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(National) Education Politics


“To Understand Betsy DeVos’s Educational Views, View Her Education,” says The New York Times.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Task Force With Falwell Is Happening, White House Says.”

“More than 150 House and Senate Democrats sent Education Secretary Betsy DeVos a letter Monday that objected to her department’s recently announced shift in how it chooses the contractors that service federal student loans,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via Buzzfeed: “How Betsy DeVos Could Break Up The Charter School Coalition.”

Via Buzzfeed: “The Education Department Quietly Invited Anti-LGBT Groups To A Father’s Day Event.” The groups, Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, both advocate for “gay conversion therapy.”

More on the reversal of Obama-era rules regulating for-profit higher ed in the for-profit higher ed section below.

Via ProPublica: “Trump Administration Quietly Rolls Back Civil Rights Efforts Across Federal Government.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Department of Education last week outlined changes to civil rights investigations that advocates fear will mean less consistent findings of systemic discrimination at colleges.”

More on lawsuits against the Department of Education relating to Title IX in the courts section below.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Trump Signs Order to Ease Federal Restrictions on Apprenticeships.” “What’s At Stake in President Trump’s Order to Revamp Apprenticeship Programs,” according to Edsurge. More via Inside Higher Ed.

“The Department of Education appears ready to update the College Scorecard later this year,” says Inside Higher Ed.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week would create a demonstration project for competency-based education programs. The project would grant statutory and regulatory flexibility to participants, such as in the application of federal financial aid rules, while also creating new requirements aimed at accountability and transparency.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “President Trump is expected today to direct changes to American policy toward Cuba, including by stepping up enforcement of the statutory ban on travel to Cuba for tourism-related purposes and by eliminating an option for Americans to travel to the island for individual people-to-people exchanges outside the auspices of an organized group, according to senior White House officials. However, 12 other forms of travel – which would include various forms of academic travel – will continue to be permitted.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Foreign faculty and researchers traveling to Canada to work on projects at public universities and affiliated research institutions will be allowed to stay for up to 120 days without a work permit as part of a new Global Skills Strategy announced Monday by Canada’s government.”

Via The Washington Post: “ University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, said to be in a coma, released from North Korea.”

Trump Orders Government to Stop Work on Y2K Bug, 17 Years Later,” Bloomberg reports.

(State and Local) Education Politics


Via Inside Higher Ed: “A pending Connecticut law will now mandate that the University of Connecticut and the state’s four other public universities publicly release data on which transfer student credits they accept and which they reject.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “On Wednesday, Governor Rick Scott vetoed a higher education bill that would have capped bachelor’s degree enrollments at [**Florida’s two year] colleges**, removed the two-year institutions from the purview of the State Board of Education and renamed the state institutions ‘community colleges,’ as they were called eight years ago.”

Immigration and Education


Via Inside Higher Ed: “A second federal appeals court ruled Monday against President Trump’s travel ban, upholding an injunction imposed by a lower court.”

Trump Ditches His Promise to ‘Terminate’ DACA,” The Atlantic reports. “Dreamers’ to Stay in U.S. for Now, but Long-Term Fate Is Unclear,” says The New York Times.

Via Reuters: “U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly signed a memorandum on Thursday rescinding an Obama-era plan to spare some illegal immigrant parents of children who are lawful permanent residents from being deported, the department said in a statement.”

Via The Washington Post: “ICE nabs teenager hours before his senior prom, days before his graduation ceremony.”

Education in the Courts


Via The Washington Post: “The National Women’s Law Center filed suit Monday against the Education Department in an effort to force the release of information about federal enforcement of Title IX, a law that governs how schools handle campus sexual harassment and assault.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A federal district court judge last week ordered the Department of Education to rule within 90 days on an application for loan relief by a former Corinthian Colleges student. The application has been pending for more than two years.”

Via Politico: “Carl Paladino, the Buffalo school board member who was quoted making derogatory and racist comments about President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama last December, filed a civil rights complaint against the school board, which is seeking to boot him.”

Via The New York Times: “Success Academy and other charter schools won a victory in a long-running dispute with New York City when a state appeals court ruled on Thursday that the city cannot regulate a charter school’s prekindergarten programs.”

