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

There are stories about the school shooting in Florida and its ramifications in several sections below (and I will be the first to admit I have not gathered even close to all the links that are in circulation this week). Although the shooting is a local story, I am putting many of the articles here in the national section because, over a week later, it is still very much in the national headlines.

Via NPR: “After Florida Shooting, Students Are Lobbying For New Gun Regulations.”

“Courageous Grieving and The Tragedy In Parklandby Virginia Heffernan in Wired.

President Trump has tried to blame the school shooting in Florida on everything but guns. On video games, for example – yes, that old canard. He has made a number of proposals: banning bump stocks, “hardening” schools.

Via NPR: “Trump Backs Arming Teachers During Emotional White House Listening Session.”

Trump’s ideas seem to be a reprise of a proposal the NRA put forward back in 2013.

Via NPR: “How School Shootings Have Changed The Teaching Profession.”

“I’m a Florida Teacher in the Era of School Shootings. What Happens in My Classroom During a Lockdown Drill Should Horrify Americans,” writes K. T. Katzmann in The Trace.

The Absurdity of Armed Educatorsby Vann R. Newkirk II in The Atlantic.

“The backwards logic of putting guns in schoolsby Gaby Del Valle in The Outline.

“What Decades Of Covering School Shootings Has Taught Me” by NPR’s longtime education reporter, Claudio Sanchez.

Via Education Week: “Students Spoke Out After Fla. School Shooting. Then Internet Trolls Attacked.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Here’s What It’s Like At The Headquarters Of The Teens Working To Stop Mass Shootings.”

I’m putting this local story in this section because it too has national implications. Via the Houston Chronicle: “KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg fired following allegations of sexual misconduct.” Via The New York Times: “Michael Feinberg, a Founder of KIPP Schools, Is Fired After Misconduct Claims.” [More via Chalkbeat](Mike Feinberg, KIPP co-founder, fired after misconduct investigation).

More federal stuff: Inside Higher Ed on restructuring at the US Department of Education: “Proposed reorganization would eliminate office of under secretary, which oversaw higher ed policy for much of the Obama and George W. Bush administrations, and combine postsecondary and career and technical education into a single office.”

There are stories about teachers unions and national politics in the HR section below. There are stories about the Department of Education and for-profit higher ed in the for-profit higher ed section below. Stories about the Department of Education and its policies regarding student loans are in “the business of financial aid” section below.

Via Wired: “Ajit Pai’s Plan Will Take Broadband Away From Poor People.”

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via The Houston Chronicle: “Houston-area school district threatens to suspend students who protest after Florida shooting.”

Via NPR: “Kentucky Moves To Add Guns To Schools After School Shooting.”

Schools across West Virginia were closed this week as teachers in the state staged a walk-out. Via NPR: “Why West Virginia Teachers Are Demanding Higher Pay and Improved Benefits.”

Via The New York Times: “D.C. Schools Chancellor Resigns Amid Outcry Over Daughter’s School Transfer.”

Via The Washington Post: “‘We serve the top 100 percent’: California community college chief responds to Trump.”

Education in the Courts

From The Century Foundation’s website: “Federal Judge Grants Century Foundation’s Temporary Restraining Order Against DeVos’ Department of Education.” Several other articles about this case are strewn around other sections here – in the for-profit higher ed section as well as the accreditation section.

Via Wired: “Ex-Google Employee Claims Wrongful Firing For Criticizing James Damore’s Memo.” More Damore news in the HR section below.

Via The San Jose Mercury News: “In a direct challenge to California’s landmark law guaranteeing public access to beaches, Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla on Thursday filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that he should not be required to allow public access to Martins Beach in San Mateo County.” Oh sure sure, this isn’t exactly education technology news, except for the part where Khosla invests in education technology companies and his wife founded the open education organization CK–12. “Open.”

“Free College”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Tuition-Free, With Strings.”

The Business of Financial Aid

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Department of Education signaled Monday that it is interested in tweaking the standards used for determining whether student loan debt can be discharged in bankruptcy.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Borrowers With High Debt Levels Struggle to Repay Loans.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Education Dept. Knew of Whistle-Blower Complaint Before Easing Restrictions on For-Profit College.” The college in question: Northwest Suburban College. There’s still more on this story in the accreditation section below.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As Kaplan Sale Faces Final Hurdle, Purdue President Criticizes Faculty Opponents.” Of course.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Ashford U. Faces New Setback in Battle Over GI Bill Funds.”

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

Imperial College London will teach a class on artificial intelligence on the Coursera platform.

There is some exciting Udacity news in the job training section below too.

Meanwhile on Campus…

“The Real Threat To Campuses Isn’t ‘PC Culture.’ It’s Racismby Tressie McMillan Cottom.

Via ProPublica: “Inside Atomwaffen As It Celebrates a Member for Allegedly Killing a Gay Jewish College Student.”

