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Education Politics


From the Department of Education’s press release: “U.S. Secretary of Education Announces Chief of Staff and Additional Staff Hires.” And what a fine bunch. Via ProPublica: “DeVos Pick to Head Civil Rights Office Once Said She Faced Discrimination for Being White.” Also on the list of new hires: Robert Eitel, “who had been criticized for his dual role as a top for-profit college official and Education Department adviser, has resigned from his position at Bridgepoint Education.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “DeVos Withdraws Obama-Era Memos Focused on Improving Loan Servicing.” Also via CHE: “DeVos’s Rollback of Servicing Guidance Raises Fears Among Borrowers’ Advocates.” More on the policy change via IHE. Here’s the very short press release from the Department of Education.

Via The New York Times: “The Accusations Against Navient.” Navient is the country’s largest student loan provider.

“Researchers say removal of an IRS tool for financial aid applicants may have slowed FAFSA submissions, while college aid groups warn that affected students could already be losing out on aid,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

“A bipartisan proposal in the U.S. Senate would open up Pell Grants to low-income students who earn college credits while still enrolled in high school,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

ESSA’s Flexible Accountability Measures Give PE Teachers (and Entrepreneurs) Hope,” says Edsurge. Well, thank goodness that entrepreneurs are hopeful.

Special Ed School Vouchers and the Burden of a ‘Simple Fix’” by The New York Times’ Dana Goldstein.

Via The New York Times: “Arizona Frees Money for Private Schools, Buoyed by Trump’s Voucher Push.”

Via Boing Boing: “California’s charter schools: hundreds of millions of tax dollars for wasteful, redundant, low-quality education.”

Via FOX 59: “State lawmakers say virtual pre-school will be part of pre-K bill.” State lawmakers in Indiana, that is.

Via The Washington Post: Governor Scott “Walker wants Wisconsin to be first state to stop dictating how much time kids should go to school.”

Via Raw Story: “White House solicits Sesame Street characters for Easter Egg Roll four days after bid to end PBS funding.” No one knew the White House Easter Egg Roll could be so complicated.

Via Wired: “The New FCC Chairman’s Plan to Undermine Net Neutrality.”

Via The New York Times: “New Mexico Outlaws School ‘Lunch Shaming’.”

Via Buzzfeed: “California Shows The Rest Of The Country How To Boost Kindergarten Vaccination Rates.”

Immigration and Education


Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Evolving Visa and Border Regime.”

Education in the Courts


Via The New York Times: “Rolling Stone Settles Lawsuit Over Debunked Campus Rape Article.”

Via the AP: “Michigan courts can have no role in admission decisions at faith-based schools, a lawyer told the state Supreme Court on Thursday in a case that tests whether a family can sue a Roman Catholic school over their daughter’s rejection.”

Testing, Testing…


Via WaPo’s Valerie Strauss: “The list of test-optional colleges and universities keeps growing – despite College Board’s latest jab.”

“Free College”


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “New York State Is Set to Test Free Tuition.” Note: read the fine print. More on the proposal via Inside Higher Ed.

Via The New York Times: “New York’s Free-Tuition Program Will Help Traditional, but Not Typical, Students.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As New York Embraces a Free-Tuition Plan, Private Colleges Fear the Consequences.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


ProPublica looks at the Dream Center Foundation’s acquisition of the Education Management Corporation.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “South Carolina State University is the latest historically black institution to align with the University of Phoenix to expand its online education offerings.”

Sante Fe University of Art and Design will close at the end of the 2017–2018 school year.

Via Edsurge: “Tech Needs More Than Coders. This Bootcamp Will Train Sales Chops (and Even Pay For It).” The bootcamp in question: Sales Bootcamp.

“Common (and Avoidable) Legal Pitfalls for Coding Bootcamps and Alternative Education Providers,” according to three lawyers writing for Edsurge.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


Via the Coursera blog: “New mobile features: Transcripts, notes, and reminders.”

Udacity has updated its online "classroom."

It’s lovely to see the big innovation from the MOOC startups in 2017 involves the learning management system.

Meanwhile on Campus…


Via The LA Times: “Boy, 8, and teacher slain in San Bernardino school shooting; gunman kills himself.” The Secretary of Education’s response; POTUS says nothing.

