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(National) Education Politics


President Trump Earmarks $200 Million in Federal Grants for STEM, Computer Science Programs,” says Edsurge, later swooning thatGoogle, Facebook, Amazon Among Tech Titans Committing $300 Million to K–12 Computer Science.” “Amazon, Facebook and others in tech will commit $300 million to the White House's new computer science push,” says Recode. Not so fast, says Doug Levin: “Scant Details, Fuzzy Math in $500 Million Public-Private Computer Science Education Push.” Trump has, of course, proposed some $9 billion in funding cuts to the Department of Education, so this is hardly “new money.”

“Dear Mrs. Trump” by Liz Phipps Soeiro – why the librarian refused the books the First Lady sent to her school.

Via The New Republic: “Betsy DeVos is headlining Harvard’s Koch-backed conference on school choice – with no critics of school choice.”

Via The Washington Post: “DeVos speaks at Harvard – and guests were told they would be escorted out if disruptive.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “DeVos Says Obama-Era Consumer Rule Was Akin to ‘Free Money’.”

Via Vice: “How DeVos’ New Rules on Campus Sexual Assault Discriminate Against Survivors.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What You Need to Know About the New Guidance on Title IX.”

Via Education Week: “Betsy DeVos Viewed Unfavorably by 40 Percent of Voters, New Poll Says.” She has the highest “very unfavorable” rating of anyone in Trump’s cabinet.

From the Department of Education press office: “U.S. Department of Education Awards $253 Million in Grants to Expand Charter Schools.”

Also from the Department of Education press office: “Additional Senior Staff Appointments Announced by Secretary DeVos.”

Via EdScoop: “Two edtech champions to join White House offices as fellows.” That’s Jake Steel, a TFA alum, and Crystal Moore, formerly at Fullbridge.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Justice Department Will Back Suit on ‘Free Speech’ Zone.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Jeff Sessions Adds to Trumpian Chorus on Campus Speech Limits.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Jeff Sessions Defends Trump On NFL Criticism At Campus Free Speech Talk.”

“What Sessions doesn’t know about free speech on campus” – an op-ed by Davidson College’s Issac Bailey.

Inside Higher Ed on the “Return of the College Scoreboard”: “The Department of Education published updated information on the College Scorecard Thursday, including a new feature that allows students to compare data from up to 10 institutions at once.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A newly proposed bill in the U.S. House of Representatives would grant broad waivers to accreditors aimed at allowing them to bypass federal requirements in order to encourage innovation and to reduce ‘administrative burdens.’”

Via Education Week: “FCC Seeks Comment on Access to WiFi for Schools and Libraries.”

Via The Telegraph: “Saudi Arabia accidentally prints textbook showing Yoda sitting next to the king.” (Worth clicking on this link just to see the image.)

(State and Local) Education Politics


Via The Dallas Morning News: “1 in 4 Texas students affected by Harvey, education chief tells Dallas business leaders.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Some Schools Are Banning Students From Kneeling During The National Anthem.”

Via the ACLU’s website: “ACLU of Louisiana Condemns School Official’s Threats to Students’ First Amendment Rights.”

Via The Intercept: “A Los Angeles School Board Scandal Could Upend Plans By Charter Backers to Take Over Public Schools.”

Via the Associated Press: “The state says Ohio’s largest online charter school could owe another $20 million for failing to verify enrollment properly.” That’s the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, which is already having to repay Ohio some $60 million.

Meanwhile, the state has given initial approval for ECOT to become a “dropout school.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “After years of attempts, Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Republican governor, has successfully eliminated the state’s Education Approval Board as an independent agency tasked with overseeing for-profit colleges.”

Via Ars Technica: “Proposed New Mexico science standards edit out basic facts.”

Immigration and Education


Via Inside Higher Ed: “President Trump on Sunday evening issued new restrictions on travel to the U.S. to replace a 90-day ban on travel for citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. The 90-day ban, which expired Sunday, was widely opposed by colleges and universities concerned about the flow of international students and scholars to their campuses.”

Education in the Courts


Via The Baltimore Sun: “State Prosecutor investigating former Baltimore County School Supt. Dallas Dance.” The investigation has to do with Dance’s connection to SUPES Academy – the same thing that got Chicago Public Schools’ head Barbara Byrd-Bennett in hot water.

Via the Future of Privacy Forum: “Law Enforcement Access to Student Records: What Is the Law?”

Via The New York Times: “The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a case that could deal a crushing blow to organized labor. … [T]he court will consider whether public-sector unions may require workers who are not members to help pay for collective bargaining. If the court’s answer is no, unions would probably lose a substantial source of revenue.”

The New York Times looks at “A Legal Industry Built on Private School Sex Abuse.”

“Free College”


Inside Higher Ed on Baltimore’s “free college” plans.

