(National) Education Politics

Via ProPublica: “Democratic Senators Condemn Betsy DeVos’ Record on Civil Rights.”

“New Evidence Shows DeVos Is Discarding College Policies That Are Effective,” writes Kevin Carey in The New York Times. These include regulations for for-profit universities.

Via Politico: “The Education Department may soon stop publishing a weekly list of colleges and universities under investigation for allegedly mishandling sexual violence claims – a list that started with 55 schools when it was first published in 2014 and has since ballooned to nearly 240 as of this week. Candice Jackson, the acting head of the department’s Office for Civil Rights, called it a ‘list of shame’ this week at the National Association of College and University Attorneys conference in Chicago where she said it’s high on the list of things the Trump administration may soon do away with.”

Trump’s administration wants to hide colleges that have problems with sexual assault,” write Dana Bolger and Alexandra Brodsky in The Washington Post.

“What Would the Repeal of Higher Ed’s Foundational Law Mean for Colleges?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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

The TSA has been testing a new program for examining passengers’ carry-on luggage that included asking them to remove their books from their bags. After protest from libraries and civil liberties groups, the TSA said it would abandon the program.

Mark Zuckerberg is totally not running for President

“What Would a Mark Zuckerberg Presidential Run Mean for Education?” asks Education Week.

More on Zuckerberg (and Facebook) in the upgrades/downgrades section and in the venture philanthropy sections below.

NASA Denies That It’s Running a Child Slave Colony on Mars,” The Daily Beast reports, after InfoWars’ Alex Jones had a guest on his show explaining how kidnapped children are part of a space mission.

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via the CBLDF: “Florida Governor Signs School Censorship Bill into Law.” The law will make it easier to challenge classroom materials that fail to offer a “noninflammatory, objective, and balanced viewpoint on issues,” whatever that means.

“The Wisconsin State Assembly passed the Campus Free Speech Act in the House, which would suspend or expel University of Wisconsin students who disrupt a campus speaker they disagree with,” NPR reports.

The New York State Assembly has approved a deal to extend mayoral control of NYC schools for two years.

Via The Washington Post: “In a first, Texas Boys State votes to secede from Union.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “California’s ban on using state funds to travel to Texas highlights the dilemma facing national groups with meetings scheduled to take place there.”

Immigration and Education

Via Pacific Standard: “Supreme Court Allows Limited Trump Travel Ban to Take Effect.” It appears to exclude university students and faculty.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and nine other state Republican attorneys general sent a letter Thursday threatening to sue if the Trump administration does not ‘phase out’ the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, under which more than 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, many of them now college students, have obtained two-year, renewable work permits and protection against deportation.”

Education in the Courts

Via NPR: “Supreme Court Rules Religious School Can Use Taxpayer Funds For Playground.” More via the NEA and via a very excited Betsy DeVos. (Via The Washington Post: “Why Betsy DeVos is cheering the Supreme Court’s church playground decision.”)

More Supreme Court rulings in the immigration section above.

Via Education Week: “K–12 and the U.S. Supreme Court: Highlights of the 2016–17 Term.”

Via Chalkbeat: “Colorado Supreme Court ordered to reconsider Douglas County school voucher case.”

Via The Washington Post: “Federal appeals court upholds ruling against D.C. on special-needs students.”

Via Politico: “The University of California-Berkeley late Wednesday filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit against the school in which conservative student groups allege college administrators violated their free speech rights when they canceled a talk by conservative commentator Ann Coulter in April. Berkeley officials have said they canceled the original speech because of security concerns and they invited Coulter to speak at a later date.”

Via Pacific Standard: “A Second Mistrial Declared for University of Cincinnati Officer Who Killed an Unarmed Man at a Traffic Stop.”

Via Buzzfeed: “A Teacher Is Suing Breitbart And James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas For Defamation.”

Via The New York Times: “New York’s Top Court Narrows Suit Seeking More Money for Schools.”

California Supreme Court refuses to hear appeal from alumni trying to block admission of women” at Deep Springs College, Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via Education Week: “Mistrial declared in case involving 5 ex-El Paso educators.” The case involves educators who’d allegedly conspired to alter test scores.

The American Chemical Society has filed a lawsuit against Sci-Hub, countering the article-sharing site violates the society’s copyrights.

More on for-profit higher ed’s legal battles in the for-profit higher ed section below. More on sports-related court cases (that is, sexual assault by athletes) in the sports section below.

Testing, Testing…

More on testing in the courts section above.

“Free College”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Oregon officials are planning to alter the requirements for the state’s tuition-free Promise program. The new requirements would cut off grants to wealthier families.”

The Business of Student Loans

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Student advocates say Education Department’s slow processing of borrower-defense claims and blocking of ban on mandatory arbitration put defrauded borrowers in a bind.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

The for-profit vocational school chain Vatterott Education Centers has filed for receivership.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A federal district court judge issued an order Wednesday partially blocking enforcement of the gainful-employment rule for cosmetology schools that sued in February to halt the regulation.”

