Education Politics

Via Politico: “Trump suggests financing for historically black colleges may be unconstitutional.” Wait, so that photo op at the beginning of the year with HBCU presidents was utterly disingenuous?! More via Buzzfeed – that is, before Trump changed his mind – or at least changed his public stance, and according to WaPo, expressed his “unwavering support” for HBCUs. Via The NYT: “Trump Walks Back Threat to Defund Black Colleges.”

And then DeVos goes to an HBCU to give a graduation speech and get an honorary doctorate. “Betsy DeVos Was Booed Heavily As She Gave A Commencement Address,” writes Buzzfeed. “Students Boo, Turn Their Backs on DeVos at Bethune-Cookman Speech,” writes The Chronicle of Higher Education. NPR calls the students “hecklers.” According to the school, only 20 students protested. (According to those present, about half of the graduates did.) The Secretary of Education issued a statement about the ceremony. All the words were spelled correctly.

DeVos also spoke at the ASU-GSV Summit. No one stood and turned their backs, I gather. “Betsy DeVos likens education technology to ‘a thousand flowers’ that have yet to bloom,” says The Hechinger Report. Innovation! Education should be more like AirBnB. And no one booed. Damn, y’all.

Via Politico: “All the President’s Guests.” The White House isn’t releasing official visitor logs, so here’s the unofficial version. Search for “education” to see who’s popped by for a chat.

Via Motherboard: “John Oliver Just Crashed the FCC’s Website Over Net Neutrality – Again.” Yes, it’s time to weigh in – again – about “net neutrality.”

Not directly related to ed-tech, but only because no one actually demands ed-tech prove its “interventions” “work”: “Peter Thiel vs. the FDAvia Vox.

Via ABC News: “Puerto Rico to close 184 public schools amid crisis.”

Via The Daily Beast: “No Love for Paul Ryan in Harlem School.” The school in question: Success Academy, a charter school chain.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Jerry Brown, California’s governor, released his revised budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year Thursday. While the budget largely mirrors an earlier plan, it includes $50 million in funding for the University of California system that will be sequestered until the system resolves concerns raised last month by the state’s auditor.”

Ian Bogost on campus carry legislation in Georgia.

Via The New York Times: “Is ‘3-K for All’ Good for All? De Blasio’s Preschool Plan Troubles Some.”

Via “Christie signs ‘Snooki’ bill capping N.J. college speaking fees.”

Via The LA Times: “Silicon Valley is ‘officially a retirement community for D.C. political vets’ starting fresh outside the nation’s capital.”

Meanwhile in San Francisco, via The San Francisco Chronicle: “Low pay, high SF housing costs equal 1 homeless math teacher.”

More on the politics of education data and research in the data and research section below. More on the politics (and business) of student loans in the student loans section below.

Immigration and Education

Via NPR: “Texas Gov. Abbott Signs Measure Targeting ‘Sanctuary Cities’.” The law, which allows officers to stop and ask people’s immigration status, also applies to college campuses.

Via The Washington Post: “Second largest school district in U.S. moves to protect undocumented immigrants from federal agents.” That’s LAUSD. (That’s the Los Angeles Unified School District.)

Via The New York Times: “U.S. May Ban Laptops on All Flights From Europe.”

Education in the Courts

Via Buzzfeed: “Howard University Refused To Help Suicidal Rape Victims, Explosive Lawsuit Claims.”

Just putting this story here because I’m tracking on all those social and political networks of education reform and education technology funders. And that includes Robert Mercer. Via Bloomberg: “Mercer Sued by Hedge Fund Worker Fired After Blasting Trump.”

Testing, Testing…

Thomas Friedman links the future of “lifelong learning” to standardized testing, bless his heart. Warning: hate read.

“A History of Achievement Testing in the United States Or: Explaining the Persistence of Inadequacy” (PDF) by Ethan Hutt and Jack Schneider.

More on testing and test prep research in the “research” section below.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Purdue Defends Plan to Acquire Kaplan University in Wake of Faculty Vote.”

Via WTVR: “For-profit colleges under scrutiny as students default on loans.”

Lots lots lots more on student loans in the student loan section below.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

edX is celebrating its 5th birthday. (And I can’t believe that “the Year of the MOOC” was five years ago.)

A Coursera blog post shared with you without commentary: “Using data to transform the learning experience.”

Meanwhile on Campus…

The conservative press continues to argue that college campuses remain the biggest threat to free speech. Here’s the NRO: “U of Arizona Is Hiring Students to Tattle on Others for ‘Bias Incidents’.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “To fight campus liberalism, a right-wing group is funneling thousands of dollars to student-government campaigns.” That’s Turning Point USA.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “8 Fraternity Members Are Charged With Manslaughter in Hazing Death at Penn State.”

