Education Politics

Via The New York Times: “Trump Orders Review of Education Policies to Strengthen Local Control.” “ What does Trump’s executive order on education do? Not much,” says The LA Times’ Joy Resmovits.

Via WaPo’s Valerie Strauss: “Trump’s rather weird meeting with the 2017 Teachers of the Year.”

Via The Hill: “21 state AGs denounce DeVos for ending student loan reform.”

Via The Washington Post: “ Education Department relaxes financial aid process in the absence of IRS tool .”

In other Department of Education bureaucratic nightmares, “Dozens of Colleges’ Upward Bound Applications Are Denied for Failing to Dot Every I,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The House Veterans Affairs Committee this week postponed a planned hearing on potential updates to the GI Bill amid growing opposition to a proposal that would require new service members to pay into the GI Bill for future benefits.”

New hires at the Department of Education include former HP exec Holly Luong Ham (she will serve as the assistant secretary for management) and former Congressional staffer Liz Hill (she’ll serve as the press secretary). Elsewhere in the administration, Trump’s new State Department spokesperson “spread toxic anti-Muslim stories for years,” says The Intercept, highlight a segment where former FOX anchor Heather Nauert described swim classes for Somali-American girls as “Sharia Law.”

Via Education Week: “FCC Chairman Announces Plan to Roll Back Key Net Neutrality Rules.” The Trump Administration is calling it “restoring Internet freedom,” because of fucking course.

Via Chalkbeat: New York City “Mayor Bill de Blasio announces plan to expand universal pre-K to 3-year-olds.” (“What do we really know about the value of prekindergarten?” asks WaPo’s Valerie Strauss, before reprinting an article by UVA professor Dan Willingham.)

The NAACP endorses OER.

The New York Times on the conservative think tank The Heartland Institute’s efforts towards “Sowing Climate Doubt Among Schoolteachers.” (Not to mention The New York Times’ own efforts to sow climate doubt.)

Via Infodocket: “Two U.S. Senators Introduce Bill to Keep Government Research Data Publicly Available (Preserving Data in Government Act).”

A bill that would let the President pick the next Register of Copyrights has passed the House of Representatives.

The Rwandan government plans to roll out digital education this summer. It’s a partnership with Microsoft.

The Egyptian parliament is weighing doing away with print textbooks and using digital materials instead. “5 Reasons Why e-textbooks in Egypt Would Be Inequitable” by Maha Bali.

Via the BBC: “University staff from EU countries should be guaranteed a right to stay and work in the UK after Brexit to avoid a ‘damaging brain drain’, says a report from MPs.”

Immigration and Education

Via The New York Times: “Judge Blocks Trump Effort to Withhold Money From Sanctuary Cities.”

Via EdSource: “1 in 8 children in California schools have an undocumented parent.”

Education in the Courts

Via KIRO7: “Charges filed after University of Washington shooting outside Milo Yiannopoulos event.” “Prosecutors say Elizabeth Joy Hokoana, 29, and her husband, Marc K. Hokoana [supporters of Yiannopoulos, let me editorialize] ‘created a situation designed to allow Elizabeth Hokoana to shoot the victim in the middle of an extremely crowded event under the guise of defending herself or her husband.’”

Via The Washington Post: “Lawsuit filed against UC Berkeley for canceling Ann Coulter speech.” More on Coulter cancelling her speech in the campus section below.

Via NPR: “West Virginia State University Says It Is Suing Dow Chemical For Contamination.”

Via Multichannel News: “Trayvon Martin Attorney Parks Targets AT&T Over Alleged Broadband Redlining.” (In Cleveland.)

More on sanctuary cities in the courts in the immigration section above. More on the NCAA’s legal battles in the sports section below.

Testing, Testing…

“Nation’s Report Card Finds Mixed Grades For U.S. Students In Visual Arts, Music,” NPR reports. The “nation’s report card” is the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. And I hardly noticed any freak out about these scores this week like there usually is about math scores. Weird. It’s almost as though the narrative about “failing schools” doesn’t care much about students’ creativity.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Purdue University is buying Kaplan University for a dollar. Will this “new university” become a public university? Or something else? That is, will faculty have the benefits of other public universities in the state? (Wait, do Indiana professors still have benefits?) Dunno. But it’s a sign of the times, says The Chronicle of Higher Education. “A bold move,” says Inside Higher Ed. Edsurge’s Jeff Young and Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill both asked industry analyst Trace Urdan for his take. I’m waiting for Tressie McMillan Cottom’s response, as she’s certainly unlikely to hype the industry angle and will surely raise the important issues surrounding equity, “lower ed,” and justice. Me, I wrote about how far Kaplan Inc’s reach is in education politics and products.

