Education Politics

As if applying for financial aid wasn’t difficult enough already, it appears that the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which pulls tax information into the FAFSA app, “will be unavailable for several weeks.” Great timing, IRS.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Congress, in an effort to limit federal involvement in higher education, has voted to eliminate Obama-era regulations on teacher-preparation programs.”

Via PBS Newshour: “Senate votes to end Obama school accountability rules.”

Via The LA Times: “Trump wants to create a national private school choice program. Here’s how it could work.”

Via NPR: “‘Tax Credit Scholarships,’ Praised By Trump, Turn Profits For Some Donors.”

Via Chalkbeat: “Three months into Tennessee’s first voucher foray, 35 students are enrolled.”

Via NPR: “Trump’s International Policies Could Have Lasting Effects On Higher Ed.”

Via ProPublica: “Meet the Hundreds of Officials Trump Has Quietly Installed Across the Government.” Education Department hires include a venture capitalist, members of the Trump campaign, and a KIPP school founder.

Via Rolling Stone: “Betsy DeVos’ Holy War.”

Via Buzzfeed: “A Surprising Number Of People Say They Have An Opinion About Betsy DeVos In This New Poll.”

An op-ed in Techcrunch by Kadenze co-founder Ajay Kapur: “What Betsy DeVos’ confirmation means for innovation in education.”

The Hechinger Report asks, “What can Betsy DeVos really do?”

Including this news item here as there’s also an “odd” link to Betsy DeVos. Via CNN: “Sources: FBI investigation continues into ‘odd’ computer link between Russian bank and Trump Organization.”

Via eCampus News: “The 2 edtech fields with the most potential under Trump.” (Spoiler alert: “workforce initiatives” and “accountability.” Saved you a click.)

The New York Times on how Trump became “the first Silicon Valley President.”

Via Mashable: “Trump’s favorite techie thinks there should be ‘more open debate’ on global warming.” Trump’s favorite techie is, of course, Peter Thiel.

More about Trump’s immigration policies in a separate section below. And more about Trump and for-profit higher ed policies in the for-profit higher ed section below.

Via The Chicago Tribune: “Chance the Rapper writes $1 million check to CPS as a ‘call to action’.”

“The History of the Future of E-rateby me.

According to the EFF, “A Dangerous California Bill Would Leave Students and Teachers Vulnerable to Intrusive Government Searches.” More on AB 165 from the ACLU, which also opposes the proposed law.

Following up on ProPublica reporting, “Florida to Examine Whether Alternative Charter Schools Underreport Dropouts.”

Via The Register Guard: “The Eugene School Board on Wednesday postponed until March 15 a decision on whether to further restrict information available in student directories, such as a student’s date or place of birth.”

Via Education Week: “The Ohio education department could seek repayment of more than $80 million from nine full-time online schools, based on audits of software-login records that led state officials to determine the schools had overstated their student enrollment.”

Via The Washington Post: “Muslim students tried to meet with a lawmaker. They were first asked: ‘Do you beat your wife?’” The lawmaker in question: Oklahoma State Representative John Bennett.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “177 Private Colleges Fail Education Dept.’s Financial-Responsibility Test.”

Via Teen Vogue: “Virginia and North Carolina Schools to Close on ‘A Day Without a Woman’.”

Via The New Inquiry: “A Women’s Strike Syllabus.”

Immigration and Education

Trump has issued an update to his Muslim ban. Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “New Travel Ban Still Sows Chaos and Confusion.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it is temporarily suspending premium processing of H–1B skilled worker visa applications for up to six months, beginning on April 3.”

Via The New York Times: “A Rush for Birth Certificates, as Immigrants Try to Hold Families Together.”

Also via The New York Times: “Educators Prepare for Immigration Agents at the Schoolhouse.”

Via NPR Code Switch: “Teachers, Parents Struggle To Comfort Children Of Color Fearful Of Targeted Raids.”