Via Knox News: “White nationalist talk at UT draws about 45 and 250 protesters for peaceful event.” UT here is the University of Tennessee.

News from one of my alma maters: “White supremacist flyers found on Casper College bulletin boards.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Turning Point USA Is Accused of Abandoning Kent State Chapter Following Diaper Fiasco.” Diaper fiasco.

“A University of, by and for the People” – Sarah Vowell on Montana State University.

“Why Is the Manhattan DA Looking at Newsweek’s Ties to a Christian University?” asks Newseek. “What in the World Is Going On Between Olivet U. and Newsweek?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via The New York Times: “Rhodes Scholarships Go Global as Students From Anywhere Now Qualify.”

Atlantic Union College will close its doors this year.

Via Standard Digital: “School abandons computer lessons as tablets remains unpowered.” That’s the Nalekat Primary School in Kenya which has government issued tablets but no power to charge them.

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

Via The Washington Post: “Education Dept. releases records at center of a lawsuit over accrediting panels.” More from The Century Foundation.


Edsurge reprints the College Board’s graphs about the latest AP results.

Go, School Sports Team!

“The NCAA Says Student-Athletes Shouldn’t Be Paid Because the 13th Amendment Allows Unpaid Prison Labor,” says Shaun King writing for The Intercept.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Inside Auburn’s Secret Effort to Advance an Athlete-Friendly Curriculum.”

Memos from HR (and from the Labor Union)

Via Buzzfeed: “Teachers Unions Think 2020 Is When They Will Defeat The Charter School Democrats.”

“The AR Isn’t The Real Florida Teacher Pension Scandal,” Andrew Rotherham contends.

Via The Verge: “James Damore’s labor complaint against Google was completely shut down.” More via Wired.

There’s more news about lawsuit termination lawsuits in the courts section above. And there’s data about pay in the research and reports section below.

The Business of Job Training

“The Future of AI, Data, and Education,” says Udacity, as it announces a new advisory board…

Udacity has updated its blog post, removing the photo of the 12 men and replacing it with a picture of a server rack. The advisory board itself remains unchanged.


The New York Times profiles WeWork, including its plans to launch a private K–12 school to teach “entrepreneurship” or some such thing.

Via Education Week: “Computer Science for All and Silicon Valley: Generous Support or Corporate Takeover?”

In other learn-to-code news, the press release says thatMattel Expands Partnership With Tynker, Setting Goal To Introduce 10 Million Kids To Coding By 2020.”

Via The Verge: “Dancing dinosaurs will teach your kid to code.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Computer Science for All: Can Schools Pull It Off?” asks Education Week.

(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

Among those companies trying to capitalize on the recent school shooting in Florida, the College Board, whose president David Coleman sent out an email praising the student protestors not for the content of their protests but for the skills he said they obviously learned in AP class. More via Inside Higher Ed.

Via Edsurge: “Jefferson Education Accelerator Winds Down, Rebrands to Focus on Edtech Reviews and Procurement.” More via EdWeek’s Market Brief.

Wikispaces Classroom (and free wikis from the company, now owned by TES) joins the ed-tech dead pool.

“What Happens When You Combine Blockchain and Education?” asks Hackernoon. Nothing good, I’m gonna go ahead and guess. Oh wait, I don’t even have to guess…

“Globalizing education standards with ISO 21001by Ben Williamson.

“For the third time this month, scholars are questioning the integrity of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the world’s largest professional organization for the advancement of technology,” writes Inside Higher Ed. “IEEE Removes Article Over Allegations of Plagiarism,” Inside Higher Ed notes later in the week, updating its earlier story.

Reclaim Hosting’s Jim Groom explains “Why a Domain of One’s Own?”

Via The Spoon: “Goodbye Lunchables: New School Lunch Delivery Services Offer Healthier Food Choices.”

“How Augmented Reality Is Shaping the Future of Play,” according to Wired.

“Ads for text therapy are everywhere, but people who have tried it say it’s surprisingly unhelpful and expensive,” says The Outline. Which means it’s probably going to be proposed for schools who cannot afford counseling services. Just you wait…

Inside Higher Ed profiles ClassPulse, a(nother) classroom feedback tool.

Speaking of feedback, Inside Higher Ed also profiles a sentiment analysis surveillance tool, developed at the University of St. Thomas, that claims it can tell how students are feeling and if they understand. Because god forbid you actually ask them.

Via the blog: “Elsevier Collaborates with Hypothesis to Integrate Open Annotation.” I don’t often include partnership announcements in the “Hack Education Weekly News” but when a company that wraps itself in the rhetoric of “open” partners with one of the giants in the education publishing industry, one in the process of trying to become a data platform (and a former weapons dealer to boot), I figure one should take note.

Via Campus Technology: “McGraw-Hill Education Launches Textbook and E-Book Rental Program.”

