(National) Education Politics

RIP Net Neutrality. Thoughts on how this might effect education from Inside Higher Ed, from NPR, from Internet2 (via Bryan Alexander), from The Washington Post, and from Edsurge.

Not Net Neutrality, but another potential FCC move – ending the E-Rate program. Via Pacific Standard: “Why Is the FCC Considering Cutting Broadband Access for Students?”

The latest on the GOP tax bill, from The Washington Post: “Proposed tax for graduate students killed, student loan interest deduction saved in congressional bill.” More on the bill via Inside Higher Ed. Thoughts on how this will affect higher ed from Moody’s. A NYT op-ed from Nora Gordon looks at how the bill will harm poor schools.

Mother Jones on the PROSPER Act: “Republicans Are Trying to Roll Back Rules That Stopped For-Profit Colleges From Exploiting Students.”

“A new analysis from the Center for American Progress found more than two dozen minority-serving institutions would fail a graduation rate requirement for funding in the proposed House update to the Higher Education Act,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via Education Week: “President Donald Trump has tapped Frank Brogan, who served as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s lieutenant governor, as assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education, the top post at the Education Department overseeing K–12 policy.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Trump Job Cuts at Education Department Worry Civil-Rights Advocates.”

Politico details where the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation made its donations.

Via NPR: “France Moves To Ban Students From Using Cellphones In Schools.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “An agreement reached in the first phase of Brexit negotiations would allow European citizens living in the United Kingdom as of the date it withdraws from the E.U. to retain their residency rights even if they leave the U.K. for up to five years. It would also allow the U.K. to continue to participate in E.U. science and student exchange programs through the end of the current budget cycle in 2020.”

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via the Tampa Bay Times: “Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups.” But sure, sure, lefty college students are the real threat to free speech.

Via Fortune: “Apple to Bring Coding Education to Chicago Public Schools.”

Elsewhere in CPS: “Ronald Marmer resigned as the top attorney for the Chicago Public Schools on Tuesday, a week after an internal report cited him for an ethics violation in an investigation that cost CPS CEO Forrest Claypool his job,” The Chicago Sun Times reports. More on Claypool’s resignation from WaPo’s Valerie Strauss.

Via Techcrunch: “New York City moves to establish algorithm-monitoring task force.”

Immigration and Education

“Congress must act on the ‘dreamers’” Tim Cook and Charles Koch write in a joint op-ed in The Washington Post. Yes, you read that byline correctly.

Education in the Courts

“Four Democratic attorneys general filed separate lawsuits Thursday seeking to compel Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to grant debt relief to students defrauded by for-profit colleges,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via The Washington Post: “Betsy DeVos hit with two lawsuits in one day over backlog of student debt relief claims.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Stanton Glantz, a professor at the medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, and a tobacco researcher, has been accused of sexual harassment in a new lawsuit filed with the San Francisco Superior Court.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “In Reversal, College Adviser Who Was Grabbed by Far-Right Speaker Is Criminally Charged.” This stems from a protest at the University of Connecticut.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A federal jury on Monday rejected a lawsuit by a prominent conspiracy theorist who claimed Florida Atlantic University fired him for his views, and in doing so violated his First Amendment rights.”

The Business of Student Loans

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The U.S. Department of Education this week released new federal loan data showing that 4.6 million student loan borrowers were in default as of Sept. 30, an increase from the 2.2 million who were in default four years earlier. Roughly 298,000 borrowers entered into default during the quarter that ended in September, the department said, with 274,000 defaulting for the first time.”

With Brown University joining the list, Money notes that “All These Colleges Have Now Gone ‘Loan-Free’ to Help Keep Students Out of Debt.”

Via The Economic Times: “Startups in student-lending sector see dropouts, but some score too.” I’ll be adding student loan company Quiklo to the ed-tech dead pool.

More legal wrangling on loans in the “courts” section above. More funding and acquisitions of bootcamps in the venture capital section below.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

The McNally Smith College of Music, a for-profit music college, will close its doors.