Via The New York Times: “Rolling Stone to Pay $1.65 Million to Fraternity Over Discredited Rape Story.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A state-court jury in Connecticut on Thursday sided with a fraternity whose house was closed by Wesleyan University in the fall of 2015 after the fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, resisted complying with a university mandate to admit women.”

Via The New York Times: “Penn State Student’s Dying Hours Play Out in Courtroom Video.”

“America Keeps Criminalizing Autistic Children,” David Perry writes in the Pacific Standard.

Via Ars Technica: “A federal appeals court today struck down price caps on intrastate phone calls made by prisoners. Inmates will thus have to continue paying high prices to make phone calls to family members, friends, and lawyers.”

More on legal cases regarding for-profit higher ed in the for-profit higher ed section below. More on legal cases regarding immigration in the immigration section above.

“Free College”


NPR on free college in Tennessee.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The free public college movement crept into another state Thursday when the University of Michigan rolled out a new program offering four years of free tuition in Ann Arbor for full-time in-state undergraduates with family incomes up to $65,000 per year.” (Probably worth checking out Sara Goldrick-Rab’s comments on Twitter about this one.)

Via The Times Higher Education: “British Election Restores Tuition Debate” – that is, school should be free, and young voters went for Labour in the recent elections in part over this issue.

The Business of Student Loans


There’s more on the politics of student loans in the politics section above and on various legal battles in the courts section above.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


Via The New York Times: “U.S. Halts New Rules Aimed at Abuses by For-Profit Colleges.” These rules are the “gainful employment” rule and the “borrower defense to repayment.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Betsy DeVos Is Halting Protections For For-Profit College Students.”

Here’s the Department of Education’s statement on the news, giving some bullshit excuse that this is “protecting students”.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Two former students of an Education Management Corporation-owned for-profit college have filed suit to intervene as defendants in a lawsuit challenging borrower-defense regulations.”

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has given its okay to the sale of Education Management Corp to the Dream Center.

An op-ed in Inside Higher Ed from EAB’s Melanie Hoe: “What the Purdue-Kaplan Deal Means for You.”

Via Education Dive: “The Purdue-Kaplan Earthquake.”

Via Edsurge: “What Is ‘Quality’? Task Force Seeks Comment on Higher-Ed Outcomes Reporting Standards.” The task force, put together by Entangled Solutions, includes “25 members from think tanks (including education policy wonk Rick Hess from the American Enterprise Institute), colleges (University of Texas), coding bootcamps (Galvanize), investment banking (Tyton Partners), and accounting firms (Ernst & Young).” Fox. Henhouse. Etc. Entangled Solutions’ consultants Deborah Seymour and Michael B. Horn write about this for Inside Higher Ed: “For-Profit University 2.0.”

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


Big HR news about Coursera in the HR section below.

Here’s the headline from Inside Higher Ed: “For-Credit MOOC: Best of Both Worlds at MIT?” But if you look closer, it’s not a MOOC; it’s just an online class at MIT.

Via Education Week: “Ohio Orders State’s Largest Cyber Charter to Repay $60M in Attendance Dispute.”

Tony Bates on a new report on the future of Athabasca University.

Meanwhile on Campus…


Via The Guardian: “Open University jobs at risk in £100m ‘root and branch’ overhaul.”

Via Wired: “Schools Tap Secret Spectrum to Beam Free Internet to Students.” This is at Monticello High School in Albemarle County, Virginia.

Still in its early stages, this ambitious project relies on a little-known public resource – a slice of electromagnetic spectrum the federal government long ago set aside for schools – called the Educational Broadband Service (EBS). Some internet-access advocates say EBS is underutilized at best, and wasted at worst, because loose regulatory oversight by the FCC has allowed most of the spectrum to fall into the hands of commercial internet companies.

Via The New York Daily News: “Mom banned from Brooklyn Success Academy charter school until she says sorry to principal for saying ‘damn’ near kids.”

“Records Show Nearly a Dozen of the Biggest School Districts Lack Air Conditioning,” The 74 reports.

Via The Washington Post: “Can they unplug? A principal will pay students to forgo screen time this summer.”

