Education Politics

“Former Lobbyist With For-Profit Colleges Quits Education Department,” ProPublica reports. That’s Taylor Hansen who was a lobbyist for Career Education Colleges and Universities. He’s the son of Bill Hansen, the son of USA Funds, another student loan guarantee agency, Inside Higher Ed notes.

Via The New York Times: “Betsy DeVos’s Hiring of For-Profit College Official Raises Impartiality Issues.” That’s Robert Eitel, a lawyer for Bridgepoint Education, a for-profit that recently settled with the federal government over charges of deceptive student lending.

Via The Atlantic: “Trump Reverses Obama-Era Protections on Student Debt.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Two debt collectors said in separate statements this week that they will not assess collection fees on defaulted student loan borrowers who quickly enter repayment, despite new guidance from the Department of Education.” That’s the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and TG.

Via PR Watch: “Betsy DeVos Ethics Report Reveals Ties to Student Debt Collection Firm.” That’s Performant Financial Co for those keeping track of who’s charging fees on student loan repayments.

Via Wired: “The Senate Prepares to Send Internet Privacy Down a Black Hole.”

Via The New York Times: “School Choice Fight in Iowa May Preview the One Facing Trump.”

Via The Atlantic: “How Betsy DeVos Could End the School-Integration Comeback.”

Representative Glenn Grothman (R-WI) claimed during a hearing before the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development that Pell Grants discourage marriage. He also suggested low-income students spend their financial aid on “goodies and electronics.” Vote these assholes out.

Via Edsurge: “How Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s iZone Went from ‘Cool’ to Cold.”

“A Public University Mends Fences With Its State” – that’s UW Madison mending fences with the state of Wisconsin. Mended fences according to The Chronicle of Higher Education at least.

“How Budget Battles Are Stacked Against Higher Education,” according to The Pacific Standard.

Via WBEZ News: “Chicago After-School Programs Face Axe Under Trump’s Budget.”

The state of New Jersey is poised to pass a bill that would cap public university speaker fees at $10,000. “The Snooki bill” is a response to $32,000 that the Jersey Shore star received from Rutgers in 2011.

Via The Sacramento Bee: “Lawmaker wants tuition-free college in California by taxing millionaires.”

Via The Washington Post: “ Is your school worth one star or five? D.C. officials approve new rating system.”

More on how the IER, the Department of Education’s research arm, fails to protect student data in the infosec section below.

Racism, Immigration, and Education

Via The USA Today: “Kids on winning robotics team told, ‘Go back to Mexico’.” The kids were from Pleasant Run Elementary School in Indianapolis.

Via The New York Times: “Amid ‘Trump Effect’ Fear, 40% of Colleges See Dip in Foreign Applicants.”

Education in the Courts

Via NPR: “The Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of A Special Education Student,” ruling 8–0 in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. “Supreme Court sets higher bar for education of students with disabilities,” says The Washington Post. More via The New York Times.

Via The Atlantic: “An Israeli American Teen Has Been Arrested in the JCC Bomb Threats Case.”

Via Chalkbeat: “After explosive allegations of anti-union intimidation, KIPP files a federal lawsuit against the UFT.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Princeton University filed a lawsuit against the Education Department on Friday in an effort to stop the release of hundreds of pages of documents that would reveal some of the university’s private admissions procedures.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education on the opening day of the trial of Graham Spanier, the former Penn State president for his role in ignoring the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal. And The Chronicle of Higher Education on the trial’s closing arguments.

“Free College”

Free college didn’t die with the Clinton campaign. It’s just getting started,” says The Hechinger Report’s Jon Marcus.

More on legislation relating to free college in the politics section above.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via Politico: “The cost to taxpayers of the implosion of ITT Tech last fall has so far exceeded $141 million, according to court documents filed last week by attorneys representing the Education Department in the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings of the now-defunct for-profit college giant.”

“How to Con Black Law Students: A Case Study” – Elie Mystal in The New York Times on a partnership between the HBCU Bethune-Cookman and the for-profit Arizona Summit Law School. Tressie McMillan Cottom weighs in.

Predator Colleges May Thrive Again,” says The New York Times Editorial Board.

More on for-profit lobbyists who’ve been hired by the Department of Education in the education politics section above.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

Coursera Removes Biometric Identity Verification Using Keystroke Matching,” Class Central reports.

An update on Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng’s employment status in the HR section below.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy reports on Camelot Education – “Inside all of Camelot’s publicly funded schools, security, order, and behavior modification take precedence over academics.”

Also via Buzzfeed, which does some of the best education reporting around right now: “A Former Student Says UC Berkeley’s Star Philosophy Professor Groped Her And Watched Porn At Work.” The accused: John R. Searle.

“Who Gets a Bathroom Pass? The History of School Bathroomsby Jennifer Borgioli Binis.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “U of Maryland University College pursues a strategy of spinning off units into stand-alone companies, seeking financial gain for itself and affordable tuition rates for its students.”