Via The Times Higher Education: “For-profit claims ‘learning gain’ victory over universities.” That’s “elite” education startup The Minerva Project, which has discovered if you are very exclusive with who you admit to your program, you can boast that your students perform very well on standardized tests. It’s an amazing amazing breakthrough.

Kaplan Inc has agreed to acquire the College for Financial Planning from Apollo Education Group. (Looks like Kaplan Inc isn’t getting out of for-profit higher ed altogether, even with the sale of Kaplan University to Purdue.)

More on for-profits in the “politics” section at the top.

Meanwhile on Campus…

“How SCAD sells a dream,” via The Atlantic Journal Constitution. SCAD is the Savannah College of Art and Design, and wow. This story.

Via The Huffington Post: “Inside The Voucher Schools That Teach L. Ron Hubbard, But Say They’re Not Scientologist.”

Via CJR: “‘This is unprecedented’: Public colleges limiting journalist access.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “‘A Complete Culture of Sexualization’: 1,600 Stories of Harassment in Higher Ed.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Central Washington U. Places Professor – and State Lawmaker – on Leave Amid Allegations.” That’s Matt Manweller, and the allegations involve sexual harassment of students.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How Sexual-Harassment Charges at U. of Rochester Spiraled Out of Control.”

“What Happened to These 15 Accused Harassers?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via Pacific Standard: “The Thomas Fire Is Worsening the Housing Crisis for Vulnerable Students.”

The University of Wisconsin at Madison plans to close 22 libraries and create six “hubs” in their stead, says The Wisconsin State Journal.

Via The Hechinger Report: “The community college ‘segregation machine’.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Hiram College, hoping to stay financially and academically competitive, launches overhaul and floats idea – on hold for now – of ending some tenure protections.”

Via ABC News: “‘Exponential’ increase in school shooting drills since Sandy Hook.”

Via The Washington Post: “Virginia student says he was thrown out of class for not saying the pledge.”

This WSJ commentary is bonkers. “Lorde of the Flies: Why College Students Reject Reason.” Apparently it’s all Audre Lorde’s fault, because of course it is.

After School Special” – photos from Andre Wagner and text by Rembert Browne.

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

Via Campus Technology: “Digital credentials company Credly is adopting the Credential Transparency Description Language (CTDL), a common markup language designed to improve discoverability of certifications, badges and other verified achievements. CTDL is a project of Credential Engine, a nonprofit focused on improving transparency in the credentialing marketplace.” (Is this different from the Mozilla stuff?)

WonkHE on “accelerated degrees.”


Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “ACT and College Board to Offer Free Test-Score Reports for Needy Students.”

Russia beat the US on an international reading test.

Go, School Sports Team!

Via ESPN: “How a midlevel school became The University of Adidas at Louisville.”

From the HR Department

Pearson has added Snap chairman Michael Lynton to its board of directors.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Private Colleges Had 58 Millionaire Presidents in 2015.”

The Business of Job Training

Via NPR: “In Effort To Court Drivers, Lyft Offering Education Discounts.” It’s a partnership with Guild Education. More via Techcrunch.

MOOCs are out. Bootcamps are in. Or something.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Is Alison The Answer To The World’s Education Needs?asks Forbes.

Did U.S. Performance on PISA Decline Because of Common Core?asks Diane Ravitch.

Would You Ask Alexa for Parenting Tips for Your Toddlers?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

“How a Dorm Room Minecraft Scam Brought Down the Internet” via Wired.

Via Buzzfeed: “YouTubers Made Hundreds Of Thousands Off Of Bizarre And Disturbing Child Content.”

Guessing someone’s on the hunt for venture capital as there were stories in a couple of publications this week about former MIT dean Christine Ortiz’s new startup: Station1. It’s a new kind of university or something.

“​Chromageddon Comedown: Educators Are Wary,” says Edsurge, “After Thousands of Google Devices Fail.” Yay. Chromebooks.

Storify is shutting down.

Via Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Cengage Unlimited – Marketing ploy or significant change in strategy?”

