Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

(National) Education Politics

“The New Tax Law’s Subtle Subversion of Public Schools,” by Clint Smith in The Atlantic.

Via the US Department of Education press release: “Secretary DeVos Announces New Student-Centered Funding Pilot Program.” “Student-Centered,” eh?

The Chronicle of Higher Education on the Higher Education Act: “Why an Update of Higher Ed’s Sweeping Framework Could Be Years Away.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Education Department to Propose Compromise in Borrower-Defense Negotiations.”

There’s more Department of Education news in the for-profit higher ed and in the info sec sections below.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “NSF starts requiring that institutions report findings of harassment and suspensions in its funded labs and field sites, and reminds institutions that it can pull funding where necessary.”

Via The New York Post: “Charter-school advocacy group to close up shop.” That’s the Families for Excellent Schools, whose CEO was fired last week amid sexual harassment allegations. Via Chalkbeat: “Before Families for Excellent Schools’ sudden implosion, waning influence and a series of stumbles.”

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via Education Week: “Puerto Rico’s Governor Seeks Charter Schools, Raises for Teachers.”

Via The Indiana Gazette: “Parents and other school district residents reminded the Indiana Area school board on Monday that their dissent of the Summit Learning program hasn’t waned, even though the administration scaled back the program and put it on ‘opt-in’ status for the 2018–19 school year.” The Parent Coalition for Student Privacy has thoughts on the pushback, making the comparison between Zuckerberg’s corporate and philanthropic efforts and inBloom.

The Salt Lake City school board has voted to rename Jackson Elementary. It will no longer be named after Andrew Jackson, but instead honor NASA engineer Mary Jackson.

Via The Houston Chronicle: “Houston charter network bought Dallas condo for office, storage.” As one does…

“What’s the matter with Oklahoma?” asks The Economist.

Via The New York Times: “In Fight Over Science Education in Idaho, Lawmakers Move to Minimize Climate.”

Via NPR: “With Thousands Of Homeless Students, This District Put Help Right In Its Schools.” The district in question: Dallas Public Schools.

Immigration and Education

Vox says this is an exclusive: “Trump’s draft plan to punish legal immigrants for sending US-born kids to Head Start.”

This is a little old, but it just crossed my desk this week and it’s important enough to still include. Via the Law Librarian Blog: “LexisNexis’s Role in ICE Surveillance and Librarian Ethics.”

Education in the Courts

Via the AFP: “Court affirms $25 million Trump University settlement.”

Via the Argus Leader: “A former official with National American University has accused the South Dakota based for-profit system of defrauding the United States government out of millions of dollars in a student aid program, a lawsuit unsealed Thursday in federal court alleges.”

Via Eater: “Students Will Receive Big Payout in Lawsuit Against Le Cordon Bleu.”

Via The Washington Post: “Think tank sues Education Dept. over public records requests on college accrediting bodies.” The think tank in question: The Century Foundation.

Via The New York Times: “Tariq Ramadan Charged With Rape After Accusations by Two Women.” Ramadan is on leave from his position at Oxford University.

Via Education Week: “Student Retweets Snoop Dogg, Then Sues School District for ‘Retaliation’.”

Rachel Cohen on the upcoming Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31: “The Eminent Libertarians Who Might Save Public Sector Unions.”

There are more stories relating to court cases in the “business of ed-tech” section below.

“Free College”

UW Madison Unveils Free Tuition Program,” says Inside Higher Ed.

Free College, With a Catchby IHE’s John Warner.

The Business of Financial Aid

Via Buzzfeed: “The Government Is Forgiving More Student Loans, And It’s Costing Taxpayers.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

There’s more news about financial aid in the politics section above.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “DeVos’s Education Dept. Relaxed Rules for For-Profits Under Accreditor That Closed.”

There are more details about a couple of for-profit court cases in the courts section above. And one for-profit story is in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section because of course.

Online Education (and the Once and Future “MOOC”)

Via Class Central: “TU Delft Students Can Earn Credit For MOOCs From Other Universities.”

Meanwhile on Campus…

“I’m a Stanford professor accused of being a terrorist. McCarthyism is back,” writes David Palumbo-Liu.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As Protests Mount, U. of Chicago Plans for a Visit From Steve Bannon.”

