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 LA Times: “Betsy DeVos’ visit to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School prompts complaints from some students.” Here’s the readout from the Department of Education. “Why DeVos’s Parkland Visit Failed,” according to The Atlantic.

There’s lots more from Betsy DeVos’s talk at SXSWedu in the conferences section below.

No mention of DeVos in this WaPo story about her brother though.

Via Politico: “The Trump administration has removed documents from an Education Department website aimed at transgender students, including those intended to help students fight for access to bathrooms of their choice.”

Via The Washington Post: “The U.S. Department of Education’s inspector general is cautioning Congress against provisions in the House Republican higher education bill that would repeal regulations holding colleges and universities accountable for the use of federal student aid.”

And there’s more about the Department of Education and financial aid in the financial aid section below.

Via Buzzfeed: “A Top Trump Administration Civil Rights Official Says Peter Thiel Backed Her For The Job.” That would be Candice Jackson. In addition to the anti-First Amendment supporter Thiel, Jackson also name-dropped her connections to David Horowitz, a long-time advocate for silencing left-learning professors on campus, in order to get her job.

“What If America Didn’t Have Public Schools?” asks Julie Halpert in The Atlantic.

Via Edsurge: “Office of Edtech Wants Help Making Sense of All Those Higher Ed Providers.”

Via The Daily Beast: “The Silicon Valley Giant Bankrolling Devin Nunes.” That would be Oracle, who also bankrolls plenty in education and ed-tech too.

Via Education Week: “After Parkland Shooting, Sen. Rubio Questions Obama-Era Guidance on School Arrests.” And I am not even linking to the National Review article promoting this racist crap. But it is the worst “take” on school shootings.

Via the AP: “The National Rifle Association has given more than $7 million in grants to hundreds of U.S. schools in recent years, according to an Associated Press analysis, but few have shown any indication that they’ll follow the lead of businesses that are cutting ties with the group following last month’s massacre at a Florida high school.”

Via Apple Insider: “Jamf’s ‘innovation pod’ aims to offer iPad-based education to students in Haiti.” An “innovation pod” is actually a private classroom in a shipping container. Excellent re-branding.

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via The Atlantic: “The Ripple Effect of the West Virginia Teachers’ Victory.” More on West Virginia’s teachers via NPR. Via The New York Times: “‘I Live Paycheck to Paycheck’: A West Virginia Teacher Explains Why She’s on Strike.” (Note how teachers have their physical activity tracked as part of their health insurance benefits package.)

Via The LA Times: “Oklahoma comes closer to joining West Virginia in a major teacher strike.” More from KTUL in Tulsa.

Elsewhere in OK: “Oklahoma police department fires guns into textbooks to see if they can stop bullets. Really.”

Via The New York Times: “Anatomy of a School Lockdown: A Threat, Then the Anxious Wait.”

Via The Boston Globe: “For charter schools across the state, the news has been relentlessly bad in recent months: A Western Massachusetts principal fired after a drug arrest. A Dorchester school placed on probation amid allegations of financial mismanagement. Multiple unionization efforts. A record-breaking campaign finance penalty. Black students in Malden punished simply for wearing braided-hair extensions.”

I’m just gonna come right out and say it. I am sorry. But Wakanda would not have charter schools.

Via The Washington Post: “Florida legislature backs new gun restrictions after Parkland school shooting.” Governor Rick Scott has still not said whether he will sign the legislation.

NYC has a new schools chancellor: Richard Carranza, who currently heads the Houston school district. Chalkbeat, on last week’s superintendent brouhaha – : “The big loser in the Carvalho chaos, according to New York City papers: Bill de Blasio.” Also via Chalkbeat: “NYC knew about discrimination lawsuit involving Carranza, but say accusations are ‘completely false’.”

“N.Y. drama takes two big prospects out of discussion for L.A. schools job,” says The LA Times.

Via Chalkbeat: “Top school choice group advising Puerto Rico on controversial efforts to expand charters and vouchers.”

