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(National) Education Politics


“Americans Have Given Up on Public Schools. That’s a Mistake,” writes Erika Christakis in The Atlantic.

One of the most important stories this past week was the Trump Administration’s announcement that it planned to end the DACA program, putting the immigration status and safety of some 800,000 people into question. There’s much more on that in the immigration section below.

Buzzfeed reported that – as of 9pm Thursday at least – “Betsy DeVos Still Hasn’t Said Anything About Trump’s Decision To End DACA.” (Do remember, she weighed in immediately after Trump announced the US was leaving the Paris Climate Accord.) Later, via CBS: “DeVos says her ‘heart is with’ Dreamers.”

Another huge (and awful) deal: Betsy DeVos announced this week that the Department of Education would replace Obama-era guidance on how colleges must protect students from sexual violence and respond to sexual assault claims on campus. The Department of Education offers “Highlights from Secretary DeVos’ Remarks on Title IX Enforcement.” More from Inside Higher Ed, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The New York Times.

“The Department of Justice Is Overseeing the Resegregation of American Schools,” The Nation argues.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Education Dept. Ends Partnership With CFPB.”

Via Education Week: “Senate Panel Rejects Trump Teacher-Funding Cut, School Choice Proposals.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The White House said Friday it would delay an annual conference for historically black colleges and universities that had been scheduled for mid-September.”

Via Ars Technica: “Senate Democrats fight FCC plan to lower America’s broadband standards.”

(State and Local) Education Politics


Via The New York Times: “Michigan Gambled on Charter Schools. Its Children Lost.”

And The New York Times again: “The Resegregation of Jefferson County.”

Also via The New York Times: “New York City Offers Free Lunch for All Public School Students.”

Related on school lunch, via Mother Jones: “The Shocking Ways Poor Kids Have Long Been Singled Out in American Schools.”

Via the Tennessean: “Nashville school district sends families opt-out form as student data battle with state rages on.” The districts are protesting a new law that dictates they hand over student directory data to charter school operators.

Via Boing Boing: “British Columbia government forces Vancouver dad to end his kids’ free-range city bus rides to school.”

Via Education Week: “Idaho has repaid the Federal Communications Commission $3.5 million to cover federal funds that went to the botched statewide school broadband contract.”

Via KATU2: “Evergreen School District teachers told to stop using crowdfunding site Donors Choose.”

Immigration and Education


Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, through which about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children have gained the right to work and temporary protection against the risk of deportation. The administration said it will phase out the program, which was established by President Obama in 2012, after a six-month period to give Congress a chance to act on legislation that could restore the program.” More on the announcement from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“Why ending DACA is so unprecedented,” Dara Lind writes for Vox.

“By ending Daca, Donald Trump has declared war on a diverse America,” by Carol Anderson (author of White Rage).

Via The Daily Beast: “The Trump Administration Now Has Tons Of DACA Data And Is Poised To Weaponize It.”

Via Pacific Standard: “How DACA Helped Immigrants Get More Education and Higher-Paying Jobs.”

Via Buzzfeed: “American Colleges Say They’ll Fight For DREAMers After Trump’s Decision.”

Via The New York Times: “For Teachers Working Through DACA, a Bittersweet Start to the School Year.”

More data on enrollment of foreign students in US colleges in the research section below.

Education in the Courts


Via The Hill: “Lawsuit filed to let Richard Spencer speak at Michigan State.”

Via Ars Technica: “Comcast sues Vermont to avoid building 550 miles of new cable lines.”

The Business of Student Loans


Via the US News & World Report: “ Why Few Borrowers Have Pursued PSLF.” The acronym stands for “public service loan forgiveness.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


Via Media Matters: “Newt Gingrich used Fox position to push for-profit colleges without disclosing conflict of interest.”

There’s more research on for-profits in the research section below.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “That Hilarious Tweet About an Instructor’s Big Mistake? Almost Certainly Fake.” The tweet claimed an instructor didn’t realize a class was online and was angry that no students had shown up in class.

