Education Politics

Trump says the Secretary of Education is “highly respected.” Certainly this week’s news really really underscores how much:

“What is Education Secretary Betsy DeVos doing with the rapper Pitbull in Miami?” asks The Washington Post.

What’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s brother doing in the Seychelles with a friend of Putin?

Also via The Washington Post: “ The cost of Betsy DeVos’s security detail – nearly $8 million over nearly 8 months.”

Betsy DeVos isn’t listening to parents,” according to an op-ed in USA Today. Pretty sure “meet with Pitbull” and “spend millions on protection services from the Federal Marshals” are not on anyone’s list of education priorities.

“2 Education Dept. Picks Raise Fears on Civil Rights Enforcement,” The New York Times reports: “A lawyer who represented Florida State University in an explosive sexual assault case and another lawyer who during the 2016 presidential campaign accused Hillary Clinton of enabling sexual predators have been chosen for key roles in the Department of Education, raising fears that the agency could pull back from enforcing civil rights in schools and on college campuses.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Education Department Restores Pell Grant Eligibility for Students Whose Colleges Closed.” That is, shuttered for-profits like ITT Tech.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Congressional Republicans and the Trump White House appear poised to bring back year-round Pell Grant eligibility, which the Obama administration and Congress nixed in 2012 over cost concerns.”

Via NPR: “Education Department Casts Doubts On Public Service Loan Forgiveness.”

The New York Times’ Editorial Board weighs in on the Trump administration’s recent policy shift on student debt: “The Wrong Move on Student Loans.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Department of Education will end four experimental initiatives launched under the Obama administration granting participating institutions a waiver from certain statutes concerning federal student aid. Those initiatives, known as experimental sites, included a program popular with colleges allowing them to limit the unsubsidized loans a student could take out.”

Via The Atlantic: “The FAFSA’s Midterm Grade.”

In other financial aid news – via Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy: “Hackers Had Access To Tax Data For Up To 100,000 FAFSA Users.”

Via Edsurge: “What Federal Education Budget Cuts Mean for Edtech.” (No mention of the FAFSA tool, which is a good reminder than when Edsurge writes about ed-tech they really only mean what corporations can sell to schools.)

Via the US News & World Report: “Melania Trump, Jordan’s Queen Tour Girls-Only Charter School.” (I think this is FLOTUS’s first appearance in the Hack Education Weekly News since the inauguration. Congrats, FLOTUS.)

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “New Law Nixing Broadband Privacy Protections Stirs K–12 Fears.”

Via The New York Times: “Trump Completes Repeal of Online Privacy Protections From Obama Era.”

Immigration and Education

Via NPR: “Travel Ban’s ‘Chilling Effect’ Could Cost Universities Hundreds Of Millions.”

Via Bloomberg: “Trump Cracks Down on H–1B Visa Program That Feeds Silicon Valley.”

Via NPR: “Deported Students Find Challenges At School In Tijuana.”

Education in the Courts

Via NPR: “Judge Approves $25 Million Settlement Of Trump University Lawsuit.”

The US has a new Supreme Court justice, (plagiarizer) Neil Gorsuch.

The New York Times on pending legal cases involving trans students: “A Transgender Student Won Her Battle. Now It’s War.”

Having dropped its appeal of the FTC ruling, “Amazon will refund millions of unauthorized in-app purchases made by kids,” Techcrunch reports.

Via The New York Times: “U.K. Court Upholds Fine for Dad Who Took Child From School for Disney Trip.”

Testing, Testing…

Via The NY Daily News: “Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy High School is sitting out the city’s SAT School Day on Wednesday because the test doesn’t include the optional essay portion, a Success spokeswoman said.”

“Free College”

Via Inside Higher Ed: BernieSanders Keeps Focus on Free College.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via The LA Times: “Westech College’s abrupt closure raises questions about training options.”

Via Edsurge: “Student Results From Coding Bootcamp Coalition: 92% On-Time Graduation Rate, $70K Salary.” The results are self-reported based on a survey administered by a private student loan company which offers loans to coding bootcamp enrollees, but I’m sure it’s all on the up-and-up.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Coding Boot Camps Come Into the Fold With Campus Partnerships.”

