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The Trump Budget


This “skinny budget” is ridiculously cruel. More guns. Less butter. While it’s unlikely to be accepted by Congress, it does show Trump’s priorities.

Secretary of Education Betsy "DeVos says Trump education budget ‘places power in the hands of parents and families’," Michigan Live reports. DeVos’s statement from the Department of Education Press Office.

According to the White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, “Proposed cuts to Meals on Wheels are compassionate to taxpayers.”

What’s in the budget, other than this sort of “compassion”?

$9.2 billion cut from the Department of Education’s budget. (That’s 13.5%.)

$1.4 billion to expand vouchers.

Cuts to work study. Via Inside Higher Ed: “Many experts on the program agree it needs changing with a greater emphasis on low-income students. But few agree that the large cut being sought by the Trump administration will help.”

Cuts to the Pell Grant program. Via Inside Higher Ed: “By taking about a third of the program’s multi-billion-dollar surplus and cutting other college access programs, [advocates for low-income students] assert, the new administration would jeopardize Pell’s long-term sustainability and harm the prospects of low-income students.”

Cuts to after-school programs. Via The Washington Post: “Trump budget casualty: After-school programs for 1.6 million kids. Most are poor.” Mulvaney said Thursday that “services intended to help feed hungry students in order to improve their academic performance deserve to be cut because proof of that progress has not materialized.”

Cuts to the NIH and research at the Energy Department. Via Inside Higher Ed: “Trump Seeks Deep Cuts in Education and Science.”

The elimination of funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service, which finances programs run by AmeriCorps. The elimination of funding for 18 other independent agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

“The Real Cost of Abolishing the National Endowment for the Artsby The Atlantic’s Sophie Gilbert. (Spoiler alert: rural and underserved communities are the most affected.)

The Chronicle of Higher Education on “What Trump’s Budget Outline Would Mean for Higher Ed.”

EdWeek’s Market Brief on “Implications for K–12 Companies in Trump’s Big Proposed Cuts to Ed. Spending.”

Education Week’s Sarah Sparks on the future for education research in light of these proposed budget cuts.

Elsewhere in Education Politics


“A Fumble on a Key Fafsa Tool, and a Failure to Communicate” by Susan Dynarski.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Student aid advocates and financial aid administrators say shutdown of IRS data retrieval tool has consequences beyond the FAFSA process.”

“Online Tool to Apply for College Aid Was Taken Down Due to ‘Criminal Activity’,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Top leaders of the congressional education committees from both parties wrote to Betsy DeVos, the U.S. secretary of education, Thursday to get answers on the ‘cause and scope’ of this month’s shutdown of a financial aid data tool by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, which cited the vulnerability of student data to identity thieves.”

Via Politico: “The nation’s governors say they’re ‘concerned’ the Trump administration’s new guide for crafting state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act doesn’t prioritize outreach to a variety of groups and individuals, like civil rights advocates, parents and state lawmakers.”

More on the politics of accreditation in the accreditation section below.

Via Business Insider: “There’s a huge catch if the federal government forgives your student debt.” The amount of debt that’s canceled is taxable. Saved you a click.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “An Uncertain Future for Higher Education’s Federal ‘Cop on the Beat’.” That’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which I wouldn’t describe that way, but hey.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Trump administration on Thursday withdrew 2015 guidance issued by the Obama administration that barred student loan guarantee agencies from charging collection fees to defaulted borrowers who start repaying their loans quickly.” (Surely this has nothing to do with DeVos' stake in debt collection companies.)

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Trump Officials Are Learning How Hard It Is to Sell $1 Billion of Their Assets.” This includes, of course, billionaire Betsy DeVos.

Via The LA School Report: “Report card time for schools: California Dashboard goes live today, but some find it impossible to navigate.”

“California Youth in Detention and Foster Care Deserve Internet Access,” writes the EFF in support of A.B. 811, a California bill that would establish the right to computer technology.

Via The Atlantic: “California’s Plan to Eliminate Student Debt.”

“What Can Florida Teach Us About School Choice?” asks The Pacific Standard.

Via Politico: “Education Department beachhead hire Kevin Eck has drawn the wrath of ‘Star Wars’ star Mark Hamill, legendary for his role as Luke Skywalker. As CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski noted on Twitter Tuesday, Eck, who is now a special assistant to Secretary DeVos, tweeted last November that Hamill should ‘stick to playing Han Solo’s short little b—-’ after Hamill tweeted criticism of the Trump administration.”


Immigration and Education


“A federal judge on Wednesday rejected the White House’s second effort to impose a travel ban that colleges have said would damage their appeal to international students and scholars but that President Trump has defended as necessary to protect the nation from terrorism,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Via Reuters: “Apple, Google, Facebook skip legal challenge to new travel ban.”

