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 Atlantic: “The GOP’s Public-Education Dilemma.”

Via Politico: “Trump issues orders making it easier to fire federal employees.”

There’s more on the Department of Education’s awfulness on student debt relief in the financial aid section below.

Via The New York Times: “Sarah Huckabee Sanders Chokes Up at Student’s Question on Shootings.”

Via The Atlantic: “The Forgotten Girls Who Led the School-Desegregation Movement.”

Via The New York Times: “‘OMG This Is Wrong!’ Retired English Teacher Marks Up a White House Letter and Sends It Back.”

(State and Local) Education Politics

While most of the headlines this week about Puerto Rico addressed the fact that a Harvard study found the death toll from Hurricane Maria hit almost 5000, Edsurge runs with a happy story about the island: “Months After a Devastating Hurricane, Puerto Rican Schools Turn to the Sun.”

Via NPR: “Texas Governor Lays Out School Safety Plan In Wake Of Santa Fe Shooting.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Montgomery County, Maryland District Pulls RFP for Curriculum Decision Worth Millions.” That’s after the district discovered that someone involved in the RFP review process had plans to retire and go work for Discovery Education.

The Hechinger Report on personalized learning: “The massive experiment in New Orleans schools that few have noticed.”

Via NPR: “Preschools In Ghana’s Capital Challenge Call-And-Response System.”

Immigration and Education

Via Buzzfeed: “A Pilot And His Assistant Were Arrested For Trying To Deport A Student Back To China.” I don’t know if “deport” is the right verb here. Perhaps “kidnap” is more accurate.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Higher-Ed Groups Warn Against Visa Restrictions for Chinese Students.”

Via Pacific Standard: “Thousands of Children Have Suffered Abuse at the Hands of U.S. Border Protection Agents.”

Education in the Courts

Via the AP: “Court: Gov’t violated privacy law for defrauded students.”

There’s more legal wrangling in the financial aid section below.

Okay, this isn’t an education story per se, except the part where ed-tech seems so enthusiastic about the whole “neuromarketing” thing. (I think it’s called “social emotional learning” in education circles though.) Via The Guardian: “Food firms could face litigation over neuromarketing to hijack brains.”

“Free College”

Via NPR: “A Degree With Zero Student Debt. Does It Work?”

The Business of Financial Aid

Via The Washington Post: “Courts halt DeVos’s partial student debt relief plan.” More via Inside Higher Ed.

Via The Washington Post: “Trump administration to hand student debt collection to loan servicers, ending use of collectors.”

The Outline highlights the “Summer’s hottest dystopian crossover event is MoviePass and student loan debt”:

Refinance your debt with Laurel Road, and get a free annual MoviePass membership! A fabulous example of our healthy capitalist economy working its magic.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Mostly Positive Effects of a ‘Last-Dollar’ Scholarship.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via NPR: “New Jersey Attorney General On Investigating For-Profit Colleges.”

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

Via The Diplomat: “Online Learning in North Korea.”

Via Chalkbeat: “In Indiana’s Wild West of virtual charter schools, a new one is opening – on a farm.”

Via Education Week: “How an Online Tutor Became a ‘Math Celebrity’.”

Via Edsurge: “CSU and California Community Colleges Partner on a Tool to Find Transferable Online Courses.”

Meanwhile on Campus…

(From last Friday. This story broke as I was typing up my weekly news round-up.) Via Chalkbeat: “A student is in custody after Noblesville West Middle School shooting that injured another student and teacher.” Via The Washington Post: “‘Hero’ teacher released from hospital after Indiana school shooting, says congresswoman.”

Via The Outline: “I went to high school in a high-security fortress. You don’t want that for your kids.”

Via The New York Times: “For ‘Columbiners,’ School Shootings Have a Deadly Allure.”

“I was Jordan Peterson’s strongest supporter. Now I think he’s dangerous,” writes Bernard Schiff in The Star.

Via Journal & Courier: “As the waiting continued this week at Purdue University, President Mitch Daniels and the university’s trustees were keeping a low profile about their bid to take on management of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.” Wait, so Purdue is gonna run Kaplan and a nuclear lab? JFC.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How a Student Got Kicked Out of Class – and Became a Conservative Hero.”

Georgia State University must have a huge marketing budget. Or maybe the company it’s using for its predictive analytics programs – EAB, I think – does and that’s why we’re hearing all these stories.

New England College and the New Hampshire Institute of Art will merge.

Morthland College will close.


Genetic Intelligence Tests Are Next to Worthless,” says The Atlantic. Not that that’ll stop folks from hawking "precision education," of course.

Via TPM: “No Test Left Behind – How Pearson Made a Killing on the US Testing Craze.”

“How Can a Student Be ‘Proficient’ in One State But Not Another?” asks Edsurge. Spoiler alert: because states have different proficiency standards.

Via The Washington Post: “U.S. Education Department warns school districts to protect student privacy for SAT and ACT.”

Via the BBC: “A head teacher has been banned from the profession indefinitely after helping pupils cheat in their SATs. Karen Parker also bought them junk food for motivation and set off a fire alarm during exams at Robert Bruce Middle School in Kempston, Bedfordshire.”

