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(National) Education Politics


The New York Times broke the story this week that “Justice Dept. to Take On Affirmative Action in College Admissions.” And by “take on,” that means “investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.”

(It would be pretty great if the DOJ would investigate how legacy admissions and big donations let mediocre white applicants like Donald Trump and Jared Kushner get into Ivy League schools.)

As the week went on the story changed slightly…

Via NPR: “DOJ Looks Into Whether Harvard Discriminates Against Asian-Americans.” More via Buzzfeed and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What You Need to Know About Race-Conscious Admissions in 2017.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “On Affirmative Action, Candice Jackson Said Civil-Rights Office Would Not ‘Push a Social Agenda’.”

Via Chalkbeat: “Arne Duncan criticizes Betsy DeVos on civil rights, says she hasn’t asked for his advice.” I mean…

In other Arne news, Chalkbeat also reports that “‘I think that’s blood money’: Arne Duncan pushed charters to reject funds from Trump admin if budget cuts approved.”

Politico reports that the Department of Education has reached a deal with the US Marshals Service to continue providing protection for Betsy DeVos. The cost for the services from her appointment through September 30: $7.78 million. In the past, Secretaries of Education have just used the department’s own force.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Federal Sex-Assault Investigations Are Being Resolved More Often. These 11 Cases Show How.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Senate Passes GI Bill Update.”

“Republicans try to take cheap phones and broadband away from poor people,” Ars Technica reports. “The legislation filed on Friday targets Lifeline, which is a Universal Service Fund program paid for by surcharges on phone bills. If the bill passes, low-income Americans would no longer be able to use $9.25 monthly subsidies toward cellular phone service or mobile broadband. The subsidies would still be available for landline phone service.”

More on Trump’s proposed immigration policies in the immigration section below. More on the Department of Education’s student loan forgiveness (or lack thereof) in the student loan section below.

Japan Might Be What Equality in Education Looks Like,” says The Atlantic’s Alana Semuels.

Via the BBC: “How Canada became an education superpower.”

From the press release: “174 organisations worldwide call investors to cease support to American chain of schools Bridge International Academies.”

(State and Local) Education Politics


“The Campus-Speech Debate Spends Summer Break in Statehouses,” according to The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf.

Via NPR: “New Florida Law Lets Residents Challenge School Textbooks.” What could possibly go wrong?

Via EdSource: “Cal State drops intermediate algebra as requirement to take some college-level math courses.”

The Hechinger Report reports on the HOPE Scholarship program in Georgia and asks why a huge surplus in funds isn’t being spent to help more students with financial aid.

Via NPR: “Illinois Governor Vetoes Education Funding Plan.”

Immigration and Education


Via The Washington Post: “ He went to ICE to tell agents he had gotten into college. Now he and his brother have been deported.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A bill backed by President Trump and announced Wednesday aims to reduce overall legal immigration by half while putting in place a new points-based system for applicants for employment-based green cards that would privilege graduates of American universities.”

Education in the Courts


Via Buzzfeed: “This 8-Year-Old Transgender Girl Is Suing Her Private School For Discrimination.”

Via The New York Times: “Harassment Suit Against a Stanford Dean Is Rejected.”

A ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union raises interesting questions about the ownership of student data: “Exam scripts and examiner’s corrections are personal data of the exam candidate.”

Testing, Testing…


From the Khan Academy blog: “Khan Academy is the Official Practice Partner for AP.” This is the second major partnership the organization has made with the College Board, as Khan Academy is also its test prep site of choice for the SAT.

Via Mindshift: “AP Computer Science Principles Attract Diverse Students With Real-World Problems.”

“Free College”


Rhode Island’s new state budget makes community college tuition-free for new high school graduates who enroll full-time and maintain a 2.5 or higher grade point average,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

The Business of Student Loans


Via NPR: “New Fears For Public Service Loan Forgiveness.”

Via The New York Times: “DeVos Abandons Plan to Allow One Company to Service Federal Student Loans.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


Coding Bootcamps Won’t Save Us All,” Edsurge informs us.

Edsurge also wants you to know that “​More Bootcamps Are Quietly Coming to a University Near You.”

The Next Web reports that coding bootcamp Coding Dojo will no longer teach Ruby on Rails. It will teach Java instead.

Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy looks at the acquisition of EDMC – the parent company of the Art Institutes chain – by The Dream Center Foundation, a network of Christian missionary centers.