Via The Nation: “ICE Relents and Releases DREAMer Daniela Vargas.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Where Will the Government Look for Thousands of New Border Agents? On College Campuses.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Four in 10 colleges are seeing drops in applications from international students amid pervasive concerns that the political climate might keep them away.”

Education in the Courts


Via Education International: “In an attempt to silence Kenyan teacher union leader Wilson Sossion, Bridge International Academies have threatened him with legal action for exposing its activities undermining the attainment of inclusive and equitable quality education for all.” Last year, the Ugandan government decreed that company’s schools be shut down because they failed to meet education and sanitation requirements; Kenyan courts have also ordered the schools to close. (Investors in this education startup include the Gates Foundation, Learn Capital, and the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative.)

Via CNN: “Mississippi school district ends segregation fight.”

A fairly typical Valerie Strauss story/headline: “ A Florida court decision about third-graders and testing falls ‘on the side of stupid’.”

More court cases in the sports section below.

Testing, Testing…


Via ABC News: “Test meant to screen teachers instead weeded out minorities.” Via The New York Times: “Regents Drop Teacher Literacy Test Seen as Discriminatory.”

NoRedInk Adds New Exercises to Prepare Students for ACT, SAT,” says Edsurge. (Disclosure alert.)

“Free College”


“Can California Pull Off Debt-Free College?” asks The Pacific Standard.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


The Chronicle of Higher Education profiles DeVry: “A For-Profit-College Company Embraces Its Technology-Focused Past and Its Evolving Future.”

Via ProPublica: “For-Profit Colleges Gain Beachhead in Trump Administration.” Taylor Hansen, for-profit university lobbyist has joined the Department of Education.

Via AZ Central: “Arizona Summit Law School moves to affiliate with a private, nonprofit university.” That’s Bethune-Cookman University.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Big for-profit American Public now offers competency-based undergraduate degrees that don’t rely on the credit-hour standard, but federal aid isn't part of the mix, for now.”

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


“A Corporate Learning Revolution” – a Coursera webinar. (Are MOOCs webinars? Are webinars now MOOCs?)

Via Class Central: “FutureLearn’s New Pricing Model Limits Access to Course Content After the Course Ends.”

Also via Class Central: “MéxicoX: Meet the MOOC Platform Funded by the Mexican Government.”

Via Campus Technology: “edX Retiring Original MIT Circuits and Electronics Course.”

VCU’s Jon Becker writes “More about online learning in Virginia.”

“Institutions say they will not follow in Berkeley’s footsteps and delete publicly available educational content,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Meanwhile on Campus…


Via Mic: “5th grade NJ students asked to make slave auction posters for history assignment.”

Via Caged Bird: “White Howard University Professor Holds Mock Slave Auction.”

Mark Zuckerberg visited North Carolina A&T State University on Monday, and the Gizmodo headline pretty much sums it up: “Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of a One Percent Black Company, Spoke to Black Students About ‘Diversity’.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Everyone Please Take This Very Wholesome Survey So Mrs. Porter’s Second-Grade Class Can Learn About Graphs.” (Actually, I bet at this stage Mrs. Porter’s class hopes you do not take the survey.)

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Characteristics of Colleges That Raised the Most in Private Donations, FY 2016.”

Via The Atlantic: “Why One University Is Sharing the Risk on Student Debt.” The university in question: Purdue.

Via USA Today’s Greg Toppo: “Charter schools’ ‘thorny’ problem: Few students go on to earn college degrees.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How Silicon Valley Exploits Students and Their Universities” – “Musk’s Hyperloop Pod Competition, run by his company SpaceX, is just the latest, trendiest example of Silicon Valley’s increased efforts to unite the student workers of the world together into a labor force it does not need to pay.”

It’s 2017 and we’re still writing stories about how students are distracted by technology.

Accreditation and Certification


Via the Sunshine State News: “Marco Rubio Renews Effort to Reform Higher Ed Accreditation.”

Badges, Proof and Pathways” by Doug Belshaw.

Via Inside Story: “In praise of credentialism.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Southern New Hampshire University will offer competency-based degrees to federal employees through its College for America, the university announced this week.”

Go, School Sports Team!


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “2 Former Penn State Officials Plead Guilty in Sandusky Case.”

Via ProPublica: “Nothin’ but Debt: Which NCAA Tournament Schools Give Low-Income Students the Best Shot?”

From the HR Department


The Verge on layoffs (and a pivot) at the annotation startup Genius: “Brain Drain.”

Contests and Competitions


Via NPR: “As Braille Literacy Declines, Reading Competitions Held To Boost Interest.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


“Are online preschools signaling the future of education?” asks eSchool News.

“Are Teenagers Replacing Drugs With Smartphones?” asks The New York Times.

“Does Nonresident Tuition Show that Privatization Works?” asks Chris Newfield.

