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

US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was on Capitol Hill this week, making the case for her department’s budget. (Her remarks.) Lawmakers had questions on “guns, schools and money.” Via The Washington Post: “Congress rejects much of Betsy DeVos’s agenda in spending bill.”

“These Programs Would See Funding Increases in the New Congressional Spending Deal,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Adam Harris. Soon to be The Atlantic’s Adam Harris. (Congrats on the new gig.)

From the SPARC press release: “Congress Funds $5 Million Open Textbook Grant Program in 2018 Spending Bill.” It’s being positioned here as the first time Congress has funded open textbooks, but it’s not the federal government’s first commitment to OER.

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “First Ed-Tech Trade Mission by U.S. Government Will Travel to Latin America.” To Peru and Colombia, specifically.

University strikes continue in the UK. “Embracing the Dinosaur of Solidarity” by Liz Morrish.

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via The NYT’s Dana Goldstein: “Their Pay Has Stood Still. Now Oklahoma Teachers Could Be the Next to Walk.”

Via The New York Times: “Jersey City Teachers Go on Strike Over Health Insurance.”

Via The Intercept: “Chinese Corporation Alibaba Joins Group Ghostwriting American Laws.” That’s ALEC.

Via The Guardian: “‘Not welcome here’: Amazon faces growing resistance to its second home.”

Via Edsurge: “#MontessoriSoWhite? Why the Diverse Charter School Model Is Being Gentrified.” Sponsored by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. (Wait. What? A lot of people would say that charter schools represent segregation not “diversity.”)

For example, this story from the School Library Journal: “Charter Schools, Segregation, and School Library Access.”

Via The New York Times: “Why Are Black Students Punished So Often? Minnesota Confronts a National Quandary.”

Via Chalkbeat: “New York City charter leader Eva Moskowitz says Betsy DeVos is not ‘ready for prime time’.”

Immigration and Education

Via The Hechinger Report: “Most immigrants outpace Americans when it comes to education – with one big exception.” Spoiler alert: Latinos.

Education in the Courts

Via the Pensacola News Journal: “An Ohio businessman convicted of defrauding Newpoint charter schools out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funds is scheduled for sentencing Friday, according to court records.”

There’s more on legal battles involving student loan companies in the business of financial aid section below. And there’s more on legal battles involving student athletes in the “sports team” section below.

The Business of Financial Aid

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Four plaintiffs who attended Corinthian Colleges programs are suing Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education in U.S. district court over a plan to award partial relief of student loan debt to borrowers defrauded or misled by their institutions.”

Via The Washington Post: “Student loan servicing group sues D.C. over licensing and disclosure law.” That is, The Student Loan Servicing Alliance.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

“The Mysterious Deal to Take DeVry University Private” by David Halperin.

There’s more legal wrangling regarding for-profits and student loans in the financial aid section above.

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

Online education is an engine of racial inequality,” Christopher Newfield and Cameron Sublett argue in Inside Higher Ed.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Analysis of Georgia Tech’s MOOC-inspired online master’s in computer science suggests that institutions can successfully deliver high-quality, low-cost degrees to students at scale.”

Meanwhile on Campus…

“More than 187,000 students have been exposed to gun violence at school since Columbine,” The Washington Post finds. “Many are never the same.”

Via Buzzfeed: “What It’s Like For School Shooting Survivors To Watch The Parkland Protests.”

Via Education Week: “Two Students Injured, Teen Shooter Dead in Maryland High School.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Austin Bombing Suspect’s Former College Is Aiding Investigation.” And folks are looking at blog posts the student wrote for class.

Via The Atlantic: “An Inside Look at Juvenile Detention.”

“This university doesn’t want any more History or English majors,” writes The Outline. “This university” is the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.

Via The New York Times: “Stanford History Event Was ‘Too White and Too Male,’ Organizer Admits.”

After some hand-wringing from the usual suspects, historian Sherman Dorn reminds us that “Christina Sommers is not the typical target of attempts to suppress speech on campuses.”

Via the Journal & Courier: “Breaking the university’s weeks-long silence after being hit by fake news – breathless and jabbing reports that Purdue was pushing writing standards that banned the word ‘man’ on campus – Purdue’s provost on Monday finally publicly defended a university resource used by millions nationwide each year.” But “changes are coming” to the university’s writing center, the administration has threatened.

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

From the press release: “IMS Global Learning Consortium Announces Open Badges 2.0 Certifications.”

Go, School Sports Team!

“The NCAA Is Facing a Crossroads,” says The Atlantic.

