(National) Education Politics

“The Trump Administration Has Revoked A Federal Directive On Campus Rape,” Buzzfeed reports. More on the decision in The New York Times.

US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ “learning curve where higher ed is concerned is quite vertical,” quips UC president Janet Napolitano. The Chronicle of Higher Education has more on Napolitano’s remarks at a lunch at UC’s Washington Center.

Via Education Week: “Q&A: One-on-One with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.”

“The Department of Education rejected two recent calls to improve its monitoring of the financial health of colleges and universities – despite findings that its metrics predicted only half of institutional closures in recent years,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

More on another Department of Education announcement this week – this one regarding the department’s inspector general and a potentially crippling penalty for WGU – in the “competencies” section below.

Via NPR on Sunday: “President Trump Set To Meet With Presidents Of Historically Black Colleges And Universities.” Via NPR on Tuesday: “Trump, And Most Black College Presidents, Absent From Annual Meeting.” Trump has appointed former NFL star Johnathan Holifield (who never attended an HBCU) to run the White House’s HBCU initiative.

More on the politics of student loans in the student loan section below.

“There’s a new call for Americans to embrace Chinese-style education. That’s a huge mistake,” writes Yong Zhao in an op-ed in The Washington Post.

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via KPCC: “Ref Rodriguez has given up the role of president of the Los Angeles Unified School Board – but is not resigning his seat on the board altogether – one week after the announcement he’d face felony charges for alleged campaign finance violations during his 2015 run for office.”

Failing Charter Schools Have a Reincarnation Plan,” says ProPublica’s Anne Waldman. The plan: “Converting into private schools – and using voucher programs to thrive on the public dime.”

Chalkbeat on Success Academies: “Private managers of public schools, charter leaders enjoy extra buffer from public-records laws.”

Via Education Week: “Assignment asking students to role play as KKK sparks anger.”

Via Chalkbeat: “School segregation at center of new documentary from collective founded by Ava DuVernay.”

Education in the Courts

Via The New York Times: “Rolling Stone Faces Revived Lawsuit Over Campus Rape Article.”

Rachel Cohen in The Intercept: “Authorities Close In On Pro-Charter School Nonprofit For Illicit Campaign Contributions.”

“Free College”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The California Community Colleges announced Tuesday that the Board of Governors Fee Waiver program, which provides nearly half of the system’s 2.1 million students with free tuition, would be renamed the California College Promise Grant, a name reminiscent of many free college programs.”

The Business (and the Politics of the Business) of Student Loans

Via The Washington Post: “Student loan companies reach $21.6 million settlement over dubious debt collection lawsuits.” More via Buzzfeed and via Reuters.

Via NPR: “The Department Of Education Cuts Off A Student Loan Watchdog.” The watchdog: the CFPB.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via Buzzfeed: “The Education Department Will Allow Two Large For-Profit Colleges To Become Nonprofits.” That’s Kaplan University and the Art Institutes. More on the Kaplan news via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Lynn University will buy the for-profit Digital Media Arts College. (The latter had lost its accreditation in December of last year.)

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

Via Edsurge: “Peter Thiel May Finally Get His Flying Cars, Thanks to a New Udacity Nanodegree in 2018.” More predictions in Techcrunch: “Autonomous driving’s godfather and tech investors say the world is ready for flying cars.” And via the Udacity blog: “Self-Driving Cars for Everyone!” EVERYONE!

Via The Hindu Business Line: “Pearson India set to launch K–12 online private school.”

Meanwhile on Campus…

“2 More Speakers Drop From Yiannopoulos’s ‘Free Speech Week’ at Berkeley,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. The non-speakers: James Damore, the fired Google engineer, and Lucian Wintrich, a journalist with Gateway Pundit. Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Berkeley Casts Doubt on Motives of ‘Free Speech Week’ Organizers, Citing Missed Deadlines.”

Inside Higher Ed reports that “The University of California Office of the President will pay half of the cost of security for conservative speakers at UC Berkeley this month.”