Madison, WI schools block social media access for students,” says EAGNews, “as part of a pilot project aimed at reengaging students.”

Harvard will no longer charge library fines. Apparently library fines are stressful to those poor Harvard students.

Via Chalkbeat: “New York City’s special ed tracking system malfunctioned more than 800,000 times per day, but changes are underway.”

Via the NY Daily News: “99% of students handcuffed by NYPD in public schools were black or Hispanic: report.”

“An administrator at Holy Cross College, in Indiana, mistakenly sent an email to the entire student body on Friday that paints a bleak picture of the small institutionā€™s finances and mentions its possible closure,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. Oops.

Via Teen Vogue: “Nicki Minaj Offers to Pay Fans’ School Tuition.” (Nicki needs to talk to Tressie.)

Accreditation and Certification

Via Inside Higher Ed: “More than 100 elite private high schools aim to replace traditional transcripts with competency-based, nonstandardized documents – with no grades. They plan to expand to public high schools, with goal of completely changing how students are evaluated.” This is one way to expand educational inequalities, that’s for sure.

AIR on alternative teacher certification.

Education Dive summarizes a Washington Times (!) article by the Heritage Foundation (!) and asks “Should states, industry lead higher ed accreditation efforts?” Pretty sure all those factors and more means this really should go in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section.

Go, School Sports Team!

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A report released by the National Collegiate Athletic Association Wednesday said that athletes in Division I improved academically for the 12th consecutive year, according to the association’s academic progress rate.”

From the HR Department

Internet2 has a new president: Howard Pfeffer, formerly a VP at Time Warner Cable.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

“Can technology solve the 2,500-year-old problem of boredom in the classroom?” asks Slate.

“Dropout Detective Offers Academic ‘Credit Scores’ – But Is That a Good Thing?” asks Edsurge.

“Will Personalized Learning Become the New Normal?” asks The 74.

(Reminder: according to Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”)

The Business of Job Training

Via Education Week: “Can K–12 Education Prepare Students For ‘Jobs of the Future?’” Yes, this could go in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section.

The Business of Student Loans

Via NPR: “U.S. Government Officials Play Hardball On Student Loan Defaults.”

The US Department of Treasury is poised to raise the interest rates on student loans in July.

Via Buzzfeed: “How The Student Loan Collection System Ground To A Halt.”

Via Techcrunch: “SoFi plans to apply for a bank charter in the next month.” SoFi began as financing company for private student loans. It is most certainly not ed-tech because ed-tech has nothing to do with finance, or so I hear.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Sallie Mae, the student loan company, will offer free online tutoring to borrowers through a partnership with Chegg, an online textbook publisher that recently has moved into student support services, including test preparation and tutoring.”

“The Wrong Way to Fix Student Debtby Susan Dynarski.

Also in The NYT: “3 Basic but Crucial Things to Know About Student Loans.” (Me, I think you should know the business of student loans is intertwined with the business of ed-tech.)

More on student loans in the for-profit higher ed section above.

Upgrades and Downgrades

“Tech’s Frightful Five: They’ve Got Us,” says The NYT’s tech reporter Farhad Manjoo. That’s Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Apple. (Check out the interactive feature that let’s you explore if and how you could extricate yourself from their clutches.)

Meanwhile, Education Week has a big report on “Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft Battle for K–12 Market, and Loyalties of Educators.”

Via Edsurge: “ClassDojo and Yale Team Up to Bring Mindfulness to the Masses.” Ben Williamson on ClassDojo and “mindfulness at scale.”

“We Know SEL Skills Are Important, So How the Heck Do We Measure Them?” asks Edsurge. It’s totally by buying ed-tech, am I right?

Efficiency Can Cost Education” says Andy Smarick in US News & World Report.

JP Morgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon says there’s a “national catastrophe in American education,” and he has no fucking idea what he’s talking about.

“The reign of the $100 graphing calculator required by every US math class is finally ending,” says Quartz. That’s thanks to Desmos, the online graphing calculator. More Desmos PR in Edsurge, too.

Via NPR: “Fidget Spinners: Good Or Bad For Kids’ Concentration?”

Via Techcrunch: “Germany’s Duolingo competitor Babbel sets its sights on the US.”

Oculus’ Virtual Reality Content Studio to Be Closed,” says Geek Dad. But don’t worry. I’m sure VR is still the next big thing in edu.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Common Application Says New Transfer App Will Better Serve Nontraditional Students.”