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

Via the Community College Daily: “California governor calls for new online college.” More via Inside Higher Ed.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Trinity College in Connecticut places Johnny Eric Williams on leave over controversial comments about race. Faculty groups say college is undermining academic freedom.” More via Academe Blog.

“Why Can’t ‘Free Speech’ Advocates Ever Defend Adjunct Professors and People of Color?” asks David Perry in the Pacific Standard.

The Atlantic on prison education: “The Lifelong Learning of Lifelong Inmates.”

Via The Daytona Beach News-Journal: “Tax documents show [Bethune-Cookman University] losses mounting to $17.8 million.”

Via The New York Times: “A Battle Over Prayer in Schools Tests Canada’s Multiculturalism.”

Accreditation and Certification

The University of Missouri at Columbia has revoked the honorary degree it awarded Bill Cosby.

Via ProPublica: “Despite Exposés and Embarrassments, Hundreds of Judges Preside in New York Without Law Degrees.”

Via The New York Times: “A New Kind of Tech Job Emphasizes Skills, Not a College Degree.”

A report from New America: “Rethinking Credential Requirements in Early Education.”

“Why Ph.D.s belong in the high school classroom” by Liana M. Silva.

The Chronicle of Higher Education on a group that wants to “disrupt” accreditation: “Backers of an Audit Model for Judging Education Quality Invite Feedback.” It would be great if, when writing about Entangled Solutions, journalists would mention its founder’s history of accreditation “problems.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Jury Convicts 3rd Former Vanderbilt U. Athlete in 2013 Gang Rape.”

From the HR Department

Google has released its latest employee diversity statistics. Spoiler alert: Google is not very diverse.

The Atlantic looks at the right of graduate students to unionize and asks whether the NLRB will reverse its decision under Trump.

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

City College of San Francisco has hired Mark Rocha as its new chancellor, a decision opposed by CCSF faculty.

Williams College president Adam Falk is stepping down from that role to become the president of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Inside Higher Ed reports that Ted Mitchell, former venture capitalist and Under Secretary of Education under the Obama administration, is one of the finalists to be the next president of the American Council on Education (ACE), a higher ed lobbying organization.

More in the “meanwhile on campus” section above about academic freedom and faculty’s employment status.

The Business of Job Training

Via Edsurge: “​The Cost of Cutting in Line: Students Can Now Buy Their Way to a Job Interview.”

Via Techcrunch: “Headstart wants to better analyze candidates to fit them with the best jobs.”

Via Edsurge: “​Intel Announces $4.5M Grant Program Targeting 6 HBCUs.” The money is for “skills training.”

An article by the founder of alumni networking company Switchboard in Edsurge: “The Rise of the Rest: How Black Colleges Are Redesigning Career Support.”

(Pay attention to these job recruitment and job placement startups as they’re part of a larger narrative about disrupting higher ed, as well as HR. I think it’s probably worth paying attention too to how HBCUs are being wielded in this conversations.)


Lots of updates from the massive vendor display called ISTE:

Google issued a press release.

Edsurge writes about “​Updates, Upgrades and Overheard: What Was Unveiled at ISTE 2017.” (It’s interesting to see what it chose to highlight.)

Also via Edsurge: “Teachers at ISTE Share Their Definitions of Personalized Learning…and They’re All Different.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

“Can a Tech Start-Up Successfully Educate Children in the Developing World?” asks Peg Tyre in The New York Times Magazine.

“Could XPrize tablets replace teachers in Tanzania?” asks the BBC.

(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

The History of Teaching Machines.

Via Education Week: “‘Mass Personalization’ Drives Learning Experiment at AltSchool.”

Via The New York Times: “How Silicon Valley Pushed Coding Into American Classrooms.”

“We Regret to Inform You That Fidget Spinners Are Now Exploding,” says Gizmodo.

Technical publisher O’Reilly says it is closing its e-bookstore at It will continue to offer its titles through Safari Books Online, as well as through other retailers.

“What Happened to Amazon Inspire, the Tech Giant’s Education Marketplace?” asks Edsurge.

“Misinterpreting the Growth Mindset: Why We’re Doing Students a Disservice” – a guest post in Education Week’s Common Ground blog by John Hattie.

More on marketing mindsets from Edsurge: “Summer PD Feel Overwhelming? An Improviser’s Mindset Can Help You Keep Cool.”

In other teacher PD news: “These Teachers Are Learning Gun Skills To Protect Students, They Say,” says NPR.

And speaking of cognitive silliness, here’s a great headline from Edsurge: “Stop Calling College Teachers ‘Professors.’ Try ‘Cognitive Coaches,’ Says Goucher President.”

Via ProPublica: “Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men from Hate Speech But Not Black Children.”

Via Techcrunch: “Facebook equips admins to protect and analyze their Groups.” Among the ways you can “protect” your Groups: setting filter to block people whose Facebook accounts list certain genders or people from certain locations.

More on Zuckerberg’s involvement in education in the venture philanthropy section and the politics section above below.

Y Combinator Has Gone Supernova” by Wired’s Steven Levy. (This list is probably a little out-of-date, but here are the education companies Y Combinator has invested in.)