Via The Washington Post: “The heartbreaking reason some schools never seem to grant snow days.”

Via The Guardian: “Boston public schools map switch aims to amend 500 years of distortion.” Bye, Mercator.

Via Google’s blog: “Howard University opens a new campus at the Googleplex.” It’s a three-month summer program with classes taught by Google engineers and Howard faculty.

Via The Washington Post: “Rick Perry challenges election of Texas A&M’s first gay student body president, says it was ‘stolen’ in ‘name of diversity’.” Because clearly all is well with the US nuclear arsenal and there’s nothing else the Secretary of Energy should be fussing about.

Trump Will Deliver Keynote Address at Liberty U. Commencement,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via The New York Times: “CUNY to Revamp Remedial Programs, Hoping to Lift Graduation Rates.”

Bryan Alexander looks at the shift of Aquinas College and its shift away from offering liberal arts undergraduate degrees and back towards being a “normal school.”

“Universities are changing their business model,” Microsoft’s Ray Fleming claims. Something about unbundling.

Via The New York Times: “How the Depressed Find Solace on Yik Yak, Believe It or Not.”

Another (typical) NYT story: “Where Halls of Ivy Meet Silicon Dreams, a New City Rises.” NYU. Cornell. Columbia.

And The NYT strikes again: “How Colleges Can Admit Better Students,” writes Devin Pope. Me, I’d rather see colleges better support the students they already have.

Accreditation and Certification

“Despite the buzz, competency-based education remains a challenging market for software vendors,” says Inside Higher Ed.

MissionU Says It Can Replace Traditional College With a One-Year Program,” Edsurge’s Jeffrey Young writes. The founder, of course, has a degree from an Ivy League school. MissionU seems like a pretty raw deal with its plan to take a cut of participants’ income. An even rawer deal: not having a (prestigious) higher ed degree when you’re not affluent, white, male. Paging Tressie McMillan Cottom.

In other news of white men with degrees arguing that folks don’t really need degrees: “Independent study, a replacement for college” by Larry Sanger. Sanger, the co-founder of Wikipedia, has a PhD incidentally.

That these sorts of stories still make headlines should prompt us to think about why and to whom credentialing matters. Via Buzzfeed: “This Biotech CEO Doesn’t Have A PhD, But He Did Leave School Under A Cloud.” That’s Gabriel Otte, ceo of Freenome, which is backed by the dukes of due diligent, Andreessen Horowitz.

Go, School Sports Team!

More on the trial of former Penn State president Graham Spanier in the courts section above.

From the HR Department

Via the MIT Technology Review: “Andrew Ng Is Leaving Baidu in Search of a Big New AI Mission.” Ng is, of course, the co-founder of the MOOC startup Coursera.

Sara Schapiro, co-founder of Digital Promise, is the new education VP at PBS.

HR news as “fake news.” Via “Superintendent: I’m a consultant for fed govt. Feds: We’ve never heard of this guy.” This story is something.


Via The New York Times: “Mary Maples Dunn, Advocate of Women's Colleges, Dies at 85.”

Via Chalkbeat: “William Sanders, pioneer of controversial value-added model for judging teachers, dies.”

Contests and Awards

Maggie MacDonnell is the winner of the Varkey Foundation’s Global Teacher Prize.

More on racism at a robotics competition in the immigration section above.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

“Could blockchain tech make the registrar’s office obsolete?” asks Education Dive.

“ Can Silicon Valley’s autocrats save democracy?” asks the Idaho Press.

“Will Dropping the LSAT Requirement Create More Miserable Lawyers?” asks The New York Times.

(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 Verge: “Google built a new app so your kids can have a Google account, too.” This app is gross on so many levels – surveillance, privacy, data collection, behavior modification. pledges $50 million over the next two years to support “organizations that use technology and innovation to help more children get a better education.” Edsurge covers one of them, Learning Equality, which makes educational videos and textbooks available offline.

Via Techcrunch: “The 52 startups that launched at Y Combinator W17 Demo Day 1.” And via Techcrunch: “All 51 startups that debuted at Y Combinator W17 Demo Day 2.” Honestly, I can’t even bear to look.

“Julia, A Muppet With Autism, Joins The Cast Of ‘Sesame Street’,” NPR reports. More on Julia from disability rights journalist David Perry.

More on UC Berkeley and publicly accessible video content. Via Phil Hill on the e-Literate blog: “Clarifications On UC Berkeley’s Accessibility Decision To Restrict Video Access.” A follow-up to the blockchain startup LBRY’s claims last week that it had rescued the videos from Mike Caulfield. “What is LBRY and what does it mean for education?” asks Bryan Alexander. Well, they’re the kind of folks who would retweet a story from William Kristol’s Weekly Standard, one that calls the ADA and Berkeley’s decision part of the “grievance industrial complex.” So they can fuck right off, IMHO.

