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Education Politics


President Trump gave a not-the-State-of-the-Union address to Congress on Tuesday. Details about the education-related elements of his speech from NPR, The New York Times, Education Week, and The Washington Post.

Via The New York Times: “For Trump and DeVos, a Florida Private School Is a Model for Choice.” More on Trump’s visit to a school via The LA Times. Also via The LA Times, more on Trump’s call for a school voucher program.

Betsy DeVos Says HBCUs are Pioneers of School Choice. She Is A Fucking Idiot. You Know This. But Still,” say the VerySmartBrothas.

You can read the DeVos’s statement on HBCUs here.

Via Buzzfeed: “Betsy DeVos Is Under Fire After Saying Historically Black Colleges Are ‘Pioneers’ Of School Choice.”

From The New York Times Editorial Board: “Ms. DeVos’s Fake History About School Choice.”

Via The New York Times: “After Backlash, DeVos Backpedals on Remarks on Historically Black Colleges.” More on changing her tune from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via The New York Times: “Betsy DeVos’s Power Over Black Colleges.”

“My Statement: White House HBCU Event” by Dillard University president Walter Kimbrough.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Executive Order Falls Short of Some HBCU Leaders’ Hopes.” More on the EO from Inside Higher Ed. And here’s how it differs from the one that Obama issued in 2010.

Via The Root: “Morehouse College President: We Got Played.”

Here it is: the worst education “take” of the year. Congrats, Federalist.

More on HBCUs in the “on campus” section below.

Kevin Carey’s latest op-ed in The New York Times: “DeVos and Tax Credit Vouchers: Arizona Shows What Can Go Wrong.”

Via Education Week: “Fact Check: DeVos Doesn’t Control Who Gets a ‘Free Lunch’.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Education Department needs to better monitor colleges’ finances to prevent another costly fiasco like the 2014 collapse of Corinthian Colleges, says the agency’s Office of Inspector General.”

Via CNET: “Trump signs laws to promote women in STEM.” Here’s the Department of Education press release.

“Obama administration guidelines for LGBT student protections under Title IX remain in place, and the student codes at Liberty and Bob Jones Universities appear to violate them,” says Inside Higher Ed.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Paul Ryan Expresses Support for Year-Round Pell.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Republican Proposal Would Make Trump University Lawsuits ‘Almost Impossible’.”

Via The Washington Post: “ Chance the Rapper is meeting with Illinois’ governor about education funding. Really.” (Did you know he recorded his first mixtape at the Chicago Public Library’s YOUmedia studio?)

Via Techcrunch: “FCC votes to negate broadband privacy rules.” More via The New York Times.

“Here’s Why Net Neutrality is Essential in Trump’s America,” according to Motherboard.

Via Chalkbeat: “Voucher-like proposal could take $71 million of public school funding from all Tennessee districts.”

Via Business Insider: “A Colorado county is sending students to college on the $445,000 it made from legal weed.”

Via The Tennessean: “A year after the General Assembly de-funded the Office for Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Tennessee’s flagship campus in Knoxville, a panel of state lawmakers voted Wednesday to create an ‘intellectual diversity’ office there.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Lawmaker Pushing ‘Partisan Balance’ Fabricated Education Credentials.” More on this story from The Chronicle of Higher Education and in the credentialing section below.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “China Seeks Tighter Ideological Control of Its Top Universities.” Just like Republicans in Iowa and Tennessee!

Immigration and Education


Via LAist: “This Is What It’s Like When A Father Of 4 Is Detained By ICE While Dropping His Daughters Off At School.”

Via Buzzfeed: DREAMer “Daniela Vargas was detained by federal agents moments after leaving a news conference where she spoke about her fear of being deported.” Via The Huffington Post: “Dreamer Arrested After Speaking To Media Will Be Deported Without Hearing, Attorney Says.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “DACA Remains Intact for Now, but Students Without It Are More Fearful Than Ever.”

“How Much Can Schools Protect Undocumented Students?” asks Education Week.

