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(National) Education Politics


“What Ivanka Trump Knows about Ed-Tech” by me. Thoughts from other “experts” in Inside Higher Ed. Also by me: “The Ivanka Trump Ed-Tech Industry Network.”

“Even Pokémon Go used by extensive Russian-linked meddling effort,” says CNN. Congrats to everyone who argued that Pokémon Go was the future of education. You have really done your part to extend civic values.

Via The New York Times: “U.S. Will Withdraw From Unesco, Citing Its ‘Anti-Israel Bias’.” UNESCO is the UN’s educational and cultural organization.

Via the AP: “The Department of Veterans Affairs abruptly dropped plans Wednesday to suspend an ethics law barring employees from receiving benefits from for-profit colleges. The move comes after criticism from government watchdogs who warned of financial entanglements with private companies vying for millions in GI Bill tuition.”

Via Edsurge: “Betsy DeVos Visits Bay Area Public School for a Lesson in Personalized Learning.”

Via The Huffington Post: “Roy Moore Once Compared Preschool To Nazi-Style Indoctrination.” Roy Moore recently won the Republican primary in the race for one of Alabama's Senate seats.

Inside Higher Ed on “The New, Improved IPEDS.” IPEDS is the government’s database tracking post-secondary education statistics, including enrollments and graduations.

Via NPR: “After 3 Years Under ISIS, Mosul’s Children Go Back To School.”

(State and Local) Education Politics


Via NPR: “The Monumental Task Of Reopening Puerto Rico’s Schools.”

Via Education Week: “One of the nation’s largest online charter schools said it will close within four months, in the middle of the school year, if Ohio’s efforts to recoup $60 million or more in disputed funding aren’t halted.”

Via Education Week: “Florida Virtual School Will Accept 20,000 Puerto Rican Students.” Do Puerto Rican students have Internet and electricity back yet?

Via EdSource: “Virtual charter academies in California must refund nearly $2 million to state.”

Via Chalkbeat: “A 1998 agreement that put the New York City police in charge of school safety has never been revised – until now.”

Via NPR: “What’s Changed In South Carolina Schools Since Violent Student Arrest.”

Immigration and Education


“Losing My Legal Status In This Country Feels Like A Cruel Joke” by Buzzfeed contributor and DACA recipient Jason Koh.

Education in the Courts


Via Education Week: “A Maine teacher who pleaded guilty to shoplifting a $14.99 blouse after winning the $1 million Global Teacher Prize is accused of violating her conditions of release by stealing a $28 dog leash.”

Via Edsurge: “Major Publishers Dismiss Lawsuit Against Follett Corporation.” Publishers dropped the lawsuit, more accurately, which claimed that Follett was selling counterfeit copies of textbooks.

The Business of Student Loans


Via Bloomberg: “Black Americans Twice as Likely as Whites to Default on Student Debt.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


Via The Washington Post: “A hiccup in Purdue’s acquisition of for-profit Kaplan University.” Via The Journal & Courier: “Purdue disputes claims Kaplan deal leaves taxpayers on hook.”

Via Mother Jones: “Betsy DeVos Champions For-Profit Schools That Are Deceiving Taxpayers and Vulnerable Students.”

Via ProPublica: “For-Profit Schools Reward Students for Referrals and Facebook Endorsements.”

There’s more news on for-profits in the national politics section above.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


MOOCs are dead, according to Udacity’s VP. The Economic Times of India reports that “Udacity to focus on individual student projects.” Never one to let a good MOOC story pass them by, Edsurge repeats the story. “MOOCs Are ”Dead.“ What’s Next? Uh-oh,” writes John Warner in IHE.

Also via Edsurge: “MIT Moves Beyond the MOOC to Court Companies, Professional Learners.”

More news about online education and virtual charter schools in California, Florida, and Ohio in the state news section above.

Meanwhile on Campus…


“How the School-to-Prison Pipeline Works” by Mariame Kaba in Teen Vogue.

This story from Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy is… something: “Meet The ‘Young Saints’ Of Bethel Who Go To College To Perform Miracles.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Inside an ‘Unprecedented’ Increase in Campus White-Supremacist Recruiting.”

Via The Wisconsin State Journal: “University of Wisconsin officials announce plan to merge Colleges with four-year campuses.”

