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(National) Education Politics


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Silence From the Secretary, Despite Major Rules Changes.”

Lots, lots more about Betsy DeVos’ policies in the student loan and for-profit higher ed sections below.

Via Politico: “The American Action Forum, a right-leaning public policy group, is recommending that DeVos consider gutting the federal student aid pilot programs created under the Higher Education Act. A new policy paper from the group published on Thursday says that ‘experimental sites’ – which waive some federal requirements for colleges that want to test out different ways of delivering federal financial aid – have not proved effective.” Some of these experimental sites included MOOCs and coding bootcamps.

(State and Local) Education Politics


Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Illinois House of Representatives voted Thursday to override a gubernatorial veto of a package of budget bills, ending a 736-day standoff that had left the state’s higher education institutions slashing expenses and scrambling to compensate for uncertain funding streams.”

Via The Baltimore Sun: “Maryland becomes first state to outlaw scholarship displacement by public colleges.” Scholarship displacement is a practice of lowering financial aid when a student has a scholarship that boosts her aid over the cost of college.

Via Chalkbeat: New York “Mayor de Blasio strikes a charter deal, making it easier for schools to expand, pay for space.”

More on states’ legal actions against Betsy DeVos for her reversal of Obama-era regulations on for-profit universities in the for-profit higher ed section below.

Immigration and Education


Via The Verge: “US denies visas to Afghanistan’s all-girl robotics team.” The Gambian team, which was also initially denied entrance to the US, will be granted visas.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Assessing the Travel Ban: What New Data on Overseas Recruitment Does – and Doesn’t – Tell Us.”

Education in the Courts


The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow is appealing a lower court’s ruling that it must repay $60 million to the state of Ohio as it cannot document students “attended” its online charter school.

“A Wave of Disability-Lawsuit Threats Against Colleges May Have Receded,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “In a lawsuit against Baylor University, 10 women who brought complaints of sexual assault against other Baylor students say the university’s strict alcohol policy was used to ‘shame, silence and expel’ a student, and they included emails from a former university regent as proof.”

For more on lawsuits about for-profit higher ed, see the for-profit higher ed section below.

The Business of Student Loans


Via The USA Today: “Millions of student loans could be headed for a shakeup in coming months.”

More on the legal actions taken by states over Betsy DeVos’ rollback of the borrower defense rule in the for-profit higher ed section below.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


From the US Department of Education press release: “DeVos Presses Pause on Burdensome Gainful Employment Regulations.” More from The Chronicle of Higher Education and from Inside Higher Ed.

18 States Are Suing Betsy DeVos Over For-Profit College Rules,” Buzzfeed reports. More on the legal actions over the delay of the borrower defense rule from NPR and from The NYT.

Via The Washington Post: “SEC settles fraud charges against defunct for-profit college company ITT.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Federal Trade Commission began mailing more than $49 million in refund checks to former DeVry University students Wednesday as part of a settlement between the for-profit institution and the agency. DeVry agreed to the $100 million settlement after the FTC sued the institution for its use of employment statistics in advertising.”

“College made millions by tricking Indigenous people, court finds,” The Guardian reports. “Unique International College used a misleading and unlawful scheme to target vulnerable communities in 2014 and 2015, pushing individuals to enrol in courses in management, salon management and marketing.”

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


Via Class Central’s Dhawal Shah, writing in Edsurge: “MOOCs Find Their Audience: Professional Learners and Universities.” (Edsurge, for what it’s worth, shares investors with Class Central, Udacity, and Coursera (although there’s no disclosure on that article to that end) – funny how the narratives about the “revolutionary” potential of MOOCs get spread, eh?)

Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill follows up on the Edsurge article with his own analysis: “MOOCs Now Focused on Paid Certificates and OPM Market.”

Tecnológico de Monterrey has joined edX.

More on the ongoing legal battles between the state of Ohio and the virtual charter school Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow in the courts section above.

Meanwhile on Campus…


Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is denying allegations that he helped use his office to help secure a loan for the now defunct Burlington College, which at the time was led by his wife.

Inside Higher Ed reports that the University of Missouri at Columbia will prevent students from using their ID credit cards to buy “nonacademic items” from campus stores.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “One Activist Has Hundreds of Colleges Under the Gun to Fix Their Websites.” (That is, to fix them because they are inaccessible to those with disabilities.)

Via Chalkbeat: “Aurora Public Schools, CSU online degree program hammering out details of new partnership.” The partnership includes the former constructing a new building to hold CSU’s Global Campus.

Claremont Theology might join Willamette University, Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via Pacific Standard: “In Pakistan, These Schools Are Putting Morality Back Into the Curriculum.”

More on AltSchool in the surveillance section below. Because honestly, where else would you put news about that private school company but in the surveillance section.

Accreditation and Certification


Via The Washington Post: “Chicago won’t allow high school students to graduate without a plan for the future.” That is, “They must show that they’ve secured a job or received a letter of acceptance to college, a trade apprenticeship, a gap year program or the military.” This seems like it’ll be a boon for for-profit higher ed, so good job, Rahm Emanuel.

More on certifications in the MOOC section above.

Testing, Testing…


Via Inside Higher Ed: “Irregularities Lead to AP Scores Being Canceled.” That is, canceled at Scripps Ranch High School in California.

