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 Chalkbeat: “Robotics is bringing Betsy DeVos to Detroit for the first time as education secretary.” (“…She’s unlikely to encounter local students when she’s there.”)
From the department’s press office: “U.S. Department of Education Announces STEM, Computer Science Education Grant Opportunities.”
Via ProPublica: “Shutdown of Texas Schools Probe Shows Trump Administration Pullback on Civil Rights.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “As Republicans seek support for their controversial legislation to update the Higher Education Act, a Pentagon document gives ammo to critics over the bill’s plan to end Public Service Loan Forgiveness.”
Remember when Mark Zuckerberg kept repeating “I’ll have someone on my team get back to you on that?” when he appeared before Congress? Yeah… Via The Verge: “Reps say ‘we have yet to receive any responses’ to questions from Zuckerberg testimony.”
Wait. Why is the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Bror Saxberg posting on the Department of Education’s Medium blog?
Via NPR: “19 Years After Columbine, Students Walk Out To Stop Gun Violence.”
“The FDA is coming for teens’ Juul vapes,” says The Verge.
Politico profiles Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk: “Trump’s Man on Campus.”
(State and Local) Education Politics
Via the Dallas News: “‘Merit or on quota?’ Former Texas official questions biracial teen’s Harvard acceptance.”
Via the Washington City Paper: “The DC Public Charter School Board Knew One of D.C.’s Oldest Charters Was Financially Troubled and Didn’t Intervene.”
The New York Times on NYC education news: “Announcing $125 Million for Schools, de Blasio Stumbles Over #MeToo.”
The New York Times profiles NYC’s new schools chancellor Richard Carranza.
More on NYC, from NY1: “Student diversity push upsets some parents at UWS school.” White middle class parents, that is, don’t want diversity.
Via Chalkbeat: “Average salary: $50,481. Doctorates: 21. First year educators: 241. We have the numbers on Indianapolis Public Schools teachers.”
Via Education Dive: “West Virginia considers shutting down public colleges.” That’ll definitely bring back the coal jobs.
There’s more on teachers’ strikes and teachers’ protests in the “labor and management” section below.
Immigration and Education
Via The New York Times: “Key Justices Seem Skeptical of Challenge to Trump’s Travel Ban.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Third Judge Blocks Trump’s Bid to End DACA.”
Education in the Courts
Via Education Week: “Ex Baltimore County Superintendent Gets Six Months Prison Sentence in Perjury Case.” That’s Dallas Dance.
For your “yes, Microsoft is still horrible files,” this from The Washington Post: “E-waste recycler Eric Lundgren loses appeal on computer restore disks, must serve 15-month prison term.”
“Richard Spencer, the white nationalist, has dropped his lawsuit against the University of Cincinnati,” Inside Higher Ed reports.
There’s more legal news in the accreditation section below and in the immigration section above.
The Business of Financial Aid
This is truly the greatest story of the week – and kudos to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Dan Bauman and Chris Quintana for this work: “Drew Cloud Is a Well-Known Expert on Student Loans. One Problem: He’s Not Real.”
More on Drew Cloud from The Atlantic’s Adam Harris.
(This story has me thinking a lot about “fake news” and education technology PR as misinformation. I know a lot of journalists had received story pitches from Drew Cloud. Some cited him. I wonder if his words appeared in any pitches that student loan startups made to investors. I also wonder how pervasive this sort of thing is in education.)
Via The Wall Street Journal: “Some Colleges Try to Burnish Student-Loan Default Rates.” And from The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Some Colleges Push Students to Delay Loan Repayments. They’ll Pay More in Interest Later.”
The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed
Via Inside Higher Ed: “A California institution that a U.S. senator recently characterized as a suspected ‘visa mill’ has shut down after state authorities revoked its certificate to operate. A notice on Silicon Valley University’s website says it has been notified by California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education ‘not to conduct any classes or exams at this time, effective immediately.’”
Online Education (and the Once and Future “MOOC”)
The AP on the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow: “Education regulators are reviewing a whistleblower’s claim that Ohio’s then-largest online charter school intentionally inflated attendance figures tied to its state funding using software it purchased after previous allegations of attendance inflation.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of Phoenix’s online enrollment plummets while Western Governors and Southern New Hampshire near 100,000 students as they vie to rule the roost.”
“A federal requirement for online colleges to tell students whether their academic programs meet state licensing requirements may be postponed,” says Inside Higher Ed.
Reminder: a lot of MOOC news is now job training news, so you’ll find some updates in that section below.
Meanwhile on Campus…
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Florida State Cancels Bundled Journal Deal With Elsevier.”
Via The Washington Post: “Kent State bans a professor after he is charged with lying to the FBI.” That’s history professor Julio Pino.
