student loan fees, U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta said in an order Thursday night.”

Via The New York Times: “Federal prosecutors have expanded their investigation of the financial dealings of the former president of the City College of New York into whether she received tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized payments over several years from the school’s oldest alumni fund.”

More on the legalities surrounding the termination (or not) of the for-profit accreditor ACICS in the accreditation section below.

Testing, Testing…

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Large-Scale Assessment Without Standardized Tests.”

Via The Washington Post: “ College Board takes ‘robust’ new SAT security steps – but is it enough to stymie cheating?” (This story could go in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section below.)

Via Campus Technology: “AP Exam Pass Rates Rise Even as Participation Doubles.”

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

Via the Iowa City Press-Citizen: “Iowa families foregoing classroom for virtual school.”

More research on virtual schools in the research below.

+Acumen “senior innovation associate” writes about +Acumen in Edsurge: “The Flip Side of Abysmal MOOC Completion Rates? Discovering the Most Tenacious Learners.”

“Free College”

Via the University of New Hampshire press release: “UNH Announces Tuition-Free Plan for Hundreds of NH Students.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Tressie McMillan Cottom on her new book on for-profits, Lower Ed, and on credentialing and inequality in a Q&A with Inside Higher Ed. Elsewhere in IHE, a review from “Dean Dad” Matt Reed. Dr. Cottom in The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Sociologist Looks at the Failure of the For-Profits and the Rise of Trump.” In The Atlantic: “The Coded Language of For-Profit Colleges.”

Via Edsurge: “How One Coding School Hopes to Teach Thousands of Students, Without Professors.”

Via The New York Times: “For-Profit Schools, an Obama Target, See New Day Under Trump.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Career Education Corp. on Wednesday announced that it had settled a false claims lawsuit with private plaintiffs. The suit against the for-profit chain and its American InterContinental University was originally filed in 2008.”

More on the legalities surrounding the termination (or not) of the for-profit accreditor ACICS in the accreditation section below.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via ProPublica: “‘Alternative’ Education: Using Charter Schools to Hide Dropouts and Game the System.”

Via The New York Times: “Universities Face Pressure to Hold the Line on Title IX.”

“Have We Lost Sight of the Promise of Public Schools?” asks Nikole Hannah-Jones. Perhaps this could go under the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section, but I think in this case the answer to the question is “yes.”

“Welcome to Shark Tank U” – Steven C. Ward on “entrepreneur mania” in higher ed.

Via The Washington Post: “A university takes on one of its own, alumna Kellyanne Conway.” The school in question: Trinity Washington University.

Via the OC Weekly: “Off-Duty LAPD Cop Fires Gun During After-School Melee with Anaheim Teens.”

Via the Star Tribune: “University of Minnesota police investigate flier with two swastikas posted on campus.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Michigan State plans to bar [whiteboards] from dormitory room doors, in attempt to limit bullying.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “In a city still struggling with segregation, a popular charter school fights to remain diverse.” The city: New Orleans. The charter: Bricolage Academy.

The Atlantic on the history of segregation.

Accreditation and Certification

Via Politico: “A federal judge on Tuesday declined to put on hold the Obama administration’s decision last year to terminate the nation’s largest accreditor of for-profit colleges.” That’s ACICS.

Also via Politico: “Congressional Republicans have appointed two new members to the federal advisory committee that oversees college accreditors” – Claude Pressnell, the president of the Independent Colleges and Universities Association, and Brian Jones, the president of Strayer University.

More on professional development company Bloomboard’s pivot to micro-credentialing in the HR section below.

Go, School Sports Team!

Via NPR: “Go To College, Play Video Games. E-Sports Make A Play For The Big Ten.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Liberty University will join the Football Bowl Subdivision, college sports’ most competitive level, after receiving a waiver from the National Collegiate Athletic Association on Thursday.” Late last year, the school hired Ian McCaw as athletic director, who’d resigned from Baylor over allegations that his department had mishandled sexual assault cases.

From the HR Department

Via KTAR News: “Phoenix-area teacher resigns after tweeting about killing immigrants.”

