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The Trump Budget


Via The New York Times: “Trump’s Budget Cuts Deeply Into Medicaid and Anti-Poverty Efforts.”

Via NPR: “Trump Budget Reduces Education Spending, Raises Funding For School Choice.” Also via NPR: “President Trump’s Budget Proposal Calls For Deep Cuts To Education.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Trump Budget Would Slash Student Aid and Research.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What Trump’s Proposed 2018 Budget Would Mean for Higher Ed.”

Via Edweek’s Market Brief: “Trump’s Budget for Fiscal 2018: Cuts for Ed., Implications for K–12 Business.”

No Sign of Edtech In Department of Education’s Full Federal Budget Proposal,” Edsurge frets.

The Office of Educational Technology Under DeVos” by Doug Levin.

The National Endowment for the Humanities issued a press release: “NEH Statement on Proposed FY 2018 Budget.”

More news from the NEH in the HR section below.

Thankfully, this budget is D.O.A. But it does underscore how central cruelty and ignorance are to the Trump administration.

More Education Politics


Betsy DeVos Refuses to Rule Out Giving Funds to Schools That Discriminate,” The New York Times reports.

Via NPR: “Here’s What Betsy DeVos Said Wednesday On Capitol Hill.”

And here’s what DeVos said when she spoke to the American Federation for Children’s National Policy Summit. I really like the part where she compares those who defend the current education system to “flat-earthers.”

“GOP lawmakers said Thursday they had planned to subpoena the former chief of federal student aid, Jim Runcie, to testify before a House of Representatives oversight subcommittee and may still do so,” Inside Higher Ed reports. “Runcie resigned from the Department of Education effective Wednesday rather than testify at a hearing on improper payments by the department. In a resignation memo and other correspondence leaked to the media, he also cited broader disagreements with the direction of the department under Secretary Betsy DeVos as reasons for his departure.” More on James Runcie’s abrupt resignation from The Washington Post, NPR, Buzzfeed.

Via The New York Times: “Trump Administration Considers Moving Student Loans from Education Department to Treasury.”

More on student loans in the student loan section below.

Via the ACLU: “The Miseducation of Betsy DeVos (Apologies, Lauryn Hill).”



“Don’t Like Betsy DeVos? Blame the Democrats,” says Diane Ravitch. TBH, there’s plenty of blame to go around.

More on DeVos’s ed-tech investments in the research section below.

Via Edsurge: “Possible ‘Fraud, Theft, Waste, and Abuse’: Report Questions NYC School Broadband Spending.”

Via NPR: “Texas Lawmakers Revive ‘Bathroom Bill,’ OK Religious Refusal Of Adoptions.” Via WaPo: “Texas House passes ‘bathroom bill’ restricting transgender student access.”

Immigration and Education


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Appeals Court Refuses to Reinstate Trump’s Travel Ban.”

Education in the Courts


Via WaPo: “Private investigator accused of seeking Trump’s tax records through financial aid website.” More via Diverse Issues in Higher Education, who I believe broke the story.

Via The San Francisco Chronicle: “Dubious arrests, damaged lives” – “How shelters criminalize hundreds of children.”

Via Education Week: “Court Orders Pa. to Approve Thrice-Rejected Cyber Charter Applicant.” That’s the Insight PA Cyber Charter School.

More on for-profits’ legal machinations in the for-profit higher ed section below. More on immigration in the courts in the legal section above.

Testing, Testing…


“The Standardized Test Monopoly That Secretly Runs America’s High Schools” by Liz Dwyer. Spoiler alert: it’s the College Board.

Via The Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service: “Local students struggle after changes to GED test.”

Via Education Week: “In Race for Test-Takers, ACT Outscores SAT – for Now.”

Via The NYT: “As Pollen Counts Rise, Test Scores Fall.”

Via Education Week: “Market Is Booming for Digital Formative Assessments.”

Via Education Week: “Iowa schools to stop using $14M testing software after audit.”

Via Education Dive: “Testing centers a growing source of higher ed revenue.”

“Free College”


Via Inside Higher Ed: “The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation Board of Trustees approved regulations for the state’s new tuition-free public college tuition program Thursday, including some key regulations that would seem to address concerns about residency and credit-completion requirements.”

