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(National) Education Politics


Ivanka Trump with an op-ed in The New York Post: “Why we need to start teaching tech in Kindergarten.” (Spoiler alert: because five-year-olds need coding skills so they can get jobs. Lazy, lazy, little children.)

The Huffington Post filed Twitter’s response to Ivanka Trump’s announcement under “comedy.” Or maybe her announcement itself was comedy?

Related, via Salon: “Silicon Valley’s $300M donation to STEM education is not what it seems.”

Via Politico: “DeVos’ security detail could cost up to $6.54M over the next year.”

Via The Washington Post: “DeVos rejects invitation to meet with former for-profit college students.”

“The White House on Monday announced that it would nominate Mitchell “Mick” Zais as deputy secretary of education,” Inside Higher Ed reports. “Trump Taps Common-Core Foe Mick Zais for No. 2 Post at Ed. Dept.” is how Education Week describes the news.

Via Buzzfeed: “The Justice Department Is Investigating Harvard’s Admissions Practices.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Inside the Free-Speech Case That Caught Jeff Sessions’ Eye.” It’s a case from Georgia Gwinnett College.

Via The Seattle Times: “Glitch fixed, federal online student-aid application form is back online.”

Andy Smarick worries that conservatives are divided over education reform.

(State and Local) Education Politics


Via Politico: “About 40 percent of Puerto Rico’s 1,113 public schools are accounted for, meaning the condition of most schools is unknown. Almost all of Puerto Rico’s schools remain without electricity or running water. Just 22 schools with running water and basic supplies will start holding informal classes today in an attempt to kickstart recovery.”

Via The Washington Post: “D.C. says charter school board violated city law in vote on expanding charters.”

Education in the Courts


Via Politico: “The Kansas Supreme Court rejected the state’s school funding system in a ruling issued Monday that found it runs afoul of the state’s constitution by failing to adequately and equitably fund its school districts.”

Via The Intercept: “Conservative Provocateur James O’Keefe’s Group Hit With Restraining Order, Blocking Latest Sting.” The case involves the Michigan affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

More on lawsuits in the student loan section below.

“Free College”


“How to Pay for Free Community College,” according to Inside Higher Ed.

NPR on New York’s “free college” program: “‘Biggest-Ever Free College’ Program Reaches 6 Percent Of New York Students.”

The Business of Student Loans


Via Inside Higher Ed: “Post-Recession Borrowers Struggle to Repay Loans.”

Via the AP: “A new federal lawsuit by Pennsylvania’s attorney general says the nation’s largest student loan company engaged in abusive practices that have cost borrowers billions of dollars.” The largest student loan company is Navient.

More Navient news in “the business of ed-tech” section below. And there’s more on for-profits and student loans in the research section below.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


Via ProPublica: “For-Profit Schools Get State Dollars For Dropouts Who Rarely Drop In.” This story looks at EdisonLearning, formerly Edison Schools.

There’s more on for-profits and student loans in the research section below. And there’s more on for-profits and the Trump administration in the national politics section above.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


Via Politico: Western Governors University, “the nation’s leading provider of competency-based education – which the Education Department’s independent watchdog last month said violated federal student aid rules – is expanding into North Carolina.”

Academy Coinbitcoin for online education or something.

In the future, you might want to look for most MOOC-related news in the “business of job training” section below.

Meanwhile on Campus…


“Alt-Right: How the Breitbart Machine Laundered Racist Hateby Joe Bernstein in Buzzfeed. Do keep this in mind, universities, when you insist that Milo deserves a platform to speak on your campus.

“Death at a Penn State Fraternityby The Atlantic’s Caitlin Flanagan.

White supremacist Richard Spencer will speak at the University of Florida, which says it will spend $500,000 on security for the event.

Via Jezebel: “FBI Arrests White Man Who Threatened to Murder Howard University Students.”

“According to my observations, the standard Seattle Nazi is a white male under 30 who either works in the tech industry or is going to school to work in the tech industry” – from David Lewis’ story in The Stranger about white nationalists in Seattle. Good thing Seattle isn’t the center of computer science or computer science education!

Via NPR: “How Schools Are Dealing With Students’ Right To Protest.” More on student athletes protests in the sports section below.

Via The Baltimore Sun: “Pumpkin spice scent prompts Baltimore school evacuation.”

The Atlantic on the decision of the Las Vegas School District to keep schools open on Monday: “Returning to Class the Morning After a Massacre.”