Via The Washington Post: “Temple University suspends fraternity and increases police presence as it investigates allegations including sexual assault.”
Pacific Standard on “recovery high schools.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Why a Public Flagship’s Acquisition of a Private College Made So Many Upset in Massachusetts.” That is, University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s decision to buy Mount Ida College.
Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies
Via The Coloradoan: “12 students sue CSU for not accrediting master’s degree program.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The New England Association of Schools & Colleges, the accrediting agency for the Connecticut State College and University system, rejected a proposal Tuesday that would have merged the state’s 12 community colleges.”
Via Edsurge: “Bringing Order to ‘Badges’: Nonprofit Works With Colleges on Framework to Measure Soft Skills.”
“Blockchain for education and skills? A big maybe,” says New America.
Via EdScoop: “‘Deliberate cyberattack’ delays online assessments in five states.”
Via Chalkbeat: “Four reasons Tennessee likely won’t go back to paper testing.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “New study finds that ending SAT and ACT requirements results in more applications and more diversity – without any decline in graduation rates.”
“Don’t Take Personality Tests Personally,” says Pacific Standard. Hell, don’t take them at all would be my advice.
Go, School Sports Team!
Via NPR: “NBA Should Open Draft To High Schoolers, NCAA Commission On College Basketball Says.”
Via Techcrunch: “A university is giving scholarships to top Fortnite players.” That’s Ashland University in Ohio.
Labor and Management
Via The New York Times: “Columbia Graduate Students Walk Out Over Union Fight.” Solidarity. I won’t be crossing this picket line for anything to do with the last weeks of my Spencer Fellowship.
Via The Harvard Crimson: “In Historic Move, Harvard Teaching and Research Assistants Vote to Unionize.”
John Warner on a proposal from SIU to have alumni work for free: “Volunteer Faculty: The Death Knell for Public Higher Ed.” The school has responded to the outcry. But good grief, there had to be an outcry before someone stopped to say “this is just a ridiculously awful and exploitative idea”?!
Via NPR: “‘We Simply Can’t Take It Any Longer’: Teacher Protests Sweep Arizona, Colorado.”
Paul Krugman on teacher pay and education funding.
Via The Phoenix New Times: “Arizona Schools Chief Diane Douglas Threatens Teachers Over Strike, Says It’s ‘Not Legal’.”
Via NPR: “Professor Who Called Barbara Bush An ‘Amazing Racist’ Will Keep Her Job.” That’s CSU Fresno’s Randa Jarrar.
Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “McGraw-Hill Education Picks New CEO From World of Data Analytics.” That’s Nana Banerjee, formerly of Verisk Analytics.
New hires at the Department of Education include Mark Schneider, director of the Institute of Education Sciences, and James Woodworth, commissioner of NCES.
Stuart Udell, formerly the CEO of K12 Inc, will now head Achieve3000.
The Business of Job Training
Via Techcrunch: “Udacity tackles cybersecurity with its latest nanodegree.”
Via The Texas Observer: “Women in Texas Prisons Denied Same Academic, Job Training Opportunities as Incarcerated Men.”
Via NPR: “High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up For University.”
Upgrades and Downgrades
Bloomberg on “The Numbers Behind WeWork’s Growing Empire.” WeWork, an eight-year-old company that has raised almost $7 billion in funding, has committed to pay some $18 billion in rent. Sounds totally sustainable. (WeWork acquired the coding bootcamp Flatiron School last year and has plans to launch a private, K–12 “microschool.”)
(And some related humor from McSweeney’s: “Quick Facts About the Silicon Valley Microschool That’s Disrupting Education.”)
Edsurge on Education Elements: “Million-Dollar Advice: The High Cost and Limited Return on Personalized Learning Consulting.” (I guess this is some sort of follow-up to this 2016 story in Edsurge touting Education Element’s work helping districts implement personalized learning.)
“There’s an Echo Dot for Kids Now,” says Techcrunch.
“Amazon Alexa to reward kids who say: ‘Please’,” the BBC reports. Ah yes, a giant technology company deciding what “good manners” sounds like. Wonderful.
There are more stories about this Amazon news in the privacy and surveillance section below.
Via TNW: “Facebook trials ‘High School Networks’ for Messenger – what could go wrong there?”
I’m including this here because of her role in education reform and education journalism. Via The New York Times: “Is Facebook’s Campbell Brown a Force to Be Reckoned With? Or Is She Fake News?”
Via The New York Times: “YouTube Kids, Criticized for Content, Introduces New Parental Controls.”
Via Edsurge: “In Move to ‘Unlimited’ Pricing Model, Cengage Hopes for a Comeback.”