Elsewhere: “North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has opened an investigation into Charlotte School of Law,” says Politico.

More on the University of Phoenix’s new president in the HR section below.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

Online education pioneer Tony Bates asksWhat is online learning?”

EdX has launched some new “professional certificate programs.”

From the press release: “ MOOCs and books initiative launched by Springer and Federica Weblearning.”

Via NBC News: “How to Thrive: Arianna Huffington Launches E-Learning Series.” (It’ll run on LinkedIn Learning, formerly, which means it’ll cost you $24.99 a month.)

Meanwhile on Campus…

How the school-to-prison pipeline targets students of color, via Mic: “This Texas 6th-grader was threatened with suspension all because of a haircut.”

Via The New York Times: “Family by Family, How School Segregation Still Happens.”

Right-wing troll Ann Coulter pulled out of her talk at UC Berkeley, because “because she had lost the backing of conservative groups that had initially sponsored her appearance.” Good grief, the handwringing. “We Have Been Here Before,” says Swarthmore history professor Timothy Burke.

More in the courts section above on the charges filed against a person who shot a protestor at a Milo Yiannopoulos event at the University of Washington early this year. There’s also a lawsuit against UC Berkeley for cancelling Coulter’s speech (which I haven’t heard will move forward since Coulter was the one who cancelled.)

Via The Southern Poverty Law Center: “New Alt-Right ‘Fight Club’ Ready for Street Violence.” But sure, let’s condemn “liberal college students” as the problem.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Middlebury Professor Sorry for Co-Sponsoring Murray Talk.”

Via Newsweek: “Rand Paul to Teach ‘Dystopian Visions’ Course at George Washington University.”

Via The LA Times: “University of California administration is paying excessive salaries and mishandling funds, state audit says.” Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Janet Napolitano Disputes Finding That Her Office Held $175 Million in Undisclosed Funds.”

Via Democracy: “The Untold History of Charter Schools.”

Gotta love a quote like this, from a story in Edsurge profiling McComb, Mississippi’s Summit Elementary School: “We are learning how to mitigate between policy and trying to be as innovative as possible without breaking state laws.” I’m more interested in hearing about segregation and state laws in Mississippi than the adaptive learning software a school is using. But hey.

Edsurge offers “Your Guide to Running a School Like Disney World.” Oh. My. God.

Via The Hechinger Report: “With number of student-parents up, availability of campus child care is down.”

Via The New York Times: “In New York City Schools, an Ever-Rising Tide of Homeless Students.”

Via Times Higher Education: “Why Germany Educates International Students for Free.”

Via the Hong Kong Free Press: “China’s 8m graduates: Inside the world’s largest higher education boom.”

Via The New York Times: “At Hungary’s Soros-Backed University, Scholars Feel a Chill.”

“National Association of Scholars calls on universities to close their Confucius Institutes. Defenders say there’s nothing sinister about the Chinese-backed centers,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via Pitchfork: “Beyoncé Launches ‘Formation Scholars’ Scholarship Program.” The scholarship, “for young women studying creative arts, music, literature, or African-American studies,” will be offered to students at Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design, and Spelman College.

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has doubled down on his prediction that half of all universities might close or go bankrupt within 10 to 15 years. He first made this prediction 6 years ago, so we’re looking at 4 to 9 years out, I guess. For what it’s worth, according to the latest data from the NCES, the number of post-secondary institutions in the US has increased since 2011. (Increased by just 2, but still.)

Accreditation and Certification

“When a College Degree Isn’t Enough,” according to The Atlantic.

Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s deputy assistant and a fan of wearing Nazi memorabilia, might have a fake PhD.

Inside Higher Ed reports on problems at Tallahassee Community College after students discovered their health IT program was not properly accredited.

Go, School Sports Team!

“A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit claiming that the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Pac–12 Conference infringed on labor laws and thus owed money to a former Division I football player,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

From the HR Department

Kristina Johnson, formerly an under secretary in the US Department of Energy under President Obama, has been named the new Chancellor of SUNY.

Peter Cohen, formerly the executive VP of McGraw-Hill Education, has been hired as the new president of the University of Phoenix.

Russell “Rusty” Greiff has joined 2U as its senior VP and regional general manager. Greiff has previously been a partner at the 1776 venture fund and he was also a co-founder of the test prep company Grockit.

Jeff Fernandez, the co-founder of the online learning company Grovo, has resigned. His other two co-founders are gone from the company too, says Axios’ Dan Primack.

Perhaps this will help the Grovo fellows: “Tips for Landing an Edtech Gig – From the EdSurge Jobs Team.” (Wow. This image speaks volumes.)