Via The Tennessean: “Tennessee Promise students more likely to succeed in college, less likely to drop out, new data shows.”

The Business of Student Loans


Via The Detroit Free Press: “How freezing credit after Equifax will shut you out of some student loans.”

Via Reuters: “After spate of suicides, China targets predatory student lending.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “National Default Rate for Student Loans Rises, Breaking Streak of Declines.” More via Buzzfeed.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


Via Inside Higher Ed: “In Reversal, Former Globe U Campuses to Close.”

Via The Phoenix New Times: “University of Phoenix Phasing Out Campuses; Current Students Not Affected, School Says.”

More on the new for-profit higher ed – coding bootcamps – in the job training section below. And more on regulating for-profits (or not) in the state politics section above.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


Responses to last week’s news about Western Governors University and the audit of its competency-based offerings: Via NPR: “Who Is A College Teacher, Anyway? Audit Of Online University Raises Questions.”

Two responses from Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “WGU Audit Findings: Interpretations of ‘regular and substantive’ and self-paced’.” And “WGU Audit: Likely impacts for fragile movement of competency-based education.” (No disclosure on either of these that WGU has been a client of Hill’s.)

Juilliard has joined edX.

Via Open Culture: “Martin Scorsese to Teach His First Online Course on Filmmaking.” (This is via the celebrity teacher platform Masterclass.)

Meanwhile on Campus…


Via Citylab: “How America’s Most Integrated School Segregated Again.” That’s West Charlotte High School in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Via The LA Times: “ Organizers call off far-right festival at UC Berkeley; some speakers plan rally on campus on Sunday.” More via Buzzfeed.

Via The New York Times: “What Stunts Like Milo Yiannopoulos’s ‘Free Speech Week’ Cost.”

Via Chalkbeat: “A Bronx student stabbed two classmates, killing a 15-year-old boy.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Emails Show How An Ivy League Prof Tried To Do Damage Control For His Bogus Food Science.” That’s Brian Wansink of Cornell University and his research on “smart lunchrooms.”

Bryan Alexander with the latest in his monitoring of campuses’ “queen sacrifices” – “Stony Brook launches a queen sacrifice by cutting humanities and humanists.”

Via The LA Times: “UC Irvine aims to transform public health with record-breaking $200-million donation.” A follow-up from Cory Doctorow: “Deluded billionaire gives UC Irvine $200M to study homeopathy and ‘alternative’ therapies.”

Via CBS San Francisco: “Monsanto Caught Ghostwriting Stanford University Hoover Institution Fellow’s Published Work.”

“I Taught At The XQ Houston Super Schoolby Gary Rubenstein.

Via The Pacific Standard: “For the First Time, a Female Officer Completed the Marines’ Grueling Infantry Officer Training Course.”

Accreditation and Certification


Via the Northeastern press office: “Northeastern University and IBM partnership first to turn digital badges into academic credentials for learners worldwide.”

Via Hackernoon: “A Revolutionary Approach to Academic Validation Using Ethereum.” See how many factual errors you can find in this article!

Edsurge profiles the latest from Degreed: “This Company Wants to Help You Hire for Skills, Not Credentials.” (No disclosure that Edsurge shares investors with the company.)

There’s more on accreditation in the national politics section above.

Testing, Testing…


Inside Higher Ed on the latest SAT scores.

Go, School Sports Team!


Via ESPN: “NCAA basketball coaches among 10 charged with fraud, corruption.” More on the fraud investigation from The Chronicle of Higher Education and from NPR.

Via The New York Times: “Rick Pitino Is Out at Louisville Amid F.B.I. Investigation.” His attorney says he will fight for the right to be paid the full value of his contract, which runs through 2026 – that’s over $40 million in salary and bonuses.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Rutgers University escaped the most serious punishments by the National Collegiate Athletic Association after its football players failed drug tests and were still allowed to compete and the team’s former head coach tried to persuade a professor to help improve an athlete's grades.”

There’s more on how schools are responding to their athletes’ decision to protest during the national anthem in the politics section above. And there’s more on how schools and companies violate athletes’ privacy in the data and privacy section below.

From the HR Department


Equifax CEO Richard Smith says he will resign from his position after news broke that the company had suffered a massive data breach. He’ll collect $90 million on the way out the door.

The Business of Job Training


Via Edsurge: “As US Tech Companies Look to Mexico, Coding Bootcamps Follow.”

“This Is What Coding Bootcamps Need To Do To Beat The Backlash” – according to Fast Company.

From the Amazon blog: “Introducing Free Alexa Skills Courses by Codecademy.”

There’s more “research” on the business of job training in the “research” section below.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


Can machine learning unlock the keys to great teaching?asks Michael Petrilli.

Can Technology-augmented Academic Advising Improve College Graduation Rates?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


Via Edsurge: “20 By 2020: Quizlet’s Big Revenue Ambitions From Third-Party Content Partners.”