Via the Santa Fe Reporter: “Planned sale of Santa Fe University of Art and Design is scrapped as school stops enrolling new students.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “With a federal government that now appears sympathetic to for-profit colleges, city officials in Milwaukee seek to block institutions that violate Obama-era regulations.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “In the wake of federal criticism of its accreditation standards, the American Bar Association sanctions another for-profit law school.” That’d be Arizona Summit Law School.

More on Pell Grant eligibility for for-profit students in the education politics section above. And the Trump University fraud case has been settled – more in the courts section above.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

Via the Coursera blog: “Coursera now offers free trials for most Specializations.”

There’s some Udacity news in the “business of ed-tech” section below.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via The Washington Post: “At U-Va., a ‘watch list’ flags VIP applicants for special handling.”

Via The New York Times: “The Ivy League Sweep: Still Rare, but You’re More Likely to Hear About It.”

Via the BBC: “News that a high school student wrote nothing but #BlackLivesMatter on his personal statement in an application to California’s Stanford University – and got in – has been raising some eyebrows.”

Via ANOVA (FdB’s new blog): “Success Academy Charter Schools accepted $550,000 from pro-Trump billionaires.”

Via The Atlantic: “The Alt-Right Curriculum.”

Via Ars Technica: “Libraries have become a broadband lifeline to the cloud for students.”

Bryan Alexander on “Still more American university cuts and mergers.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Canadian government this week announced that it will provide 117.6 million Canadian dollars (about $87 million) to support universities in recruiting 25 top researchers from outside the country (including Canadian expatriates) to work at Canadian universities.”

Via The New York Times: “Florida Prepares to Apologize for Horrors at Boys’ School.” That’s at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, where decades of young boys – mostly African-Americans – suffered from abuse and neglect.

Via eCampus News: “MIT BLOSSOMS enters first-of-its-kind partnership with charter school.”

“Have Silicon Valley Teachers Using Technology Daily Altered Their Classroom Practice?” asks Stanford University’s Larry Cuban.

Via The New York Times: “Digital Detox at Liberty University.”

Accreditation, Certification, and Graduation Requirements

Via The Washington Monthly: “ A Well-Intended Bad Idea: Mayor Emanuel’s Plan for Chicago High Schools.” Honestly, Emanuel gets too much credit in that headline. It’s simply a bad idea. “Public high-school students would have to show a job or college acceptance to get a diploma,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

Here’s a hate-read for you: “Your College Degree is Worthless.” Penned by a guy with multiple degrees who’s running an “apprentice at a startup” startup.

Via Campus Technology: “ASU Students Earn Credits for Spending a Semester in Silicon Valley.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Media Attention at Morehouse College Will Trigger Investigation by Accreditor.”

“Do Preschool Teachers Really Need to Be College Graduates?” asks The New York Times.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Accreditor Proposes Ban on Paying Recruiters of International Students.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “NCAA Puts North Carolina Back Into Mix After Repeal of ‘Bathroom Bill’.”

Via CBS Sports: “Oregon’s run to 2017 Final Four has disturbing backdrop that can’t be overlooked.”

There was some other basketball news, but I think I missed it.

From the HR Department

Jerks and the Start-Ups They Ruin” by Dan Lyons.

Via Education Week: “California’s Top Superintendent Leaves for Ed-Tech Startup AltSchool.” Actually AltSchool hired more than one exec: Devin Vodicka (from Vista Unified School District in San Diego), Sam Franklin (from Pittsburgh Public Schools), Ben Kornell (from Envision Learning Partners), Colleen Broderick (from ReSchool), and Laura Hughes Modi (from AirBnB). The latter because someone had to go and shred the “Uber for Education” mantra bullshit, perhaps.

Via NPR: “Kansas Student Newspaper’s Fact Check Results In New Principal’s Resignation.”

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Hiring Personalized-Learning Engineers,” says Education Week. Oh yay. “Learning engineers.” Thanks to everyone who promoted that bullshit phrase.

Richard Culatta Named New Chief Executive Officer of ISTE,” Education Week reports. Culatta was the former head of the Office of Education Technology under President Obama.

Via The Register Guard: “UO cutting 31 jobs, including 21 instructors from its largest college.” That’s the University of Oregon.

The Business of Job Training

Via Udacity’s blog: “‘Valuable Skills’ and What This Means For The Future Of Learning.”

Upgrades and Downgrades

Via Bloomberg: “Student Debt Giant Navient to Borrowers: You’re on Your Own.”

Google adds fact-check findings to search and news results,” says The Verge, adding “But it won’t do much about the fake news problem.”