Via The Intercept: “Palantir Provides the Engine for Donald Trump’s Deportation Machine.” Reminder: here are the education companies Palantir founder Peter Thiel has invested in.

Via TheEagle.com: “International scholar visiting Texas A&M ‘mistakenly detained’ by customs officials.” The person in question is Henry Roussou, a French Holocaust scholar.

Education in the Courts


Via The Marshall Project: “Your Kid Goes to Jail, You Get the Bill.”

Via Politico: “13 states, DOJ reach settlement in litigation over transgender student rights.”

Via the Creative Commons: “Update on Great Minds v FedEx Office Litigation Involving BY-NC-SA.” Case dismissed.

Via Chalkbeat: “Detroit lawsuit stops just short of accusing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos of bribery.”

Via The Washington Post: “White classmate avoids jail in coat-hanger assault of disabled black teenager.”

Via The New York Times: “Corporations Show Support for Transgender Boy in Supreme Court Case.”

Via The Kansas City Star: “Kansas Supreme Court rules the state has failed to ensure adequate education funding.” More on the ruling from NPR and The NYT.

Via WOSU Radio: “What Privacy Do Students Have? Ohio Supreme Court Hears Backpack Seizure Case.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A federal grand jury has indicted the president of Ecclesia College, Oren Paris III, a former Arkansas state senator and a consultant, on multiple charges of mail and wire fraud. The allegations center on reports that Paris, through inappropriate means, asked legislators to provide state funds to the college, a Christian institution in Arkansas.”

Via Techcrunch: “Uber loses legal challenge against English tests for London drivers.”

Testing, Testing…


Khan Academy announces “Free LSAT Prep for All.”

Via Education Week: “Smarter Balanced Issues RFP for ‘Hybrid’ College Admissions, Accountability Test.”

GitHub touts automated testing on its blog.

ACT says it will invest in ProExam. (I’m not including this in the funding section because from what I can tell the investment hasn’t happened yet.)

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


Inside Higher Ed on online education at Simmons College.

EdX To Retire Foundational 6.002x Platform,” Class Central reports.

edX has added 16 new “MicroMasters” programs.

More on MOOC and online education research in the research section below.

“Free College”


“Keeping the Oregon Promise” by Sara Goldrick-Rab.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Free college tuition proposals will be moderately credit positive for the overall higher education sector, Moody’s Investors Service said Friday in a report issued after New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee and San Francisco have recently introduced new or expanded proposals.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


“Credentials, Jobs and the New Economy” by Tressie McMillan Cottom. Via NPR: “To This Scholar, For-Profit Colleges Are ‘Lower Ed’.”

For-Profit Schools Rebound Under Trump,” according to the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education.

“Mixed Picture for a For-Profit College,” says The New York Times in a profile of Berkeley College.

Via Techcrunch: “Coding bootcamps commit to transparency in reporting around job placement.” “The effort is being drive by Skills Fund, an Austin-based student lending startup that also has developed its own methodology for quality assurance.”

Via the Indianapolis Business Journal: “The Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee for ITT Educational Services has hired ‘the most feared’ litigators in the nation to help with investigating and prosecuting claims against the former directors and officers of the defunct for-profit school.”

Meanwhile on Campus…


Via Buzzfeed: “Wave Of Bomb Threats Against Jewish Centers Soars To 100 This Year.” A map from ProPublica: “Bomb Threats to Jewish Community Centers and Organizations.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “2 U. of Missouri Students Are Arrested in Connection With ‘Anti-Semitic’ Messages.”

Via the NEA Today: “As Opioid Crisis Alarms Communities, Drug Education Now Starts in Kindergarten.”

“Losing Focus on the Mission: What’s Happening at UMUCby George Kroner.

Via The New York Times: “Healthier Cereals Snare a Spot on New York School Menus.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Hundreds of students at Middlebury College on Thursday chanted and shouted at Charles Murray, the controversial writer whom many accuse of espousing racist ideas, preventing him from giving a public lecture at the college.”