On the hiring of serial predators: “Ousted Over Sexual Misconduct Claims, and On to the Next Teaching Job.”

Students Oppose Pomona College’s Hiring of Alice Goffman as a Visiting Scholar," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Resident Advisers Gain the Right to Unionize.”

The Business of Job Training

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Liberal Arts Colleges, in Fight for Survival, Focus on Job Skills.”

It’s not a “skills gap,” says Edsurge. It’s an “awareness gap.”

The Hechinger Report profiles Mechatronics Akademie, “a modern iteration of career and technical education for high school students. Created through a partnership between the local department of education, the Volkswagen Chattanooga factory and Chattanooga State Community College, it uses online and in-person instruction in an out-of-school setting to prepare students who might not pursue higher education after high school.”

Upgrades and Downgrades

It’s 2017, and Wired still promotes a narrative that hackers” are all young men. Good job.

Here’s the headline from The Next Web: “Universities finally realize that Java is a bad introductory programming language.” But thing is, most universities already do not teach Java as the intro language. The most commonly taught language is now Python. But do strive to maintain the narrative that universities are out-of-date and irrelevant, tech blog.

There have been several stories recently calling the Google Books project a failure. The Executive Director of HathiTrust responds.

Internet Archive to ignore robots.txt directives,” says Boing Boing.

Via Techcrunch: “As Chromebook sales soar in schools, Apple and Microsoft fight back.”

Google announces more updates to its pseudo-LMS, Google Classroom.

Inside Higher Ed examines the challenges facing LMS provider Blackboard.

Via Campus Technology: “Pearson Expands Textbook Rental Program.”

Meal kits seem to be a popular startup idea right now. So no surprise, Techcrunch informs us that “Scrumpt now offers fresh, healthy lunches for kids.”

The Gap advertises tenure track professor wear.

Not directly ed-tech related, but with all the algorithmic learning hype, I thought I’d include this story anyway: “FaceApp apologizes for building a racist AI.”

“How Can VR be Used for Learning?” asks Jade E. Davis on the DML Central blog.

Snapchat’s smart pivot into an AR company but is AR ready for learning?” asks Donald Clark.

Via Edsurge: “Khan Academy’s New ‘Teacher Aid’ Tool Goes for a Test Drive in Southern California.” There’s a data dashboard, so you know it simply has to be useful.

IHE ed-tech blogger Joshua Kim wonders “Who Exactly Holds This Neoliberal EdTech Ideology?” Shrug.

Via The Financial Times: “ Inside Liberia’s controversial experiment to outsource education.” That’s to the ed-tech company Bridge International Academies. Nope. No neoliberalism anywhere in ed-tech.

Inside Higher Ed reports thatFannie Mae, the largest backer of mortgage credit in the country, has issued new guidelines allowing home owners to refinance their mortgages to pay off their student loan debt. The option to essentially swap student loan debt for mortgage debt is an expansion of a program launched last year with personal finance company SoFi.”

Via Techcrunch: “CommonBond now offers direct student loans alongside debt refinancing.”

Via Buzzfeed: Navient, “America’s largest student loan company was also the most-complained-about financial services company in the country over the last three months, according to new government data released on Tuesday.” Nope. No neoliberalism here. Move along.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

According to Research and Markets’ latest forecast, “the artificial intelligence market in the US education sector to grow at a CAGR of 47.50% during the period 2017–2021.”

Via CNBC: “Google exec, Mark Cuban agree that these college majors are the most robot-resistant.”

Learn-to-code toy Ozobots is launching Spiderman and Guardians of the Galaxy branded robots.

Inside Higher Ed looks at drones (and rules about drones) on college campuses.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

EverFi has raised $190 million in a Series D round of funding from The Rise Fund, TPG Growth, Advance Publications, Allen & Company, Eric Schmidt, Ev Williams, Jeff Bezos, and Main Street Advisors. The online “off-curriculum” education company has raised $251 million total.

EverFi also announced this week that it’s acquired the online compliance training company Workplace Answers.

MarcoPolo Learning has raised $8.5 million from Boat Rocker Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Seedcamp, and DST Global. The mobile app maker has raised $11.9 million total.

CollegeVine has raised $3.6 million from Morningside Technology Ventures, University Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank. The admissions consulting service has raised $6.7 million total.

In February, Holberton School announced it had raised $2.3 million in funding. This week, there were more details about who those investors are – including R&B artist Ne-Yo who will join the coding school’s board of directors.

Square is acquiring the engineering team from Yik Yak for less than $3 million. Yik Yak has raised $73.5 million in funding.