Via Techcrunch: “Current launches a Visa debit card for kids that parents control with an app.”

“Movement of Canvas LMS to Global Markets” by Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill.

“The Next Phase of the Maker Movement? Building Startups” – according to Edsurge at least.

Do be sure to take note of the Edmodo news in the infosec section below.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

Via KQED: “Using Artificial Intelligence As a Teaching Assistant To Help With Questions Online.” Georgia Tech trying to get a lot of miles out of this one example, huh.

Via Edsurge: “Robot Students? College Classrooms Try Letting Far-Away Students Attend Via Remote-Control Stand-In.”

“Could Robots Handle Peer Review?” asks Times Higher Education, a question that does make this story eligible for the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section.

Machine Learning for Middle Schoolers” by Stephen Wolfram.

ASU-GSV Summit Celebrates Money and Other Stuff

Some of the headlines out of this corporate shindig:

Via Edsurge: “Bankers, Buyers and Warriors: Reporter’s Notebook From the 2017 ASU+GSV Summit.” (Warriors, in this case, refers to the Golden State Warriors, who were staying in the same hotel – but it could be ed-tech warriors, I dunno maybe. God helps us.)

Via Education Week: “An Uncertain Political Landscape Looms Over Ed. Policy at ASU/GSV.”

As part of its “thought leader series” at the event, Edsurge interviewed the founder of the Minerva Project, Ben Nelson: “Three Years In, Minerva’s Founder On For-Profits, Selectivity, and His Critics.”

Via Ed Week’s Market Brief: “K–12 Frustrations With Ed-Tech Interoperability Surface at ASU/GSV.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Tennis Great Andre Agassi Shares Strategies for Scaling Charter Schools at ASU/GSV.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Chinese Ed-Tech Leaders: ‘Make Connections to Make Headway’ in Market.”

See the politics section above for details about the Secretary of Education’s speech at the event. And do note the differences in the audience response to DeVos there and at an HBCU graduation ceremony this week.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform

“The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is funding the education-reform group Chiefs for Change, as both groups seek to grow state- and district-level support for personalized learning,” Education Week reports. No disclosure on the funding amount.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

Grammarly has raised $110 million from Breyer Capital Venture, General Catalyst Venture, Institutional Venture Partners, SignalFire Venture, and Spark Capital. This is the grammar-checker company’s first round of venture investment.

Telegraph Media Group has acquired Gojimo.

Epiphany Learning has acquired My Learning Collaborative Solution.

Sylvan Learning has acquired Citelighter.

InsideTrack has merged with Strada Education.

Via Crunchbase: “VCs Take An EdTech Breather, But For Those Who Look Globally, Optimism Isn’t Hard To Find.”

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via Motherboard: “Hacker Steals Millions of User Account Details from Education Platform Edmodo.” The data includes usernames, email addresses, and hashed passwords. The data is for sale online for $1000.

Via the Fort Mason Daily Democrat: “Heart rate monitor grades students’ activity.”

College campus police forces are starting to wear body cameras.

Via “San Diego School District Brings Biometrics to the Cafeteria.”

“The ‘S’ in Smart Cities really stands for ‘Surveillance’,” Doug Belshaw argues.

More on algorithms and surveillance in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section above.

Data and “Research”

Research from Harvard on “The Dissatisfaction of the Associate Professor,” as related by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via Kansas University: “Research shows prejudice, not principle, often underpins ‘free-speech defense’ of racist language.”

Via Education Week: “The federal Health and Human Services Department has proposed getting rid of a question in the National Child Health Survey that collects information on preschool children who have been suspended or expelled.”

“Three-quarters of Americans think it’s easier to succeed in life with a college degree than without one, but only 43 percent say private, nonprofit universities and colleges are worth the cost, according to a new poll” by the think tank New America.

School Bullying Is Down. Why Don’t Students Believe It?” asks NPR’s Anya Kamenetz.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Colleges With the Highest Average Pay for Full Professors, 2015–16.”

Via Education Week: “Student Absenteeism: Three New Studies to Know.”

Edsurge weighs in with “The Hard Truths and False Starts About Edtech Efficacy Research.”

From the Khan Academy blog: “Studying for the SAT for 20 hours on Khan Academy associated with 115-point average score increase.” “ Can coaching truly boost SAT scores? For years, the College Board said no. Now it says yes,” says WaPo’s Valerie Strauss.

A new study from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation suggests that robots aren’t taking our jobs as fast as some people are saying. But this all makes for such a nice, salable story, doesn’t it.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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