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(National) Education Politics


After rolling back for-profit higher ed regulations last week, Betsy DeVos turns her attention to dismantling civil rights as she holds a series of Title IXlistening sessions.”

More on the Department of Education’s for-profit university machinations in the for-profit section below.

Via Broadly: “Betsy DeVos to Meet with Men’s Rights Groups, Reports Say.”

Via The New York Times: “Campus Rape Policies Get a New Look as the Accused Get DeVos’s Ear.” Here’s a choice quotation from the head of the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Office, Candace Jackson:

Jackson later apologized.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After Meeting With DeVos, Title IX Activists Say They Still Have Many Questions.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Betsy DeVos Wants To ‘Quickly’ Change The Way The Government Treats Campus Sexual Assault.”

Via The New York Times: “DeVos Says She Will Revisit Obama-Era Sexual Assault Policies.”

Who Does DeVos’s Department Really Represent?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via The New York Times: “DeVos’s Hard Line on New Education Law Surprises States.”

Via The Washington Post: “A brief history of DARE, the anti-drug program Jeff Sessions wants to revive.”

Via ProPublica: “Trump Has Secretive Teams to Roll Back Regulations, Led by Hires With Deep Industry Ties.”

Via Military Times: “Lawmakers reach initial deal to expand GI education bill.” The proposed bill would eliminate the 15-year time limit on accessing education benefits.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Bipartisan support builds for expanding Pell Grant eligibility to short-term certificates, although some experts worry about quality control and funding.” I guess you won’t be able to use Pell Grants at Dev Bootcamp tho (more on that below).

On the US House of Representatives’ proposed budget: “$2 Billion for Teacher Training, Salaries Eliminated in House Budget Plan,” Education Week reports. Inside Higher Ed describes the budget plan as “(Largely) Shunning White House on Higher Ed Spending.”

(State and Local) Education Politics


Via Chalkbeat: “Report: Special education voucher program leaves some of New York City’s poorest families without services.”

Via The Denver Post: “Outdated, sagging Colorado schools get $300 million boost from pot sales, other taxes.”

Via NPR: “Reading, Writing And Fracking? What The Oil Industry Teaches Oklahoma Students.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “John Behling, the new president of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, said Friday that he wants institutions to recruit leaders from the private sector and otherwise ‘streamline’ the process for hiring chancellors and other top administrators. In so doing, he might have shed light on why a state budget proposal includes language – opposed by faculty members – that would ban the regents from ever considering only academics as top administrators.”

Via Education Week: “Detroit District May Rethink Authorizing Charter Schools.”

Immigration and Education


Via Inside Higher Ed: “DHS Head Won’t Commit to Defending DACA.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Trump Administration Considers Measure to Make Staying in U.S. Harder for Foreign Students.”

Via The Atlantic: “The Schools Transforming Immigrant Education.”

Via The New York Times: “In Blow to Tech Industry, Trump Shelves Start-Up Immigrant Rule.”

More on the Afghan robotics team in the contest section below.

Education in the Courts


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Federal Judge Dismisses Suit Against Texas Campus-Carry Law.”

Via The Washington Post: “Columbia University settles Title IX lawsuit with former student involving ‘mattress girl’ case.”

Via the AP: “The Ohio Supreme Court won’t stop the state from starting Thursday to recoup $60 million from one of the nation’s largest online charter schools amid a legal battle.”

More legal cases in the testing section below.

Testing, Testing…


Via The New York Times: “California Supreme Court Moves to Make Bar Exam Easier to Pass.”

Via The New York Times: “How Universal College Admission Tests Help Low-Income Students.”

Via Chalkbeat: “When states pay for the SAT or ACT, more poor students go to college.”

Financial Aid and the Business of Student Loans


The Department of Education explains “how marriage impacts your student loans.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Number of Students Applying for Federal Aid Rises 6%, After Several Years of Decline.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


Kaplan is closing Dev Bootcamp, a coding bootcamp it acquired in 2014. More from Inside Higher Ed, from Edsurge (disclosure alert!), and from Hacker News.

Also via Edsurge: “How Boundaries Between Colleges and Companies Will Continue to Blur.”

Also via Edsurge: “What a Reinvented College Looks Like: 4 Alternative Higher-Ed Models.” The models: Minerva, MissionU, “New Research University,” and “New Urban College.” No disclosure, no surprise, that Edsurge shares investors with at least one of these.

The Chronicle of Higher Education asks if, with the rollback to Obama-era regulations, states can do more to hold for-profit colleges accountable.

Via US News & World Report: “Trump Administration Begins Rewriting For-Profit Regulations.”