“Who is blocking campus speakers now?” asks Inside Higher Ed. “Incidents at Harvard and Catholic Universities challenge idea that liberals are the only ones preventing ideas from being voiced on campuses.”

“In Support of Dr. Dorothy Kimby David Perry.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A Georgia Tech police vehicle was torched and three people were arrested during a protest this week. Anger has grown over news that officer involved in fatal shooting was never trained in responding to situations involving people with mental-health issues.” More on the shootingvia The Washington Post.

Via The New York Times: “Cornell Fraternity Closes Indefinitely After Racially Charged Attack.”

Via Town & Country: “The Strange World of Sorority Rush Consultants.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Dust-Up Involving Conservative Student Sparks Political Uproar in Nebraska.”

Via NPR Code Switch: “Starting School At The University That Enslaved Her Ancestors.” MĂ©lisande Short-Colomb starts at Georgetown.

Via The New York Times: “Harvard Endowment Reports ‘Disappointing’ 8.1 Percent Return.” Not sure how the university is going to stay afloat.

Speaking of Harvard, Crystal Marie Fleming writes in Vox that “Harvard has shown its commitment to diversity was always a farce.”

“When Affirmative Action Isn’t Enough” by The New York Times’ Dana Goldstein.

More on Harvard via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Taking Stock of the Ties That Bind Harvard’s Kennedy School and the CIA.”

Inside Higher Ed on “Fee for Honors”: “Arizona State’s honors college fee, currently at $1,500 per year, has enabled explosive growth, leaders say. Critics worry about dissuading poor students from enrolling, but others say public institutions need new sources of revenue and ways to offer value to top students.”

BYU now sells caffeinated soda on campus.

“Two Christian colleges in North Carolina, Piedmont International University and John Wesley University, plan to merge next year,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

Education Department’s inspector general labels Western Governors as a correspondence-course provider, seeks reimbursement of $713 million in aid and may broadly threaten competency-based education,” Inside HIgher Ed reports. More via Edsurge.

Via Times of Malta: “Malta becomes first country to explore blockchain education certificates.”

“ What is the future of accreditation – and how do microcredentials impact it?” asks Education Dive.

Go, School Sports Team!

Via The New York Times: “Playing Tackle Football Before 12 Is Tied to Brain Problems Later.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Two college football players died after games last Saturday, following three off-season deaths this year, while a Harvard football player suffered a neck injury and remains paralyzed.”

Via The Chicago Tribune: “5 Wheaton College football players face felony charges in hazing incident.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After Faculty Outcry, UNC Will Allow Athletics Course to Be Taught Again.” The class: “Big-Time College Sports and the Rights of Athletes, 1956 to the Present.”

The Business of Job Training

Via The Guardian: “ Tech’s push to teach coding isn’t about kids’ success – it’s about cutting wages.”

Contests and Awards

The MacArthur Foundation has announced its “100&Change Finalists.”

Via Edsurge: “Here Are the 5 Finalists for the $15M XPRIZE Global Learning Challenge.” (Forbes goes with a clickbait title: “Possibly Elon Musk’s Biggest Idea Yet – Revolutionizing Education.” Elon Musk doesn’t really have any idea here. He’s just on the board of XPRIZE and helped fund it.

Via Education Week: “Carol Dweck Wins $4 Million Prize for Research on ‘Growth Mindsets’.”

Upgrades and Downgrades

Via Edsurge: “Minecraft’s New Oregon Trail Experience Has Everything – Even the Dysentery.” It’s not apparent to me in the coverage whether “everything” includes Native Americans.

Via Motherboard: “New System Knows How Hard You’re Thinking Based on Thermal Imaging.” Mmmhmmm. Sure. Okay.

Ed Tech Products Should Make Educators More Efficient,” says EdWeek’s Matthew Lynch. The post recommends facial recognition, which is such a terrible, terrible idea.

Edtech CEOs Seek to Change the ‘Adversarial Narrative’ With Public School Teachers,” says Edsurge. (See how much of that “adversarial narrative” you find in this week’s – or any week’s – ed-tech news.)