Via NPR: “Charity Honoring Philando Castile Pays All Lunch Debts In St. Paul School System.”

Via Wired: “Washington State Enacts Net Neutrality Law, in Clash With FCC.”

Via The Oregonian: “Oregon won’t allow 529 tax breaks for K–12 private school.”

Ball State University will take over control of the public school district in Muncie, Indiana.

Via WSBT: “Indiana teen becomes superintendent of fake school corporation.” The 13-year-old created a fake school district and successfully registered it with the state department of education. Think of the money he could make soliciting ed-tech deals!

Education in the Courts

Via The New York Times: “Ex-Leader of Baltimore County Schools, a Tech Booster, Pleads Guilty to Perjury.” That’s Dallas Dance.

Via The Verge: “Lawsuit against VC says he ‘groped and fondled multiple women’ for over a decade.” That’s Lucio Lanza.

Via The New York Times: “Top Volleyball Coach Raped Teenage Athletes, Lawsuit Alleges.” That’s Rick Butler, who coached for USA Volleyball.

Via The Register Guard: “Academy of Arts and Academics Principal Mike Fisher, who committed suicide Feb. 1, had sexually abused a student starting when she was 14 years old and continued having sex with her into adulthood, according to documents received by The Register-Guard.”

“The Trump administration just failed to stop a climate lawsuit brought by 21 kids,” The Chicago Tribune reports.

Via Ars Technica: “Judge bars student from violent games after alleged shooting threat.”

Via The Chicago Tribune: “Pearson Family Members Foundation sues University of Chicago, aiming to revoke $100M gift.”

Immigration and Education

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A federal district judge in Maryland on Monday upheld the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which offers temporary protection against deportation and provides the right to work to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers. The ruling has no immediate practical effect, as federal judges in California and New York previously ordered nationwide temporary injunctions barring the Trump administration from ending the program as planned.”

DACA Lives, but for How Long?asks Inside Higher Ed.

The Business of Financial Aid

Via Washington Post: “Education Dept.’s mishandling of student debt relief claims creating headaches for applicants.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via Bloomberg: “Conflicts of Interest Seen as For-Profit Schools Eye Nonprofit Status.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “On Its 2nd Try, Grand Canyon U. Gets the Green Light to Become a Nonprofit.”

Via The Conversation: “Purdue-Kaplan deal blurs lines between for-profit and public colleges.” There’s more on the new Kaplan in the accreditation section below.

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

Via Edsurge: “​In Move Towards More Online Degrees, Coursera Introduces Its First Bachelor’s.” “Coursera and other purveyors of massive open online courses supposedly signaled the end of traditional credentials and, as some told it, universities. Now the company is betting big on both,” says Inside Higher Ed. Vive la MOOC révolution.

Coursera More than Doubles Number of Degrees on Its Platform,” says Campus Technology.

Via Chalkbeat: “A tiny Indiana district is banking on virtual education to survive. But at what cost?”

Inside Higher Ed reports that there’s “confusion over distance education rules”: “Colleges seek guidance about looming federal requirement for online colleges to tell students whether academic programs meet licensing requirements in their home states.”

“Orphan MOOCs and the Digital Dark Ages” by Jeffrey Pomerantz in Hybrid Pedagogy.

There’s more research on race and gender discrimination in online ed in the research section below.

Speaking of online education, this from earlier in the year. Via The New York Times Magazine: “What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn.”

Via Buzzfeed: “ How PragerU Is Winning The Right-Wing Culture War Without Donald Trump.” It’s a “university” not a university, but hey. When has that ever stopped anyone?

Meanwhile on Campus…

The New York Times on “How the Parkland Students Got So Good at Social Media” – a really important corrective, I’d argue, to that “digital native” silliness.

Lisa Miller in New York Magazine: “War Room” – “The teenage strategy sessions that built an anti-gun movement out of the trauma of Parkland in one week.”

The New York Times on school resource officers.

A Stanford student group, Stanford Students Against Addictive Devices, is protesting Apple for its role in “smartphone addiction.” Perhaps protest Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Lab?

