Education Politics

Via The New York Times: “A Little-Noticed Target in the House Health Bill: Special Education.”

School districts rely on Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor, to provide costly services to millions of students with disabilities across the country. For nearly 30 years, Medicaid has helped school systems cover costs for special education services and equipment, from physical therapists to feeding tubes. The money is also used to provide preventive care, such as vision and hearing screenings, for other Medicaid-eligible children.

The bill that passed the House of Representatives on Thursday will cut Medicaid by $880 billion.

Via Education Week: “Congress Budget Deal Bans New Gold-Standard Studies of Federal Vouchers.” Banning research on school vouchers? Gee, I wonder why.

Via The Pacific Standard: “The New Spending Agreement Revives Abstinence Education.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Budget Deal Provides Money for NIH and Year-Round Pell.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What the Congressional Budget Deal Means for Higher Ed.”

Via NPR: “Under Trump Budget, Nearly 2 Million Kids May Lose After-School Care.”

Via The LA Times: “Trump is ending Michelle Obama’s ‘Let Girls Learn’ initiative, CNN reports.”

Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy wins “best headline” this week: “ The Whole Grain Terror In School Lunches Is About To End.”

Via ProPublica: “Trump Administration Hires Official Whom Five Students Accused of Sexual Assault.” That’d be Steven Munoz, formerly at The Citadel military college, who’s been hired as the assistant chief of visits for the State Department.

A graphic essay in Fusion: “Betsy DeVos’ ‘School Choice’ Movement Isn’t Social Justice. It’s a Return to Segregation.”

“Just months after a major gaffe by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos about the origins of historically black colleges and universities, a Florida HBCU is taking heat for inviting her to speak at its spring commencement ceremony next week,” Inside Higher Ed reports. The school in question: Bethune-Cookman University.

Via Education Week: “Under Trump, Ed-Tech Leadership Is Big Question Mark.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The IRS data retrieval tool that let financial aid applicants automatically import income information into the FAFSA won’t be restored for the current aid cycle, said James Runcie, chief operating officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid, in written testimony to Congress Wednesday.”

The Department of Education has rehired student loan debt collectors fired by the Obama Administration: Enterprise Recovery Systems and Navient-owned Pioneer Credit Recovery.

Not ed-tech per se (unless you recognize that “personalized learning” is greyballing), but according to The New York Times, “Uber Faces Federal Inquiry Over Use of Greyball Tool to Evade Authorities.”

Via The Washington Post: “Arizona lawmaker: Let’s end compulsory schooling and stop forcing education ‘down everybody's throat’.”

Via “Arizona awards controversial loan guarantees to privately owned charter schools.”

Via the Miami Herald: “Lawmakers set to defund Miami school that educated makers of ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Hamilton’.” Follow-up: “After outcry, lawmakers scrap plans to fully slash grant aid to ‘Moonlight’ alumni’s school.”

Immigration and Education

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Texas Governor Is Poised to Sign Immigration Bill, Raising Risks for Undocumented Students.”

Education in the Courts

Via Politico: “Appeal could drag out Trump University settlement.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and the former co-owner of an education consulting firm were sentenced Friday by a federal judge to prison terms in conjunction with a corruption scandal.”

Via Politico: “A complex legal battle involving dozens of debt collection companies fighting over contracts with the Education Department has essentially suspended the government’s ability to collect defaulted student loans, the Trump administration disclosed in a court filing on Monday night.”

Via Infodocket: “Louisiana State University is Suing Elsevier For Breach of Contract.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Marquette University was justified in disciplining a professor who had publicly rebuked a graduate teaching assistant over her handling of classroom discussions of homosexuality, a state judge ruled on Thursday.”

And for those who claim that student protesters on college campuses are the gravest threat to free speech that this country faces… “A jury on Wednesday convicted three Code Pink activists on charges related to a protest at the confirmation hearing of Jeff Sessions for attorney general – including a Virginia woman who said all she did was break out in laughter,” The New York Times reports.

More court cases in the sports section below.

Testing, Testing…

Via “UK student drops from ceiling to steal statistics exam.” UK here means University of Kentucky.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Federal authorities on Thursday announced the arrests of four Chinese nationals on charges of engaging in fraud on admissions tests that allowed three of them to obtain admissions to American universities and visas to study in the United States.” The test in question: the TOEFL.

“Is there an elegant way to administer exams in online courses?” asks “Dean Dad” Matt Reed.

