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 Forbes: “The Startup President: How France’s Macron Nearly Built An EdTech Company.” Ed-tech: where you don’t need an actual product idea for a company, and you can incubate your neoliberalism anyway.

Mick Zais has been confirmed as the Deputy Secretary of Education.

Via Education Week: “DeVos Team Considering Reshuffling of Education Department’s Main K–12 Office.”

Lots of Betsy DeVos-related for-profit higher education news in the for-profit higher ed section below.

Via Education Week: “FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal to Take Effect June 11, Worrying Schools.” More via Edsurge.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Career Training Groups Encouraged by Trump Pick for CTE Job.” That is, Scott Stump. And CTE here, to be clear, means career and technical education not chronic traumatic encephalopathy, although I would understand it if you were confused.

The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss with a clickbait-y headline: “Betsy DeVos went to New York to visit schools for the first time. Guess which ones.” I’ll save you the click – two private orthodox Jewish schools: Manhattan High School for Girls and the Yeshiva Darchei Torah Boys School.

Via The Yale Daily News: “Federal Office of Civil Rights investigates Yale” for too many programs that benefit women, or something.

(State and Local) Education Politics

State and local teachers’ protests are in the “labor and management” section below.

Via EdScoop: “Google adds new terms to comply with Connecticut student data privacy laws.”

Via NPR: “Illinois Imposes Sweeping Control Over Chicago’s Special Education Program.”

Local Indianapolis school politics via Chalkbeat: “The Mind Trust’s new CEO pledges to listen to critics and look to parents to lead changes.”

Via The New York Times: “L.G.B.T. Students in Oregon Were Bullied and Forced to Read Bible, Report Says.” That is, students in the North Bend School District.

Immigration and Education

Via Slate: “ICE claimed a Dreamer was ‘gang-affiliated’ and tried to deport him. A federal judge ruled that ICE was lying.”

Via NPR: “A DACA Recipient Graduates Amid Deportation Fears.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Texas System Apologizes for Revoking Nepali Students’ Scholarships.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Violate Your Student Visa? You’re Not Welcome Here.”

Education in the Courts

More about the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports gambling in the sports section below.

Via NPR: “Michigan State University Reaches $500 Million Settlement With Nassar Abuse Victims.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Textbook Authors Sue Cengage Over Subscription Model.” More via Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.

Via “KU student who hacked computers and changed his grades is convicted of 4 felonies.” That’s the University of Kansas.

“Free College”

Via Edsurge: “For Free Community College, Online Learning Isn’t Always Part of the Recipe for Success.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A two-year college in Ohio will award students a free second year of tuition if they successfully finish their first year while completing at least 30 credit hours.” That is, Marion Technical College.

The Business of Financial Aid

Via Inside Higher Ed: “How Parent PLUS Worsens the Racial Wealth Gap.”

Via Bustle: “I’ve Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000.”

“Examining Trends in Graduate Student Debt by Race and Ethnicity” by Seton Hall University professor Robert Kelchen.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via The New York Times: “Education Department Unwinds Unit Investigating Fraud at For-Profits.”

Via The New York Times: “A State Attorney General Calls Out Betsy DeVos on For-Profit Colleges.” That’s New Jersey’s AG, Gurbir S. Grewal.

David Halperin writes, “The once for-profit Art Institutes are now run by the non-profit, faith-based Dream Center. But they’re connected to the new Woz U and a web of for-profit companies – raising questions of conflict of interest and legal compliance.”

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

Via The Blade: “School that took ECOT students wants poor scores ignored.” ECOT is the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, a failed online charter school. The school that took the students when Ohio shut the former down, K12 Inc’s Ohio Virtual Academy – another institution with a pretty shoddy track record.

Via The Washington Post: “Don’t know the graduate next to you? You’re not alone. One-third of students take at least one class online.”

VCU’s Jon Becker on distance education as a “pot of gold” – parts 1 and 2.

The University of Rosario has joined edX.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via Willamette Week: “Marylhurst University Will Abruptly Announce Its Closure Today, In its 125th Year of Operation.” More on Marylhurst from Inside Higher Ed and from The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Note: Marylhurst was one of the experimental sites of the EQUIP program.)

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Catholic U. Plan, Which Could Result in Layoffs of Tenured Profs, Moves Ahead.”

Via The LA Times: “A USC doctor was accused of bad behavior with young women for years. The university let him continue treating students.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The accusations against Columbia International University President Mark Smith were shocking enough – a former university general counsel alleging that Smith covered up rampant sexual harassment and bigotry by his son when they were both employed by another religious college.”

Via Edsurge: “How Cornell University Diversified Its Incoming PhD Computer Science Student Body.”