Via The Huffington Post: “Florida Public School Teacher Has A White Nationalist Podcast.” One white supremacist Florida public school teacher now no longer has a job.

Via The Washington Post: “‘Nazis go home!’ Fights break out at Michigan State as protesters, white supremacists converge for Richard Spencer speech.”

Christina Hoff Sommers’ speech was briefly interrupted at Lewis & Clark College, prompting at least one NYT op-ed writer to write something ridiculous (and wrong) in response.

University of California president Janet Napolitano announced Wednesday that she wants the system to explore ways to guarantee admission to academically eligible students in the state’s community colleges,” says Inside Higher Ed.

Via Buzzfeed: “University Puts Physicist Lawrence Krauss On Paid Leave While It Investigates Sexual Harassment Allegations.” That’s Arizona State University.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “In a Fight Against Depression, UCLA Relies on Technology.”

Whose University Is It Anyway?asks Ron Srigley in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

Via Pacific Standard: “Purdue University Gets the Final Approval on Its Plan to Convert Kaplan Into a Non-Profit College.” More via Inside Higher Ed,

George Mason University’s Tyler Cowen offers “A Radical Solution to the Overuse of Occupational Licensing.”

There’s more licensing and certification news in the MOOC section above.


Via Chalkbeat: “Indiana’s new ILEARN test is expected to be shorter than ISTEP.”

“One Standardized Tests Provider Looks to Gaming and Personalized Learning to Innovate Exams” – Edsurge on ETS.

Memos from HR

Diane Auer Jones will join the Department of Education as senior adviser to the assistant secretary for postsecondary education, a post she held under George W. Bush.

Katrina Stevens, formerly of Edsurge and the Department of Education, will join the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as its new director of Learning Sciences.

Via The Iowa City Press-Citizen: “ACT to cut 100 jobs companywide.” Right after making some big VC investments too.

Via The New York Times: “Harvard Professor Resigns Amid Allegations of Sexual Harassment.” That’s government professor Jorge I. Domínguez.

There are sexual harassment allegations in several sections. Because education is certainly not immune from power and exploitation and violence.

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Richard Buery, a New York City deputy mayor who tried to build bridges between the district and charter schools, will leave to take a senior post this month at KIPP, a national charter-school network.”

The Business of Job Training

Watch how the narratives about “the future of education” are crafted. Via The Wall Street Journal: “Why an Honors Student Wants to Skip College and Go to Trade School.”

Conferences and Events

Lots of marketing and PR from SXSWedu: Edsurge on nudges and behavioral economics. Edsurge on teachers leaving the classroom to join tech companies. Edsurge on mindfulness in public schools. Edsurge on the business of OER. Edsurge on "reality-based education.“ Edsurge on the ethics of ed-tech companies paying teachers. Edsurge on ”Words to Never Use If You Want to Build a Diverse Edtech Company."

Highlights from some of the featured speakers:

Via Edsurge: “Betsy DeVos at SXSW EDU: ‘What Students Really Need Won’t Originate in Washington’.”

Via WaPo’s Valerie Strauss: “Betsy DeVos used Shutterstock picture to attack U.S. schools. Teachers aren’t having it.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: danah boyd on the Dangers of Weaponized Critical Thinking.“ Edsurge also weighs in on boyd’s SXSWedu keynote: ”danah boyd: How Critical Thinking and Media Literacy Efforts Are ‘Backfiring’ Today."

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Are AI-Powered Chatbot Tutors the Future of Textbooks?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

Not pigeons, but hey… Via The Washington Post: “The Silicon Valley elite’s latest status symbol: Chickens.”

“‘Blockchain’ is meaningless,” says The Verge’s Adrianne Jeffries. Which means it’s perfect for marketers to use in promoting their various education technology projects.

Via The Guardian: “Facebook asks users: should we allow men to ask children for sexual images?” Thank goodness neither Facebook nor its founder have expressed any interest in bringing these questionable ethics and business practices to education. PHEW, RIGHT?

