(National) Education Politics

Via Pacific Standard: “Government Watchdog Will Investigate Trump Administration on Civil Rights.”

Via Bloomberg: “Campus Rape Loses Special Status in Trump’s Education Department.”

Via The Washington Post: “Education Dept. closes transgender student cases as it pushes to scale back civil rights investigations.”

Via The New York Times: “Trump Move on Job Training Brings ‘Skills Gap’ Debate to the Fore.”

More on the business of job training in its own section below.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Summer Pell Grants will be available to students beginning July 1, the Department of Education announced Monday.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The U.S. Department of Education on Thursday offered a first glimpse at how it is carrying out the Trump administration’s push to ease federal regulations – and asked for advice on what rules it should eliminate.” Among those regulations: FERPA. So that’ll be fun. More via The Hill and via the Department of Education’s press office.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Landmark Law on Higher Education Should Be Scrapped, DeVos Suggests.” That’s the Higher Education Act of 1965.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Here’s Every Major Statement Trump and DeVos Have Made on Higher Ed.”

There were so many falsehoods in Trump’s rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa this week, that The New York Times had a “fact-check” in almost every paragraph of its coverage, countering the claims Trump made on stage. Edsurge runs with Trump’s promise to boost rural broadband like it’s a truth anyone can count on.

Tech CEOs visited the White House to talk about “modernizing” a.k.a. “technologizing” the government. “Apple CEO Tim Cook Urges Trump To Mandate Coding In Schools,” according to Edsurge. Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt praises Trump.

Via The Washington Post: “A teacher’s decision to be ‘visibly queer’ in his photo with President Trump.” Teacher of the Year indeed.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The British government releases the results … of its new three-tiered rating system of teaching quality at universities.”

More on the politics of student loans in the student loan section below. And more on the US Department of Education activities in the campus section and HR section below.

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via The LA School Report: “LAUSD approves $7.5 billion budget under cloud of declining enrollment and future cuts.”

Louisiana Becomes First State to Ban the Box,” Inside Higher Ed reports. That is, to ban the box on an application (for a job or to a public college) asking about criminal history.

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Sweeping New Fla. Law Set to Shake Up Charter School Landscape, Testing.”

Immigration and Education

Via AZ Central: “Arizona Appeals Court overturns in-state tuition for ‘dreamers’.”

Via NPR: “For Some Students, Getting An Education Means Crossing The Border.”

Via Axios: “Trump plans to scrap rule allowing foreign founders into U.S.”

Via the BBC: “Accenture and Microsoft plan digital IDs for millions of refugees.” What could possibly go wrong?

Education in the Courts

Via Nature: “One of the world’s largest science publishers, Elsevier, won a default legal judgement on 21 June against websites that provide illicit access to tens of millions of research papers and books. A New York district court awarded Elsevier US$15 million in damages for copyright infringement by Sci-Hub, the Library of Genesis (LibGen) project and related sites.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Three major textbook publishers sue the bookstore provider Follett, alleging failure to stop selling pirated versions of their books.” The publishers in question are Cengage, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson.

Via The LA Times: “Lawsuit alleges hostile environment for Jews on San Francisco State campus.”

More on the legal battles of “Dreamers” in the immigration section above.

Testing, Testing…

Via Chalkbeat: “Calculator mix-up could force some students to retake ISTEP, and Pearson is partially to blame.” ISTEP is the Indiana state standardized test.

Via The Dispatch: “Miss. Dept of Education fires testing firm after exams wrongly scored.” The testing firm in question: Pearson.

The Business of Student Loans

Via Buzzfeed: “Betsy DeVos Picked A Student Loan CEO To Run The Student Loan System.” A. Wayne Johnson is the CEO of Reunion Student Loan Services. Nothing to see here… Move along…

Via Buzzfeed: “Public Service Loan Forgiveness Isn’t Working, Watchdog Says.”

Via CBS: “Here come higher student loan interest rates.”

Via the AP: “The nation’s largest servicer of federal student loans has lobbied against states’ efforts to license student loan servicers in Maine and elsewhere this year as it seeks to become the nation’s single servicer of student loans under a plan backed by U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.” That would be Navient Corp.

Via NPR: “Federal Officials Turn To Private Law Firms To Chase Student Loan Debtors.”

Research from New America says that “allowing borrowers to refinance federal student loans finds that most of the benefits of refinancing would be seen by a small number of households with relatively high debt.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

For-profit Hickey College will close.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The as-yet unnamed online university resulting from the proposed acquisition of Kaplan University by Purdue University has set discounted tuition rates for in-state students and free tuition for Purdue employees.”