“A Fair Wage for Elite Athletes? How About $750,000?” suggests The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Donald De La Haye started making YouTube videos long before he joined the University of Central Florida’s football team. His online antics, like poking fun at Colin Kaepernick and chucking a football on a makeshift Slip-n-Slide, eventually earned him more than a half a million followers – but they also cost him a full athletic scholarship.”

Memos from HR

Ramona Pierson, the founder of Declara, is now the head of learning products at Amazon (according to LinkedIn, at least).

Thomas Bailey, founding director of the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teachers College, has been selected as president of Teachers College,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via NPR: “The Fight Over Teacher Salaries: A Look At The Numbers.”

There’s more news about labor issues in the local/state/national politics sections above.

ProPublica looks at age discrimination at IBM, worth considering I think as part of a larger industry worship of youth and “innovation”: “Cutting ‘Old Heads’ at IBM.”

The Business of Job Training

Via CNBC: “Amazon’s cloud is looking at building a corporate training service.” (Perhaps this is what Candace Thille is up to at Amazon? See also the HR section above for news of another prominent ed-tech figure who’s joined Amazon.)

Via The New York Times: “Karlie Kloss Teaches Teenage Girls How to Code.”

“Rethinking the Goal of Childhood Education” – a Q&A with WeWork co-founder Rebekah Neumann in Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop (the magazine, not the goop) on how we need to make kindergarteners into entrepreneurs. (Apparently, Neumann and Paltrow are cousins?)

Contests and Awards

Andrea Zafirakou has won the 2018 Global Teacher Prize.

Via Campus Technology: “Recipients of 2018 McGraw Prize in Education Revealed.” I’ll save you a click: Arthur Graesser, a professor in the Department of Psychology and the Institute of Intelligent Systems at the University of Memphis; Timothy Renick, a senior vice president for student success at Georgia State University; and Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code.

Via Devex: “New $75,000 prize boosts tech solutions to education challenges.” Winners will get to pilot their “solutions” in schools in South Africa. Because technology imperialism.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Does tech designed to personalize learning actually benefit students?asks Marketplace.

Is US on verge of a higher education trade deficit?asks Education Dive.

Can a New Approach to Information Literacy Reduce Digital Polarization?asks Edsurge. (Sorry, Caulfield. It’s the law.)

(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

Lots of news this week about Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. I’ll save most of the links for my newsletter tomorrow. But here are some education-related stories:

Via Education Week: “Privacy Experts Assess Potential K–12 Fallout From Facebook’s Crisis of Trust.”

“For Some Students, #DeleteFacebook Is Not Really an Option,” says Edsurge. I’m sure Edsurge’s sponsor, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, will be pleased with this angle.

Via The Outline: “David Carroll was fighting Cambridge Analytica before it was cool.” Carroll is a at professor Parsons School of Design. More on Carroll’s work in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

“It’s Time to Regulate the Internet,” says Franklin Foer in The Atlantic.

Apple is holding an education-themed press event next week and The Verge tells readers “What to expect from Apple’s education event.”

“How Should Colleges Approach Student Success When Different Definitions Abound?” asks Edsurge – part of its new guide on student success. “The guide is sponsored by, which had no influence on this story.” “Collaborative Higher Ed Partnerships Are the Key to Student Success,” says Edsurge – part of its new guide on student success. “The guide is sponsored by, which had no influence on this story.”

Via Edsurge: “Sir Ken Robinson’s Next Act: You Are the System and You Can Change Education.”

It’s the “The Third Education Revolution,” according to Jeffrey Selingo in The Atlantic. The first: high school for everyone. The second: college for everyone. The third: lifelong learning. Hope y’all love school.

Techcrunch says that “EdTech is having a renaissance, powered by the emerging world.” My favorite part of this article, I think, is where it boasts about how stable Ethiopia is these days. It’s almost as if technology writers never really think about imperialism and pay no attention to global news, only to PR.

Via Edsurge: “The 8 Education Technology Startups From Y Combinator’s Latest Batch.”

OER, CARE, Stewardship, and the Commons” by “Econproph” Jim Luke. (David Wiley also writes again about the CARE Framework.)

Via Business Insider: “The YouTube Kids app has been suggesting a load of conspiracy videos to children.”

No, YouTube is not a library – and why it matters” by Sarah T. Roberts.

According to NPR, OK Go is getting into the education curriculum business, with lessons based on their popular videos.

Via Gizmodo: “Child Pornography That Researchers Found in the Blockchain Could Threaten Bitcoin’s Very Existence.”

NPR asks whose bones made up those old classroom skeletons.

