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(National) Education Politics


The AP interviews US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who laments “she didn’t decry racism enough.”

Via Politico: “New marching orders from Betsy DeVos’ civil rights chief have the Education Department churning through civil rights complaints. The department has closed more than 1,500 complaints of discrimination at the nation’s schools – including dismissing more than 900 outright — in the two months since Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson took steps she said were aimed at reducing a massive backlog.”

Via Education Week: “ESSA Point Man Jason Botel to Leave Education Dept. Post, Sources Say.” Before joining the Trump administration, Botel had founded a KIPP school in Baltimore.

Via Education Week: “E-Rate, Other Universal-Service Funds to Be Transferred to U.S. Treasury.”

Via The New York Times: “Britain Turns to Chinese Textbooks to Improve Its Math Scores.”

(State and Local) Education Politics


Via The New York Times: “Daniel Loeb, a Cuomo Donor, Makes Racial Remark About Black Leader.” Loeb is the chairman of the Success Academy charter school chain.

Via The NY Daily News: “Critics slam $669G contract for former NYC school official’s math program.” That’s Joel Rose’s School of One software.

Via The LA Times: “Former L.A. schools food guru charged with mishandling district funds.” David Binkle, that is, LAUSD’s former food services director.

Via The New York Times: New York governor “Cuomo to Give Colleges $7 Million for Courses in Prisons.”

Chicago Public Schools will lay off 950 employees.

Via The Chicago Sun Times: “Chance the Rapper pushing to #supportCPS.”

Immigration and Education


Via Buzzfeed: “More Chinese Students Are Coming To US High Schools To Get Into American Colleges.”

Via The Intercept: “These Are the Technology Firms Lining Up to Build Trump’s ‘Extreme Vetting’ Program.”

Education in the Courts


Not really ed-tech-related, except for all those companies saying they’re “Uber for education.” Via The New York Times: “Uber Investor Sues Travis Kalanick for Fraud.”

Not really ed-tech related, except that Vinod Khosla is a venture capitalist. (His education portfolio.) Via The Mercury News: “Court orders tech billionaire to open up Martins Beach.”

Via Vulture: “LeVar Burton Sued for Using His Reading Rainbow Catchphrase on His Podcast.”

Via The Verge: “Disney sued for allegedly spying on children through 42 gaming apps.”

Via Gamasutra: “Parents take Subway Surfers devs to court over alleged misuse of kids’ data.”

Via The Atlantic: “The JCC Bomb-Threat Suspect Had a Client.” Michael Kadar, who’s been accused of making over two hundred threats to Jewish Community Centers and schools, offered his services online: $30 to email a bomb threat to a school.

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Judge Rejects Bankrupt Woman’s Bid to Cancel $333,423 Student Loan Bill.”

Testing, Testing…


The Chronicle of Higher Education reads “New Venture Will Offer Free Courses That Students Can Take for College Credit.” The courses are for AP exams, which some colleges do count for credit, I suppose and are being offered through Modern States Education Alliance, which is run by Steven Klinsky, a private equity firm.

Via The New York Times: “More Law Schools Begin Accepting GRE Test Results.”

The Business of Student Loans


OpenSecrets.org on how the student loan industry and higher ed institutions spend their lobbying dollars: “The politics behind your college and how you pay for it.”

Trump’s Student-Loan Plan Could Be A Great Deal For Undergrads,” says Buzzfeed – as long as you’re not poor.

Via The New York Times: “$78,000 of Debt for a Harvard Theater Degree.”

More on student loans in the for-profit higher ed section below and the court section above.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


Purdue-Kaplan online university one step closer to reality,” the Journal & Courier reports. More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via The New York Times: “U.S. to Help Remove Debt Burden for Students Defrauded by For-Profit Chain.” That is, for the 36,000 students who attended Wilfred American Education Corporation’s beauty and secretary schools.

Via The Atlantic: “The Future of a Once-Doomed Law School.” That’s the for-profit Charlotte School of Law, which might be “saved by Trump-era regulatory rollbacks.”