OpenStax predicts students at its partner schools will save $8.2 million in the upcoming school year thanks to its freely available textbooks.

Edsurge writes about “When ELA Tools Can’t Adapt to Students’ Native Language.” (Pay attention to how education technology companies see ELL as a “hot new market.”)

Curriculet is back from the dead, says Edsurge, failing to disclose that it shares investors with the company.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “With the ‘Coming Battles’ Between People and Machines, Educators Are All the More Vital.” (An interview with Coursera co-founder Andrew Ng, who is on to his next gig,

Via Techcrunch: “Disney experiments look to make kid-robot interactions more natural.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform

Via Education Week: “Chan-Zuckerberg to Push Ambitious New Vision for Personalized Learning.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

Abl has raised $7.5 million in Series A funding from Rethink Education, Sinovation Ventures, Owl Ventures, Reach Capital, and First Round Capital. The scheduling software has raised $12 million total.

Mystery Science has raised $2 million in seed funding from Y Combinator, Reach Capital, 500 Startups, and Learn Capital. The science lesson company has raised $2.8 million total.

Curriculum company Verso Learning has raised $2 million in Series A funding from Ken Lowe.

Outschool has raised $1.4 million from the Collaborative Fund, Sesame Workshop, Caterina Fake, FundersClub, Learn Capital, Spectrum 28, SV Angel, and Y Combinator. The startup, which offers a marketplace for homeschooled children to find online classes, has raised $1.52 million.

Learning analytics company BrightBytes has acquired Authentica Solutions.

Participate Learning has acquired Educlipper.

Certica has acquired Unbound Concepts. Certica has also acquired ItemLogic.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

“How can educators measure and predict grit in their students?” asks Education Dive.

Via Education Week: “Maryland Dad Wants June 30 to Be ‘National Student Data Deletion Day’.”From that dad, Bradley Shear’s blog post:

I am calling for all K–12 public schools and their vendors to automatically delete the following data points each and every June 30th after the school year has ended:

All student Internet browsing history

All student school work saved on platforms such as the Google G Suite

All student created emails (and all other digital communications)

All behavioral data points/saved class interactions (e.g. Class Dojo data points)

All student physical location data points (e.g. obtained via RFID tags)

All biometric data collected and tied to a student account (e.g. meal purchase information)


Via Edsurge: “​Report Finds Nearly 14M College Emails, Passwords For Sale on the Dark Web.”

The Seattle Times asks, “Did you get the letter? WSU sends warning to 1 million people after hard drive with personal info is stolen.”

Via Edsurge: “Carnegie Mellon Study Shows Edtech Startups Fall Flat on Student Privacy.”

“Dear Parents: Your Concerns About Student Privacy Are Being Exploited,” says the Center for Data Innovation, an industry think tank run by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, whose funders include Google and IBM.

Via The Guardian: “Google begins removing private medical records from search results.”

Another week, another big “ransomware” attack.

Data and “Research”

“From Mexico to China: Why the World Is Interested in the US Edtech Market,” says Edsurge.

An infographic from Pitchbook: “A second wind: VC investment in edtech is rising again.”

“The Carefully Sculpted Reality of the Meeker Trends Reportby Tom Webster. Spoiler alert: Meeker’s “trends” showcase Meeker’s VC firm’s investments.

Via Education Week: “The Market in India: Surging Demand for English-Language Schools.”

Via eCampus News: “The size of the online learning market was estimated to be over USD 165 billion in 2015 and is likely to grow by 5 percent by 2023, exceeding USD 240 billion.” Yay. Predictions. Yay. Markets.

Via Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Academic LMS Market Share: A view across four global regions.”

Via Chalkbeat: “First study of Indiana’s voucher program – the country’s largest – finds it hurts kids’ math skills at first, but not over time.” More from NPR, which also includes information from a voucher study in Louisiana.

The The LA Times: “1 in 5 L.A. community college students is homeless, survey finds.”

Via SchoolHouse Connection: “New Report Highlights FAFSA Challenges for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.”

More on changing US demographics from Bryan Alexander.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Spring Data Show Increase in Foreign Students.”

There’s more HR-related data in the HR section above.

Via Edsurge: “​Study Shows E-rate Improved Internet Speed for 79% of Applicants.”

“The Disrespect of the TEF” by Liz Morrish. TEF is the “Teaching Excellence Framework,” a new ratings system for UK universities.

Via Edsurge: “​Study Finds Institutions Could Generate $1M Annually With Higher Student Retention.”

“What Teens Want From Their Schools” – a survey from the right-wing think tank, the Thomas Fordham Institute.

Via Politico: “Adults see young black girls as needing less nurturing and protection than their white peers, according to a new study that may shed light on some of the reasons that black girls are disciplined at a higher rate than white girls.”

Via the Pew Research Center: “Millennials are the most likely generation of Americans to use public libraries.”

Also from Pew: “US Public Trust in Science and Scientists.” See also: the press release NASA had to release this week in the politics section above.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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