Via The Buffalo News: “Culinary Institute in Falls now at heart of NCCC controversy.” Niagara County Community College “President James P. Klyczek and the college recently faced a federal lawsuit that accused him of misappropriating money to help pay for equipment inside the new center.”

Accreditation and Certification


Via Eater: “Sorry Senator, You Can’t Call Sizzler Training a ‘Business Degree.’”

Go, School Sports Team!


Via the US News & World Report: “Transgender Wrestler Wins Texas Championship for Girls.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Baylor Coach Says of Skeptics: ‘Knock Them Right in the Face’.”

From the HR Department


Via The Register Guard: “UO laying off 75 nontenured faculty in cost-cutting plan, union says.” That’s the University of Oregon for those keeping score.

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Graduate Students Push for Unions at More Private Colleges.”

The Business of Job Placement


Via Edsurge: “What Colleges Should Know About A Growing ‘Talent Strategy’ Push By Companies.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


Via eCampus News: “Is higher ed ready for the big edtech explosion?”

(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


Apple’s Devices Lose Luster in American Classrooms,” according to The New York Times. Luster lost to Chromebooks, apparently.

In other Google and edu news, via The Verge: “White nationalists seem to have manipulated Google search results for ‘Boasian anthropology’.”

Via Education Week: “‘Fake News,’ Media Literacy Become Business Opportunities in Rush to Educate Students.”

Digital storytelling site Cowbird has shut down.

Amazon Web Services suffered a major outage this week, knocking many education companies who use AWS offline. The cause: a typo.

Via The Atlantic: “The STEM Superhero of Sesame Street.” Grover. The only good monster of ed-tech.

Via Education Week: “K–12 Math, Reading Programs Rated on New ‘Evidence for ESSA’ Website.”

We’ve reached “Flipped Learning 3.0,” so that’s exciting.

VR “comes of age,” says Campus Technology.

Via Techcrunch: “Duolingo brings Tinycards to the web.”

Via the press release: “Cengage, McGraw-Hill Education, and Pearson have joined forces with Ingram and Chegg, Inc. to have them adopt and implement a set of Anti-Counterfeit Best Practices designed to address the growing problem of counterfeit print textbooks.” You know what’s actually a growing problem? The price of your “real” textbooks.

Via the BBC: “Watchdog to pursue essay-cheat websites.”

Via Techcrunch: “DARTdrones pitches Shark Tank to build a flight school for drone pilots.”

Via Campus Technology: “New Education Think Tank Debuts, Offering Online News and Research.” It’s called FutureEd. (Related: I don’t understand why folks claim their work is “nonpartisan.” Education is always political. And as Gramsci said, “I believe that living means taking sides. Those who really live cannot help being a citizen and a partisan.”)

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


Via The Guardian: “Education publisher Pearson reports biggest loss in its history.”

Snap IPO’d this week, and while it’s not an education company, there is an education story here. Saint Francis High School invested $15,000 in the company back in 2012. It made about $24 million when Snap went public.

SoFi has raised $500 million in Series F funding from Silver Lake Partners, DCM Ventures, SoftBank, and Third Point Ventures. The student loan company has raised $1.88 billion total.

ResearchGate raised $52.6 million in funding from Wellcome Trust, Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, Four Rivers Group, Ashton Kutcher, LVMH, Xavier Niel, Bill Gates, Benchmark, and Founders Fund. The funding actually occurred in November 2015 but was not disclosed until required by law. Gee, that sounds like a trustworthy company. ResearchGate has raised $87.6 million total.

Nearpod has raised $21 million in Series B funding from Reach Capital, Krillion Ventures, AGP Tech, GSV Acceleration Fund, Storm Ventures, the Stanford-StartX Fund, the Knight Enterprise Fund, Arsenal Ventures, Marc Benioff, Scott Cook, and Signe Ostby. The company, which makes multimedia presentation software, has raised $30.2 million total.

Testing company Examity has raised $21 million from University Ventures and Inherent Group.