Regulations regarding for-profit higher ed are too heavy-handed, according to an op-ed in Inside Higher Ed written by a member of the board of Walden University, a for-profit university.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

Via The Post and Courier: “South Carolina’s online charter schools: A $350 million investment with disappointing returns.”

“Students’ Rising Expectations Pose Challenge to Online Programs,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via “Charter school won’t pay teachers for final 2 months, union says.” The charter school, which is closing it doors, is the Merit Preparatory Charter School, run by “personalized learning” charter chain Matchbook Learning. (Here’s a sponsored article, paid for by the Gates Foundation and published by Edsurge promoting the school and its technology.)

Via The Lens: “Charter school kept two homeless children out of class for a month because they didn’t have uniforms.” That is the Sophie B. Wright Charter School in New Orleans.

Via The 74: “Montessori Was the Original Personalized Learning. Now, 100 Years Later, Wildflower Is Reinventing the Model.” (This reminds me that I need to write something about the history of Montessori and why all sorts of companies have appropriated the brand.)

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Education Dept. Closes Title IX Investigation of Liberty U.”

Via The New York Times: “A College Built for Canadian Settlers Envisions an Indigenous Future.” That’s the University of Saskatchewan.

Via The New York Times: “Dallas Schools, Long Segregated, Charge Forward on Diversity.”

“Why So Many Top Hackers Hail from Russia,” according to information security journalist Brian Krebs. Spoiler alert: computer classes are required in school.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How Conservative Media Outlets Turn Faculty Viewpoints Into National News.”

Via The New York Times: “The Media Brought the Alt-Right to My Campus.”

Via The New York Times: “A Campus Argument Goes Viral. Now the College Is Under Siege.” That’s Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

Accreditation, Certification, and “Competencies”

Inside Higher Ed reports on the appearance of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Distance Education Accrediting Commission before a federal panel on accreditation.

Via CNN: “ The Girl Scouts are adding a cybersecurity badge.”

“The Competency-Based Education Network, a grant-funded group of 30 institutions with competency-based programs, has become a free-standing nonprofit association and is opening up its membership,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Go, School Sports Team!

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Oregon Athlete Played a Season While Under Investigation for Sexual Assault.” The athlete was Kavell Bigby-Williams, a UO men’s basketball player. “Mr. Bigby-Williams has been under investigation by the campus police of the Northern Wyoming Community College District since September 19, the newspaper said. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman near Gillette College, where he was a student before transferring to Oregon, the Daily Emerald reported.” Fire Coach Dana Altman now.

From the HR Department

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has hired Bror Saxberg to handle its “learning engineering” efforts. Saxberg had previously been the Chief Learning Officer at Kaplan (and Edsurge, when covering the news, fails to disclose its financial ties to Kaplan).

Via Education Week: “Teachers’ Union Faces Backlash Over Publication on Personalized Learning.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Staffing Woes at the Education Department.”

More on Department of Education hires in the student loan section above.

Via NPR: “At Yale, Protests Mark A Fight To Recognize Union For Grad Students.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “AAUP Considers Paying Adjuncts in Its Leadership Posts.”

The Business of Job Training

This piece – “We Need to Rethink How We Educate Kids to Tackle the Jobs of the Future” – is a couple weeks old but I’m including it here nonetheless because of this priceless line: “The truth is, there is little taught in school that today can’t be handled with a quick Google search and an Excel spreadsheet.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “German-Style Apprenticeships Simply Can’t Be Replicated.”

Via Andy Smarick, writing for the American Enterprise Institute’s blog: “Pumping the brakes on apprenticeships.”

Upgrades and Downgrades

“Mark Zuckerberg just unveiled Facebook’s new mission statement,” says The Verge. It changes from making the world more open and connected“ to ”give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together." This wasn’t really what I was talking about, Zuck, when I talk about the ideology of personalization.

Via Buzzfeed: “ Violence On Facebook Live Is Worse Than You Thought.” Because, you know, Facebook’s mission is “community.”

Via Creative Commons: “Toward a Better Internet: Building Prosocial Behavior into the Commons.”

Also via Creative Commons: “Community update: Unsplash branded license and ToS changes.” Unsplash is a photo sharing website.

Via Edsurge: “How Amazon’s Purchase of Whole Foods Highlights the Hybrid, ‘Omnichannel’ Future of Higher Ed.” #NotTheOnion

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Media Startups Try a Lower-Cost Model: Unpaid Student Writers.”

Via The Verge: “Google Glass gets its first update in nearly three years.” Phew! Just in time for all those ISTE sessions claiming Google Glass is the future of education.

In other Google news, “Google Will Stop Reading Your Emails for Gmail Ads,” Bloomberg reports.