Via The New York Times: “Sexual Abuse at Choate Went On for Decades, School Acknowledges.”

Via NPR: “On The Navajo Nation, Special Ed Students Await Water That Doesn’t Stink.”

Via The New York Times: “PTA Gift for Someone Else’s Child? A Touchy Subject in California.”

Via NPR: “Where Corporal Punishment Is Still Used In Schools, Its Roots Run Deep.”

Is college worth the cost?” asks PBS.

Via NPR: “White Supremacists Trying To Recruit On College Campuses.”

Accreditation and Certification


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How Open E-Credentials Will Transform Higher Education.” “These developments suggest that open e-credentials in 2017 are indeed as inevitable as e-commerce was in 1997.” LOL, okay.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A changing economy and professionalization is driving an increase in education requirements for child-care workers, but there are concerns about mandating higher degrees for a field that traditionally doesn’t pay well.”

“Can States Tackle Police Misconduct With Certification Systems?” asks The Atlantic. Betteridge’s Law of Headlines tells us “no”, as does history and sociology.

“Should High School Students Need A Foreign Language To Graduate?” asks NPR.

Go, School Sports Team!


LeBron James has emerged as an American education leader,” according to The Plain Dealer’s Phillip Morris.

Via The Sun News: “CCU cheerleaders were paid up to $1,500 for dates, according to investigation.” That’s Coastal Carolina University.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “NCAA Moving to Stop Two-a-Day Football Practices.”

Via The Atlantic: “How School Start Times Affect High-School Athletics.”

From the HR Department


Graduate students at American University have voted to unionize.

Contests and Awards


The winners of this year’s Harold W McGraw Jr Prize in Education: Dr. Christine Cunningham, Founder and Director of Engineering is Elementary (EiE) at the Museum of Science; Dr. Sandy Shugart, President of Valencia College; and Chris Anderson, TED “curator.”

The winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes include Harvard University’s Matthew Desmond for his book Evicted and the Salt Lake Tribune’s staff for its reporting on sexual assault at BYU.

Upgrades and Downgrades


“Is Your Edtech Product a Refrigerator or Washing Machine?” asks the Clayton Christensen Institute’s Julia Freeland Fisher. Historian Jonathan Rees, author of Refrigeration Nation, has a wonderful response to this silly “disruptive innovation” mantra, noting how history gets rewritten to support certain ed-tech narratives.

I love this headline from Campus Technology, which echoes the wise words of Bill and Ted from their excellent adventure: “Ed Tech Changes … and Stays the Same.”

Via Nieman Lab: “ This ‘Wikipedia for fact-checking’ by students makes more room for context and origins of claims online.”

Facebook gets in the “literacy” business. Not really. It’s still in the entertainment and advertising business. “Facebook’s News Literacy Advice Is Harmful to News Literacy,” says Mike Caulfield.

Via Desmos: “The Desmos Geometry Tool.”

Edsurge profiles Lexia Learning in a new research series paid for by a variety of investors and corporations. No mention that Lexia Learning is owned by Rosetta Stone. Very thorough research, gj.

Via CMX: “ How Edcamp Scaled Up 1,500 Community Events Connecting Educators All Over the World.”

Pearson and Chegg are partnering for textbook rentals.

“Ed access to VR growing as low-cost options expand,” says Education Dive. Folks really really really really want VR to be “a thing,” don’t they.

“Why Fixing the Pipeline Alone Won’t End Edtech’s Diversity Problem,” says Edsurge.

In other STEM news, Pornhub awards a “women in tech” scholarship. Because “Pornhub cares.”

“What Would Happen If Learning in School Became More Like Working at a Startup?” asks Edsurge. More racial and sexual discrimination? More dismantling of public institutions in the name of John Galt?

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Cost That Holds Back Ed-Tech Innovation.” Spoiler alert: humans.

Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Growing Pains Begin to Emerge in Open-Textbook Movement.”

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


Via The Guardian: “The automated university: bots and drones amid the dreaming spires.”

“Mixing Automation and a Human Touch, New Software Helps Keep Students ‘On Task’,” says Edsurge.

AI Learns Gender and Racial Biases from Language” says Jeremy Hsu in IEEE Spectrum. But I’m sure keeping students “on task” as in the Edsurge story above is a totally progressive and unbiased initiative.