Via The Washington Post: “A U.S. citizen is denied college aid – because of her mother’s immigration status.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Republican State Lawmakers Seek to Ban ‘Sanctuary’ Campuses.” That is, legislators in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and Texas.

Education in the Courts

The US Supreme Court will not hear a case regarding a trans high school student’s bathroom options at his high school. The case now goes back to the 4th Circuit Court. That student, the incredible Gavin Grimm wrote an op-ed in The New York Times: “The Fight for Transgender Rights Is Bigger Than Me.”

Via The New York Times: “Trump University Lawsuits May Not Be Closed After All.”

Via the BBC: “Facebook Reports BBC to Police Over Investigation Into Child Sex Images.” More on this story and concerns about how Facebook moderates content via Techcrunch.

Testing, Testing…

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Harvard Law School announced Wednesday that it will start an experiment in which it will accept the Graduate Record Examination for admissions, not just the traditionally required Law School Admission Test.”

Via The Denver Post: “Colorado juniors face new, revamped college exam in SAT after state dumps rival ACT.”

Via The Washington Post: “ School offers ‘incentives’ to get kids to take Common Core standardized test.”

Via Chalkbeat: “Data shows Indiana students are taking AP exams, but half aren’t passing them.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Tressie McMillan Cottom on The Daily Show. Tressie McMillan Cottom’s new book on for-profit higher ed reviewed by The New York Times.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Dream Center Foundation, a religious missionary organization based in Los Angeles, plans to buy EDMC, a struggling for-profit chain that enrolls 65,000 students. The resulting nonprofit college group will be secular.” “I Honestly Don’t Get This,” “Dean Dad” Matt Reed writes in response.

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Trump Administration Delays Enforcement of Obama-Era Rules on For-Profit Colleges.” The “gainful employment” rules, that is.

Via ProPublica: “These For-Profit Schools Are ‘Like a Prison’.” The schools are run by Camelot Education.

More on the for-profit “school” Trump University in the courts section above. More on HR changes at UofP in the HR section below.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

An op-ed in Forbes by University Ventures’ Ryan Craig: “Make Online Education Great (For The First Time).”

Via The Financial Times: “Coursera chief on the future of online learning and the Trump era.”

New Nanodegrees from Udacity: Digital Marketing and Robotics.

More on the politics of online education in the politics section above.

Meanwhile on Campus…

The Atlantic profiles “The Violent Fight for Higher Education” in South Africa.

Via The Washington Post: “‘Unprecedented effort’ by ‘white supremacists’ to recruit and target college students, group claims.”

Speaking of which, so many “takes” this week about protests at a talk by Charles Murray at Middlebury College.

Via The Mercury News: “A conservative student organization, fighting for a toe-hold of official recognition in the liberal Bay Area, scored a victory at Santa Clara University where a vice provost overturned a student senate decision and granted a charter to Turning Point USA.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Here’s a Roundup of the Latest Campus-Climate Incidents Early in the Trump Presidency.”

Via The New York Times: “Campus Backlash After Leaders of Black Colleges Meet With Trump.”

“Starting March 15, the university will begin removing more than 20,000 video and audio lectures from public view as a result of a Justice Department accessibility order,” reports Inside Higher Ed. That’s UC Berkeley. David Kernohan responds. (Here’s a story I wrote a couple of years ago about the history of webcasting at Berkeley.)

Via The LA Times: “Inside Celerity charter school network, questionable spending and potential conflicts of interest abound.”

Via CBC News: “Ottawa teacher sent home after cutting hair of 7-year-old boy with autism.”

Via The New York Times: “College Student Suffers Severe Reaction After Hazing Involving Peanut Butter.”

Via The Guardian: “Sexual harassment ‘at epidemic levels’ in UK universities.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Northwestern U. Is Accused of Violating Academic Freedom.”

Via The Mercury News: “University of California proposes first enrollment cap on out-of-state students.”

Via The New York Times: “Years of Ethics Charges, but Star Cancer Researcher Gets a Pass.” The researcher in question, Carlo Croce from Ohio State University.