Accreditation and Certification


“The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges restored Compton Community College’s accreditation last week,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The accrediting agency for the Southern United States has granted initial accreditation to Bob Jones University, another step in a years-long process by the Christian institution – which has a long history of discrimination – to try to join the higher education mainstream. Bob Jones long shunned all federal accreditation.”

More on accrediting for-profits in the accreditation section above.

“Providing some clarity on Open Badges 2.0by Doug Belshaw.

Via The Hechinger Report: “How diplomas based on skill acquisition, not credits earned, could change education.”

Also via The Hechinger Report: “The future of proficiency-based education.”

Digital Promise and Education Elements have released a “toolkit” on competency-based education.

Via Raw Story: “BUSTED: Trump Treasury pick took 4-week course on Dartmouth campus and called it a degree.”

Testing, Testing…


Via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Brad Pitt, Michael B. Jordan sign on to Atlanta school cheating movie.” Ryan Coogler will direct the film, based on the Atlanta School District’s cheating scandal, and Ta-Nehisi Coates will write the screenplay.

Via The New York Times: “New York to Shorten Standardized Tests in Elementary and Middle Schools.”

Via NPR: “Advanced Placement Exam Scores In Alabama On The Rise.”

“Faulty AP exam data spells problems for California Department of Education,” says Education Dive.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Cal State to End Placement Exams.”

Go, School Sports Team!


Via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of Louisville’s head basketball coach has been suspended for the first five Atlantic Coast Conference games of the season, a piece of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s punishment stemming from a prostitution scandal that has roiled the institution for two years.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Colorado chancellor suspended 10 days for not telling authorities of allegations of domestic violence by assistant coach. Athletics director, head coach ordered to each pay $100,000.”

From the HR Department


Coursera has a new CEO: Jeff Maggioncalda. As Edsurge observes, “New CEO at Coursera Comes From Financial Tech, Not Higher Ed” – he was the co-founder of Financial Engines, a retirement planning company. He places former Yale president Richard Levin.

Tracy K. Smith has been named the next US poet laureate.

Drew Faust Will Step Down as Pioneering President of Harvard,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Cory Reid, who previously ran two edtech companies – Instructure and MasteryConnect – as their chief executive, has landed a new gig at Tyton Partners,” says Edsurge, failing to disclose that it shares investors with MasteryConnect.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Six years after adjuncts at Manhattan College voted to form a union, a regional office of the National Labor Relations Board this week certified the election.”

Student workers at the University of Chicago’s library have voted to unionize.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The College of New Rochelle on Monday announced 32 layoffs, including 10 tenured faculty members.”

More on HR changes in the sports section above.

The Business of Job Training


Edsurge interviews the CEO of Guild Education as part of “thought leader” series out of ASU-GSV, but fails to disclose that these companies share investors.

Via the press release: “Amazon Announces More Than 10,000 Employee Participants in Career Choice and Expects to Reach 20,000 Participants by 2020.”

Contests and Awards


Via Chalkbeat: “New York City’s largest school charter network, Success Academy, has won the 2017 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


“Are Virtual Schools the Future?” asks The Atlantic.

(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


“What’s Wrong With Letting Tech Run Our Schoolsby “Math Babe” Cathy O’Neil.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Facebook, an Online Learning Platform?”

Via Edsurge: “Now Any Organization Can Create Content for LinkedIn Learning.”

Stanford University’s Larry Cuban on Class Dojo.

Via Edsurge: “Kahoot Toots 50 Million Monthly Active Users – and a Timeline to Revenue.” The company has raised $16.5 million in venture capital.

A helpful guide of places to avoid from Business Insider: “Billionaires are stockpiling land that could be used in the apocalypse – here’s where they’re going.”

“The Case for Learning Platform Grade Bookby Mindwire Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.

Google Drive will soon back up your entire computer,” says The Verge. But only if you let it. Don’t.

“ The top 5 trends in K–12 ed tech – and where they’re headed,” according to Education Dive. Bonus points for having the gall to include on this list devices you can strap to students’ heads to monitor their “cognitive activity.”

Virtual Reality Can Teach Altruism, Empathy – and Why You Should Use Less Toilet Paper,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Yelp for Colleges? An Economist Rates Its Usefulness.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Rural America Is Stranded in the Dial-Up Age.”

“A Guide for Resisting Edtech: the Case against Turnitinby Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel.