Via Edsurge: “BloomBoard Appoints New CEO, Restructures Focus Around Micro-Credentials.” The new CEO: Sanford Kenyon, formerly the startup’s Chief Revenue Officer.

Via The New York Times: “Inside Uber’s Aggressive, Unrestrained Workplace Culture.” Good thing no one in ed-tech is describing themselves as “Uber for education,” right?

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

“Can ‘Sober High’ schools keep teenagers off drugs?” asks The Hechinger Report.

“Is the College Board’s Newest AP Computer Science Course Closing the Gap?” asks Edsurge.

(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

The headline touts teaching computer science without computers; the article is better than that.

“What Students Want Their Professors To Know About Edtech” – according to Edsurge.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What’s Up With Hive, a Nascent Successor to Yik Yak.”

Via the Khan Academy blog: “Teachers using Google Classroom can now quickly and easily import their class roster to Khan Academy.” Wheee.

Via Edsurge: “Battle of the Classrooms: Apple, Google, Microsoft Vie for K–12 Market.” “Comparing Apple Classroom to Google or Microsoft Classroom is sort of like comparing apples to oranges,” but this article was written anyway.

Mark Zuckerberg on “Building Global Community” via Facebook.

MakerBot Is Trapped in the Nastiest Part of the Tech Hype Cycle,” according to The Ringer.

“Looking (again) to Domain of One’s Ownby Martha Burtis.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

Via Quartz: “The robot that takes your job should pay taxes, says Bill Gates.” I’d love to see the Gates Foundation extend this logic to their push for “personalized learning,” but I won’t hold my breath.

Via the MIT Technology Review: “What Happens When Robots Become Role Models.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

Galore has raised $1.65 million in seed funding from Norwest Venture Partners and DCM Ventures. The startup lets parents book activities for kids via a mobile app.

Vkidz has raised an undisclosed amount of private equity funding from Veronis Suhler Stevenson.

The private equity firm Francisco Partners has acquired the reading platform MyON.

Higher Learning Technologies (HLT) has acquired gWhiz.

The excitement about Betsy DeVos continues in the pages of Edsurge: “5 Policy Headaches and Opportunities for US Education Businesses Under DeVos.”

“The LMS Market is Quickly Losing Ground,” according to Chief Learning Officer at least.

The Gates Foundation’s 2017 Annual Letter doesn’t really say much about education. Phew.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via The New York Times: “The Bright-Eyed Talking Doll That Just Might Be a Spy.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Suspension Lifted for Student Who Taped Instructor.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “N.J. Student-Teacher Videos Raise Privacy Concerns” – “A new rule that requires teaching candidates to submit tapes of their lessons to an education firm for review has sparked a backlash from some educators, parents.”

Via Campus Technology: “‘Rasputin’ Hacker Targets 60 Universities, Government Agencies.”

Via Education Dive: “Internet of Things helped Connecticut district cut electricity bill by 84%.” No mention of last week’s story about IOT devices were used to attack one university’s network.

Data and “Research”

“America Has Never Not Had a Childcare Problem,” writes Rebecca DeWolf in Pacific Standard.

Via Education Week: “School Spending Ticks Up; Charters Still Spend Significantly Less.” (That is, they spend less on instruction.)

Via NPR: “English Language Learners: How Your State Is Doing.”

Via Eduventures: “Introducing the Higher Education Technology Landscape 2017.” Always fascinating to see how insistent industry folks are in not including private student loan companies or for-profit colleges (and coding bootcamps) in their reports.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Student Debt Total Hits $1.31 Trillion.”

Via The Pacific Standard: “Debunking Myths About Creativity and the Brain.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Tuition rose faster than state appropriations fell, and federal aid helped make that possible, study asserts.”

Research from edbuild on property taxes and education funding.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study finds that physicists are more likely to describe women as ethical scientists, but in ways that potentially limit their productivity and competitiveness.”

Via Kevin Carey in The New York Times: “Dismal Voucher Results Surprise Researchers as DeVos Era Begins.” SURPRISE! (Not really. I mean, I'm not surprised. Are you?)

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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