The for-profit Charlotte School of Law says it might get its access to federal financial aid restored.

Via the Indianapolis Business Journal: “Legal skirmishes break out over ITT documents, data.”

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


Via Edsurge: “As In-Person Bootcamps Falter, Codecademy Introduces Paid Online Options.” Codecademy, Edsurge contends, is now a competitor to Coursera and Udacity.

Pretty sure this is the best MOOC story of the week: “Russian Underground Launches Online Courses in Card Fraud,” Infosecurity Group reports.

Via Business Insider: “Online learning may be the future of education – we compared 4 platforms that are leading the way.” Not sure why these are the four, but there you go: Udemy, Lynda, Coursera, and Skillshare.

Via Edsurge: “‘Not Everyone Is Built for It’: Students Offer Their Take on Virtual Schooling.”

Meanwhile on Campus…


As part of its back-to-school series, The New York Times looks atdeath threats and protests as professors’ statements about race and politics go viral.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “In Charlottesville, UVa Grapples With Its History and the Alt-Right.”

“For the first time in Harvard University’s history, the majority of students accepted into the incoming freshman class are not white,” The Boston Globe reports.

Inside Higher Ed reports thatNational University is working to create a personalized education platform that combines three of the buzziest innovations in higher education – adaptive learning, competency-based learning and predictive analytics for student retention.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Urban Colleges Move Into K–12 Schools to Help Kids and Themselves.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of California, Irvine, announced Wednesday that most of those whose admissions offers were revoked last month will in fact be admitted. The announcement follows anger at the news that about 500 acceptances were revoked last month, leaving students scrambling to find college options. The university said that the unusually high number of revoked acceptances had no relationship to the news that about 800 more freshmen were planning to enroll in the fall than Irvine had expected.”

School mergers are hard.

Via KPCC: “Vaccination rates in California schools reached an all-time high last school year, but one subset of public schools still appears to be lagging behind: charter schools.”

Accreditation and Certification


The Michigan Department of Education is phasing out teaching endorsements in 12 subjects, including computer science.

From the HR Department


“A Caltech Professor Who Harassed Two Female Students Has Resigned,” Buzzfeed’s Azeen Ghorayshi reports. (And it is thanks, in no small part, to her reporting on Christian Ott in the first place.)

Barbara Means and Jeremy Roschelle have left **SRI International **and joined Digital Promise, where they’ll create a new research center, Edsurge reports.

Renaissance has a new CEO: Daniel Hamburger, formerly CEO of the for-profit college chain DeVry.

Peter Oppenheim has been confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of Education for Legislation and Congressional Affairs, the first appointment confirmed to the Department of Education since DeVos became Secretary.

Via The Seattle Times: “UW researcher Michael Katze fired after sexual-harassment investigation.” UW here is the University of Washington.

Zuckerberg hires former Clinton pollster Joel Benenson,” Politico reports. Totally not running for President, is he.

The Business of Job Training


Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) has an op-ed in The NYT lamenting the lack of child labor or something: “What to Do With the Kids This Summer? Put ’Em to Work.”

Via Techcrunch: “LinkedIn is rolling out a free service to pair users with mentors.”

Via Edsurge: “Not All Career and Technical Education Programs Are Created Equal.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?asks Jean Twenge in The Atlantic.

Will ‘Publish or Perish’ Become ‘Clicks or Canned’?asks Edsurge.

Has the Game Really Changed?asks Edsurge, with “Notes From the 2017 Games for Change Festival.”

(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


Via Edsurge: “Apple iPad Sales to Schools Jump 32%, Selling 1M Tablets in Fiscal Q3 2017.”

Via Techcrunch: “Mystery Science partners with Google to bring eclipse glasses to elementary school students.”

From the Pearson blog: “The future of language learning: Augmented reality vs virtual reality.”

“A New Way for Therapists to Get Inside Heads: Virtual Reality,” says The New York Times. Great.

The Global Times reporting from China: “Schools adopt VR, among other technologies, to instill correct ideology in students.”

VR company AltSpaceVR is shutting down.

“The Spotify of the textbook world takes off as Bibliotech is go,” says Jisc. (Pro tip: do not compare your education product or idea with commercial tech, particularly companies with exploitative practices and/or shoddy businesses.)