(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


How long ’til some ed-tech company markets this as anti-cheating tech?


“Why Ed Tech Will Fail to Transform Education (for Now),” Michael Feldstein argues.

“We can teach women to code, but that just creates another problem,” says Miriam Posner.

“Why Are Asian Americans Missing From Our Textbooks?” asks The Pacific Standard.

Antigonish 2.0

Blockchain startup LBRY has made a copy of the course content that UC Berkeley pulled offline due to a lack of ADA compliance. The content was licensed CC-BY-NC, underscoring how companies seem to interpret “non-commercial” in some pretty odd ways. What would be nice, I’d say, instead of profiting off this material as a marketing ploy, would be to make it ADA compliant. That’s how you benefit the community.

Via The Verge: “When your child’s favorite YouTube celebrity is a secret racist.”

In other Google news, Google now allows anyone to use Google Classroom, even those without a GAFE account. I wonder about how data collection works with this. (Well, actually, I can guess…)

“Problems with Personalized Learningby Dan Meyer.

“CZI Takes Over Building Summit Learning Platform,” Edsurge reports. CZI stands for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The Summit Learning Platform is the learning management system that Facebook had been building for the Summit Public Schools charter chain.

UNESCO on “Media and Information Literacy.”

Via the Business Daily Africa: “Techie rakes in cash selling online exam papers to schools.”

Tele-instruction has become the emerging tool in higher education for teaching and learning models,” says Education Dive. “Tele-instruction.”

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


“In the future there will be mindclones,” says Techcrunch, which I’m sure is never ever wrong about the future.

Via the MIT Technology Review: “The Entrepreneur with the $100 Million Plan to Link Brains to Computers.”

Via The Next Web: “How Artificial Intelligence enhances education.”

“What Does it Mean to Prepare Students For a Future With Artificial Intelligence?” asks Edsurge.

Via The Atlantic: “Training Students to Outpace Automation.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


CareDox has raised $6.4 million in Series A funding from Digitalis Ventures, First Round Capital, Giza Venture Capital, TEXO Ventures, and Prolog Ventures. The startup, which sells an electronic health record system to schools, has raised $13.54 million total.

NeoStencil has raised $1 million from Brand Capital and Paragon Trust. The online education company has raised $1.06 million total.

I read the Backchannel story “Now We Know Why Microsoft Bought LinkedIn” and I still don’t know why Microsoft bought LinkedIn. Because Reid Hoffman, I guess?

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


Via Stat: “House Republicans would let employers demand workers’ genetic test results.”

“How Should We Address the Cybersecurity Threats Facing K–12 Schools?” asks Doug Levin.

Via Techcrunch: “Teen quiz app Wishbone hacked, users’ emails and phone numbers exposed.”

Via the Office of Inadequate Security: “Victims of W–2 phishing scams (2017 list).”

Via KrisTV.com: “School administrators fall victim to possible scam.” Administrators with Ben Bolt I.S.D. in Texas, that is.

And the phishing attacks on schools spread to the UK. Via Schools Week: “Ofsted email scam asks people to ‘confirm’ Paypal details.”

Data and “Research”


Via The Economist: “Tests suggest the methods of neuroscience are left wanting.”

Educational attainment in the US, mapped.

Via Gizmodo: “Report Shows AT&T Ignores Poor Neighborhoods in Cleveland.”

Via Edutechnica: “LMS Data – Spring 2017 Updates.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “An analysis of new student loan data finds the number of federal loans in default at the end of 2016 increased 14 percent from 2015.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Two analysts at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public-policy organization in Washington, D.C., have … concluded that colleges with more-affluent students are disproportionately unwelcoming to free speech.” Many methodological flaws. Much confirmation bias.

Via Education Dive: “New research from University of South Florida vice president of economic development Paul Sanberg suggests that colleges and universities should be more aggressive in developing startup projects on and around campus, which can lead to great gains in revenue and positive development of institutions.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new study from the University of California, Riverside, shows that student veterans attending rural community colleges struggle with integrating into campus communities.”

Via Campus Technology: “Institutions Tap Student-Level Data to Improve Learning.” That’s according to analysis from the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities and the Institution for Higher Education Policy.

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Market for PCs in the U.S. Is Growing, But Global Sales Take a Hit.”

“Who lost the most marks when cheating was stopped?” asks the BBC.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Institutional costs per degree at California’s two public four-year higher education systems dropped by almost one-fifth from 1987 to 2013, according to a new report from the Public Policy Institute of California.”

Via the BBC: “Graduates aren’t skilled enough, say employers.”

Via ProPublica: “Debt by Degrees – Which Colleges Help Poor Students Most?”

Via The Hechinger Report: “Study: Half or more of community college students struggle to afford food, housing.”

Via The Guardian: “Teachers must ditch ‘neuromyth’ of learning styles, say scientists.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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