Via The New York Times: “An Addict Dies in a School Restroom. He Was a Teacher.”

Via USA Today: “20 years in, shootings have changed schools in unexpected ways.”

Via The New York Times: “Plans at Stanford Fall Apart for a Plaque at Site of Sexual Assault.”

Via The Wichita Eagle: “Koch family to open new kind of private school at Wichita State University.”

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

There’s accreditation news in the courts section above.

Go, School Sports Team!

Via AZ Central: “Maricopa Community Colleges to eliminate football.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The contract of University of Montana women’s soccer coach Mark Plakorus won’t be renewed after he used a university cellphone to text escort services during at least five recruiting trips to Las Vegas.”

Memos from HR

Daniel Greenstein, who has overseen the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work on postsecondary education since 2012, announced Monday that he would leave the foundation next month,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Elizabeth Alexander has been named the new president of the Mellon Foundation.

Via Buzzfeed: “Astrophysicist Christian Ott Was Just Fired From His New Job In Finland After Harassment Scandal.”

Note the ratio:

The Business of Job Training

Via Edsurge: “New Cybersecurity Course Teaches Teens the ABCs of (Ethical) Hacking.” The course is from CodeHS, which shares a number of investors with Edsurge. No disclosure, no surprise.

Contests and Awards

There’s talk of changing the name of the ALA’s Laura Ingalls Wilder Award to an author who isn’t so racist.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

“Have We Decided What ‘Gainful Employment’ Means Yet?” 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 The New York Times: “Early Facebook and Google Employees Form Coalition to Fight What They Built.” This is the Center for Humane Technology, which had a big PR push this week, with articles in Edsurge and Education Week. Doesn’t seem like any journalists caught this, tho:

Via The Guardian: “‘Fiction is outperforming reality’: how YouTube’s algorithm distorts truth.”

Via Techcrunch: “YouTube’s CEO promises stronger enforcement in the wake of controversies.”

Via CNN: “YouTube to start labeling videos posted by state-funded media.” State-funded media includes PBS, apparently.

Via The New York Times: “School Shooting Simulation Trains Teachers for the Worst.”

School Shooting Simulation Software (and the Problem with How People Define ‘Ed-Tech’)” by me.

“A lecture-capture platform with a ‘confusion alert’ button is changing the way some instructors teach,” says Inside Higher Ed with an article that seems like an ad for Echo360.

The Telegraph on TurnItIn: “New university plagiarism software to be launched in crackdown on ‘contract’ cheating.”

Via Boing Boing: “Cloudflare terminate Sci-Hub domains, declining to challenge court order.”

Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein on his company’s new event series, The Empirical Educator Project.

Via Techcrunch: “The creator of Snoo, the $1200 high tech bassinet just came out with a baby swaddle.”

Facebook’s app for kids should freak parents out,” says MIT Technology Review.

Speaking of Facebook… According to The Verge, “Facebook hired a full-time pollster to monitor Zuckerberg’s approval ratings.”

Speaking of Facebook again… Via CB Insights: “Facebook Patents Tech To Bucket Users Into Different Social Classes.” Well, this will be useful to “personalize learning,” won’t it.

Via Techcrunch: “PS4 update lets parents control how long their kid can play.”

From the Lenovo website: “Lenovo™ Introduces Lenovo Virtual Reality Classroom.” $3000 for three headsets. “Lenovo Virtual Reality Classroom headsets come pre-loaded with more than 700 available Google Expeditions VR field trips and exclusive Wild Immersion content, created with the support of Jane Goodall. Teachers can bring STEM lessons to life through this immersive learning and take students on biodiversity journeys through Africa, Asia, the Amazon, and more.” Pretty sure all this is on YouTube for free, but hey. When it’s strapped to your face, it’s Wild Immersion.

“What We Should Worry About When We Worry About Virtual Reality” – a guest post by Eugene Stern on the Mathbabe blog.

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

Via eSchool News: “Why chatbots are not the future of student engagement.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Via Buzzfeed: “The Koch Foundation Is Flooding Colleges With Money.”

There’s more about what the Kochs are up to in the “meanwhile on campus” section above.