“iPads part of trend addressing diversity, inclusion in learning,” Education Dive claims, and my god the bullshit people write about ed-tech never ceases to amaze me.
Speaking of ridiculous statements, here’s a claim from venture capitalist Jennifer Carolan in Techcrunch: “Empathy technologies like VR, AR and social media can transform education.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education on the ASU+GSV Summit: “Goodbye Disruption, Hello Collaboration: Ed Tech Changes Gears.” Me on ASU+GSV: “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.”
Via The Atlantic: “The Perks of a Play-in-the-Mud Educational Philosophy.”
(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform
Sponsored storytelling on Edsurge. Sponsored by the Gates Foundation: this. Sponsored by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative: this. Sponsored by Salesforce.org: this.
Sponsored storytelling from the Koch Brothers. Via The Washington Post reprints an essay from Arizona State University’s Matthew J. Garcia: “A disturbing story about the influence of the Koch network in higher education.”
Venture Capital and the Business of Education
Homework help company Knowbox has raised $100 million from YF Capital and TAL Education Group. It’s raised $155.8 million total.
CampusLogic has raised $55 million in private equity from JMI Equity. The financial aid startup has raised $72.8 million total.
I won’t be including this in my calculations of money going into ed-tech, but I do want to note how silly “personalization” sounds – unless you’re an investor, I guess, and then you fund something like this: “Kidbox raises $15.3 million for its personalized children’s clothing box.” Personalized clothing.
Enuma, which is one letter away from the worst startup name ever, has raised $4 million from YellowDog, HG Initiative, C Program, NX Venture Partners, and DSC Investment. The educational game-maker, formerly known as Locomotive Labs, has raised $8.6 million total.
Allovue has raised $2 million from Kapor Capital, Rethink Education, and Serious Change. The financial services company has raised $8.9 million total.
Techtonic Group has raised $2 million from University Ventures and Zoma Capital. “A spokesperson for the Boulder, CO-based company tells EdSurge this is the first time the company has ever gotten venture capital funding in its 12- year history.” Whyyyyyyyy.
Skillup Tutors has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Knife Capital.
Strada Education (formerly USA Funds) has acquired Economic Modeling LLC (also known as Emsi).
Examity has acquired BVirtual.
Data, Surveillance, and Information Security
The New Republic on China’s social credit score: “How Do You Control 1.4 Billion People?”
“What Happens to Student Data Privacy When Chinese Firms Acquire U.S. Edtech Companies?” asks Edsurge. I mean, what happens to it when US companies acquire US ed-tech companies?
Via the AP: “A Detroit trade school has become the first educational partner in a city program that allows police to monitor surveillance cameras to reduce crime.”
EdScoop on the Wildflower chain of schools: “What happens when student-tracking technology meets Montessori’s century-old teaching style?” Holy shit.
Via Buzzfeed’s Mat Honan: “Amazon Created A Version Of Alexa Just For Kids.”
And here’s the thing: Unless your parents purge it, your Alexa will hold on to every bit of data you have ever given it, all the way back to the first things you shouted at it as a 2-year-old.
EdTech Strategies’ Doug Levin has launched The K–12 Cybersecurity Resource Center
Via Education Week: “Amid Privacy Changes, Facebook Will Still Treat U.S. Teens as Adults.”
“Who Has More of Your Personal Data Than Facebook?” asks The Wall Street Journal. “Try Google.”
Via ELearning Inside News: “In Light of Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, Will Anyone Revisit Google’s Data Collection in G Suite for Education?”
The Verge reports that “Pentagon-funded research aims to predict when crimes are gang-related.” Worth thinking about how predictive analytics work in education and the biases they might reinforce.
Also from The Verge: “Axon launches AI ethics board to study the dangers of facial recognition.” Reminder, the head of Code.org sits on the board of Axon, which makes police technologies like tasers and police body cameras.
Adam Croom on “Annotating EdTech Terms of Service.”
“The Office for Students as the data scientist of the higher education sector” by Ben Williamson.
Research, “Research,” and Reports
There’s more “research” in the financial aid and testing sections above.
Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Value of Education Mergers and Acquisitions Soars, Though Number of K–12 Deals Dips.”
Via The Globe and Mail: “Deals between public-private colleges pose unacceptable risks to students, Ontario report says.”
Via Education Week: “Discipline Disparities Grow for Students of Color, New Federal Data Show.” Also via Education Week: “4 Things to Know About Ed. Dept.’s Massive Civil Rights Database.”
“Do charter schools suspend students more? It depends on how you look at the data,” says Chalkbeat.
Via NPR: “NPR/Ipsos Poll: Most Americans Support Teachers’ Right To Strike.”
RIP Bob Dorough. Thank you for the music and the Schoolhouse Rock lessons.
Icon credits: The Noun Project