Via Edsurge: “The Asian Money Fueling US Edtech Investments.”

Although this Wall Street Journal article is about the tech industry broadly, it’s still worth noting: “Once-Flush Startups Struggle to Stay Alive as Investors Get Pickier.”

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via The New York Times: “In China, Daydreaming Students Are Caught on Camera.”

Via The Red & Black, an independent student paper serving the University of Georgia: “UGA Dining Halls to introduce eye scanners.”

Via “Pour la CNIL, ‘la France doit garder la souveraineté de ses données scolaires’.”

Via Education Dive: “Casper College looks to Amazon approach to customize student experiences.” “Shouldn’t we be able to use our LMSes to aggregate the experience of every student based on the DNA of their self-selected digital assets?” the CIO asks. No. You shouldn’t.

Speaking of why Amazon is a terrible model for education, via Motherboard: “Amazon Wants to Put a Camera and Microphone in Your Bedroom.” “Echo Look will use machine learning to decide if you look fat in that shirt.”

Smart Sparrow Adds Learner Data Analytics,” says Campus Technology.

Edsurge profiles “literacy” app Newsela and claims “super users” want more data sharing. No disclosure that Newsela and Edsurge share investors.

Via Duo Labs: “Phishing Across the Pond: 70% of U.K. Universities Impacted.”

Cyber criminals are sharing millions of stolen university email credentials,” says USA Today.

“Should We Be Sending Students Who Hack Their Schools to Jail?” asks Doug Levin. No.

The list of questions Edsurge says schools are supposed to ask ed-tech vendors contains no mention of privacy or information security.

The 4 Issues AltSchool Needs to Figure Out to Scale Its ‘Personalized Learning’ Platform” also do not include privacy or security. Perhaps that is how you “scale.”

Data and “Research”

Via The Guardian: “Teenage hackers motivated by morality not money, study finds.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A report released Tuesday by the Science Coalition identifies 102 companies whose creation was fueled by competitive federal research grants from agencies like the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.” (The point: do not defund those agencies.)

Prediction press release service Research and Markets says that the “global cloud-based English language learning (ELL) market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.07 percent from 2017 to 2021.”

The ANOVA “study of the week”: “When It Comes to Student Satisfaction, Faculty Matter Most.” (Also via FdB: “the Official Dogma of Education (version 1.0).”)

A report via Google Research: “Unconscious Bias in the Classroom.”

Via Education Week: “Better-Educated Families Less Likely to Choose Pa. Cyber Charters, Study Finds.”

Here’s a headline to side-eye, via The Federalist: “Dartmouth Study Finds Democrats Are The Least Tolerant Students On Campus.”

“The Prevalence of Hook-Up Culture on College Campuses Is Completely Exaggerated – and That’s a Problem,” says The Pacific Standard, drawing on research by St. Vincent College professor Jason King.

The Atlantic’s Melinda D. Anderson looks at research on how racism affects math education.

The NMC Horizon Report 2017 – the Library Edition

Pew Research asks, “In America, Does More Education Equal Less Religion?”

Why is the student veteran graduate rate so low, asks The Atlantic.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Students from American families with the highest incomes are almost five times likelier than students from the poorest families to earn a bachelor’s degree by age 24, a new report shows.”

Also via Inside Higher Ed: “On average, white and Asian students earn a college-level credential at a rate about 20 percentage points higher than Hispanic and black students do, a new report shows.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Colleges Whose Undergraduates Borrowed the Highest Average Amounts in Federal Loans in 2014–15.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics finds that 63 percent of college graduates still held student loan debt within four years of earning their degree.”

“A report released Thursday found largely negative results for students who participated in the District of Columbia’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, suggesting that many of the program’s beneficiaries might actually fare better if they turn down the private-school money,” says The Atlantic, asking how this will affect the Trump administration’s position on vouchers. (Trick question!)

Vouchers for students with disabilities aren’t always what they seem,” says Harvard Education’s Laura Schifter.

Charter-advocate publication The 74 boasts that “U.S. News Ranks America’s Top Public High Schools – and for the First Time, Charters Dominate Top 10,” but let’s perhaps consider how the US News and World Report’s rankings are pretty questionable to begin with.

Via The Cambridge Student: “National student boycott invalidates National Student Survey data.” I learned during my recent trip to the UK that the National Student Survey is a Very Big Deal, and by the sounds of it, its invalidation might be Very Good News.


Via Berkeley News: “Hubert Dreyfus, preeminent philosopher and AI critic, dies at 87.” Read What Computers Can’t Do, and think more critically about how we define “reason” and “intelligence” and machine interventions in education.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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