“Free College”

‘Free’ College Programs Will Still Cost You,” says Nerdwallet.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

More on last week’s Purdue and Kaplan deal:

Purdue’s deal for Kaplan U trades a long-term business relationship for low up-front costs while raising worries – especially among faculty groups – about blurred lines between public and private higher ed,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via the Journal & Courier: “Legislation that set the stage for Purdue's dive into online higher ed also exempts ‘New U’ from state’s open meetings, public records laws. That, Purdue says, was part of the deal.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “There’s a Reason the Purdue-Kaplan Deal Sounds Too Good to Be True.”

I’m considered an “expert” here (among others) featured in IHE with thoughts and questions and analysis on the “Purdue-Kaplan marriage.”

Via NPR: “A Public University Acquires A Big For-Profit, And Raises Big Questions.”

“Mitch Daniels Wants to Sell the Soul of Public Education: Purdue Faculty Must Stop Him,” the Academe blog argues.

Faculty members at Purdue University took a strong stance Thursday against last week’s unorthodox acquisition of Kaplan University, passing a University Senate resolution calling the deal a violation of common-sense educational practice and respect for Purdue faculty,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Elsewhere in for-profit-land:

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Thirty student, consumer and veterans’ groups called on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos Thursday to seek public comment and impose conditions on the sale of several Education Management Corporation properties to a Los Angeles nonprofit.”

DeVry is rebranding as Adtalem Global Education.

An update from the FTC on its settlement with DeVry.

Techcrunch profiles the coding bootcamp DevMountain.

The New York Times Editorial Board urges “Keep For-Profit Schools on a Short Leash.”

More research (and PR posing as research) on for-profits in the research section below. More on for-profits and accreditation in the accreditation section below. More on Trump University in the courts section above.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

Brown University joins edX.

I missed this news earlier in April, via Class Central: financial aid applications for Coursera take at least 15 days.

Y Combinator MOOC for Tech Startups Attracts Thousands of Views,” says Campus Technology. Not sure why this is called a MOOC. It’s just a bunch of video-taped lectures for the (offline) “Startup School” event that the startup incubator program runs at Stanford (which is really just a series of short talks by entrepreneurs and founders).

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via The New York Times: “A Principal Is Accused of Being a Communist, Rattling a Brooklyn School.”

Via the AP: “A one-day sweep in which over 150 high school students were suspended for dress code violations is bringing new criticism to a Connecticut district of predominantly Hispanic and black students that was already under scrutiny for having low numbers of minority teachers.”

Via the AP: “AP Investigation Reveals Hidden Horror of Sex Assaults by K–12 Students.”

Via Business Insider: “Surveillance videos show police officer allegedly abusing high school students.”

One student was killed and three others wounded in a stabbing attack on the University of Texas Austin campus.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Glue-Gun Incident at Colgate Prompts Concern About Racial Profiling.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Noose Is Found on U. of Maryland at College Park’s Campus.” Police are investigating this as a hate-bias incident.

Via The New York Times: “F.B.I. Helping American University Investigate Bananas Found Hanging From Nooses.”

Via Buzzfeed: “A Trump Supporter Allegedly Attacked Students At A Kentucky University With A Machete.” The attack was at Transylvania University.

Via The Washington Post: “There’s a well-funded campus industry behind the Ann Coulter incident.”

Via BBC Newsbeat: “Student mental health costs should be free, according to the Royal College of GPs.”

The New York Times on “Shaming Children So Parents Will Pay the School Lunch Bill.”

Via KPCC: “Questions linger over closure of Whittier Law School.”

From the MIT press release: “Abdul Latif Jameel World Education Lab (J-WEL) to spark global renaissance in education through innovation at MIT.”

Times Higher Education profiles African Leadership University, a company that aims to build a transcontinental university in Africa (funded in part by the Omidyar Network).

The Pacific Standard writes about “Creative Corrections Education Foundation, a non-profit that provides scholarships for college-bound young people aged 18 to 27 who have a parent in prison, on parole, or off parole.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education on “The Christian Agenda Behind Inmate Education.”

Via Feministing: “Why Yale’s Graduate Student Union Hunger Strike Matters.”

Via The New York Times: “Most New York City Schools Had High Lead Levels, Retests Find.”

Accreditation and Certification

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Trump administration has backed its predecessor’s decision to terminate the recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, a national accreditor that oversees 245 colleges, most of them for-profits.”

Accreditation rules at Wayne State College in Nebraska are being criticized as a recent change requires “that professors teach only within their fields of expertise, as defined by their advanced degrees.” One professor, who’s taught philosophy for 50 years, will no longer be allowed to do so as her PhD is in English.

Northwestern’s journalism school drops its accreditor, shortly after Berkeley did the same, echoing broader questions about the value of the process and whether it impedes innovation,” Inside Higher Ed reports. “Accreditation is for Proles,” “Dean Dad” Matt Reed notes.