Inside Higher Ed on Knewton’s “pivot.”

Bryan Alexander, who like me relies in part on support through Patreon, writes about the changes at the site: “Patreon reverses itself; what next?”

From the press release: “Macmillan Learning Offers Educators Support for Open Education Resources via the Intellus Platform.” Because “open.”

“Refactoring media literacy for the networked age” – Mike Caulfield makes a prediction for journalism in the new year.

Prison tech is not ed-tech except when it is. So it’s something to watch. Via The Guardian: “The end of American prison visits: jails end face-to-face contact – and families suffer.”

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

Robots will replace teachers by 2027,” Futurism predicts.

When the Robots Come for Our Jobs, They’ll Spare the Teachers,” Edsurge tries to reassure its readers.

“3 Necessary Skills for Educators in the Era of A.I.according to Getting Smart. The skill of using a number in your headline to attract “clicks” did not make the list, surprisingly.

Via Education Week: “Preventing an Artificial-Intelligence Fueled Dystopia, One Student at a Time.”

“How an Artificially Intelligent Virtual Assistant Helps Students Navigate the Road to College” by Lindsay Page and Hunter Gehlbach.

Robots are coming for your children.

“Why these friendly robots can’t be good friends to our kids,” Sherry Turkle argues.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform

Via International Business Times: “Charles Koch Gave $50 Million To Higher Ed In 2016. What Did He Buy?”

“More personal means more equitable and just,” according to Jim Shelton, the head of CZI’s education efforts. It’s not dogma, he says. It’s science. Riiiight.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

GEMS Education, a private school chain, has secured a $1.25 billion loan from Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, HSBC Bank Middle East, Noor Bank, MashreqBank, and Emirates NBD Capital.

The coding bootcamp chain Digital House has raised $20 million from Omidyar Network, Kaszek Ventures, Endeavor Catalyst, Marcos Galperin, The Rise Fund, and Martin Migoya.

Flintobox has raised $7 million in a Series A round from Lightbox. The company, which sells subscriptions to boxes full of kids’ activitites, has raised $7.33 million total.

Summer camp provider Gakko has raised $6.5 million from Masada Kobayashi and other investors. It’s raised $7.5 million total.

Illuminate Education has acquired visualization tool eduCLIMBER.

Scientific Learning Corp has acquired BrainMaps.

The coding bootcamp Thinkful has acquired the Viking Code School.

There’s also a for-profit acquisition in the for-profit section above.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

For your “Netflix for education files”:

What Would You Pay to Keep Your Digital Footprint 100% Private?asks Harvard Business Review – an indication, no doubt, about how all this data collection is simply going to expand inequalities. How much can you afford?

Big data could solve the college-dropout problem,” says The Washington Post. No. No it couldn’t.

The way in which schools describe their security efforts – cameras and the like – is pretty awful.

Via Mail & Guardian: “Big Brother set to watch each pupil.”

“Don’t Give Kids Holiday Gifts That Can Spy on Them,” says an NYT op-ed by Ashley Boyd.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

“New public opinion data suggest that despite significant concerns about prices, most Americans (and many Republicans) believe a postsecondary education is essential,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Higher Ed Inflation Hits Highest Level Since 2008.”

America’s teachers don’t move out of state much. That could be bad for students,” writes Chalkbeat’s Matt Barnum.

“Looking for SEL programs? New RAND report has answers,” says Education Dive. The report: “Social and Emotional Learning Interventions Under the Every Student Succeeds Act.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “40 Most Popular Ed-Tech Tools in K–12 Identified in New Analysis.”

Via Futurism: “Global E-Waste Increased by Eight Percent since 2014.”

Via The 74: “Middle Schoolers Without Broadband Access Feel Set Up for Failure, New Survey Finds.” The survey comes from the Verizon Foundation, so that’s just rich.

Recent Genius grant recipient Nikole Hannah-Jones and The Atlantic’’s Jeffrey Goldberg talk about segregation, schooling, and the hypocrisy of “progressive” white people.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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