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

Via Techcrunch: “This tortoise shows kids that robot abuse is bad.” “Robot abuse”?!

Via VOA News: “New AI Technology Lets Students Evaluate Professors by ‘Chatting’.” Oh excellent. Take something that’s incredibly biasedstudents’ evaluations of instructors – and add AI. What could go wrong?

Via Campus Technology: “AI Hive Mind Chooses Clean Water Over Education as Top World Priority.”

“Hey, Alexa, What Are You Teaching Our Kids?” asks Mindshift.

Via Bryan Alexander: “Robots, buyouts, and spinoffs: four short stories for the future of education and technology.”

“How Real-World Learning Could Help People Compete With Machines” – The Chronicle of Higher Education on Joseph E. Aoun’s new book Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Via The Nation: “How Charles Koch Is Helping Neo-Confederates Teach College Students.”

Via The Washington Post: “George Mason lands $5 million Koch Foundation donation for Department of Economics.”

Via The New York Times: “Google Pledges $300 Million to Clean Up False News.”

Via Poynter: “Poynter receives $3 million from Google to lead program teaching teens to tell fact from fiction online.”

Via Scholastic: “James Patterson will personally donate $2 million to teachers to build classroom libraries this year.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

CommonBond has raised $50 million in Series D funding from August Capital, Thomas Glocer, Nyca Partners, Vikram Pandit, Fifth Third Capital, Neuberger Berman Group, First Republic Bank, and Columbia Seligman Investments. The student loan company has raised $803.6 million total.

Kahoot has raised $17 million in Series B funding from Northzone, Creandum, Microsoft Ventures, Eilert Giertsen Hanoa, and Date Invest AS. The quiz app has raised $43.5 million total.

Technology Will Save Us has raised $4.2 million in Series A funding from Initial Capital, Backed VC, SaatchInvest, All Bright, Unltd-inc, Leaf VC, Chris Lee, Martin McCourt, and Jonathan Howell. The company, which makes programmable toys, has raised $7.8 million total.

Admissions company INTCAS has raised $2.8 million from unnamed investors.

Developing Experts has raised $467,000 from Anglia Capital Group. The tutoring training company has raised about $1 million total.

Language learning app Extempore has raised $420,000 from Syndicate Fund.

Renaissance Learning has acquired MyON from the private equity firm Francisco Partners.

Via Edsurge: “Global Investors Launch New Edtech Funds: Exceed Capital and HighGrade Ventures.”

Chinese Companies Are Buying Up Cash-Strapped U.S. Colleges,” according to Bloomberg.

Responses to venture capitalist Ted Dintersmith’s new book from WaPo’s Valerie Strauss, Wrench in the Gears’ Alison McDowell.

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via Gizmodo: “Schools Are Spending Millions on High-Tech Surveillance of Kids.”

Via “Parent raises privacy concerns about Mathletics.”

Via ProPublica: “How Health and Education Journalists Can Turn Privacy Laws to Their Advantage.”

Commentary from Frank LoMonte in Education Week: “Student Privacy Laws Have Been Distorted (And That’s a Problem).”

“10 definitions of datafication (in education)” by Ben Williamson.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

Via Chalkbeat: “An integration dilemma: School choice is pushing wealthy families to gentrify neighborhoods but avoid local schools.”

From the American Enterprise Institute: “Do Impacts on Test Scores Even Matter? Lessons from Long-Run Outcomes in School Choice Research.”

“Americans are rejecting the ‘homeschool myth’,” according to Business Insider, “and experts say the misunderstood education might be better than public or charter schools.” “Experts” here is really just Benjamin Bloom’s research on tutoring from the 1980s.

How Teachers Taught: Patterns of Instruction, 1890–2010by historian Larry Cuban.

Via The New York Times: “Extensive Data Shows Punishing Reach of Racism for Black Boys.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “MLA data show foreign language study is on the decline, but it’s unclear what comes first: institutional disinvestment in language programs or waning student interest. In any case, some campuses – generally those making investments in programs – are bucking the trend.”

The latest report from the Pew Research Center: “The Science People See on Social Media.”

Via The Atlantic’s Ed Yong: “What We Learn From 50 Years of Kids Drawing Scientists.”

Via Wired: “Sociologists Examine Hackathons and See Exploitation.”

Former FB advertising exec Antonio García Martínez writes in Wired about “The Noisy Fallacies of Psychographic Targeting.” I’m hoping to find some time in the next day or so to write more about ed-tech psychographic targeting, behaviorism, “social emotional learning,” and learning analytics. Stay tuned…

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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