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
Via The New York Times: “Trump Wants to Arm Teachers. These Schools Already Do.”
Via The Hechinger Report: “Betsy DeVos’s school choice ideas are a reality in Sweden, where student performance has suffered.”
Via The Washington Post: “DeVos moves to delay Obama-era rule on minority special-education students.”
Via The New York Times: “Kushner’s Family Business Received Loans After White House Meetings.” (I’m including this here because all of these entities – Kushner’s family, the companies he received loans from – have education investments too.)
Speaking of loans, there’s more about the Department of Education and the business of student loans in the “business of financial aid” section below.
Via Motherboard: “The FCC’s New Broadband Map Paints an Irresponsibly Inaccurate Picture of American Broadband.”
Via the BBC: “Learners let down by Learndirect, say MPs.” (Learndirect is a job training company that has a major contract with the UK government.)
From The Express Tribune in Pakistan: “Around 500,000 laptops are likely to be distributed among talented and deserving students by the year 2020, according to Prime Minister Youth Programme Chairwoman Leila Khan.”
(State and Local) Education Politics
Yesterday was high drama in Miami and NYC as the former’s school superintendent was supposed to be named the superintendent of the latter. The headlines tell the story of how all this unfolded instead: Via Chalkbeat: “Carvalho’s first New York City controversy: his salary, which would be 50 percent higher than Fariña’s.” Via The New York Times: “Alberto Carvalho Backs Out of New York City Schools Job.” Via Chalkbeat: “What happened when: Inside the circus that was the Carvalho pick and sudden rejection.”
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that “West Virginia Teachers’ Strike Ends With a Promise to Raise Pay.” Nope. West Virginia’s teachers are still on strike. Via The Atlantic: “West Virginia’s Teachers Are Not Satisfied.” Still more via The New York Times.
Via The Tampa Bay Times: “Despite Parkland’s opposition, Florida House panel votes to arm teachers.”
Via TPM: “In Oath Keepers Webinar, Student Gun Control Activists Are ‘The Enemy’.”
Via The Washington Post: “D.C. Public Schools graduation rate on track to decline this year” – that is, from 73% down to 49%, based on high school seniors’ current progress.
Via Chalkbeat: “Indiana still has the nation’s largest voucher program. But growth is slowing down.”
Via The New York Times: “Arizona Republicans Inject Schools of Conservative Thought Into State Universities.”
Immigration and Education
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Southern New Hampshire University and several donors want to guarantee an education for 1,000 DACA students.”
Via WaPo’s Jay Mathews: “Born in the U.S.A. and still hassled about the immigration status of their parents” on their college applications.
Education in the Courts
The US Supreme Court heard arguments in Janus v AFSCME this week – its decision “likely to permanently weaken public unions,” says NBC News. Via The Intercept: “The Right Is Trying to Take Down Public Sector Unions. It May Bring Much More Down With It.”
Via Gizmodo: “‘Bro Culture’ Led to Repeated Sexual Harassment, Former Google Engineer’s Lawsuit Says.”
Another Google lawsuit, as reported by Ars Technica: “Ex-Google recruiter: I was fired because I resisted ‘illegal’ diversity efforts.”
Here’s some of the latest on the Dallas Dance, the former head of the Baltimore County Public Schools, who’s set to go to trial soon on perjury charges.
The Business of Financial Aid
Via NPR: “Education Department Wants To Protect Student Loan Debt Collectors.”
Via Bloomberg: “Student-Debt Firms Protected From State Probes Under Trump Plan.”
Online Education (and the Once and Future “MOOC”)
MOOC news is now much more often “job training” news, so there’s more on MOOCs in that section below.
Meanwhile on Campus…
The New York Times profiles a new private school startup called Luminaria (and cites me in the process): “Why This Tech Executive Says Her Plan to Disrupt Education Is Different.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Richard Spencer Will Speak at Michigan State – Way Out on a Farm.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Shadowy ‘Group of 17 Faculty’ Adds Confusion to Chapel Hill’s Silent Sam Debate.” The headline really doesn’t do justice to this story, which involves a Confederate statue and a faculty group’s threat to remove it if UNC does not.
Via The Washington Post: “In a prestigious high school math and science program, alumni say #MeToo.”
Via Chalkbeat: “How KIPP’s observers and allies are reacting to co-founder Mike Feinberg’s firing” for sexual misconduct.
Chalkbeat on how a Denver school uses yoga as a disciplinary tool.
“Business Schools Have No Business in the University,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Why Admissions Leaders Have – or Haven’t – Spoken Up for Prospective Protesters.”