CampusLogic has raised $10 million in Series B funding from 4.0 partners. The financial aid management company has raised $17.5 million total.

Regent Education has raised $8.5 million from New Markets Venture Partners, Chrysalis Ventures, and Ares Capital Corporation. The financial aid management company has raised $32.75 million.

Motimatic has raised $3.4 million in Series A funding from University Ventures and New Markets Venture Partners for its “automatic motivational support system.” Robo-motivation, ffs.

Clark, which Techcrunch describes as “an app aiming to ‘turn every educator into an entrepreneur’,” has raised $1 million in seed funding from Human Ventures and Winklevoss Capital.

Udacity has acquired Cloudlabs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Barnes & Noble Education has acquired MBS Textbook Exchange.

I’ve run the numbers on venture capital investments in education for the month of February: $566,950,000.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


Via Motherboard: “Internet of Things Teddy Bear Leaked 2 Million Parent and Kids Message Recordings.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “College Board pilots system to help colleges make admissions decisions about who is disadvantaged – and evidence from one college suggests 20 percent of decisions might be different. But lack of emphasis on race concerns some advocates.” Algorithmic decision making. What could possibly go wrong?

School district boasts it’s giving laptops to migrant students. These sentences are horrifying: “Students will be allowed to take the devices with them when they migrate in or out of state. The devices will be monitored through a tracking system developed for this purpose.”

Via The New York Times: “New York City Will Be Asked to Release More Data on Students.”

Via The MIT Technology Review: “Big Questions Around Facebook’s Suicide-Prevention Tools.”

Via Real Clear Education: “K–12 Predictive Analytics: Time for Better Dropout Diagnosis.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “Students’ worry: education technology might predict failure before they have a chance to succeed.”

Via The Chicago Sun Times: “CPS privacy breach bared confidential student information.”

Beware Edtech’s Equivalent of the Flashlight App” – to my surprise, the story isn’t about how flashlight apps are full of malware, but golly it could be.

More on violating students’ privacy rights in the courts section above.

Data and “Research”


More research on venture capital in ed-tech in the venture capital section above.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “New paper casting doubt about the merits of online education raises concerns, but also questions from researchers who say it is ‘seriously flawed.’” “Deeply flawed,” says Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill. More on the study from The Chronicle of Higher Education. And still more from Hill.

Via NPR: “Parent Alert! Your Child Just Skipped Class” – research on the effectiveness of texting parents about missed class or assignments.

Via Boing Boing: “Psychology journal editor asked to resign for refusing to review papers unless he can see the data.”

Inside Higher Ed on research published in the International Journal for Educational Integrity: “The proliferation of online tools allowing students to paraphrase academic work for their own assignments is facilitating plagiarism, according to the author of new research in the area.”

Inside Higher Ed on research published in the Journal of Vocational Behavior: “Incoming first-year students at Michigan State University who felt a connection with the university during orientation were more likely to fit in and want to stay enrolled at the university, particularly students from ethnic minority groups.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “State-by-State Breakdown of Graduation Rates.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “American Academy of Arts and Sciences makes the case for increasing foreign language learning capacity in a political climate that’s increasingly anti-global.”

Via The Pacific Standard: “If We’re Serious About Early Learning, Here’s How It Should Look.”

“How Brain Scientists Forgot That Brains Have Owners” by Ed Yong.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new report from the Community College Research Center at Teachers College at Columbia University finds that computer-mediated developmental math benefited high school students more than those same courses when taught at Tennessee colleges.”

Via NPR Code Switch: “HBCUs Graduate More Poor Black Students Than White Colleges.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Professors and Politics: What the Research Says.”

Via Campus Technology: “Students Who Comment More in MOOCs Have Higher Rates of Completion.”

“Which Colleges Might Give You The Best Bang For Your Buck?” asks NPR.

Via Campus Technology: “Augmented and Virtual Reality Spending to Double in 2017.”

Via the Council on Foreign Relations: “The Link Between Internet Access and Economic Growth Is Not as Strong as You Think.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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