Predictions about the future of test prep from Campus Technology: “Top 3 Trends Affecting U.S. Test Preparation Market Through 2021.”

Via Chalkbeat: “From CSAP to PARCC, here’s how Colorado’s standardized tests have changed (and what’s next).”

Go, School Sports Team!


“Colleges are spending more on their athletes because they can,” says USA Today.

From the HR Department


“Did Amway Create the Gig Economy?” asks The Awl. (“Betteridge’s Law of Headlines” aside, the question’s worth asking for a number of reasons, but worth noting of course because Amway was founded by Betsy DeVos’ father-in-law.)

Via The New York Times: “Microsoft to Cut Up to 4,000 Sales and Marketing Jobs.”

The NEA, the largest teachers’ union in the US, held its representative assembly where, according to NEAToday, “Educators Vow to Hold Strong, Defend Public Education.”

Via The New York Times: “State Dept. Restores Job Offers to Students After Diplomat Outcry.”

“Why Did a UCLA Instructor With a Popular Free-Speech Course Lose His Job?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Business of Job Training and Job Placement


Via Edsurge: “Swedish Startup Hopes to Replace Resumes With ‘Gamified’ Job Matching System.” The company in question is called Sqore.

Upgrades and Downgrades


A series of stories in The New York Times about sexual harassment in the tech industry. “Women in Tech Speak Frankly on Culture of Harassment,” writes Katie Benner. Among those accused of harassment, Chris Sacca (perhaps best known as one of the investors on the TV show Shark Tank) and Dave McClure (the founder of 500 Startups, one of the most active ed-tech investors in recent years). Since The NYT story broke, McClure has stepped down from his firm. More via The NYT: “Harassment in the Tech Industry: Voices Grow on Social Media.”

Via Bloomberg: “Twenty-five years ago, U.S. tech companies pledged to stop using chemicals that caused miscarriages and birth defects. They failed to ensure that their Asian suppliers did the same.”

“In the knowledge economy, we need a Netflix of education,” say Karl Mehta and Rob Harles in an op-ed in Techcrunch. (No, we don’t.)

“Tracking Attributes like Grit and Character – There’s an App for That,” writes Charlie Coglianese, the “Chief Data Wizard” at Schoolrunner in an op-ed in EdWeek’s Market Brief. (No, there’s not.)

Two very different responses to Google’s “Be Internet Awesome” marketing. One by Donnie Piercey in Edsurge: “Trolls, Catfish, Cyberbullies – Oh My! How to Help Students Stay ‘Internet Kind’.” The other by Benjamin Doxtdator: “Frontier notes on metaphors: the digital as landscape and playground.”

Inside Higher Ed profiles EAB, which has trademarked “student success management system.”

Via Techcrunch: “Six months after acquisition, SoFi is shutting down Zenbanx.” SoFi is a student loan provider, trying to become a more mainstream banking and financial services company.

“Why don’t teachers use Minecraft?” asks Dean Groom.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


“PBS Show Will Teach Preschoolers How To Think Like Computers,” says Edsurge, which seems like a bad idea since computers don’t “think” and since humans need more empathy these days and less bullshit technofuturist ideology.

Robotics and AI tech can revolutionize classroom ed,” says Education Dive.

“Need jobs? Get robots, and education right,” says Techcrunch.

Via Wired: “AI Is Making It Extremely Easy for Students to Cheat.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


I probably won’t include this in my calculations of ed-tech investments, but I’m noting it here nonetheless because it dovetails so nicely with “mindfulness” and “social emotional learning” hoopla. Headspace, has raised $36.7 million in Series B funding. The meditation app (which does market itself to schools) has raised $75 million total.

Side has raised $5.7 million in Series A funding from Xavier Niel, Anglae Ventures, Antoine Martin, Connect Ventures, Fly Ventures, Jacques-Antoine Granjon, and TheFamily. The short-term job placement startup has raised $7.15 million total.

Education publisher Nelson has acquired digital grade book company Edusight.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


The BBC on AltSchool: “The futuristic school where you’re always on camera.”

Not directly related to education, but certainly relevant to those who care about what Google does with data – via Techcrunch: “UK data regulator says DeepMind’s initial deal with the NHS broke privacy law.”

Data and “Research”


Inside Higher Ed covers controversy surrounding an article about net neutrality in the International Journal of Communication that did not disclose funding from an industry group, CALinnovates.

Via Chalkbeat: “How much money does Aurora Public Schools spend and on what? New online tool has answers.”

Education Week’s Sarah Sparks writes about research on how data changes the way schools make decisions (and not necessarily for the better).

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Colleges That Received the Highest Amounts in Pell Grants and Federal Student Loans for Undergraduates, by Sector, 2014–15.”

Via MIT Technology Review: “The most popular people on Twitter are disproportionately white males, according to the first study of race and gender inequality in the Twitterverse.”

According to anthropologist Lauren Herckis, professors hesitate to adopt “innovative teaching methods” because they fear looking stupid in front of students.

UVA’s Dan Willingham “On fidget spinners & speeded math practice.”

Via The Telegraph: “Smartphones blamed for dramatic rise in head lice as schoolchildren gather together to view screens.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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