“To get rural kids online, Microsoft wants to put Internet access on school buses,” The Washington Post reports.

Via The Verge: “Lego will sell its first sustainable pieces later this year.”

Via Laughing Squid: “Text-to-Teach Children’s Book Responds With Demonic Screeching When Battery Is Low.”

Your Kid’s Phone Is Not Like a Cigarette,” Anya Kamenetz writes in a NYT op-ed.

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

“Assessing the dangers of AI applications in education” by Tony Bates.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Via The 74: “Harvard-MIT Personalized Learning Program to Help Early Readers Gets $30M From Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.” More via Education Dive.

Via Chalkbeat: “Walton gives Indianapolis Public Schools $1.7 million to increase principal power.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

Degreed has raised $42 million from Jump Capital, Founders Circle Capital, and Owl Ventures. The skills identification company has raised $76.2 million total.

The language learning app ELSA has raised $3.2 million from Monk’s Hill Ventures. The company has raised $3.3 million total.

GradTouch has raised ~$1.3 million from NPIF Maven Equity Finance to help “18–24 year olds transition from university life into a young professional.”

Tarena International has acquired the K–12 robotics company Wuhan Haoxiaozi Robot Technology (a.k.a. Rtec).

Springboard Education has acquired Kids’ Adventures.

Asteria Education has acquired the test prep company ECS Learning Systems.

The Stepping Stones Group has acquired Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services.

The Verge reports thatFormer Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announces new investment fund focused on job creation.” And, yup, he’s going to focus on education. FML.

In other education VC news, Edsurge points to “The Newest U.S. Education Technology Venture Fund? Look to Japan.” That would be Edulab Capital Partners.

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

From the University of Arizona press office: Sudha Ram’s Smart Campus research tracks students’ social interactions and daily routines via their CatCard usage – and leverages that information to make predictions about freshman retention.“ This one’s for all those who whine that liberal colleges are the biggest threat to free speech on campus. I’d say that ”smart campus" projects are much much more dangerous.

Via Willamette Week: “Portland State University Researchers May Have Violated Federal Law by Using the Personal Data of Thousands of Portland-Area K–12 Students.”

According to Education Dive, “App shows how Internet of Things benefits colleges, students.” I’d say that “app shows how little colleges and the companies they partner with for various education technologies respect student privacy or sovereignty.”

Research, “Research,” and Reports

From The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The 2018 Trends Report.”

Research from ProPublica: the “Trump Town” project – “Tracking White House Staffers, Cabinet Members and Political Appointees Across the Government.” Look up the Department of Education folks. It’s fun.

“There Is No ‘Epidemic of Mass School Shootings’” says Eric Levitz in the New York Magazine.

Via NPR: “Here’s How To Prevent The Next School Shooting, Experts Say.”

“The screen time debate is pitting parents against each other,” says The Verge.

Via NPR: “More Than Half Of Transgender Teachers Surveyed Tell NPR They Are Harassed At Work.”

Via CItyLab: “The Problem With America’s New National Broadband Map.”

Via Times Higher Ed (republished in Inside Higher Ed): “One in three students globally is enrolled in private higher education institutions, according to research that reveals the huge growth and wide reach of private providers.”

Inside Higher Ed reports on a Foreign Policy report: “China Intensifying Oversight of U.S. Student Groups.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Survey Finds Girls’ Isolation, Vulnerability Rise With Heavy Social Media Use.”

Inside Higher Ed reports on a new study from the Center for Education Policy Analysis at Stanford University, finding “Race and Gender Bias in Online Courses.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“To What Extent and Under Which Circumstances Are Growth Mind-Sets Important to Academic Achievement? Two Meta-Analyses” from researchers Victoria F. Sisk, Alexander P. Burgoyne, Jingze Sun, Jennifer L. Butler, and Brooke N. Macnamara. Spoiler alert: weak effects.

Via Edsurge: “Why Professors Doubt Education Research.” Perhaps because education (technology) journalists write up some pretty silly stories based on the so-called findings? I’m just spitballing here…

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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