Stanford University’s Larry Cuban continues his analysis of behavioral management tool ClassDojo.

LMS news from Edsurge: “​University of Michigan’s Gamified LMS Opens Up to Other Institutions.”

“Stale Words and Hackneyed Ideas That Make Edtech Investors Cringe,” according to an investor in Edsurge. Among those cringeworthy ideas: the LMS.

Via Bloomberg: “Mattel’s CEO Thinks Internet-Connected Toys Are the Future.”

“New houses will have Alexa and Wi-Fi built into the walls,” according to Mashable.

Via Buzzfeed: “Bill Cosby Is Going To Educate People On How To Avoid Sexual Assault Allegations.”

Via Pando: “Binary Capital’s Justin Caldbeck accused of unwanted sexual advances towards female founders. Where’s the outrage?” (Among those education companies in Binary Capital’s investment portfolio: Educents.)

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

Via Edsurge: “Why a Robot-Filled Education Future May Not Be as Scary as You Think.” It’s also going to apparently be full of bullshit, made-up “statistics” about the future.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform

There’s HR news from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in the HR section above.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

Behavioral management company Hero K12 has raised $150 million from BV Investment Partners.

Tutoring company Ruangguru has raised $7 million in Series B funding.

Lingokids has raised $4 million in seed funding from HV Holtzbrinck Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Big Sur Ventures, JME Venture Capital, and Sabadell Venture Capital. The vocabulary game maker has made $5.15 million total.

MyTutor has raised $3.82 million in Series A funding from Mobeus Equity Partners, Clive Cowdery, and Thomas Hoegh. The tutoring startup has raised $5.36 million total.

Wonderschool has raised $2 million in seed funding from Cross Culture Ventures, First Round, Edelweiss, FundersClub, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, and SoftTech VC. According to the company description, “Wonderschool offers a platform where people can start infant and toddler programs and preschools out of their homes.”

Hugsy has raised $226,460 in seed funding from the Leapfunder European angel investor network. Hugsy makes a “smart baby blanket.” (Yes, I’m tracking on this sort of thing as part of my 2017 “Top Ed-Tech Trends.”)

Carson-Dellosa has acquired Rourke Educational Media.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

Congrats to the education company Road Scholar for appearing in this Gizmodo story about how companies surreptitiously collect your data. “Before You Hit ‘Submit,’ This Company Has Already Logged Your Personal Data.”

Data and “Research”

Via investment analysis firm CB Insights: “The Ed Tech Market Map: 90+ Startups Building The Future Of Education.” The map isn’t that useful, to be honest. The list of which education technology companies have raised the most money is more so.

The History of Pearson.

Via Education Week: “Online Classes for K–12 Students: 10 Research Reports You Need to Know.”

Via IRRODL: “Khan Academy as Supplemental Instruction: A Controlled Study of a Computer-Based Mathematics Intervention.”

Via IHE blogger Joshua Kim: “The Institutional Impact of Maryville’s 1:1 iPad Program.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Last year Achieving the Dream began a $9.8-million project to use open educational resources (OER) to create degree programs at 38 community colleges. A study on early returns, which was conducted by SRI International and the rpk GROUP, found that faculty members are changing their teaching in the OER courses and that students are at least as engaged in the courses as they are in conventional ones.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “5 Cocktail-Party-Conversation Findings From the Latest Survey of College Presidents.”

Speaking of cocktail party conversations, The Hechinger Report notes that “Unlike the students they oversee, most college presidents are white and male.”

Education Next publishes an excerpt from Daniel Willingham’s new book The Reading Mind: A Cognitive Approach to Understanding How the Mind Reads.

Via Edsurge: “Low Income and Looking For a Successful School. Study Shows Choices Are Slim.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Measuring Learning Outcomes From Military Service.”

Via Education Week: “Immersive Tech, Virtual Reality Market to Soar Worldwide, New Analysis Predicts.”

Via NPR: “U.N. Says World’s Population Will Reach 9.8 Billion By 2050.” More on population changes and how this might affect higher education from Bryan Alexander.

“Published in 2008, ‘Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns’ predicted that the growth in computer-based delivery of education will accelerate swiftly until, by 2019, half of all high school classes will be taught over the Internet,” writes EdTech Strategies’ Doug Levin, asking “Are We On Track?

(For what it’s worth, I’m tracking all these predictions about the future at


Via The Washington Post: “Otto Warmbier dies days after release from North Korean detention.”

Gary Stager pens an obituary for Bob Tinker who passed away this week. A proponent of constructivist learning (particularly with regards to science and technology), Tinker created “probeware” and founded the Concord Consortium, among many other contributions to the field of ed-tech.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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