The Atlantic on the University of Pennsylvania: “The Ivy League School That Won’t Talk About Its Most Famous Graduate.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After Years of State Budget Woes, the U. of Illinois Will Hire Hundreds of Faculty Members.”

Via NPR: “Spelman College Quietly Eliminates One Of The Country’s Few Jazz Programs For Women.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “This Is What Georgia Tech Thinks College Will Look Like in 2040.” Don’t worry. I’ll circle back around in a couple decades to check up on these predictions.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “UMass-Boston Faculty Votes No Confidence in System’s Leaders Over Purchase of Small College.”

Via The Washington Post: “ Teachers at a D.C. school say seniors’ absences were erased, prompting investigation.”

“The Radical Self-Reliance of Black Homeschoolingby The Atlantic’s Melinda D. Anderson.

Stanford’s Larry Cuban on Khan Lab School – part 1 and 2.

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

Via The Wall Street Journal: “One Year of ‘College’ With No Degree, But No Debt And a Job at the End” – and, I guess, no school either as this is a story on MissionU, which just closed its doors after being acquired. More on that in the “upgrade/downgrade” section below.

Speaking of unaccredited programs that seem to get lauded in the press, here’s The Chronicle of Higher Education on Runchero University, an unaccredited “utopian community based on cooperative living and practical skills”: “This Software Millionaire Is Building the Low-Tech College of His Dreams.” The rich guy in question: Kevin Runner.

Via Edsurge: “Why the Lumina Foundation Is Betting Big on New Kinds of Credentials.”


Via The Atlantic: “An SAT for CEOs.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Supreme Court’s decision permitting sports gambling creates a slew of issues for colleges, sports administrators and the NCAA, David Welch Suggs Jr. says.”

Labor and Management

Via NPR: “Before They Walk Into A Classroom, These New Teachers Will March On The N.C. Capitol.” More on why North Carolina teachers are protesting in The Washington Post.

Via In These Times: “Colorado Teachers Are Mad as Hell – And Now They’re out on Their First Strike in Decades.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Cornell Violated Federal Labor Law in Grad Assistant Union Election.”

Postdoctoral researchers at the University of Washington have voted to unionize.

Via The Kentucky Kernel: “ UK seeks to fire tenured journalism professor over sales of his own textbook.” The UK, in this headline, stands for the University of Kentucky. The professor in question: Buck Ryan. (If you Google him, you might surmise there’s a lot more going on here than just textbook sales.)

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Texas State U. Police Chief Resigns Amid Racial Tensions on Campus.”

An op-ed from someone from Kelly Services – you know, the temp agency – in Edsurge on “Why Solving the Teacher Shortage Is Critical for Edtech.”

The Business of Job Training

Via Campus Technology: “University of Washington Continuum College Launches Coding Boot Camp.” That is, the university has outsourced the teaching of JavaScript, Node.js, HTML, CSS, and jQuery to the for-profit company Trilogy Education.

Speaking of which, Inside Higher Ed writes, “Trilogy Education Services runs coding boot camps for a growing number of universities. The partnerships are lucrative for the institutions, but are they worth the reputational risk?”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Is the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative the Future of Philanthropy?asks the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

(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

College “alternative” startup MissionU enters the ed-tech deadpool. More on the ending in the venture capital section below. So many puff pieces in the ed-tech press about this – including one a week ago in The Wall Street Journal. So many people predicting this company would disrupt higher ed. How embarrassing for y’all.

Michael Horn writes in Edsurge about “Why Google Maps – not Netflix or Amazon – Points to the Future of Education.” Funny, it was just a few years ago that he wrote that, indeed, Netflix and Amazon did point the way.

It’s almost as though there are zero consequences in ed-tech for being full of shit.

Techcrunch with the corporate PR: “For Apple, this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day is all about education.” And another one: “Apple brings its coding lessons to schools for students who are blind and deaf.”

Different company, but same practice – tech journalism as marketing. Via Techcrunch: “Facebook launches Youth Portal to educate teens on the platform, how their data is being used.” The Verge tries to take a slightly skeptical angle: “If Facebook wants to appeal to teens, it might start by rethinking its new ‘Youth Portal’.”

Still more advertorial content.

The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino on “The Promise of Vaping and the Rise of Juul.” Bonus points, truly, for having a “mindfulness curriculum.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What a Controversy Over an App Tells Us About How Students Learn Now.” The app in question is Quizlet, a digital flash card tool that allows students to share their study notes. Because students have never been able to share notes or study together until this moment in history.

Rolin Moe is just on fire with this essay on the idea that “innovation should be an academic discipline.

Via The New York Times: “Assassin’s Creed Has a New Mission: Working in the Classroom.” (Compare/contrast with this pretty terrible piece on Fortnite.)