The Business of Student Loans


Via Buzzfeed: “Trump Is Under Pressure To Deliver On Obama’s Student Loan Forgiveness.”

“On track for Public Service Loan Forgiveness? Good news, you’re not in danger from Trump’s budget,” says The Washington Post. This is still terrible news for those not yet “on track,” including those weighing degrees and careers in public service.

Via Buzzfeed: “Here’s How Trump’s Student Loan Proposals Could Affect You.”

Via The New York Times: “Education Dept. Keeps Obama Plan to Streamline Loan System.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Education Dept. Says It Will Pick Single Loan Servicer.”

Via Bloomberg: “Americans Are Paying $38 to Collect $1 of Student Debt.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “About 234,000 defaulted student loan borrowers with debt valued at $4.6 billion will be stuck in limbo and unable to get out of default if a judge’s order is not lifted this week, the Department of Education said in a court filing Friday.”

More on the business (and the politics and the legality) of financial aid in the politics section above and in the for-profit higher ed section below. And more on data and research on student loan debt in the research section below.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


Via Inside Higher Ed: “A group of California for-profit colleges filed a lawsuit in federal court this week seeking to block the implementation of borrower-defense rules finalized last fall.”

University of Colorado Denver students can earn college credit by taking courses at the coding bootcamp Galvanize. (Worth noting: the website promotes private student loan companies SkillsFund and Climb to students looking for tuition assistance.)

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


Via Slate: “The New Diploma Mills.”

There’s more from Slate in its series on online credit recovery programs: “Why Bad Online Courses Are Still Taught in Schools.”

George Mason University and Old Dominion University have launched the Online Virginia Network, “an online portal where students can browse both institutions’ online programs and calculate the cost of earning a degree.” Online portals still makin’ news.

Meanwhile on Campus…


Via NPR: “Mark Zuckerberg Tells Harvard Graduates To Embrace Globalism, ‘A Sense Of Purpose’.” He mentioned something in his commencement speech about “personalized learning,” which I think – if we’re talking about Facebook’s vision of such things – means profiling users, getting them to click on things, and selling advertising based on their data. “Mark Zuckerberg Should Really Listen to Himself,” says Wired’s Nitasha Tiku.

Related: “‘Harvard Crimson’ Site Is Hacked to Take Jabs at Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Also related:



Via Buzzfeed: “Harvard’s Closed Captioning Malfunctioned And Turned Zuckerberg’s Speech Into A Jibberish Tone Poem.”

Via The Daily Beast: “Over 100 Students Walk Out of Mike Pence’s Commencement Address” at Notre Dame.

“Dozens of Middlebury Students Are Disciplined for Charles Murray Protest,” The New York Times reports in a story that does not cite a single student involved in opposing Murray’s presence at the school.

Via The Baltimore Sun: “Police, FBI investigating University of Maryland killing as possible hate crime.” Richard Collins III was set to graduate Bowie State University this week. Sean Urbanski, a member of a white supremacist group, was arrested for stabbing him. More via The NYT.

“It Runs Deep and We Can’t Talk It Out: On Campus Racism and the Murder of Richard Collins III” by Daniel Greene.

Via The New York Times: “Surprise for a Mother Who Helped Her Paralyzed Son in Every Class.” They both graduated from Chapman University. Disability journalist David Perry responds: “Inspiration Porn Watch: Mom Gets Degree, Disabled Son Erased.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Mizzou’s Freshman Enrollment Has Dropped by 35% in 2 Years. Here’s What’s Going On.”

Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy on allegations of racial bias in Princeton’s admission practices.

Via The New York Times: “Pregnant at 18. Hailed by Abortion Foes. Punished by Christian School.” Maddi Runkles won’t be able to participate in graduation because she’s pregnant, her school says.

Via Buzzfeed: “Caltech Professor Who Harassed Women Was Also Investigated For Creating An Imaginary Female Researcher.” The professor in question: astrophysics professor Christian Ott.

Via NPR’s Code Switch: “Why Colleges Already Face Race-Related Challenges In Serving Future Students.”