The University of Naples Federico II has joined edX.

Edsurge wonders if there’s inequality in online education.

Via Tony Bates: “Responses to the Canadian survey of online and distance learning.”

There’s more on the accreditation of Arkansas’ new public online university in the accreditation section below.

Meanwhile on Campus…


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Florida’s Governor Closes Public Colleges as Irma Bears Down on Peninsula.”

Melinda Anderson talks to Beverly Daniel Tatum about the 20th anniversary of her book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations About Race.

Via The Hechinger Report: “How slavery helped build many U.S. colleges and universities.”

Via the BBC: “Oxford vice-chancellor criticised over homosexuality comments.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After All but Closing, Sweet Briar Will Shift Curriculum and Pricing.”

Inside Higher Ed looks at a change this year to Harvard’s CS50, which last year had encouraged students to watch video lectures instead of coming to class. This year: “come to class,” the instructor says.

Accreditation and Certification


Salesforce has filed a patent for “Digital badging for facilitating virtual recognition of an achievement.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Arkansas’s new public online university chooses national accreditor over its regional agency, raising questions about pace, prestige and the state of quality assurance.” The school, eVersity, will seek approval from the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, an organization that accredits mostly for-profit institutions, rather than the Higher Learning Commission, which accredits the rest of public higher ed in Arkansas.

Purdue Introduced 3 Year Degree Program,” says Inside Higher Ed.

Degreed now offers skill certification – “The Degreed Skill Certification is a scientifically-backed process that combines skill evidence, data science, endorsers, and reviews by an expertise panel, which results in your final Skill Level ranking.”

Testing, Testing…


Via The New York Times: “Who Benefits From the Expansion of A.P. Classes?”

Via Mashable: “Why Denver Public School Students Are Protesting for AP History.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “This Saturday’s ACT has been called off at some international testing centers. An ACT spokesman said that the action was ‘due to a verified breach of the test materials,’ and that ACT would not be commenting further on the breach.”

Also via IHE: “ACT scores are up this year, but the scores of black and Latino students and those who did not complete recommended college preparatory courses remain far behind those of other students.”

Via Education Week: “New Tool Alerts Teachers When Students Give Up on Tests.”

“Innovation schools saw some of the largest gains on ISTEP in Indianapolis Public Schools,” Chalkbeat argues.

Go, School Sports Team!


Via The New York Times: “Football Favoritism at F.S.U.: The Price One Teacher Paid.”

“Universities see opportunity in e-sports,” says Education Dive.

The Business of Job Training


Via Quartz: “A free, teacher-less university in France is schooling thousands of future-proof programmers.”

Via Rutgers Today: “Is There a STEM Worker Shortage? Rutgers Professor Debates Issue at National Academies.”

Google announces it is “Funding 75,000 Udacity scholarships to bridge the digital skills gap.”

Sound the made-up-statistic klaxon because the MIT Technology Review parrots the BS claim that “65 percent of children entering primary school today will end up working in jobs that don’t currently exist, underscoring the need for new skills training using hands-on and exploratory learning techniques.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


“XQ is taking over TV to make the case that high school hasn't changed in 100 years. But is that true?asks Chalkbeat.

Will the Trump Era Transform the School Lunch?asks The New York Times.

Will a Netflix Model Work for Textbooks?asks Edsurge.

(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


Natasha Singer shook things up with a story in The New York Times this past weekend on the ethics of “brand ambassadors” and influencer marketing in ed-tech. My response: “Inequality, ‘Brand Ambassadors,’ and the Business of Selling (to) Classrooms.”

Via Edsurge: “Forget ‘US News’ Rankings. For Online College Programs, Google Is Kingmaker.”