Via The Washington Post: “‘In the event of a nuclear attack’: U-Hawaii’s curious email to students and staff.”

Via The New York Times: “Yale Endowment, Often a Pacesetter, Is a Laggard This Time.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Drexel Puts Professor on Leave After Tweet About Las Vegas Draws Conservative Ire.” It’s so important to watch how the whole “free speech” thing on campus plays out – that is, whose “free speech” gets defended.

Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Purdue’s President Says Free-Speech Policy Forces Him to Defend Faculty Critic.”

Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What Berkeley‘s $800,000 Did – and Didn’t – Buy During ’Free Speech Week’.”

Via The Journal Sentinel: “The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents on Friday passed a policy pushed by Republican state lawmakers to punish students on UW campuses who repeatedly disrupt campus speakers with opposing views.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “An assistant professor of history at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas has apologized for blaming President Trump for the recent shooting massacre in the city after a student secretly recorded her comments and shared them with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.” The White House wants an investigation.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Campus Carry in Spotlight After Police Officer’s Death.”

Via The Hollywood Reporter: “USC Rejects Harvey Weinstein’s $5M Women’s Program Donation.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How the CIA secretly exploits higher education.”

Boston University and Wheelock College have reached a deal on their merger.

Via Edsurge: “​Inside the Incubators: The Anatomy of a University Innovation Team.”

“The History of School Lunchesby Malcolm Harris.

Accreditation and Certification


Via The New York Times: “Some Charter Schools Can Certify Their Own Teachers, Board Says.” I look forward to this logic being applied to doctors.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher & Postsecondary Education is a new group that is exploring alternative approaches to accreditation in higher education. With funding from the Lumina Foundation and through the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, the QA Commons last week announced a pilot project to assess higher education programs at 14 institutions around the country.”

Via Forbes: “How Blockchain Can Stamp Out China’s Fake Diplomas.”

Testing, Testing…


Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Pearson is fighting to halt a decision by the state of Iowa to award a $31 million testing contract to the American Institutes for Research, arguing that the scoring of bids was riddled with ‘preferential treatment and bias.’”

Via The Fayette Tribune: “All West Virginia high school juniors will begin taking the SAT as the statewide summative assessment in spring 2018, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced earlier this month. The College Board was selected as the successful bidder following a competitive review process for the high school assessment.”

Go, School Sports Team!


Via Inside Higher Ed: “The National Collegiate Athletic Association will not punish the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after it created fake courses in which students were given credit despite never attending classes, and no faculty members ever taught them.” Sham courses. Sham oversight from the NCAA.

Via Deadspin: “How UNH Turned A Quiet Benefactor Into A Football-Marketing Prop.”

Via MS News Now: “O’Bannon football players suspended from team for taking a knee during national anthem.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Albright College Athlete Is Dismissed From Team for Kneeling During National Anthem.”

Via The New York Times: “An N.C.A.A. for Esports? Rivals Angle to Govern Campus Video Gaming.”

Via The Atlantic: “Towns are weighing the practicality of artificial fields against the potential health risks for the kids who play on them.”

From the HR Department


I missed this news earlier this year. Coddy Johnson, hired last year as the COO of AltSchool, is back at the video game company Activision. “He was granted $15 million in stock options and performance-linked restricted shares that vest over four years, as well as a $2.2 million ‘contract inducement’ to come back,” Bloomberg reports.

The Business of Job Training


Via The New York Times: “Google Unveils Job Training Initiative With $1 Billion Pledge.”

Contests and Awards


The MacArthur Foundation announced its new “geniuses.” Among the recipients of the fellowship: education writer Nikole Hannah-Jones.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


Can VR be a tool for inspiring empathy in higher ed?asks Education Dive.

(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


Amazon is donating $10 million to Code.org. (You can see a list of all Code.org’s investors here.)

Via Education Week: “Questions Linger Over Companies’ $300 Million Computer Science Pledge.”

It’s 2017 and many critics agree that social media is full of trolls and harassers, that it helps subvert democracies here and abroad, but hey: “To Teach Digital Citizenship Effectively, Educators Say It’s Time to Unblock Social Media,” says Edsurge.