Via The Times-Picayune: “New Orleans principal loses job after wearing Nazi-associated rings in video.” Nicholas Dean was a principal at the charter school Crescent Leadership Academy. 99% of the students at this school are African-American. Can you fucking imagine sending your child off every day to this man’s school?!

Via Chalkbeat’s Colorado newsroom: “Jeffco Public Schools suspended an average of four young students a day last year – and district officials are paying attention.”

“How far should a university go to face its slave past?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education. Um…. all the way?

Via Times Higher Education: “German Universities Oppose Plan to Compete on Teaching Quality.”

“How teachers can support students during Ramadanby Rusul Alrubail.

Via WFAA.com: “Channelview ISD [in Channelview, Texas] teachers are being disciplined after naming a student ‘most likely to become a terrorist.’”

Via WaPo: “Teachers gave a teen with ADHD a ‘Most Likely to Not Pay Attention’ award.”

Pull your shit together, teachers.

Via The NYT: “Student Brought Loaded Gun to Brooklyn School, Police Say.”

More on guns at schools in Georgia in the sports section below.

Via Philly.com: “For these Philly librarians, drug tourists and overdose drills are part of the job.”

Accreditation and Certification


Via Edsurge: “Texas Partners With BloomBoard to Bring Competency-Based PD to the State.” (Disclosure alert: no mention that Edsurge and Bloomboard share investors.)

Also via Edsurge: “Why There’s Little Consistency in Defining Competency-Based Education.” The story is part of a new guide, sponsored by D2L, on CBE. (Disclosure alert: no mention that Edsurge and D2L share investors.)

Go, School Sports Team!


Via the Bleacher Report: “Georgia Law Will Allow Carry of Handguns at Public University Tailgate Events.” Guns will be allowed at more than just sports events, but as US News & World Report observes, “No Storage, Signs on Georgia Campuses as Gun Ban Lifts.”

From the HR Department


Bro Adams announced his resignation as the chairman of the NEH.

Via The San Francisco Chronicle: “UC Berkeley fires instructor following sexual harassment claims.” That’d be Blake Wentworth, who taught in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies.

Via Techcrunch: “SoFi co-founder Dan Macklin is leaving the company.”

Via the ProQuest press release: “Matti Shem Tov, President of Ex Libris, a ProQuest company, will succeed Kurt Sanford as CEO of ProQuest in 2017.”

The Business of Job Training


A report from VC firm GSV Acceleration: “It’s a Breakout: Capital Flows In the Learning and Talent Technology Market.”

According to this Techcrunch article, MOOCs like Udacity and Coursera weren’t working out for AirBnB so now it is “running its own internal university to teach data science.”

Via Edsurge: “Would You Like Higher Ed With That? Guild Education’s Playbook to Educating Employees.” (No disclosure in this article that Edsurge shares investors with Guild Education.)

The Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus has held its final show. What’s going to happen to all those clown colleges and clown training programs?

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


Via MinnPost: “Almost 50 years ago, Oregon Trail revolutionized educational software. Can the game’s creators do it again?”

(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


In January, Edsurge announced it was pivoting to focus on its procurement service to schools. Now, four months later, it says it’s shutting down its Concierge service to focus on building an “online diagnostic tool.” (Note what happens to the data.)

Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill onBarnes & Noble Education’s Predictive Analytics Deal With Unizin.” More via Inside Higher Ed.

“Tracking Google and Microsoft Adoption in Higher Ed” by Jim Siegl.

How Google is ruining the Web.

Via The Guardian: “ Revealed: Facebook’s internal rulebook on sex, terrorism and violence.”

Via Edsurge: “EDUCAUSE Adds Emerging Edtech Membership for Small Companies, Hints at Overhaul.”

The New York Times profiles the College Advising Corps: “Bringing the Dream of an Elite College to Rural Students.”

Via Techcrunch: “Raspberry Pi Foundation and CoderDojo to code club together.”

“Ed-Tech Publishing Group Wrestles With Shift to ‘Student-Centered’ Learning,” says EdWeek Market Brief’s Michele Molnar, reporting from the Association of American Publishers’ PreK–12 Learning Group’s conference.