It’s like that old Reese’s Peanut Butter ad… Mike Caulfield draws on the work of Dan Meyer: “The Three Acts of Online Media Literacy Lessons: A First Pass.”

“The Purgatory of Ed Tech Transformation Initiativesby Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill. I guess we’re not calling them “pilots” any more?

Ah, it must be time, once again, for one of these stories, this time from Business Insider: “Silicon Valley parents are raising their kids tech-free – and it should be a red flag.” Silicon Valley parents are not raising their kids tech-free. Don’t be ridiculous.

I’ve got all the “learn-to-code” news in the job training section, because let’s be honest…

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

Artificial Intelligence Is Coming. What Should We Teach?” asks the CEO of Schoolrunner in an article in EdWeek’s Market Brief. I’m gonna go with ethics, sociology, history, and critical race and gender theory. Thanks.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

How much money does the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative spent in order to place advertorials about personalized learning in ed-tech publications like Edsurge?

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Departures at Gates Foundation Stir Speculation About Its Plans for Higher Ed.”

Bill Gates has no idea how much Rice-a-Roni costs. Rapidly expanding economic inequality and the cluelessness of one of the world’s richest men is so hilarious!

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

Kidaptive has raised $19.1million in Series C funding from Formation 8 and Woongjin Thinkbig. The “invisible” “adaptive learning” company has raised $38.7 million total.

IMAX Corporation has raised $13.5 million from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, LGT Impact, and Aspada. The textbook maker has previously raised $30 million.

Sofatutor has raised $3.6 million from Frog Capital, Acton Capital, and JCMB. The test prep company has raised ~$8 million total.

The Graide Network has raised $1 million from Network Ventures and other undisclosed investors. The writing assignment company had previously raised $40,000.

I included Singularity University’s fundraise in last week’s “Hack Education Weekly News,” but I just want to note here that GeekWire’s Frank Catalano did get this detail from the company that I previously didn’t have: the for-profit school has raised $54 million to date.

If there was one good thing that came out of Katrina, [it’s that] it wiped out the K–12 education system in New Orleans” –if there was one good thing that came out of this Edsurge article, it’s that you can see how much people in the ed-tech industry truly loathe public education and the people who work in it.

“A peek inside Alphabet’s investing universe” via Crunchbase. Alphabet is, of course, the parent company of Google.

“Kidtech startup SuperAwesome is now valued at $100+ million and profitable,” Techcrunch informs us.

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

“This MIT Startup Is Developing A Fitness Tracker For Your Brain,” says Fast Company. Do note all the stories this week that are intertwined with predicting and assessing people’s “moods” – that is, some sort of “social emotional” thingy.

Algorithmic zoning could be the answer to cheaper housing and more equitable cities,” Techcrunch claims. Read some history, Techcrunch. OK?

“An Algorithm Knows When Your Kid Is Using Your Phone,” says Futurism.

Via “Concerns raised about digital billboards on HS campuses.” Because when people try to tell you that there’s no advertising in ed-tech, you really must remind them that they are dead wrong.

Via the AP: “Las Vegas school partners with company to ban cellphones.” The company in question is Yondr which provides locked pouches so phones are not accessible.

There’s a surveillance story in the “upgrade/downgrade” section above.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

There’s data about testing in the testing section above. There’s data about student loan repayment in “the business of financial aid” section above.

Inside Higher Ed on professor pay: “Faculty members earn 15 percent less than others with advanced degrees, study finds. They work equally long hours.”

Via Edsurge: “What Researchers Want Teachers to Know About Virtual Reality’s Health Risks.”

Via The Telegraph: “ Teaching children with iPads means they struggle to concentrate without technology, study finds.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After 2016 Election, Campus Hate Crimes Seemed to Jump. Here’s What the Data Tell Us.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “College students may believe they’re ready for a job, but employers think otherwise. At least, that’s according to data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which surveyed graduating college seniors and employers and found a significant difference in the groups’ perceptions.” The key word here: perceptions.

“Students are zapping their brains to get ahead in school – but evidence for the practice is limited,” says The Hechinger Report. I wonder where they get dumb ideas like this? Oh.

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “World Bank’s ’Global Dataset’ Offers New Way for Comparing Countries’ Educational Performance.”

Via Politico: “Facebook’s next project: American inequality.” A Stanford economist is using the company’s vast store of personal data to study why so many in the U.S. are stuck in place economically.“ That economist: Raj Chetty, ”a favorite among tech elites," so that’s special.

A new report from Data & Society: “The Promises, Challenges, and Futures of Media Literacy.”

“No one is teaching kids how to spot fake news,” says The Outline, with a look at the history of media literacy programs.

But honestly it’s not just “the kids,” let’s be fair. I count at least 10 inaccurate or misleading claims in this article about the future of education / future of work. How can anyone expect ed-tech to be a “solution” to “media literacy” struggles when ed-tech proponents gleefully and purposefully spreads the bullshit so darn thick?

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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