“The Obama administration shut down Globe U, but an affiliated university bought four of its Wisconsin campuses with the backing of the Trump administration and a state regulator with a tough reputation on for-profits,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “2-Pronged Strategy Against ‘Gainful’ Rule.”

Via Reuters: “Some U.S. coding boot camps stumble in a crowded field.”

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


Via Edsurge: “Andrew Ng, Co-Founder of Coursera, Returns to MOOC Teaching With New AI Course.” More via Wired.

Harvard will offer a new, online business analytics certificate program through 2U. Edsurge has a story about this too – no disclosure that John Katzman, one of the founders of 2U, is an Edsurge investor.

Meanwhile on Campus…


Via the Dallas News: “Self-published ‘Pepe the Frog’ kids’ book is conservative but not alt-right, Denton ISD admin says.” JFC, can you imagine having to send your kid to this principal’s school?!

“Who’s Taking College Spots From Top Asian Americans?” asks ProPublica. “Privileged Whites.”

Chalkbeat on vouchers in Indiana: “Choice for most: In nation’s largest voucher program, $16 million went to schools with anti-LGBT policies.”

The New York Times on “mastery based learning: “A New Kind of Classroom: No Grades, No Failing, No Hurry.”

Inside Higher Ed profiles career and technical education at Arkansas State University Newport: “Men Flock to Short-Term Career Ed.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of Texas at Austin has unveiled Stampede2, said to be the most powerful supercomputer at any campus in the U.S.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Marygrove College to Eliminate All Undergraduate Programs.”

Holy shit. “Iowa State University seeks 7 percent annual tuition hike for each of next 5 years,” The Des Moines Register reports.

Sara Goldrick-Rab recommends professors put a statement about “basic needs security” on their syllabi.

Accreditation and Certification


Via Inside Higher Ed: “$147,000 for a One-Year Master’s? In Journalism?” A master of science in data journalism from Columbia University’s School of Journalism. (Disclosure: I’m heading to the school in a couple of weeks for a Spencer Fellowship, which pays me, thank god.)

The University of Maine at Presque Isle has created an online, competency-based degree aimed at adult students,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Go, School Sports Team!


An op-ed in The LA Times: “Josh Rosen is right to question the value of student-athletes’ education.” Rosen is UCLA’s quarterback.

Recommended viewing: Last Chance U on Netflix. Season Two was recently released.

Via NPR: “NCAA Will Require Athletes And Coaches To Complete Sexual Violence Education.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Big-Time Sports Programs Tighten Rules on Athletes With Sexual-Assault Records.”

The Google Memo


I’m putting this into its own category. It’s part an HR story, but it’s also a culture of tech story. And if you think it has nothing to do with education, I don’t even know what to say to you.

Via Motherboard: “Google Employee’s Anti-Diversity Manifesto Goes ‘Internally Viral’.”

Via Wired: “Internal Messages Show Some Googlers Supported Fired Engineer’s Manifesto.”

Via The Guardian’s Julie Carrie Wong: “Segregated Valley: the ugly truth about Google and diversity in tech.”

“A Googler’s Would-Be Manifesto Reveals Tech’s Rotten Coreby Ian Bogost.

Via Gizmodo: “Fired Google Memo Writer Took Part in Controversial, ‘Sexist’ Skit While at Harvard for Which Administration Issued Formal Apology.”

Via Recode: “Google CEO Sundar Pichai canceled an all-hands meeting about gender controversy due to employee worries of online harassment.”

From the HR Department


ISTE has hired Joseph South as its Chief Learning Officer. South previously worked at the US Department of Education and K12 Inc.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s CTO, Brian Pinkerton, is leaving the company.

“​Pearson to Lay Off 3,000 More Employees,” says Edsurge.

The Business of Job Training


Via the Coursera blog: “What’s Next in Employee Learning: Virtual Reality.”

Via The New York Times: “At Walmart Academy, Training Better Managers. But With a Better Future?”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “McDonald’s brings a flexible approach and free career and college advising to its tuition assistance program, which is aimed in part at keeping employees on the job longer.”