Via NPR: “Back To The Starting Line On Regulating For-Profit Colleges.”

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


“The University of California, Los Angeles, is planning a major expansion in the online certificate and graduate degree markets that it hopes will reach as many as 15,000 students by early next decade,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Enrollment Implications Regarding Directive for Online Community College in California.”

Via Education Dive: “Coursera’s Tom Willerer talks personalization, access.” Willerer was previously at Netflix (just to give you an idea of the meaning of “personalization” in the headline).

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How a BYU Campus Is Reshaping Online Education – and the Mormon Faith.”

Online courses will eventually replace traditional education,” The Daily Californian predicts. Sigh.

Speaking of predictions about the future of online education, EdTech Strategies’ Doug Levin pens part 2 of his look at Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn’s prediction that “by 2019, half of all high school classes will be taught over the Internet.”

More on court cases involve online charter schools in the legal section above.

Meanwhile on Campus…


Tampa Bay Times’ Cara Fitzpatrick revisits the schools she covered as part of her Pulitzer winning series on “failure factories”: “The Fight for Fairmount Park.”

Via Pacific Standard: “The Dangers Lurking in California School Drinking Fountains.” Spoiler alert: it’s not just lead.

Emily Kim, formerly a lawyer for charter chain Success Academy, is launching her own charter chain. It’ll be focused on integration, she promises.

Via The New York Times: “Long After Protests, Students Shun the University of Missouri.”

University of Michigan adds an automated text-analysis tool to a growing program intended to give more students a chance to learn through writing,” Inside Higher Ed reports. IHE blogger John Warner responds: “Algorithmic Assessment vs. Critical Reflection.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Despite Forged Signature, Bethune-Cookman U. Proceeds With $306-Million Dorm Contract.”

NPR examines recovery schools – that is, schools geared towards students with addictions.

Accreditation and Certification


Congratulations to Malala Yousafzai who has finished high school.

Via Chalkbeat: “Some New York charter schools could soon be allowed to certify their own teachers. What could that look like?”

WBUR reports that “This New MIT Master’s Program Doesn’t Require A College Or High School Degree.”

Go, School Sports Team!


Via SB Nation: “What football will look like in the future.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Cornell University has announced that it is ending its contract with Nike, saying the athletic apparel company was unwilling to sign a ‘standard’ agreement pledging to follow a code of conduct for its workers, a code developed and endorsed by many colleges and universities.”

From the HR Department


“Mind-reading robo tutor in the sky” company Knewton has a new CEO, Brian Kibby, formerly with Pearson.

The Business of Job Training


Jobsolescence” is not a word but it’s used in this headline nonetheless.

Larry Cuban on “Coding: The New Vocationalism” (Part 1 and Part 2)

Contests and Awards


Via the AP: “Denied Visas Twice, Afghan Girls Will Come to U.S. for Robotics Contest.”

Google profiles Niji Collins, a winner in the latest Google Code-In contest.

Upgrades and Downgrades


Edsurge profiles “personalized learning” software used in a virtual school that has some 450 incarcerated students. The software in question, Odysseyware, is featured in a recent series of articles in Slate, chronicling the worst online classes, particularly those used for credit recovery programs. No mention of that or of any problems with this sort of ed-tech in the Edsurge piece, no surprise, which was sponsored by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, just to give you an idea of how these organizations see the future of “personalized learning.”

Africa is a Country profiles Bridge International Academies: “No education crisis wasted: On Bridge’s ‘business model’ in Africa.”

More on Bridge from Business Insider: “Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are backing a controversial education program in East Africa.”

For the second time in as many weeks, Edsurge wants to know if educators’ job titles should be changed. First it was “professor.” Now it’s the word “teacher” that should be scrapped. Sensing a trend here?

Via Inside Higher Ed: “OpenStax Launches Learning Platform.”

Adaptive software is not the same as personalized learning, says eSchool News. Fortunately for pundits and PR, personalized learning can be anything you want it to be.

Via MIT Technology Review: “Another Price Slash Suggests the Oculus Rift Is Dead in the Water.” But I’m sure VR is still the future of education for many marketers.

Speaking of the future of education, via Complex: “How Pokemon Go Went From Viral Sensation To Wasteland in Just One Year.”


Via The New York Times: “To Close Digital Divide, Microsoft to Harness Unused Television Channels.”

Via Edsurge: “Genius, Crowdsourced Annotation Service, Discontinues Education Offerings.”

Via Techcrunch: “Kids app maker Toca Boca debuts its first consumer product collection at Target.”