Via the MIT Technology Review: “Controlling VR with Your Mind.”

VR makes a big classroom impact,” Education Dive claims.

More on how VR makes women puke in the research section below.

“A Continuum on Personalized Learning: First Draft” by Stanford professor Larry Cuban.

Via Nature: “Gates Foundation announces open-access publishing venture.”

TechDirt on ResearchGate: “Bill Gates And Other Major Investors Put $52.6 Million Into Site Sharing Unauthorized Copies Of Academic Papers.”

One of the resources I use to pull together this list of education stories has been RealClear Education. But I have to note that since the election (perhaps since editor Andrew Rotherham left for The 74) is has taken a hard, hard turn to the conspiracy-theory right. One headline it curated this week: “Colleges May Break IRS Rules With Trump-Hating” from The Washington Times (a conservative paper owned by “the Moonies”). Another headline, this one from the LA Daily News: “The Hate Group That Incited Middlebury College Melee.” That “hate group”? The Southern Poverty Law Center. (FWIW, if you’re looking for a good source of curated headlines, particularly about digital access and digital security, I recommend Doug Levin’s “A Thinking Person’s Guide to EdTech News.”)

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

“By 2030 students will be learning from robots,” the World Economic Forum claims. Hopefully it’s not the robots that power Google’s search algorithm. (See the upgrades/downgrades section above.)

“Living with an AI: A Glimpse Into The Future” by The Scholarly Kitchen’s David Smith.

More on AI expert Andrew Ng in the HR section above.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

MakeBlock has raised $30 million in Series B funding from Evolution Media Capital and Shenzhen Capital Group. The robotics company has raised $36.03 million total.

WayUp has raised $18.5 million in Series B funding from Trinity Ventures, Axel Springer, BoxGroup, CAA Ventures, Female Founders Fund, General Catalyst, Index Ventures, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, OurCrowd-GCai, and SV Angel. The startup, which offers a job placement marketplace for college students has raised $27.47 million total.

Pear Deck has raised $4 million from Growth Street Partners, Hyde Park Venture Partners, and Village Capital. The presentation software startup has raised $5.15 million total.

Tutoring company Nactus has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Sandeep Aggarwal, Gautam Chhaochharia, and R Balachandar.

Education Brands has acquired Ravenna Solutions.

Testing companies Taskstream and Tk20 are merging.

Rethink Education and Southern New Hampshire University have launched a $15 million seed fund to invest in ed-tech startups. Here’s the SNHU press release.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via Krebs on Security: “Student Aid Tool Held Key for Tax Fraudsters.” This is an update on the FAFSA / IRS tool.

Via the Go to Hellman blog: “Reader Privacy for Research Journals is Getting Worse.”

Via The Register Guard: “Virus possibly exposes Lane Community College data.” Specifically, data from its health clinic.

Via The Hechinger Report: “Schools collect reams of data, inspiring a move to make sense of it all.” (Or! Or! You could not collect it if you don’t need it.)

Via Education Week: “With Hacking in Headlines, K–12 Cybersecurity Ed. Gets More Attention.”

Internet of Things could have eventual data-collection impact on K–12,” says Education Dive.

Via the AP: “Google Maps already tracks you; now other people can, too.”

Via Education Week: “The U.S. Department of Education’s office of inspector general has released an audit sharply critiquing the Institute of Education Sciences’ security screenings for federal education contractors.”

Data and “Research”

Placement rates, other data colleges provide consumers are often alternative facts,” says The Hechinger Report.

“Do After-School Programs Positively Impact Children?” asks The Atlantic. “Proponents of President Trump’s budget say no. Their evidence may be faulty.”

Via NPR: “Kids Who Suffer Hunger In First Years Lag Behind Their Peers In School.”

Via Quartz: “Stanford researchers show we’re sending many children to school way too early.” Or! Or! We could make kindergarten kindergarten again.

The Atlantic writes about a Century Foundation report on private school vouchers and segregation.

The Atlantic also covers research linking food quality and student achievement.

Via New World Notes: “Confirming danah boyd’s Early Concerns, Studies Suggest Women Much More Likely to Get Motion Sickness from Using VR.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Report on Role of College Search-and-Review Sites.”

Via the Foundation Center: “Visualizing Funding for Libraries,” a database of library funding.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Internet speeds at colleges have nearly tripled since 2012 as IT departments have fought to keep up with students bringing new internet-connected devices to campus, streaming music and video, and gaming online, a new study found.”

Via The Dallas Morning News: “15 percent of female undergraduates at UT have been raped, survey says.”

Via NPR: “The Earth Is Flat? Check Wikipedia.” Shaq. Dude. Check Wikipedia.

Also via NPR: “You Probably Believe Some Learning Myths: Take Our Quiz To Find Out.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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