“In the push to expand ‘earn-while-you-learn’ programs, what lessons can the U.S. take from approaches in Germany and Switzerland?” asks Inside Higher Ed.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


Is a Spotify approach the future of curriculum?asks Education Dive.

Will blockchain change the face of K–12 record storage and tracking?asks Education Dive.

Can Minecraft Camp Help Open Up The Tech World To Low-Income Kids?asks Mindshift.

(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


Larry Cuban on personalized learning: part 1 and part 2.

Jen Howard on “What Happened to Google’s Effort to Scan Millions of University Library Books?”

Via Techcrunch: “Sony wants to digitize education records using the blockchain.”

“‘Schoolifying’ Minecraft Without Ruining It” by NPR’s Anya Kamenetz.

The Wall Street Journal predicts “The End of Typing: The Next Billion Mobile Users Will Rely on Video and Voice.” I mean, as long as data isn’t an issue and tech companies can build voice recognition software that recognizes languages other than English and accents other than Californian.

The Internet Archive’s Jason Scott on “Celebrating 30 Years of HyperCard.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education on Elsevier “becoming a data company.”

“The Culture Wars Have Come to Silicon Valley,” The New York Times pronounces, with a look at internal tussles between Facebook board members Peter Thiel and Reed Hastings.

Peter Thiel Has Been Hedging His Bet On Donald Trump,” Buzzfeed claims.

Phil Hill on an “LMS Revival: D2L picking up new customers and showing they can listen.”

The Giant Inflatable Trump Chicken of Ed Techby Michael Feldstein.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “‘Driverless’ Van Turns Out to Be Va. Tech Researcher Costumed as Car Seat.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


Wired argues thatJeff Bezos Should Put His Billions Into Libraries.” It reminded me, not of Carnegie who the article mentions, but of Gates, who initially started funding libraries – public and collective access to digital technologies – before turning to school reform and “personalized learning” efforts.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


Tinkergarten has raised $5.4 million in Series A funding from Owl Ventures, Omidyar Network, and Reach Capital. The company has $8.3 million total.

The private equity firm Thoma Bravo has acquired Frontline Education.

Impero Software has been acquired by Investment Technology Partners which paid $36.3 million.

Barnes & Noble Education has acquired Student Brands, which includes the Cram and StudyMode homework help sites.

I missed this news back in February: Chegg acquired RefMe.

More from EdWeek’s Market Brief on ACT’s investment last week in the venture firm New Markets Venture Partners.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


NIST has changes its recommendations for passwords.

Via Arkansas Online: “License plate readers at University of Arkansas to be delayed.”

Via Education Week: “Risky Practices With Students’ Data Security Are Common, Survey Suggests.”

Data and “Research”


ProPublica has updated its “Nonprofit Explorer,” which provides financial data on tax-exempt organizations. Khan Academy, for example, had $27.9 million in revenue in 2015, and its executive compensation was $2.8 million.

Via The Verge: “Kik has become ‘the defacto app’ for child predators, according to an investigative report.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Most competency-based education programs remain nascent, highly localized and of limited size, according a new report from Eduventures, Ellucian and the American Council on Education.”

“How Minecraft Supports Social and Emotional Learning in K–12 Education” – a new report from Getting Smart.

Via Campus Technology: “Report: VR and AR to Double Each Year Through 2021.” Yeah, I’ll be watching this prediction.

“There are 2.4 million fewer college students than there were five years ago,” says Hechinger Report, proving a map to visualize the demographic shift.

Via Axios: “Wall Street outpaces Silicon Valley on gender equality.”

Via Campus Technology: “This academic year, the average cost of college students’ required course materials dropped to $579, down from $602 last year and $701 in 2007–2008, according to a new report from the National Association of College Stores.”

The Pew Research Center on the future of trust online.

Via The New York Times: “A Few Telling Freshman Trends.”

A report from The Century Foundation on outsourcing and ed-tech: “The Private Side of Public Higher Education.” (Here’s IHE’s coverage.)

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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