And of course, there’s an app for that. Via Techcrunch: “Kudos wants to be a gentle introduction to social media sharing for kids.”

Via Spectrum News: “Despite dearth of data, firms sell brain training as autism antidote.” US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is an investor in one of these companies: Neurocore.

Edsurge on the Injini ed-tech accelerator in South Africa: “Why the World’s Youngest Continent Got an Edtech Accelerator.” The accelerator was founded by former State Secretary for Education Michael Gove’s policy advisor Jamie Martin.

Via Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Unizin Membership Now Set As Annual Fee Of Up To $427.5k.”

Via LinkedIn: “Instructure is Utah’s newest $Billion Company.”

Via the Microsoft press release: “Introducing Education Resources, a source of Open Educational Resources within Office 365.”

Elsewhere in proprietary OER, via Inside Higher Ed: “Cengage will offer open educational resources, curated and adapted to include proprietary assessment tools, from $25 per student for general education courses.”

Also via Inside Higher Ed: “ResearchGate, a popular tool used by scholars to share their work, is taking down many researchers’ work, apparently in response to demands from publishers.”

TNW claims that “Socratic is morphing into a distraction-free ‘Snapchat for homework’.”

Baruch College’s video-based feedback tool Vocat is now open source.

“Why Do the Boy Scouts Want to Include Girls?” asks The Atlantic.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


Via Techcrunch: “Mattel releases biologically inspired foldable robot bugs.”

“New AI tool helps teachers tackle math,” eSchool News claims. The tool in question: IBM’s Teacher Advisor with Watson 1.0.

10 Disruptions That Will Revolutionize Education,” according to Education Week. The list includes AI, of course.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


Via The New York Times: “Eli Broad, Patron of Los Angeles, to Step Down From His Philanthropy.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


Andela has raised $40 million in Series C funding from GV (Google Ventures), Spark Capital, Salesforce Ventures, CRE Venture Capital, TLcom Capital Partners, VentureSouq, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, DBL Partners, and Amplo. The African coding bootcamp has raised $81 million total.

Knowbox has raised $30 million in Series B funding from Bertelsmann Asia Investment Fund, TAL Education Group, Baidu Ventures, and New World Strategic Investment. The Chinese “homework help” company has raised $55.7 million total.

Neverware has raised $6.5 million in Series B funding from Google Ventures. The company, which helps schools refurbish old computers by installing the Chrome OS, has raised $14 million total.

Shaw Academy has raised $1.46 million in crowdfunding for its MOOC platform. Someone should inform them that MOOCs are dead.

Qualified and Upswing have raised $75,000 from Village Capital, “which runs peer-selected startup competitions across the globe.”

Venture capital firm Educapital has closed a $53 million fund to invest in education companies. Investors include Bpifrance, Hachette Livre, and Education for the Many.

Apollo Global Management has acquired West Corporation, maker of SchoolMessenger, for $5.2 billion.

Volaris Group has acquired Edumate.

I won’t include this in my calculations of ed-tech funding – despite all the proclamations that AR and VR are the future of education. Magic Leap – a wealthy vaporware company that claims it’s building something amazing with AR – is trying to raise $1 billion in funding. The company has raised $2.88 billion total – and has nothing to show for it.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


Filter Bubbles and Privacy, and the Myth of the Privacy Settingby Bill Fitzgerald.

Via The Verge: “Google’s Home Mini needed a software patch to stop some of them from recording everything.”

Similar news about Microsoft products. Via MakeUseOf: “Cortana Is Listening Into Your Skype Conversations.”

Research, “Research,” and Reports


Via Inside Higher Ed: “Historians Blame Lack of Support for Slow Technology Uptake.”

Via The New York Times Magazine: “Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?”

“Do You Know the Edtech Adoption Rules in Your State? SETDA’s New Guide May Help,” says Edsurge.

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Demands From K–12 Schools for Contracts Surging at State, Local Level.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Small increases in course loads can increase the odds that students will stick with college and eventually graduate, particularly part-time students. That’s the central finding of a new report from Civitas Learning, a student success company with a focus on predictive analytics.”

Via Bloomberg: “The Fraternity Paradox: Lower GPA, Higher Incomes.”

Via the Pew Research Center: “Online Harassment 2017.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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Audrey Watters


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