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

First Lady Melania Trump launched her “Be Best” campaign this week, encouraging people to be nicer on social media. Looks like she just recycled an Obama-era document that the FTC put out. Oh well. At least some people heard her message:

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Federal task force releases ”roadmap“ for alternative federal system for apprenticeships, with calls for more industry involvement and criticism of higher education. But questions remain about how the new system would work.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The U.S. Department of Education plans to hold a negotiated rule-making session aimed at changing regulations for federal aid eligibility to try to ‘promote greater access for students to high-quality, innovative programs,’ according to a Wednesday posting from the Office of Management and Budget.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “DeVos to Review Restrictions on Religious Institutions.”

There’s some news in the venture capital section below on Betsy DeVos’s (terrible) investments.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a reorganization Wednesday that will eliminate the separate arm that focused on the interests of students and other young Americans. The Office of Students and Young Consumers had actively and aggressively policed the student loan industry and monitored credit card companies and other financial institutions that serve – or target – college students and other young people.” More via NPR.

Via The Washington Post: “Free textbooks? Federal government is on track with a pilot program.”

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via The Oregonian: “Portland Public Schools fielded report after report that educator Mitch Whitehurst engaged in sexual misconduct with students, starting the very first year of his 32-year career, a damning investigation released Thursday says.”

Via The 74: “Under Shadow of Online Charter School Scandal, Mike DeWine & Richard Cordray Win Primaries in Race for Ohio Governor.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The chancellor’s office for California’s community college system on Tuesday released recommendations for a performance funding formula that Jerry Brown, the state’s Democratic governor, proposed in January as part of his last budget plan.”

Immigration and Education

Via Pacific Standard: “Children Will Now Be Separated From Their Parents at the U.S. Border.”

Education in the Courts

Via CBS News: “Texas Christian University tutors accused in alleged cheating case.” The alleged cheating involved study materials posted to Quizlet.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “University of Michigan Sued Over Speech Code.”

Via The New York Times: “Man Who Hacked West Point and Government Websites Is Charged.” That’s Billy Ribeiro Anderson.

“Free College”

Via The Washington Post: “Maryland governor plans to sign free community college bill into law.”

The Business of Financial Aid

Via the BBC: “The man hired to run the Student Loans Company was appointed against officials’ advice and without having his references checked, a report says.” That’s Steve Lamey, who ran the British loan company, and who was fired for “gross misconduct” in late 2017.

There’s more financial aid-related news in the federal education section up top.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via Tom Vander Ark in Getting Smart: “Venture University: A Trade School for the Innovation Economy.” There’s no degree. “The tuition becomes an investment fund. Learners can earn tuition back and then some–or not, depending on how their investments fair.” Sounds legit.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Laureate Describes Its Shifted Focus.”

Meanwhile on Campus…

“If You’re Worried About Free Speech on Campus, Don’t Fear Students – Fear the Koch Brothers,” writes David Perry in Pacific Standard.

To be honest though, lots of folks should fear white women on campus:

Via NPR: “College Apologizes After Native American Students’ Visit Is Sidelined By Police.” That’s Colorado State University.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Yale Police Called on Black Student Taking a Nap.”

And another story from David Perry: “A Texas Principal and the Casual Criminalization of Race and Disability in Schools.”

“The University of Oregon is changing course evaluations to make them more useful and eliminate implicit bias,” says The Daily Emerald.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “AAUP says University of Nebraska-Lincoln violated Courtney Lawton’s academic freedom when it ended her teaching appointment over a high-profile political dispute on campus.” (Be sure to read Steve Kolowich’s coverage of this.)

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “UNC Rejects Faculty Panel’s Finding That Administrators Interfered in Critic’s Class on Sports.”

Via The Detroit Free Press: “Auditors probed U-M’s endowment years ago. Then delay, delay, delay.” U-M here is the University of Michigan.

Via The Wall Street Journal: “At Columbia University, Art Students Want Their Tuition Back.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “NYU’s Abu Dhabi Campus May Still Be Exploiting Workers, Report Says.”

Via Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Postscript on Rio Salado Coverage: Clarity about different outcome types.”

Via Wyofile: “College dumps transgender protections after GOP, community pressure.” That is Eastern Wyoming College.

Oh look. Another “banning laptops” story, this one from Ohio State University: “Professor Bans Laptops, Sees Grades Rise.”

“Which university or college will be the first to reach $100,000 per year?” asks Bryan Alexander.

Via The Atlantic: “One Ohio School’s Quest to Rethink Bad Behavior.”

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

Via Education Dive: “Stackable degrees could be the future of higher education, experts say.” “Experts.”