“How the student activists of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High demonstrate the power of a comprehensive education,” by Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick.
Via the Detroit Free Press: “Central Michigan University shooting: 2 dead, gunman at large.”
Mount Ida College and Lasell College are in talks to possibly merge, The Boston Globe reports.
Concordia College will close its doors.
Via Wisconsin Public Radio: “UW-Stevens Point Provost: Program Cuts, Faculty Layoffs ‘Unavoidable’.”
“Another queen sacrifice,” says Bryan Alexander. “Castleton University in Vermont.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Lessons Learned From a $75 Million Failed Experiment.” That is, the closure of the University of Texas System’s Institute for Transformational Learning.
Uganda National Teachers unions supports Gov closure of unlicensed Bridge Schools @BridgeIntlAcads #studentsbeforeprofit @UNATU_ORG pic.twitter.com/MQqFjqCTvr— Mar Candela (@marcandela77) February 24, 2018
University staff are on strike at some 60+ universities in the UK over plans to cut their pensions.
Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies
Via The New York Times: “Hungary’s Soros-Backed University Is Reaccredited.”
Via Campus Technology: “ACE and Credly Building Transcript for Digital Credentials.”
Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Iowa Lawmakers Wade Into Disputed Award of $31 Million State Testing Contract.”
Go, School Sports Team!
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Education Dept. Opens New Investigation Into Michigan State’s Handling of Nassar Scandal.”
“Black Labor, White Profits, and How the NCAA Weaponized the Thirteenth Amendment” by Kevin Gannon.
Via The Washington Post: “Transgender wrestler Mack Beggs wins second Texas state girls’ championship.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Purdue University’s president harshly critiques the current system that allows college athletes to drop out and go pro after a single season.”
ESPN has more on the ongoing federal investigation into college basketball recruitment.
Memos from HR
Bloomberg discovers Taylorism: “Amazon’s Labor-Tracking Wristband Has a History.”
The Business of Job Training
Via Techcrunch: “Udacity grew its revenue over 100% year-over-year in 2017.”
Speaking of Udacity, the company has responded to the outcry about its all-male, mostly-white advisory board by dissolving it.
Chalkbeat on CZI’s grant to the Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning: “‘Personalized learning’ comes to teacher training, bringing big ambitions and big questions.”
Via Techcrunch: “Amazon will now pay Alexa developers for top-performing skills for kids.”
Via the Google blog: “Learn with Google AI: Making ML education available to everyone.”
This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines
“Is School Desegregation Coming to an End?” asks The Atlantic.
“Can sending public money to private schools improve equity?” asks The Hechinger Report.
“School Shootings Have Declined Dramatically Since the 1990s. Does It Really Make Sense to Militarize Schools?” asks The Intercept.
(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
Code.org boasts that “Minecraft has inspired 85 million on Code.org.” That is, “more than 85 million learners around the world have been introduced to some of the basic concepts of coding and computer science through the organization’s Minecraft activities.” I guess I’m a little skeptical about that number. That would mean more than one out of every ten school age children on the planet have undertaken one of Code.org’s Minecraft lessons. Even if every school age kid in the US public school system was introduced to Minecraft through Code.org, that’s still only about 51 million students. Code.org might see itself as the go-to site for the future of computer science education, time and time again it’s shown it needs help with basic math and statistics.
It’s like “Uber, but for Getting to the Hospital.” Actually, it is Uber for getting to doctors’ visits. I mean, what could go wrong?! (Including this here because a) people keep using the Uber analogy for education and b) I’m waiting for when the “ride-sharing” company launches its school-bus replacement plan. Meanwhile, “Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Joins Health Startup’s Board,” says Bloomberg. Because that’s how Silicon Valley punishes a failed CEO who, among other disastrous decisions, peeped at the medical records of a woman who was suing his company after she was raped by one of its contract workers.
Via The New York Times: “Tech Envisions the Ultimate Start-Up: An Entire City.” Privatize everything.
Via the Southern Poverty Law Center: “How Tech Supports Hate.”
Via The Digital Reader: “ Kobo to Retire Kobo Kids Accounts on 3 April.”
Edsurge on Hypothes.is’s partnership with Elsevier.
“Ethereum’s smart contracts are full of holes,” says The MIT Technology Review. Good thing no one in education is silly enough to be promoting blockchain as a solution for anything.
Oh wait. Via the press release: “World’s Largest Pilot of Blockchain Technology in Education Launched Affecting Over 400,000 Students.”