Via Edsurge: “CSUEB Partners with Cognii to Offer Chatbot Services for Students.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


College Ave has raised $30 million in Series D funding from Comcast Ventures and Leading Edge Ventures. The private student loan company has raised $50 million total, but I’m told “fintech” doesn’t “count” as ed-tech so let’s just ignore this trend, right?

Smart Sparrow has raised $4 million from Moelis Australia Asset Management, One Ventures, and Uniseed Ventures. The adaptive learning company has raised $16 million total.

The Omidyar Network has invested $850,000 in the “future of tech” research organization Data & Society.

Bomberbot has raised $795,000 from Social Impact Ventures. The learn-to-code company has raised $1.19 million total.

TakeLessons has acquired digital sheet music company Chromatik.

Venture/Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


“Who is the Walton Family Foundation Funding?” asks Diane Ravitch.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


Via the EFF: “Spying on Students: School-Issued Devices and Student Privacy.”

And spying on children at home. Via TNW: “Amazon‘s new dashboard gives parents eyes on their kids’ browsers.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Where Every Student Is a Potential Data Point.”

Via Vocativ: “This Teen’s Story Is Your Worst ‘Predictive Policing’ Nightmare.”

Speaking of predictive policing… Via Edsurge: “This Mathematician Brought Big Data to Advising. Then Deeper Questions Emerged.” The story praises the work of Tristan Denley and his course recommendation tool Degree Compass.

Via Education Week: “Algorithmic Bias a Rising Concern for Ed-Tech Field, RAND Researchers Say.”

Structural Justice in Student Analytics, or, the Silence of the Bunnies” by Jeffrey Alan Johnson.

“What Is the Future of College Marketing?” asks Jeffrey Selingo in part 3 of a series in The Atlantic on big data and higher ed. (Part 1 and part 2.)

Big Data Alone Won’t Help Students,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Other stories in its “big data” series“: ”Big Data for Student Success Still Limited to Early Adopters.“ ”Big Hopes, Scant Evidence.")

Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Keeping Up With the Growing Threat to Data Security.”

Via Times Higher Education: “The Australian Approach to Improving Ph.D. Completion Rates.” Spoiler alert: “tracking the performance of those who supervise doctoral students.” Metrics, not humanity. Never humanity.

Data and “Research”


Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Value, Number of Education Deals Plummet Over Most Recent Year.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “K–12 Schools Could Save Billions by Sharing Ed-Tech Prices, Report Says.” The report is from the Technology for Education Consortium. (I’ve written about the growing trend of companies and organizations selling procurement consulting services.)

Via The Conversation: “ Who owns the world? Tracing half the corporate giants’ shares to 30 owners.”

Jeb Bush’s ed-reform org ExcelinEd releases a data visualization tool based on school ratings data, Edsurge reports.

Via MindShift: “Delay Kindergarten? Some Research Says, Enroll Anyway.”

“For every $1 spent on SEL, there’s an $11 return,” says Education Dive, summarizing some Penn State and Robert Wood Foundation research into three bullet points.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “New study suggests female professors outperform men in terms of service – to their possible professional detriment.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Compensation survey from AAUP says faculty salaries are up slightly year over year, but institutional budgets continue to be balanced ‘on the backs’ of adjuncts and out-of-state students.”

“Roughly two-thirds of undergraduates are paying more for college than is recommended by a common benchmark for affordability,” according to a report by the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute, and New America.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study Examines Loan Aversion by Population.”

RealClearEducation makes “The Case for Income Share Agreements.”

“An update on the staggering mass of student loan debtby Bryan Alexander.

“Has Underemployment Among College Graduates Gone Up?” asks Matt Bruenig.

Via Mark Guzdial’s Computing Education Blog: “University CS graduation surpasses its 2003 peak, with poor diversity.”

Via NPR: “Having Just One Black Teacher Can Keep Black Kids In School.”

A report from the Movement Advancement Project: “Segregation and Stigma: Transgender Youth and School Facilities.”

“The Current State of Educational Blogging 2016,” according to Edublogs’ Sue Waters.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Ithaka S+R and OCLC Research launch project to examine how universities and their libraries are changing.”

Via the ANOVA: “Study of the Week: Computers in the Home.”

Via Vox: “A new study finds political polarization is increasing most among those who use the internet least.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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