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Barnes & Noble Education has joined an alliance of publishers and distributors taking steps to stop the sale of illegally copied textbooks.”

Stephen Downes gives an update ongRSShopper in a Box.”

“For Code.org, Training Computer Science Teachers Isn’t Really About Computer Science,” says Education Week. (Spoiler alert: it’s about learning how to teach differently.)

Personalized learning is anything you want it to be.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


Via ELearning Inside: “Amazon’s Alexa: Your Next Teacher.”

The New York Times offers advice on “How to Prepare Preschoolers for an Automated Economy.” Make them learn to code, of course.

Edsurge has “Real Questions About Artificial Intelligence in Education.” As opposed to fake questions, I guess.

Via Pacific Standard: “How Artificial Intelligence Could Benefit Those in Empathy-Centric Professions.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


NewSchools Venture Fund says it has $8 million in “new funding opportunities” for “creating innovative district and charter schools,” “building technology tools to better support student learning,” and “cultivating pipelines of diverse leaders in educaiton.”

Via The Cut: “Rihanna Is Sponsoring a Bike-Share Program So Girls in Malawi Can Go to School.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


Hustle has raised $8 million in Series A funding from Social Capital, Canvas Ventures, Designer Fund, Foundation Capital, GSV Acceleration, Higher Ground Labs, Index Ventures, Kapor Capital, Matrix Partners, New Media Ventures, Omidyar Network, Salesforce Ventures, and Twilio. The messaging app has raised $11 million total. (It’s not clear to me that this is ed-tech, even though Edsurge covers the investment – failing to disclose, of course, that it shares two investors with Hustle: GSV and the Omidyar Network.)

Sawyer has raised $6 million from Advance Venture Partners, 3311 Ventures, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Collaborative Fund, and Female Founders Fund. The company, which helps parents find classes for their children, has raised $8 million total.

Course recommendation app Chalkboard Education has raised $235,440 in seed funding from the Jacobs FOundation.

Elsevier has acquired bepress. As The Scholarly Kitchen’s Roger Schonfeld writes, “Elsevier is now a major if not the foremost single player in the institutional repository landscape. If successful, and there are some risks, this acquisition will position Elsevier as an increasingly dominant player in preprints, continuing its march to adopt and coopt open access.”

ACT has invested $10.5 million in the venture firm New Markets Venture Partners.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


Disney’s Next Movie Could Be Watching You, Too,” says Fast Company. Facial recognition to gauge audience reaction. Oh think of the ed-tech possibilities.

Lots of ed-tech possibilities in this one too, via Bloomberg: “This app tells you when you’re depressed. Who else does it tell?”

Via Education Week: “COPPA and Schools: The (Other) Federal Student Privacy Law, Explained.”

Via School Transportation News: “How Predictive Analytics Can Help the School Bus Industry.”

Via Campus Technology: “A team of researchers from New York University (NYU), University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and Google estimates that victims of ransomware have paid out more than $25 million over the last two years.”

Via The San Francisco Examiner: “Possible Russian hackers may have targeted SFSU student data.”

More on an online class, offered by Russian hackers, on credit card fraud in the MOOC section above.

Data and “Research”


“The Business of Ed-Tech: July 2017 Funding Data” – my latest calculations of the amount of venture funding in ed-tech.

Via Education Dive: “Report: Ed tech innovation a growing field for private contracting.” Oh good grief.

“What role does research play in EdTech decision-making?” asks the WCET blog.

Via the BBC: “Playing brain games ‘of little benefit’, say experts.”

Via Mindshift: “What Works For Getting Kids to Enjoy Reading?” (An excerpt from Daniel Willingham’s new book.)

Via Mindshift: “Autism Symptoms are Less Obvious in Girls and May Lead to Underdiagnosis.”

Via The 74: “Reports of bullying and violence in America’s public schools are on the decline, according to a report published Thursday by the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.”

Also from the NCES, a report on “Change in Number and Types of Postsecondary Institutions: 2000 to 2014.”

Chalkbeat’s Matt Barnum with more research on vouchers and “choice.”

Via Chalkbeat: “Do charter schools hurt their neighboring schools? A new study of New York City schools says no – they help.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Universities With the Highest Research-and-Development Spending Financed by Business, FY 2015.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “New study finds 13 percent of community college students lack the food and nutrition they need.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Survey of voting bloc that favored Trump finds skepticism about value of higher education.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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