Via CNN: Florida Memorial University will award Trayvon Martin a posthumous bachelor’s degree in aeronautical science.

Go, School Sports Team!

Cetys University is making a bid to become the first Mexican university to join the NCAA.

Via The Washington Post: “She didn’t laugh at racist jokes. Her coach said she didn’t have the right ‘chemistry’ for the team.” The student was seeking a spot on the University of Mary Washington women’s basketball team.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A state-court jury awarded $1.43 million in damages on Thursday to Jane Meyer, a former senior associate athletics director at the University of Iowa, ruling in her favor on all five claims in her discrimination lawsuit against the university.”

From the HR Department

Via Gizmodo: “Facebook Will Add 3,000 More People to Watch Murders and Suicides.” Nope, robots will not be doing this job of content moderation, as Facebook recently boasted at its developer conference. It’ll be low-wage workers in places like the Philippines.

In other HR news from Facebook: “Facebook replaces Oculus computer vision head at center of underage sex scandal.”

Graduate students at Brandeis University have voted to unionize.

Ted Mitchell, the former Education Department under secretary, has joined the board of directors of Frontline Education,” Politico reports.

The Business of Job Training

Once upon a time, I’d have put Udacity in the MOOC section above, but I’m sticking this profile by RealClear Education here in the job training section: “Online Educator Udacity Adapts Courses to Changing Labor Market.”

The Pew Research Center asked “experts” about “The Future of Jobs and Jobs Training.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

“Is Clay Christensen Ready to Disrupt Parenting?” asks CMRubinworld. Will Christensen ever let this ridiculous narrative go?

“Is this the future of college: Online classes, but no degree?” asks the Associated Press.

“Zap! Can Electrical Stimulation Help Us Learn?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“Is this increasingly popular teaching job the Uber for teachers?” asks eSchool News.

(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

Yik Yak joins the ed-tech dead pool. (In an update to last week’s news, it appears that Square has paid $1 million for its engineering team. Yik Yak had raised $73.5 million in venture capital.)

Microsoft had a media event this week. Via The New York Times: “Microsoft Looks to Regain Lost Ground in the Classroom.” “Microsoft’s new education push plays to its strengths, the cheap and familiar,” says Techcrunch. Here is the Microsoft blog post announcing its new products.

CNN tries to explain “Why Google, Apple and Microsoft are battling for education.” I’ll save you a click: the answer is “money.”

Via Edsurge: “Apple Partners With Tynker to Help K–5 Students Learn to Code.” (No disclosure about shared investors.)

Via CNBC: “This Chinese-Israeli start-up wants to change the way kids learn to code.” The startup in question: LeapLearner.

OER-Enabled Pedagogyby Lumen Learning’s David Wiley.

Via Diggit Magazine: “The end of how business takes over, again.” Edsurge gets the company’s take on criticisms of its business model.

Social-Emotional Learning Is the Rage in K–12. So Why Not in College?” asks the Student Experience Manager of the Minerva Project in an article in Edsurge.

I wrote about social-emotional learning (algorithms) as a “trend to watch.”

Elsewhere in algorithms… Via The New York Times: “Sent to Prison by a Software Program’s Secret Algorithms.” And in other predictive analytics news, from The Intercept: “Taser Will Use Police Body Camera Videos ‘to Anticipate Criminal Activity’.” (If you think these stories are not relevant to education and education technology, you are not paying attention.)

Via The Outline: “Machine learning is racist because the internet is racist.”

Edsurge on “How Students Experience Georgia State’s Push to Use Big Data” and an Ellucian product called Degree Works.

Techcrunch lists 11 technologies that “want to hack your brain.”

According to Futurism, “DARPA Is Planning to Hack the Human Brain to Let Us ‘Upload’ Skills.” Sigh. This story. Again.

Brain data, neurotechnology and educationby Ben Williamson.

Happy 20th anniversary to Blackboard. Edsurge celebrates by reprinting Blackboard founder Matthew Pittinsky’s blog post “4 Secrets to Building a Tech Company for Higher Ed.” Pittinsky is currently the CEO of Parchment. (No disclosure on this story that Parchment and Edsurge share investors.)

Speaking of Blackboard, here’s a press release about Blackboard Classroom: “New Solution from Blackboard Helps K–12 School Districts Make Learning More Engaging, Personalized and Accessible.”

Via Edsurge: “Why Moodle’s Mastermind, Martin Dougiamas, Still Believes in Edtech After Two Decades.”

TRUSTe’s Opt Out Is a Cynical Joke,” says Bill Fitzgerald.

Via Edsurge: “Zeal CEO John Danner: Want to Make Data Actionable? Start With Building the Right Culture.” (No disclosure that Edsurge shares an investor with Zeal.)