Hey, I wonder what the blockchain is up to these days? Oh.

“After Delta Air Lines and Bank of America pulled their sponsorship from the New York Public Theater’s production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, scholars were quick to lampoon the decision,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Microsoft is really scared of Chromebooks in businesses and schools,” according to The Verge.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Journals’ Retreat From Data-Sharing Mandate Puts Onus on Universities and Government.”

Teach for America but for Afghanistan.

Via Scientific American: “Revenge of the Super Lice.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


Via Edsurge: “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) announced it will contribute $5 million into a fund operated by Landed, a startup that helps teachers pay down payments on homes in the Redwood City, Ravenswood City, and Sequoia Union High School districts in the peninsula region.”

Landed, founded in 2015, will pay half of a teacher’s down payment for a home. A typical down payment is 20 percent, so Landed will typically cover 10 percent. Teachers do not have to pay back this loan. Rather, the company takes 25 percent of the gain or loss when the house gets sold again. (If the teacher never sells, he or she will have to repay Landed before the end of the investment term.)

Via The New York Times: “Jeff Bezos Wants Ideas for Philanthropy, So He Asked Twitter.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


Top Hat has raised $7.5 million from Learners Fund. The digital clicker company has raised $49.4 million total.

Mrs. Wordsmith has raised $2.5 million from Kindred Capital, SaatchiNvest, Ropart Asset Management, and Reach Capital. It’s a digital worksheet company.

Zzish has raised $180,000 in funding from LEAF Investments. The company, which helps developers monetize education apps, has raised $4.62 million total.

Resume Clip has raised $50,000 in seed funding from Swami Shrikanthanand. The company helps students make videos to market themselves to recruiters.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


“Want Your Students to Remember You in 20 Years? Start Holding Weekly Data Conferences,” says Edsurge. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. No.

Also via Edsurge: “From High School to Harvard, Students Urge for Clarity on Privacy Rights.”

The Calgary Board of Education has sent a notice to parents, warning them of the data breach at Edmodo. I wonder how many schools and districts that use the software have done this?

Data and “Research”


One in four Muslim bullying incidents involves a teacher, Mic reports.

Via Chalkbeat: “Pre-K boosts future incomes and reduces risk of jail, especially when schools spend more.”

“More Than Half of School Expenditures Spent on Classroom Instruction,” says the Census Bureau.

From the press release: “Only thirteen percent of educators give their school/university an ‘A’ when asked to rank their available technology’s ability to improve the learning experience for students, according to a new study from public relations and digital marketing agency, Walker Sands Communications.”

Via Edsurge: “Education Technology Tools for Adult Learners Get Mixed Results From SRI Study.”

Via Columbia University Teacher College’s press release: “Ed Tech Purchasers Prefer Independently Researched Products.”

Research published in the journal Science, as reported by Inside Higher Ed: “Adolescents who see widespread layoffs around them as they grow up are less likely to enroll in college – even if no one in their family loses a job.”

Via NPR: “How To Apply The Brain Science Of Resilience To The Classroom.”

Via Ed Week’s Market Brief: “Wave of New Ed Tech In K–12 to Usher In Classroom Redesigns, Survey Finds.”

Via Campus Technology: “IoT to Represent More Than Half of Connected Device Landscape by 2021.”

According to Education Week’s “Inside Research” blog: “For Education Interventions, a Little ‘Nudge’ Can Go a Long Way.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “According to a new study from the Brookings Institution, students who are the least well prepared for traditional college also fare the worst in online courses. For top students, taking an online course didn’t definitively have a negative effect on a student’s grade point average. But for others – especially lower-performing students – taking online courses was associated with higher dropout rates and lower grades, both at the time the course was taken and in future semesters, when compared to students who took classes in person.”

“Study of the Week” from FdB: “Of Course Virtual K–12 Schools Don’t Work.” And I guess I missed his “Study of the Week” last week: “Study of the Week: Trade Schools Are No Panacea.”

“​OER Researchers Don’t Disaggregate Data on Diverse Students. Here’s Why They Should,” New America’s Manuela Ekowo argues.

Via NPR: “DeVos Says More Money Won’t Help Schools; Research Says Otherwise.”

“Whither Moodle?” – data about LMS adoption from Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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