The College Board has called for extra security on the upcoming AP exams.

Go, School Sports Team!

Via ThinkProgress: “Michigan State admits Nassar sexually abused student-athletes, but says he didn’t break NCAA bylaws.”

There’s some more sports-related news in the “meanwhile on campus” section above.

Labor and Management

Edsurge talks with AFT head Randi Weingarten.

Via Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein: “Portentous Changes in Instructure’s Executive Management.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Nearpod Names Ed-Tech Veteran Maurice Heiblum to President, COO Post.”

Via NPR: “After 3-Day Strike, University Of California’s Service Workers Vow To Keep Fighting.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Duke Administrator’s Complaint About Music Apparently Got 2 Campus Baristas Fired.”

There’s more news on hirings and firings in the financial aid section above.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Is diversity hiring a threat to academic growth?asks Education Dive.

Can This AI-Powered Baby Translator Help Diagnose Autism?asks Wired.

Should Professors (a) Use Multiple Choice Tests or (b) Avoid Them At All Costs?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

Google’s got our kids,” says The Outline.

Google had a big event this week – you know, the one where tech journalists do the company’s marketing work for them by writing up every announcement made on stage in its own, separate article. (Some of the stories are in the “robots” section below.)

Chromebooks are ready for your next coding project,” says the Google blog.

Klout is closing. (Thanks GDPR!) However will Michael Petrilli and Rick Hess rank teachers now?

Via Boing Boing: “After the Boy Scouts opens up to trans kids, queer kids and girls, the Mormons severed their 105-year relationship to scouting.”

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

“A Google Assistant update will teach kids to say ‘please’,” says Techcrunch.

Google just announced an AI bot that could change teaching & learning…. consequences are both exciting & terrifying…” says Donald Clark.

Via The New York Times: “Facebook Adds A.I. Labs in Seattle and Pittsburgh, Pressuring Local Universities.” The privatization of research…

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Via Education Week: “Gates Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Team Up to Seek ‘State of the Art’ Ideas for Schools.” More via Peter Greene.

Sponsored content this week on Edsurge, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, includes this and this and this.

Edsurge covers the NewSchools Venture Fund Summit, a conference run by its investor NewSchools Venture Fund.

Via The New York Times: “What Charles Koch and Other Donors to George Mason University Got for Their Money.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Theranos Cost Business and Government Leaders More Than $600 Million.” Betsy DeVos and her family invested $100 million in the company. The Walton family invested $150 million. Rupert Murdoch invested $120 million. Carlos Slim invested $30 million. Gee, what is with some people and their penchant for backing fraudulent tech?!

LMS-maker Fuse Universal has raised $20 million from Eight Roads Ventures. The company has raised $30 million total.

Blockchain company Learning Machine has raised $3 million from PTB Ventures, Omidyar Network, and Learn Capital.

Shearwater has raised $600,000 from Rethink Education. The mentoring company has raised $1.2 million total.

Income-sharing agreement company Lumni has acquired two income sharing agreement companies, Base Capital and Paytronage.

Private equity firm Francisco Partners is acquiring Renaissance Learning and myON.

And on a side note, this article in Edsurge (penned by an investor) on “Where Edtech and Its Investors Miss the Mark” is a thing to behold. I’m not sure what my favorite part is. Perhaps it’s opening with a quotation that cannot definitively be attributed to William Butler Yeats (which could, indeed, explain why investors miss the mark: they don’t do good research).

More VC-related news: “The ASU + GSV Conference was More GSV than Ever – And That’s Good,” says Mindwire Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

Buzzfeed looks at how privacy laws curtail students’ access to information about perpetrators of sexual misconduct against them.

Via Edsurge: “COPPA Best Practices: Advice for Schools on Staying on the Right Side of the Law.”

More on that study on how Android apps violate COPPA via Appcensus.

There are some data security-related court cases in the legal section above.

Via The New York Times: “Scholars Have Data on Millions of Facebook Users. Who’s Guarding It?”

Research, “Research,” and Reports

Via EdWeek Market Brief: “Principals Report More Influence Over School Budgets Than Curriculum Choice in National Survey.”

Via Edsurge: “Streaming Platforms Show Promise – And Risks – For Developing Literacy In Preschoolers.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “New findings: college students actually perform worse with access to digital course-planning platforms that show how previous students performed.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Report finds that attacks on educational institutions and their students and employees appear to be on the rise.”

A new report from the NEPC: “Full-Time Virtual and Blended Schools: Enrollment, Student Characteristics, and Performance.”

What kinds of research matter to educators?asks Benjamin Doxtdator.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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