“Caution: Chromebooks,” writes Gary Stager.

Y Combinator has posted a “Request for Education Startups.” (Here’s the list of education-related companies and people involved with YC.)

Via Techcrunch: “Uber adds a new feature for riders that teaches basic sign language.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Microsoft Moves to Enable Streamlined Purchasing of Bundled Products for Education.”

NCTM and the Math Forumby Tracy Zager.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


Via Education Week: “How ‘Intelligent’ Tutors Could Transform Teaching.”

Via Getting Smart: “Using Robots to Teach Elementary Students About Human Nature.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation have announced $2 million for “education-related recovery from recent hurricanes,” the AP reports.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


Gaosi Education has raised $83.52 million from AlphaX Partners Fund, China Media Capital, China International Capital Corporation, Loyal Valley Innovation Capital, Sinovation Ventures, and The Hina Group.

Job recruitment platform EquitySim has raised $3.1 million in seed funding from 500 Startups, Peak Ventures, and University Ventures.

Tutoring company Varsity Tutors has acquired tutoring company First Tutors.

Testing company Taskstream-Tk20 has acquired testing company LiveText.

Data company IO Education has acquired student information system company eSchoolData.

Via Bloomberg: “Whitney Tilson to Shut Hedge Fund After ‘Sustained’ Poor Returns.”

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


New America’s Manuela Ekowo writing in Edsurge: “As the University of South Africa Considers Predictive Analytics, Ethical Hoops Emerge.”

A new report from Data & Society: “Privacy, Security, and Digital Inequality – How Technology Experiences and Resources Vary by Socioeconomic Status, Race, and Ethnicity.”

Via India Today: “In order to keep a track on efficiency and research skills, around 5,000 class 8 students of Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) are being given tablets as a part of a pilot project. They will especially be used for science and mathematics and will allow teachers to keep a track on whether students are actually studying at home.” (Kendriya Vidyalayas are central government-run schools in India.)

Hacked Twitter Accounts a New Headache for Schools,” Education Week’s Ben Herold reports.

Edsurge on “How to Protect Education Data When No Systems Are Secure.” The story features two companies who’ve experienced data breaches – Edmodo and Schoolzilla. No disclosure that Edsurge shares investors with both.

Via The New York Times: “Technology Used to Track Players’ Steps Now Charts Their Sleep, Too.”

What happens to all that data that these (unprofitable and likely to fail) startups collect in education? One answer: “Selling data to feed hedge fund computers is one of the hottest areas of finance right now,” says Quartz.

Research, “Research,” and Reports


From the World Bank blog: “A crisis in learning: 9 charts from the 2018 World Development Report.” More on the World Development report here.

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “District Officials Think They Know Open Ed. Resources, But Grasp Is Surface-Level, Survey Finds.”

Via Education Week: “U.S. Adults Outperformed by Rest of Developed World in Numeracy, New Comparison Finds.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “The high school grads least likely in America to go to college? Rural ones.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “New Research on First Generation Students.”

Via Campus Technology: “Survey: Faculty Getting More Confident in Tech Skills, but Students’ Skills Are Slipping.”

Getting Smart’s Tom Vander Ark on a new report from Pearson: “The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030.”

Via The Guardian: “ ‘Junk science’: experts cast doubt on widely cited college free speech survey.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “New data from the U.S. Federal Reserve on changes in family income show that Americans without a college degree, and African-Americans and Hispanic families, had the most rapid increase in wealth from 2013 to 2016. However, college degree holders are still far more wealthy, as are white families (with almost 10 times the wealth of African-American households).”

There’s new data on student loan defaults in the business of student loans section above.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new federal report projects that enrollment in American postsecondary institutions will climb 15 percent from 2014 to 2025, with larger proportional increases among adult than traditional-age students, women than men, graduate students than undergraduates, and minority students than white students.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Enrollment in graduate school is up, continuing a trend in first-time graduate students researchers have seen for five years. But growth rates are starting to dip, according to numbers from a new report the Council of Graduate Schools co-published with the Graduate Record Examinations Board.”

The non-profit Youth Truth is out with a survey on student bullying.

Via Chalkbeat: “When charter schools unionize, students learn more, study finds.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Annual report from Scholars at Risk tracks threats to students, academics and their universities worldwide.”

“Young people oppose Fitbits in schools,” according to research reported by The Conversation.

Via General Assembly: “Data Science Education Lags Behind in Diversity.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “Number of single moms in college doubled in 12 years, so why aren’t they graduating?”

Via Chalkbeat: “Black and Hispanic students in New York City most likely to be arrested and handcuffed, data shows.”

Education Isn’t the Key to a Good Income,” Rachel Cohen writes in The Atlantic.

“Some Technology Leaders Worry about Children and Digital Devices: They Should,” says Stanford University’s Larry Cuban.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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