Tonight there’ll be a live TV show on the four major networks – “XQ: The Super School Project.” It’s sponsored by Laurene Powell Jobs, the founder of the venture philanthropy firm Emerson Collective and the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs. It’s part of the argument that investors and entrepreneurs like to make: that high school hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. In The Washington Post, Jack Schneider writes about “The false narrative behind a glitzy live television show about school reform.”

Quartz is publishing a series on “The Vanishing University.” The first article claims that “The college lecture is dying. Good riddance.” It’s full of examples of lecturing, but now that they’re recorded as videos somehow it’s innovation.

“Why Picking a Major Is a Bad Idea for College Kids,” Cathy Davidson argues. She’s out with a new book, The New Education: How To Revolutionize the University To Prepare Students for a World in Flux.

“Student Teachers Get ‘Real World’ Practice Via Virtual Reality,” says Education Week, apparently confused because VR is very much not “real.”

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


Parla.ai – “No need to spend money on teachers – I’ll help you learn English effectively and for free!”

Investor Tom Vander Ark talks to investor Michael Moe about the future of AI and HR.

“This Machine Learning-Powered Software Teaches Kids To Be Better Writers,” Fast Company claims. No, actually. I bet it doesn’t.

Automation-proofing students requires more of schools, districts,” says Education Dive.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “IBM and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced Thursday that the company will spend $240 million on a joint lab with MIT focused on artificial intelligence.”

From the Udacity blog: “ Your Exclusive Guide To Pursuing A Robotics Career.” Exclusive!

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


The Koch Brothers are teaming up with Deion Sanders to launch an anti-poverty initiative. Sanders is the founder of a charter school company that, in the words of the Dallas Morning News, “collapsed spectacularly.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


Guild Education has raised $21 million in Series B funding from Bessemer Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Harrison Metal, Social Capital, and Cowboy Ventures. The company, which helps corporations run education programs for their employees, has raised $31.5 million total.

Labster has raised $10 million in Series A funding from Balderton Capital, David Helgason, and Northzone. The company offers “virtual science labs” and has raised $13.67 million.

Evertrue has raised $6 million in Series B funding from Bain Capital Ventures and University Ventures. The company, which helps schools manage philanthropic giving campaigns, has raised $20.57 million total.

Classcraft, which says it helps “gamify” the classroom, has raised $2.8 million in venture funding from Whitecap Venture Partners, Brightspark Ventures, and MaRS Catalyst Fund.

English language learning app Kings Learning has raised $2.5 million in seed funding from Village Capital and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

Tenka Labs has raised $2 million in seed funding from undisclosed investors. The company, which makes engineering kits, has raised $4.1 million total.

Circuit Cubes has raised $2 million from undisclosed investors.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


Via The Washington Post: “Parents cite student privacy concerns with popular online education platform.” Not sure how popular Facebook and Summit Public Schools’ “personalized learning” platform is, for what it’s worth.

Research, “Research,” and Reports


Via the Institute for Women’s Policy Research: “Single Mothers are 3 Times More Likely to Enroll in For-Profit Colleges than Single Students without Children.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study finds that students who deliver microaggressions are also likely to harbor racist attitudes.”

Daniel Willingham on learning styles.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Amid concerns about visas and the political environment, some institutions are maintaining or even increasing their enrollment numbers, but many report drops, some by as much as 30 to 50 percent for new students.”

Via the Pew Research Center: “Most Americans – especially Millennials – say libraries can help them find reliable, trustworthy information.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new University of New Hampshire study has identified how deeply sexual assault can affect students’ academics.”

Via Campus Technology: “2.1 million augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality headsets shipped in the second quarter of 2017, a 25.5 percent increase compared to the same period of 2016, according to a new report from International Data Corp. (IDC).”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Many college students are stressed about finances – but none more so than American students, according to the results of a new report by Sodexo.”

Adaptive learning spending balloons to $41M since 2013,” Education Dive claims.

The latest on venture capital and education from me: “The Business of Ed-Tech: August 2017 Funding Data.”

Via The New York Times: “Education by the Numbers.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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