Axios reports that “Another VC resigns after accusations of ‘misconduct’.” This time, it’s Frank Artale, co-founder of Ignition Partners. (To my knowledge, this firm has not made any ed-tech investments. So yay?)

But never fear women in tech! “Ashton Kutcher plans to host an open dialogue on gender equality,” Techcrunch reports.

Edsurge reports that 100Kin10, an organization that promises to train 100,000 STEM educators in the next decade, has received some $28 million in corporate pledges.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


The Getting Smart blog predicts that “By 2025, Swarms of Self-Driving Vehicles Will Transport Students to Learning Sites.” And it opts to go full Orwell with this prediction: “You can remind the troublemakers that with facial recognition you can run, but you can’t hide.”

The Getting Smart blog also highlights a recent PwC report: “AI Boosts Value of Thinking, Creativity and Problem-Solving.”

Via MIT Technology Review: “U.S. to Fund Advanced Brain-Computer Interfaces.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


It’s not (necessarily) venture philanthropy, but The Chronicle of Higher Education tracks the “Major Private Gifts to Higher Education.”

Recode profiles Priscilla Chan, co-founder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Via The New York Times: “Award-Winning Philanthropists Explain the Roots of Their Giving.”

Charity is no substitute for justice withheld – St. Augustine

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


It’s not an ed-tech investment, but let’s note it nonetheless. “Betsy DeVos Invested In Military Tech Contractor Run By Son-In-Law, While Brother Shaped Afghan War Policy,” International Business Times reports. DeVos’ brother is Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater. DeVos’ investment is in LexTM3, which she’s funded three times since Trump became POTUS.

Tutoring company Clark has raised $2.2 million in seed funding from Lightspeed Ventures, Rethink Education, Flatworld Partners, and Winkelvoss Capital.

Vidcode has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from BrainPOP, Cherry Ventures, CoVenture, Rethink Education, Stephano Kim, and ZhenFund. The learn-to-code company has raised $1.62 million total.

NetDragon has acquired JumpStart, currently the developer of a game inspired by the ed-tech classic Math Blaster.

BYJU’s has acquired tutoring company Edurite from Pearson.

Pearson sells off a 22% stake in Penguin Random House to majority owner Bertelsmann.

Industry analysis: Bloomberg looks atSilicon Valley’s Overstuffed Startups,” noting that IPOs and acquisitions have stalled. But Techcrunch reports that “US venture investment ticks up in Q2 2017,” so who knows.

CB Insights lists “15 Early-Stage Ed Tech Companies To Watch.”

Data and “Research”


The RAND Corporation is out with a study on personalized learning – “Modest Gains, Big Challenges,” reads the Education Week headline. Doug Levin looks at this recent Gates Foundation-sponsored research and asks “Why Do Students in Personalized Learning Programs Feel Less Positive About School?”

The Wall Street Journal looks atPaying Professors: Inside Google’s Academic Influence Campaign.” Google responds. (And there’s been quite a bit of pushback on the research and the reporting.)

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Federal obligations to universities for science and engineering declined by 2 percent in the 2015 fiscal year, new federal data show.”

Via Chalkbeat: “Do school vouchers ‘work’? As the debate heats up, here’s what research really says.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Students are more likely to graduate from colleges that are more expensive and have larger budgets, a new study out of Oregon State University shows.”

Oh look. This story about laptops. Again.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new study from the Urban Institute found limited interest among prospective college students about graduates’ labor market outcomes, despite the data’s appeal to policy makers and researchers.”

Press releases as predictions. Via The Telegraph (and based on “market research”): “E-books sales to drop as bookshelf resurgence sparks ‘shelfie’ craze.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Online PD Pays Dividends for Teachers’ Tech Learning, Survey Suggests.” The survey was from Project Tomorrow.

The Atlantic looks at research on “The Diminishing Role of Art in Children’s Lives.”

Via Education Week’s Inside School Research blog: “Reading ‘on Grade Level’ May Depend on Your School’s Test, Study Finds.”

Pew Research Center has released the results of its latest survey on how Americans view institutions. One of the big headline grabbers: the sharp decline in Republicans’ favorable view of higher education. 58% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents “now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country.” More thoughts on the survey from Alex Reid, from the ANOVA, from Bryan Alexander, from The Chronicle of Higher Education, and from Inside Higher Ed.

Pew Research Center releases its most recent report on online harassment – “Roughly four-in-ten Americans have personally experienced online harassment, and 62% consider it a major problem.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Many Women Of Color Feel Unsafe Working In Science, New Study Finds.”

Via The Atlantic: “Most Scientific Research Data From the 1990s Is Lost Forever.” Oops.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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