Grace University will close at the end of the school year.

Via The LA Times: “At UCLA, a dorm floor dedicated to first-generation students.”

Via EdScoop: “USC launches edtech research center focused on underrepresented youth.”

University of Wisconsin System to Migrate From D2L Brightspace to Canvas LMS” by Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Ohio State University and Apple on Wednesday announced a collaboration that will start a digital learning effort at the university that Apple and university officials said may represent the company’s most ambitious program in higher education.”

Via Education Week: “In hurricanes’ aftermath, technology eases return to school.” (The narrative structure of these sorts of articles is always the same: crisis occurs; tech will save the day. Let’s not worry that there are many people who do not have access to electricity, let alone Internet, let alone digital devices.)

Accreditation and Certification


Via Edsurge: “More Colleges Are Offering Microcredentials – And Developing Them The Way Businesses Make New Products.”

Related? Via The New York Post: “CUNY professor allegedly sold fake medical certificates.”

Testing, Testing…


Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “AIR Poised to Win Three State Testing Contracts Worth At Least $84 Million.”

Via Education Week: “Vendor wins $43M contract for Indiana’s ISTEP replacement.” Again, this vendor is AIR.

Washington University in St. Louis will accept the GRE (not just the LSAT) for law school admissions.

More testing news is framed by Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, below.

Go, School Sports Team!


Via The Courier-Journal: “Rick Pitino raked in 98% of the cash from University of Louisville’s current Adidas deal.” That deal is worth $160 million. Pitino was suspended recently for his involvement in a corruption scandal. You do the math.

Via The Washington Post: “Texas high school coach boots football players for anthem protest.”

Via Raw Story: “Christian school boots black players off football team for protesting during anthem.”

From the HR Department


Albemarle County Public Schools’ superintendent Pam Moran – truly one of the great school administrators – has announced that she plans to retire in June.

Via The Nation: “This University Suggested International Students Could Be Reported to ICE if They Unionized.” “This university” is Washington University in St. Louis.

Another USC med school scandal. Via The LA Times: “ USC medical school dean out amid revelations of sexual harassment claim, $135,000 settlement with researcher.”

Via the AP: “The superintendent of a suburban Cleveland school district who was caught on video at a high school football game pulling down the pants of the school board vice president has been suspended.”

The Business of Job Training


“Questioning the Unquestionable: Schools and the Economyby Larry Cuban.

Via the edX blog: “Higher Education Needs a Re-think to Train Tomorrow’s Workforce.”

“How can institutions build students’ 21st century workforce skills? Send them abroad,” says Education Dive.

Via Techcrunch: “OpenClassrooms and Capgemini team up and launch an online apprenticeship program.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Salesforce, the world’s largest customer relationship management platform, has announced a new classroom-ready training scheme called Trailhead for Students.” The new software is supposed to get students ready for “the Salesforce economy,” whatever the hell that means.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


“‘Eton for all’: will robot teachers mean everyone gets an elite education?asks The New Statesman.

Can a 20-Minute Test Tell Employers What a College Degree Cannot?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Is Homework Compatible With Personalized Learning?asks Edsurge.

No State Will Measure Social-Emotional Learning Under ESSA. Will That Slow Its Momentum?asks Education Week.

​Can Online Teaching Work at Liberal-Arts Colleges?asks Edsurge.

Do Medical Schools Still Need Books?asks Inside Higher Ed. Shrug. Guess not.

Will education publications stop using this formulation in their headlines?

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


Google had a big media to-do this week. Were there any education updates? Not sure. This story probably fits better under the surveillance section below. Via Ars Technica: “Google unveils a $249 smart camera that decides what’s worth photographing.”

This, from Edsurge, is pretty awful: “Why Edtech Executives Are Keeping a Close Eye on Preschool Demographics.” It ties in to Ivanka Trump’s interest in the PreK market, no doubt – see the top story above. (She’s an investor in a company that targets that group.) So follow that narrative and network of financial relationships… But this article also underscores how everyone’s a market to ed-tech and how responsiveness to demographic shifts do not involve structural change but rather product development.

More potential markets! Via Curbed: “School buses: A massive mass transit system in need of a tech upgrade.”

Via Techcrunch: “A list of everything Magic Leap has released so far.” Useful for when you hear ed-tech evangelists swoon about how this company is going to revolutionize education.

“Why Flipped Learning Is Still Going Strong 10 Years Later,” according to Edsurge.