Wolfram is launching a data repository.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

“How to Prepare for an Automated Future,” by The NYT’s Claire Cain Miller.

For more news about robots not taking jobs, see the HR section above.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

AltSchool has raised $40 million from undisclosed investors. The private school startup has raised $173 million total. (Disclosure alert: Edsurge does not disclose it shares investors with AltSchool in its coverage of the funding news.)

Game-based learning company Legends of Learning has raised $9 million in seed funding from Baltimore Angels.

Schoolrunner has raised $500,000 from the Colorado Impact Fund. The student information system startup has raised $2 million total.

The private equity firm Education Growth Partners has acquired Apex Learning.

2U has acquired GetSmarter for $103 million.

Pearson released its quarterly report today and announced a “strategic review” of its K–12 courseware business, particularly with regards to print. Andrew Rotherham interviewed CEO John Fallon about the company’s shift to digital.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

“Someone Hit the Internet with a Massive Google Doc Phishing Attack,” Motherboard Vice reports. Don’t click. Never click. (Use this as an excuse to avoid all future Google Docs and “collaborative” writing projects. You know you want to.)

“Hundreds of thousands of kids have identity info hacked from pediatricians’ offices,” says

“235 apps attempt to secretly track users with ultrasonic audio,” says Boing Boing. Android apps to be specific.

“‘Is Our Children’s Apps Learning?’ Automatically Detecting COPPA Violationsby Irwin Reyes, Primal Wijesekera, Abbas Razaghpanah, Joel Rearson, Narseo Vallina-Rodriguez, Serge Egelman, and Christian Kreibich.

Data and “Research”

This is irresponsible. “Students to colleges: Please use our data this way,” reads the eCampus News headline in an article claiming students want even more of their data tracked and utilized. This is all based on a survey by Ellucian (the company behind the student information system Banner and Degree Works, a predictive tool profiled by Edsurge in a story linked above); and I’d sure love to see the wording of the questions.

Via The Independent: “Facebook research targeted insecure youth, leaked documents show.”

“4 out of 5 Companies Have Hired a Coding Bootcamp Graduate,” says Campus Technology. Well, not quite. Job search site surveyed 1000 HR managers and tech recruiters.

The latest report formerly known as the Sloan Survey of Online Learning has been released. “Digital Learning Compass: New report on distance education higher ed enrollments” by Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill. Inside Higher Ed and The Chronicle of Higher Education also cover the report.

“Do For-profit Institutions Converting to Non-profit Affect Distance Education Enrollment Numbers?” asks Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill. (Spoiler alert: no.)

The ANOVA blog’s “study of the week” includes Skinner (but no pigeons): “Nicaraguan Sign Language and the Speaking Animal.”

Via Brookings: “How the quality of school lunch affects students’ academic performance.” has released new reports on math textbooks and how well they align to the Common Core.

“Emerging Research on K–12 Computer Science Education: 6 Trends to Watch” by Education Week’s Ben Herold.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new paper finds students don’t leave postsecondary education when the for-profit institution they attend is sanctioned by federal agencies. They move into the public sector.”

Via Campus Technology: “Study: More Underrepresented Students Rely on Social Media for College Search.”

“The Most Polarized Freshman Class in Half a Century” sure makes for a great headline confirming all the hullaballoo lately about intolerance on college campuses. (Incoming classes are also increasingly diverse demographically.)

Via Pacific Standard: “Selective Colleges Take Fewer Low-Income Students, According to a New Report.”

From the American Institutes for Research: “The Income Share Agreement Landscape: 2017 and Beyond.”

More pushback on the US News and World Report 2017 high school rankings. “4th Best High School In New York Is A KIPP School That Doesn’t Exist,” education blogger Gary Rubinstein charges. “Why the U.S. News Best High School Rankings Are Flawed,” according to RealClear Education.

Creative Commons has released its State of the Commons 2016 report.

IHE blogger Joshua Kim asks where folks get the figure “$1.9 trillion,” supposedly the size of the global higher education market.

EdWeek’s Market Brief pushes another number about the size of education markets: “As more computing devices are available in K–12 classrooms, the market for ed-tech software and tools and back-end administrative technology platforms, is expected to grow to $1.83 billion by 2020, according to Futuresource Consulting, Ltd.”

April 2017 Ed-Tech Fundingby me. One factoid: three companies – SoFi, EverFi, and – account for more than 65% of the money raised so far this year. Unlike other people who tout certain dollar figures for the size of markets, I do show my work.


Via Vox: “William Baumol, whose famous economic theory explains the modern world, has died.” Vox loves explainers but, like Baumol, doesn't always get the explanation right:

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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