Via Edsurge: “OER Pioneer David Wiley Predicts All Community Colleges Will Dump Traditional Textbooks By 2024.” (I’ll keep track of this via my new project that tracks these sorts of predictions about the future. Do remember: Clayton Christensen has predicted that by that date, half of all universities will be bankrupt.)

Via Edsurge: “Turnitin Offers Lexile Scores to Help Teachers Better Assign Reading Passages.” (Both Lexiles and Turnitin are pretty terrible, I’d add, although for different reasons. One is a proprietary (mis)measurement of reading levels; the other makes proprietary decisions based on students’ IP.)

Speaking of IP: “All the Second Life rabbits are doomed, thanks to DRM,” Boing Boing reports.

Via Edsurge: “Massive Data Breaches, Billions in Wasted Funds: Who Is Holding Edtech Vendors Accountable?” Insert shrug emoji here.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


Via Disability Scoop: “Mom Designs Drone To Track Kids Who Wander.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


Coaching service Paragon One has raised $1.9 million in seed funding from Y Combinator, Foundation Capital, Learn Capital, University Ventures, Li Yuan Ventures, Altair Ventures, Jimmy Lai, and Jeff Xiong.

Publisher eDynamic Learning has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Gauge Capital.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


Via The Verge: “This French school is using facial recognition to find out when students aren’t paying attention.” The school: the ESG business school. The software: Nestor, creatored by LCA Learning. In Greek mythology, Nestor did not participate in the looting of Troy, but clearly this software – it’s a trap! – is very much interested in looting students’ data.

Via Information Observatory: “Academic Surveillance Complex.”

Via Education Dive: “School administrators want ability to filter Wi-Fi on school buses.”

An update from Edmodo’s CEO about the company’s recent security breach and advertising program.

Via The Intercept: “Facebook Won’t Say If It Will Use Your Brain Activity for Advertisements.” Man, Zuckerberg’s plans for personalized learning are gonna be so swell.

Via MIT Technology Review: “Google Now Tracks Your Credit Card Purchases and Connects Them to Its Online Profile of You.” Aren’t you glad schools have embraced Google Apps for EDU so readily?!

Data and “Research”


“Here’s How a Student ‘Unit Record’ System Could Change Higher Ed,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via Edsurge: “Meet Caliper, the Data Standard That May Help Us (Finally) Measure Edtech Efficacy.”

Speaking of extracting people’s data without their knowledge or consent, this via Joel Winston: “Ancestry.com takes DNA ownership rights from customers and their relatives.”

Via Chalkbeat: “As ed reformers urge a ‘big bet’ on personalized learning, research points to potential rewards – and risks.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Report on online education landscape suggests potentially leaner times ahead for colleges hoping to profit in the market. Community colleges are already seeing it.”

FdB’s “study of the week” looks at entrance exams.

Via NPR: “Preschool, A State-By-State Update.”

Music Teachers Believe a Lot of Myths,” according to research reported by Pacific Standard.

Kevin Carey on William Sanders, “The Little-Known Statistician Who Taught Us to Measure Teachers” (and who gave us the “value-added” model.)

Via Education Week: “Big Data in Education Needs Better Outreach, National Report Says.”

Via NY Magazine: “Women Hold Nearly Two-Thirds of Outstanding Student-Loan Debt.”

Via Bryan Alexander: “Higher education enrollment declined in 2017. Again.”

Via Edsurge: “Study Finds Classroom-Response ‘Clickers’ Can ‘Impede Conceptual Understanding’.”

A new study has found that “fitness trackers suck at counting calories,” as Techcrunch puts it. The devices were more accurate, however, at monitoring heart-rates – “approaching something useful in a clinical setting.” (Here’s a link to the study.) Remember: consumer tech does not pass the sorts of regulatory mechanisms required for medical tech – when it comes to the accuracy of the data tracking or the security and privacy of data storage. Perhaps something to think about as ed-tech proponents laud hardware, software, and consumer-oriented (ed-)tech as unleashing and reflecting new “learning sciences.”

Speaking of “learning sciences,” this from Ulrich Boser: “Betsy DeVos has invested millions in a ‘brain training’ company that’s based on dubious science. I went to check it out.” I’m shocked – shocked! – that “dubious science” is at play at an education technology company.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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