And it’s perfect really. Ad-based sites like Google screw up information and knowledge online. And then more money pours into other technology companies that promise to fix “news literacy.”

Via The New York Times: “A Toy for Toddlers Doubles as Code Bootcamp.” Get them started on for-profit STEM education early, amirite.

“It’s Important for Us to Be Critical of STEM Education Efforts,” says The Pacific Standard. Indeed.

Coding for What?” [asks Stirling University’s Ben Williamson](Coding for What?).

“Herding Blind Cats’: How Do You Lead a Class Full of Students Wearing VR Headsets?” asks Edsurge.

Virtual Reality Could Transform Education as We Know It,” insists Education Week. Oh. I’m. Sure.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Manifold, a hybrid publishing platform created by the U of Minnesota Press and CUNY’s Graduate Center, launches in beta form with features supporting experimental scholarly work.”

Via NPR: “How Two Georgia Tech Students Came Up With The Common App For Internships.”

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

Via The New York Times: “Learning to Think Like a Computer.”

Via Edsurge, always ready to repeat the rather ludicrous claims Big Blue makes about its AI brand: “IBM Watson’s Chief Architect Talks Democratizing AI, Starting With Fifth Graders.”

Via Campus Technology: “Report: AI and Cognitive Systems Spending to Hit $12.5 Billion Worldwide This Year.”

Robots Are Changing The World,” says edX, which hopes to sell you on some classes on robots.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

Remember MOOCs? My, how they’ve pivoted. Via Reuters: “Udacity Self-Driving Taxi Spin-Off Voyage Takes Aim at Uber.”

Test-prep company Testbook has raised $4 million in Series A funding from Matrix Partners India. The company has raised $4.25 million total.

Blackbaud has acquired AcademicWorks.

Vitalsource has acquired Verba.

According to Crunchbase, has received a $5 million grant from the PNC Financial Services Group.

According to Edsurge, “Google, Lemann Foundation Invest $6.4M to Deliver Lessons to Brazilian Teachers’ Phones.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Pearson Share Prices Tumble on Worries About Online Ed. Prospects.”

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via Edsurge: “Panorama Offers New Platform to Help Teachers Track Student’s SEL Growth.” Among the “social emotional” signals, the company tracks: grit and growth mindset, for which students get a score between 1 to 5. Sounds totally legit.

Via Motherboard: “Phony VPN Services Are Cashing in on America’s War on Privacy.”

“Major internet providers say will not sell customer browsing histories,” Reuters tells us, but let’s not be naive here.

More on privacy legislation (or the end-of-privacy legislation) and federal financial aid privacy screw-ups in the politics section above.

Data and “Research”

Via investment analyst firm CB Insights: “High Marks: Ed Tech Deals Tick Up In Q1’17.” Here are my calculations on VC funding from the same time period, for what it’s worth.

Via Chalkbeat: “‘Harlem diaspora’ sends local children to 176 different public schools, report finds.”

Via The Pacific Standard: “The Lifelong Effects of Music and Arts Classes.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study finds library directors are moving forward with big reorganizations plans, but they also may be struggling to communicate those plans to administrators and faculty members.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The readability of scientific abstracts is declining, according to the preliminary results of a major study.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Brookings Institution Researchers Find Many Countries Lack High-Quality Education Data.”

“More Data on International Applications” via Inside Higher Ed.

Via The New York Times: “Behind the Problem of Student Homelessness.”

“Number of people who owe over $100,000 in student debt has quadrupled in 10 years,” according to MarketWatch.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Federal Reserve Bank of New York study suggests student loans don’t play a major role in limiting borrowers’ ability to buy a home later.”

Daniel Willingham points to “New studies show the cost of student laptop use in lecture classes.”

Via Education Week: “Implementation Woes Undermine Ambitious K–12 Ed-Tech Efforts, Study Finds.”

Via Edsurge: “Survey Ranks 10 Key Trends for K–12 Tech Leaders.” The survey in question: “The fifth annual K–12 IT Leadership Survey conducted by the Consortium for School Networking.”

“Who’s on the List of Most Popular Edtech Organizations and Jobs?” asks Edsurge, which counts those “most popular edtech organizations and jobs” based on those who pay to have their stuff advertised on Edsurge.

Questionable data about coding bootcamps in the “future of for-profit higher ed” section above.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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