Via Chalkbeat: “With new focus on curriculum, Gates Foundation wades into tricky territory.”

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has announced some new grants. Or rather, its education head Jim Shelton made a Facebook status update to that effect. There’s very little detail as to where CZI money is going. But according to what it revealed this week: $3 million for Woodrow Wilson Academy for Teaching and Learning; 1.5 million for California’s Ravenwood Elementary School District; $1 million to Stephanie Jones of the Harvard Graduate School of Education; and $75,000 to Matthew Biel of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Stories on the Facebook status update from Education Week and Edsurge.

Good grief, Inside Philanthropy, could you pose at least one hard question here: “Teaching K–12 is Brutally Hard. Here’s How CZI Is Offering Support.”

Details about several HR changes at foundations in the HR section above.

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

Quizlet has raised $20 million in Series B funding from Union Square Ventures, Icon Ventures, Altos Ventures, Costanoa Ventures, and Owl Ventures. The digital flash card company has raised $32 million total.

Smart Sparrow has raised $7.5 million from the testing company ACT. The “adaptive learning” company has raised $23.5 million total.

Niche, which provides rankings for neighborhoods and schools, has raised $6.6 million from Grit Capital Partners and Allen & Company.

AstrumU has raised $3 million from Ignition Partners and Correlation Ventures “to bring efficiency to higher education with machine learning.”

AdmitHub has raised $100,000 from the Michelson 20MM Foundation. The chatbot-advisor company has raised $3.8 million total.

Seesaw has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Jeff Weiner, Wayee Chu, and Bubba Murarka. It also claims that half of all U.S. schools have teachers using Seesaw. There’s no way to verify these sorts of claims – the data comes from the startups themselves. But that doesn’t stop the tech press from running with it anyway.

New Mountain Learning’s subsidiary EMC School has acquired Zulama.

PeopleAdmin has acquired Performance Matters.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Educause has submitted a $55,000 offer to acquire the assets of the now defunct New Media Consortium, court documents reveal.” More via Bryan Alexander.

Via Reuters: “Coding boot camp General Assembly explores potential sale: CEO.” More via Edsurge.

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

The FBI’s Cyber Division and the Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General have issued a warning to schools about cyber criminals.

Edsurge on “Why Charter Networks Are Investing Heavily in Data Teams.”

Not directly ed-tech related – except for the part where ed-tech evangelists keep trying to push for “smart classrooms” and “smart schools.” Gizmodo on “smart homes”: “The House That Spied on Me.”

Again, not ed-tech related per se, but again, I saw y’all wearing your Google Glasses at ISTE and talking about how these would be the future of school. Via The WSJ: “Chinese Police Add Facial-Recognition Glasses to Surveillance Arsenal.”

Via Bitdefender’s blog: “Security hole meant Grammarly would fix your typos, but let snoopers read your private writings.”

There’s more surveillance news in the immigration section above.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

Via The Washington Post: “A flat-earther finally tried to fly away. His rocket didn’t even ignite.” (I think I’ll save most of my other commentary about rockets and marketing for tomorrow’s HEWN.)

NPR’s Anya Kamenetz on “screen addiction” and teens. (She’s also written a new book on parenting and “screens.”)

“The Implications of Gartner’s Top 10 Tech Trends of 2018 for Education – Part 2,” according to the Getting Smart blog.

Via Chalkbeat: “How new evidence bolsters the case for California’s education policy rebellion.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “First-generation college students are less likely to persist and graduate than are children of college-educated parents, a national study finds.”

How many made-up statistics can you put in a blog post introducing your company?

Via The Atlantic: “The Origins of Diversity Data in Tech.”

Via Mic: “Want to grow the US economy? Cancel student debt, new report shows.”

Via George Veletsianos: “Educational Technology Magazine archive (1966–2017).”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study counters widely held views about how students’ political views change when they arrive in college.” But why let research get in the way of a good “liberal indoctrination” narrative…

Via Times Higher Education: “University of Leeds study finds many undergraduates have never heard of term, or ‘trigger warnings’.” But why let research get in the way of a good “snowflake” narrative…

According to Pacific Standard, “Meditation May Not Make You a Better Person After All.” Shocking. (But the hoopla over “social emotional learning” persists nonetheless.)

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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