Go, School Sports Team!

“Why Sports and Elite Academics Do Not Mix” according to The Atlantic’s Jonathan R. Cole.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “In December, an association representing the country’s top athletics directors created a political action committee. It joins the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s own lobbying efforts, which have more than doubled in the past five years.”

From the HR Department

“Head of Savannah College of Art and Design was the top-paid college leader in 2014,” says The Wall Street Journal. She made $9.6 million.

Timothy Slottow, the president of the University of Phoenix, will step down.

Via GeekWire: “Amazon Education GM leaves; company says it ‘remains committed’ to K–12 technology.” That’s Rohit Agarwal, founder of TenMarks, a math startup that Amazon acquired in 2013.

Via The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss: “Head of DeVos-founded group resigns after saying he wanted to ‘shake’ an official ‘like I like to shake my wife’.” That’s the Great Lakes Education Project and executive director Gary Naeyaert.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A National Labor Relations Board office rejected Columbia University‘s objections to a recent graduate employee union election Monday, recommending that United Auto Workers be certified as the students’ collective bargaining representative.”

“Graduate student employees at Duke University on Tuesday withdrew their petition to form a union affiliated with Service Employees International Union,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “President of Morehouse College Has Not Been Ousted, It Says.”

The Business of Job Training

An op-ed in Techcrunch by University Ventures’ Ryan Craig: “Blame bad applicant tracking for the soft skills shortage at your company.”


Via Deadspin: “Five-Year-Old Set To Become Youngest-Ever Contestant At National Spelling Bee.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Via Education Dive: “Can this Montessori’s AltSchool partnership help scale the model?”

(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

Remember the Thiel Fellows? Here’s a puff piece from Business Insider on what “some of the most successful” ones are up to these days.

Via The Outline: “Google’s featured snippets are worse than fake news.”

“How ‘News Literacy’ Gets the Web Wrong” by Mike Caulfield.

Via The Guardian: “Essays for sale: the booming online industry in writing academic work to order.”

John Deasy, former LAUSD Superintendent, is heading a new education publication, The Line – it has a corporate backer, Frontline Education.

“What’s the problem with competency based education?” asks Graham Attwell.

“When Social Media Assignments Increase Risks for Vulnerable Students” by Monica Bulger and Jade E. Davis.

“I learned how to do math with the ancient abacus – and it changed my life,” says Ulrich Boser.

Offering “modules” in an LMS is, apparently, newsworthy.

USA Funds is changing its name to Strada Education Network.

Techcrunch profiles a tutoring company: “Tutoring startup Toot launches into twin policy storms around education and immigration.”

Also via Techcrunch: “Parental control serviceCircle with Disney’ to help with distracted driving, social media, kids’ chores & more.”

Also via Techcrunch: “Current wants to digitize your kid’s allowance with an app and a debit card.”

(Do note: startups selling to parents, rather than startups selling to schools.)

Via Campus Technology: “Johns Hopkins U Website Ranks K-12 Reading, Math Programs Under ESSA Standards.”

I’ve carved off all the “upgrades” and “downgrades” and press releases from SXSWedu into their own category, below.

Dispatches from SXSWedu

Keynotes from Sara Goldrick-Rab and Christopher Emdin.

Via EdWeek Market Brief: “SXSWedu Speakers Break Down Ed-Tech Market Activity Around the Globe.”

Also via EdWeek Market Brief: “Startup Founder Offers Peek Inside Venture Capital Dealmaking at SXSWedu.”

Via The 74: “South by Southwest Education: 10 New Ed Tech Startups About to Grab the Spotlight in Austin.”

Via Campus Technology: “Quizlet Debuts Study Feature That Helps Students Study Efficiently.”

“At #SXSWEdu @TFerriss Espouses The Virtues of Discomfort. Then This Happened,” says Lisa Nielsen. The “this” that happened was an angry response from the audience to Tim Ferriss’ talk, particularly from teacher Derek Breen.