“Amazon Tries Its Hand in School Procurement,” says Edsurge, with a story that totally doesn’t sound like it come from Amazon PR.
Via NPR: “Dolly Parton’s Nonprofit Reaches Milestone With 100 Million Books Sent To Children.”
Educators sure do seem to discover a lot of new “mindsets.”
Techcrunch on the latest in “parent-tech”: “Peanut, the matchmaking app for moms, launches a community feature called Peanut Pages.”
Robots and Other Education Science Fiction
Alex Usher reviews Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.
From the Edmodo blog: “AI, Algorithms and What Should We All Be Thinking About?”
Via Campus Technology: “Survey: In an AI World, Retraining Will Come from Employers, Not Higher Ed.”
(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform
Via the Harvard Crimson: “Koch Foundation Donations Spur Debate at HKS.” HKS is Harvard Kennedy School for you heathens who don’t know the school’s acronyms.
Venture Capital and the Business of Education
Meritize has raised $6.8 million from Colchis Capital, Chicago Ventures, Cube Financial Holdings, ECMC, College Loan Corporation, University Ventures, City Light Capital, PC Squared, and Meritize management. The company makes student loans based on students’ “academic data.”
Sales bootcamp Strive Talent has raised $3.8 million from Upfront Ventures, Kapor Capital, Webb Investment Network, NextView Ventures, University Ventures, and Graph Ventures.
The scholarship platform Buddy4Study.com has raised $3 million in Series A from CBA Capital.
The Graide Network – a platform for outsourcing grading – has raised $1 million from Network Ventures.
Discovery Education has been acquired by the private equity firm Francisco Partners.
Lightsail Education has been acquired by the private equity firm Agile Investment Group.
Reports that Pearson is looking to sell its K–12 courseware business in EdWeek’s Market Brief, Inside Higher Ed, and Edsurge.
From the press release: “Campus Technology Conference to Merge with UBTech.”
Via China Money Network: “China’s Sunlands Online Education Files For $300M IPO In New York.”
Reuters reports that SpringerNature is planning to IPO too.
Data, Surveillance, and Information Security
Via Edsurge: “Cheating on Chegg? Maybe Not on Its Tutoring Platform.” So Chegg’s algorithms declare you’re a cheater, and you don’t get a tutor. JFC. Silicon Valley continues its obsession with cheating as an excuse to violate students’ privacy and their agency.
Sponsored content on Edsurge – sponsored by Salesforce, that is, a company that seems quite keen on expanding its reach in education – on how predictive analytics systems work or don’t work: “‘Faculty Told Me They Hated It.’ When an Academic-Alert System Backfires – Twice.” My comments above about Silicon Valley’s obsession with cheating are also applicable here.
Via The Verge: “Palantir has secretly been using New Orleans to test its predictive policing technology.”
Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick writes about “Charting my kids’ development through targeted advertising on our family computer.”
There are more privacy horrors in the “upgrades/downgrades” section above.
Via Campus Technology: “Amazon Releases New Guidance on AWS and FERPA.”
A report from Deloitte: “Elevating cybersecurity on the higher education leadership agenda.”
Research, “Research,” and Reports
I’ve run the numbers on how much venture capital was funneled into education in the month of February.
EdWeek’s Market Brief with data from the Association of American Publishers: “K–12 Publishers’ Sales Slip, But States’ Buying Cycles May Be to Blame.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Gallup survey finds that Americans believe more in ‘higher education’ than in ‘colleges and universities.’ Poll also drives home that skepticism is deepest among white men without degrees.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new study from the Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness has found that an increasing number of public, two-year colleges are using multiple measurements beyond standardized tests to place students in college-level math and reading courses.”
Politico with research on school safety: “ Why hardening schools hasn’t stopped school shootings.”
Via The Intercept: “Children of Color Already Face Violent Discipline in Schools. Arming Teachers Will Get Them Killed.”
Via The New York Times: “Anti-Semitic Incidents Surged 57 Percent in 2017, Report Finds.” Inside Higher Ed notes, based on the same ADL report, that “Anti-Semitic Incidents on Campus Up 89%.”
The Pew Research Center is out with its latest report on “Social Media Use in 2018.”
“How to Protect Your College’s Research From Undue Corporate Influence” – according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Via Buzzfeed: “The Inside Story Of How An Ivy League Food Scientist Turned Shoddy Data Into Viral Studies.”
An op-ed in The New York Times: “The Misguided Drive to Measure ‘Learning Outcomes’.”
Via NPR: “From Little Rock to Parkland: A Brief History of Youth Activism.”
Icon credits: The Noun Project