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

Despite the headlines, Google Duplex did not defeat “the Turing Test.” In fact, Axios suggests that Google might have staged the demo it gave of its new voice assistant. But questions about accuracy never stop ed-tech evangelists from pronouncing that new shiny things are the future of teaching.

Via Campus Technology: “Carnegie Mellon to Offer Undergrad AI Degrees.” Tune into my newsletter tomorrow when I blast a curriculum that offers no social sciences or humanities courses.

Via Techcrunch: "Starting a robotics company out of school? Not so fast, suggest investors.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Via Wired: “Musk, Zuckerberg, Bezos, and Ethically Iffy ‘Philanthropy’.”

Via the AP: “Bill Gates Gives $44M to Influence State Education Plans.”

There’s some CZI news in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section.

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

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

OpenClassrooms, a French MOOC provider according to Techcrunch, has raised $60 million from Bpifrance, General Atlantic, Alven Capital, and Citizen Capital. It has raised $69.7 million total.

Coding, a Chinese learn-to-code company, has raised $15 million from Tencent Holdings.

ClassWallet has raised $2.3 million from Sinovation Ventures, NewSchools Venture Fund, Florida Funders, Brentwood Associates, and Rainfall Capital. The financial management company has raised $6.3 million total.

Selected has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Propel Capital and Kapor Capital for its teacher-hiring software.

WeWork has acquired MissionU. (Among its other recent acquisitions: the Flatiron School and about $18 billion in rental contracts.) MissionU will close its doors.

Chegg has acquired WriteLab for $15 million.

Learn-to-code company Tynker has acquired Pythonroom.

Boxlight has acquired Cohuborate for $1.8 million.

Pluralsight has gone public, raising $310 million. Several more stories via Techcrunch.

“Why Was Springer Nature’s IPO Withdrawn?” asks The Scholarly Kitchen’s Roger Schonfeld.

Via Edsurge: “New Markets Venture Partners’ Latest Edtech Fund Closes at $68 Million.” Investors in the venture capital fund include ACT, Lumina Foundation, Strada Education Network, ECMC Group, and Prudential Financial.

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via Wired: “Congress, Privacy Groups Question Amazon’s Echo Dot for Kids.”

Via The Intercept: “Experts Say Keep Amazon’s Alexa Away From Your Kids.” So of course, it’ll be in classrooms everywhere.

Via “Machine learning algorithm is claimed to predict which students will drop out.”

Via The Epoch Times: “High School in China Installs Facial Recognition Cameras to Monitor Students’ Attentiveness.”

Coming soon to a school near you, this via the South China Morning Post: “China is mining data directly from workers’ brains on an industrial scale.” Sounds like “social emotional learning” to me!

It’s not really a privacy story, but I’m including it in this section nonetheless. An op-ed in The Hechinger Report by Lisa Petrides and Doug Levin: “A look at the ethics of public education in an increasingly digital world.”

Research, “Research,” and Reports

Via Crunchbase: “These Schools Graduate The Most Funded Startup CEOs.” Surprise surprise. Harvard, Stanford, and MIT top the list.

I’m not sure what this headline means, but hey. It’s an op-ed from venture capitalist Ryan Craig in Techcrunch: “Broadening education investments to full-stack solutions.” Are full-stack solutions compatible with “unbundling”? It’s so hard to keep the hoopla straight.

Via KQED’s Mindshift: “Hospitals See Growing Numbers Of Kids And Teens At Risk For Suicide.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “High-income kids seem to benefit more from educational videos more than low-income kids, study shows.”

Via Edsurge: “Report: Class of 2018 Has Better Job Prospects than Classes of 2009–2017, but Still Faces Challenges.”

The American Enterprise Institute has released a report on apprenticeships and community colleges.

Via Education Week: “The Average Teacher Spends $479 a Year on Classroom Supplies, National Data Show.” For what it’s worth, this is self-reported data.

The NEPC has released a new report on “full-time virtual and blended schools.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Yes, College Is ‘Worth It,’ One Researcher Says. It’s Just Worth More if You’re Rich.”

Via Chalkbeat: “As NYC encourages more elementary teachers to specialize in math, new research shows the strategy could hurt student learning.”

School funds should follow students, not protect institutions,” says Brookings Institution, echoing Betsy DeVos’s rhetoric so that’s interesting.

Via The Associated Press: “Schools See Steep Drop in Librarians, New Analysis Finds.”

Related: Education Week’s Ben Herold on a recent talk by USC professor Safiya Noble: “Schools Shouldn’t Trust Google Search Because It Reinforces Racism, Researcher Argues.”

You know that stat that folks like to toss around about the 30 million “word gap” experienced by poor children and children of color? Guess what…

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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