Via Edsurge: “Startup Showdown: Recruiting Startup ‘The Whether’ Takes Home Launch Competition Prize.”

Via SXSWedu: “At SXSWedu, ‘Mastery-Based’ Lessons Touted as Option for Equity.”

Via Edsurge: “Is Edtech Worsening or Righting Inequities in Education? From the SXSWedu Floor.” I can’t think of a better place to ask that question than a corporate event, can you.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

“New study raises concerns about impact of automated social media advocacy on education coverage,” says Alexander Russo. Robots hate the Common Core.

Via Reuters: “Amazon deepens university ties in artificial intelligence race.”

Via The Washington Post: “How millions of kids are being shaped by know-it-all voice assistants.”

Via Techcrunch: “Disney Research has robots matching verbal styles with kids.”

Via PC Magazine: “Researchers Show Off ‘Mind-Reading’ Robot.”

Via Big Tomorrow: “Imagining an AI-First Student Experience.”

Via Motherboard: “Could AI Replace Student Testing?” (Clearly this story could also go in the “Betteridge’s Law of Headlines” section.)

“‘Artificial Intelligence’ Has Become Meaningless,” says Ian Bogost.

Via Quartz: “So long, banana-condom demos: Sex and drug education could soon come from chatbots.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

Google is acquiring machine learning contest site Kaggle. (Kaggle hosted the robo-essay-grading competition, sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation.)

Grading platform Kiddom has raised $6.5 million from Khosla Ventures. Edsurge notes the deal was led by Keith Rabois, does not note the allegations of sexual harassment against Rabois that prompted him to resign from Square in 2013 or the 1992 incident at Stanford where Rabois allegedly hurled anti-gay insults at a professor. Another great investor for the future of education technology!

An op-ed in Techcrunch by University Ventures co-founder Daniel Pianko: “Rethinking return on education investment.”

Via The New York Times: “Valuation Shell Game: Silicon Valley’s Dirty Secret.”

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via the Office of Inadequate Security: “University of Georgia student and employee data found in data dump.”

Via the AP: “ Phishing Scam Hits Connecticut School District, Again.” That’s Groton Public Schools, which the AP helpfully informs us is pronounced GRAH’-tuhn.

Via “Data Breach At Public School Board.” The board in question: the Greater Essex County District School Board.

Via the CBC: “The University of Moncton says a ninth malicious email was sent to the campus community Thursday night, reaching almost 2,000 students and staff.” The president of the university calls this “cyber terrorism.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “When using data to predict outcomes, consider the ethical dilemmas, new report urges.”

The Guardian on Cambridge Analytica and the “misuse of data in politics.” More on Cambridge Analytica in The New York Times.

There’s more about the politics of data in the politics section above.

Data and “Research”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study details tool to help professors measure how much active learning is happening in their classrooms.” It records the voices in a classroom, which seems like a huge privacy violation to me but hey. How else could we possibly tell if there’s “active learning” happening?!

Via Education Week: “New Database Helps Connect Education Researchers, Schools.” It’s called the National Education Researcher Database or NERD.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Regular drinking isn’t associated with meaningfully lower GPAs, study finds, but those who use alcohol and marijuana do see a decline.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Highest Representation of Racial and Ethnic Groups at Liberal-Arts Colleges, Fall 2015.”

“A new study examines how six adult-serving institutions are defining and using alternative credentials such as badges, noncredit certificates and those issued for successful completion of MOOCs or coding and skills boot camps,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via Campus Technology: “Report: iPad, Mac Use Growing in Higher Ed.” iPad use?! Seriously?!

Via Futuresource Consulting: “US K–12 Education Digital Management Platforms & Tools Market to Grow at a CAGR of 4.5% to 2020, to Reach $1.83 Billion.” (I had to google “CAGR” – it’s “compound annual growth rate” in case, like me, you weren’t a business major.)

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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