Via Edsurge: “NYC Keeps Its Edtech Accelerator Revving With New Funders and Markets.” Although plenty of other ed-tech accelerators have failed, this one – the “NYU Steinhardt Edtech Accelerator powered by StartEd” – is being bankrolled in part with funding from Rethink Education and Southern New Hampshire University.

Via Techcrunch: “Kahoot launches premium version aimed at corporate training market.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Publisher Elsevier has announced the launch of ScienceDirect Topics, an information platform that has been compared to Wikipedia.”

Via FT: “The secret lives of children and their phones.”

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg will offer a scholarship “to ‘cut through’ unequal access to opportunity.” It’s only available to KIPP graduates so put a little asterisk next to this notion of equality.

“Too Many People Dream of a Charmed Life in Academia,” says Bloomberg.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


Mattel and Google: a double standard for AI toys?” by Nicholas Carr.

There’s more about Mattel’s robots and privacy in the privacy section below.

Via The Post and Courier: “Coming soon to some S.C. classrooms: An army of robots to help autistic students learn social skills.”

Via Ed-Tech Magazine: “AI Is on the Upswing in Optimizing K–12 Education.”

Via MIT Technology Review: “Colleges Are Marketing Drone Pilot Courses, but the Career Opportunities Are Murky.”

Campus Technology with the latest robot predictions (a.k.a. market research press release): “AI, Merging of Digital and Physical Worlds Among Top 10 Tech Trends for 2018.”

The latest Pew Research report addresses the future of automation. More in the research section below. And, of course, there are robot stories in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


The LMS Moodle has raised $6 million in its first ever round of venture funding. The investor was Education For The Many.

Workbench Platform has raised $1.7 million in seed funding from Brown Advisory. The project-based learning startup has raised $2.95 million total.

Biba has raised $1.3 million in seed funding – or rather, it did so back in September, but I’d miss the news. Investors in the company were Greg Zeschuk, Jason Kapalka, and Leonite Capital. The company makes AR games that supposedly encourage playground activities.

Curiscope has raised $1 million in seed funding from LocalGlobe, Ascension Ventures, Force Over Mass, Richard Fearn, and ustwo Adventure. The company makes AR / VR education content (on t-shirts).

Student loan provider Navient will acquire student loan provider Earnest for $155 million.

Campus Management Corp has acquired the following tools from Hobsons: ApplyYourself, AppReview, Connect, Radius, and Retain CRM.

The second education IPO of the year: RYB Education, a Chinese private preschool company. Wait, I sense a theme in this week’s stories about profiting from preschoolers, don’t you?

My latest report on ed-tech and venture capital is in the research section below.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


Via The Washington Post: “Actually, every single Yahoo account got hacked in 2013.”

Via The New York Times: “Mattel Pulls Aristotle Children’s Device After Privacy Concerns.”

I’m not even sure how to describe this story, and the headline doesn’t really do justice to it: “‘Dark Overlord’ Hackers Text Death Threats to Students, Then Dump Voicemails From Victims.”

Via Alternet: “How Hackers Held an Entire School District Hostage.”

Via Motherboard: “Replacing Social Security Numbers Is Harder Than You Think.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Getting Faculty Members to Embrace Student Data.” Also via The Chronicle: “How 2 Professors Used Data to Improve Their Courses.” Keep playing that data drumbeat.

There’s more about privacy and robots in the robots section above.

Research, “Research,” and Reports


My latest report on ed-tech and venture capital: “The Business of Ed-Tech: September 2017 Funding Data.”

Via Edsurge: “Watch That Hand: Why Videos May Not Be the Best Medium for Knowledge Retention.” My favorite thing about this was that, just the day before, Edsurge had touted how “flipped learning” is still a big thing – story linked above – but neither piece recognize one another. It’s like the left hand has no clue what the right hand is up to.

Via the AP: “Students who attended for-profit colleges were twice as likely or more to default on their loans than students who attended public schools, according to a federal study published Thursday.”

Via Education Week: “RAND Researchers Make It Clear: Personalized Learning Is Difficult to Do.”

Via Campus Technology: “Report: VR and AR Headsets to See 50% Growth Every Year Through 2021.”

More predictions from Campus Technology: “IT Spending to Top $3.65 Trillion in 2018.”

Via Education Week: “To Ban or Not to Ban? Technology, Education, and the Media.”

Via The Guardian: “Growing social media backlash among young people, survey shows.”

The latest Pew Research Center report: “Automation in Everyday Life.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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