College textbooks are going the way of Netflix,” Quartz predicts in part 2 of a ridiculously silly series on the future of the university.

From the Knewton blog: “ Introducing Knewton Product Updates for Fall 2017.”

Via Quartz: “An MIT Media Lab startup is creating beautiful wooden toys to teach children the basics of coding.” The startup is called Learning Beautiful.

Via The Next Web: “Look no further: Universities are funding startups to ensure students succeed.”

Via Boing Boing: “World Wide Web Consortium abandons consensus, standardizes DRM with 58.4% support, EFF resigns.”

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

Imagine how great universities could be without all those human teachers,” says Quartz, lauding the fantasy that robots will replace teachers.

Artificial intelligence will transform universities,” says the World Economic Forum.

Via IDG’s CIO magazine: “How artificial intelligence is transforming learning.”

Via Campus Technology: “BYU Researchers Aim to Stop Robots from Eating Tables with Wikipedia.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

ThinkCERCA has raised $10.1 million from Scott Cook, Signe Ostby, Chuck Templeton, Deborah Quazzo, Follett Knowledge Fund, Jeff Weiner, Mike Gamson, Plum Alley, and TAL Education Group. The literacy software company has raised $14.8 million total. (No disclosure on Edsurge’s coverage of the fundraising that Deborah Quazzo’s VC firm GSV is also an investor in Edsurge.) has raised $7 million in Series B funding from Wildcat Venture Partners, MassMutual Ventures, and Mohr Davidow Ventures. The student loan management startup has raised $15.15 million total.

Packback has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from University Ventures and ICG Ventures. The company, which according to its Crunchbase profile is a “Q&A learning platform powered by a proprietary A.I. to quantify and improve critical thinking skills in college students,” has raised $4 million total.

Another for-profit university has been acquired by a not-for-profit one. Details in the for-profit higher ed section above.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via Campus Technology: “Education Data Breaches Double in First Half of 2017.”

“Why the State of Surveillance in Schools Might Lead to the Next Equifax Disaster,” according to Edsurge, with a strange selection of products that might expose students’ data – none of which share any investors with Edsurge.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

“Boys are not defective,” Amanda Ripley writes in The Atlantic. “Girls in the Middle East do better than boys in school by a greater margin than almost anywhere else in the world: a case study in motivation, mixed messages, and the condition of boys everywhere.”

Via Times Higher Education: “Online courses ‘more time-consuming’ to prepare for, study says.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Brookings Institution has released survey results showing that many college students lack understanding of or support for the legal principles of the First Amendment.” So many flaws with this.

“Rejecting Growth Mindset and Grit at Three Levels” by P. L. Thomas.

Via Campus Technology: “Report: AI, IoT, Cyber Threats Will Shape the Internet’s Future.”

“How Big is the LMS Market?” asks Inside Higher Ed’s Joshua Kim. Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill responds.

Edutechnica offers its “5th Annual LMS Data Update.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Cloud Computing Market Poised to Grow in Education Sector, Report Finds.”

The RAND Corporation has released a report on “Designing Innovative High Schools.”

Via Education Week: “Student Research Looks at Sleep Habits After Technology Roll-Out.”

WaPo’s Valerie Strauss covers a recent study from the Stanford History Education Group on NAEP: “The ‘nation’s report card’ says it assesses critical thinking in history – but NAEP gets an F on that score.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A survey by e-textbook provider VitalSource has found that 50 percent of students who delayed buying textbooks because of high prices saw their grades suffer as a result.”

Edsurge writes up the latest report from EducationSuperhighway on e-rate connectivity at public schools.

From the Navitas Ventures’ website: a report on the “Global EdTech Landscape 3.0 – 15,000 teams building the future of education.” We’re only at 3.0, eh?

Private equity investors are looking for someone to take an Amazon approach to online education,” says PEHub, demonstrating that private equity investors control a lot of money but understand very little about edu.

Research from Catarina Player-Koro, Annika Bergviken Rensfeldt, and Neil Selwyn: “Selling tech to teachers: education trade shows as policy events.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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