News from Egypt in University World News: “Mandatory electronic marking system draws mixed response.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Via Buzzfeed: “These Basketball Players Sued Their College For Anti-Gay Discrimination – And Lost.” That would be Pepperdine University.

Via Education Week: “Gamers Are the New High School Athletes: The Rise of Esports.”

Via SportsDay: “Wealth vs. wins: Inside the economic disparity that separates some area baseball, softball teams from others.”

Labor and Management

Via The New York Times: “U.S.C. President Agrees to Step Down Over Scandal Involving Gynecologist.” And via The LA Times: “Nikias’ tenure as USC president was marked by growth and scandal.”

Former Kaplan exec Justin Serrano has been hired as the president of Schoology.

There’s more HR news in the testing section above.

The Business of Job Training

Via Edsurge: “Walmart Chooses Three Colleges Where Its Employees Can Study For $1 a Day.” That is: University of Florida, Brandman University, and Bellevue University. The offer applies to business and supply chain management degrees only. More on the story from The Atlantic.

Upgrades and Downgrades

Via Edsurge: “Teaching Kids Finance and Smart Spending With Cryptocurrency.” Does this curriculum teach kids about the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about centralized banking that are intertwined with cryptocurrency too? Just curious.

Via The San Francisco Chronicle: “As Juul vaping surges among teens, health concerns grow.”

Via Variety: “Valve Removes ‘Active Shooter’ Game and Its Developer From Steam.” (My god. I am going to have to make a “school shooting” section for this weekly news stuff, aren’t I.)

Via Techcrunch: “Roblox follows Minecraft into the education market.”

Via Wired: “With Venues, Oculus and Facebook Push Social VR Into New Territory.”

Via Edsurge: “How AR and VR are Being Used to Teach SEL.” Sponsored content from Newsela. (Among Newsela’s investors: the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, for those keeping track of who is hustling for VR in education.)

Speaking of SEL, here’s The Atlantic on “Teaching Sobriety With ‘The Bottle’.”

Via Venture Beat: “Fantage kids virtual world will shut after 10 years.”

“The Theranos Story and Education Technology” by John Warner.

Via Techcrunch: “Messenger Kids no longer requires the kids’ parents to be friends, too.”

“Where Has Teen Car Culture Gone?” asks The Atlantic.

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

Via Edsurge: “With a Siri-Like Assistant, this Australian U. Wants to Rethink the Student Experience.” This Australian U is Deakin University.

Maybe this story should go in the privacy section. Maybe it falls under Betteridge’s Law of Headlines. Via The South China Morning Post: “China’s schools are quietly using AI to mark students’ essays … but do the robots make the grade?”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Amazon’s Alexa: Not Yet as Smart as a 5-Year-Old Child.” LOL. “Yet.”

Via Science: “How researchers are teaching AI to learn like a child.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Via The Guardian: “The trouble with charitable billionaires.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Undeterred by Criticism, Koch Foundation Increases Spending in Higher Education.”

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

Via the Non-Profit Quarterly: “Gates Foundation Marches to Its Own Drummer – Right Through our Schools.”

Via Fortune: “Why Melinda Gates Has Been Funding Female VCs Through Her Secretive Investment Firm.”

DonorsChoose data scientist Barbara Cvenić gives some insight into the kinds of things teachers request on the funding platform. Roombas, for example. And refridgerators. (LOL.)

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

Trilogy Education has raised $50 million from Highland Capital Partners, Macquarie Capital, and Exceed Capital. The coding bootcamp has raised $80 million total.

Learnosity has raised $18.8 million from Battery Ventures. The assessment company has raised over $52 million total.

SelfStudy has raised $3 million from the International Anesthesiology Research Society.

GoGuardian raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Sumeru Partners.

2U has raised another round of funding by selling stock – some $330 million worth.

Via Edsurge: “Acquisition Autopsy: Details – and Questions – Behind MissionU’s $4M Sale to WeWork.”

Kaltura has acquired Rapt Media.

ECS Learning Systems has acquired PREPWORKS.

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Most Ed-Tech Products Don’t Meet Minimum Criteria in Their Privacy Policies, Report Finds.”

This on “predictive algorithms” is terrible, and I apologize for linking to it.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

There’s more research on testing and on financial aid in the testing and financial aid sections above, respectively.

Via “The Business of Ed-Tech: May 2018 Funding Data.”

Via Techcrunch: “Here is where CEOs of heavily funded startups went to school.” I bet you will never guess where.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Moody’s: Declining Enrollment Is Squeezing Tuition Revenue.”

Via Pew: “Teens, Social Media, & Technology 2018.”

Via Chalkbeat: “D.C.’s private school voucher program hurt low-income students’ math test scores, according to federal study.”

Via Education Week: “Fortnite May Be Addictive, But Could Also Promote Learning, Say Stanford Experts.”

“Asking the Wrong Question About Personalized Learningby Frederick Hess.

Via NPR: “Let’s Stop Talking About The ‘30 Million Word Gap’.”

Via Business Insider: “The famous Stanford ‘marshmallow test’ suggested that kids with better self-control were more successful. But it’s being challenged because of a major flaw.”

Via Edsurge: “Believe and You Can Achieve? Researchers Find Limited Gains From Growth Mindset Interventions.” (I can’t wait ’til the “replicability crisis” comes for the mindset and grit hype.)

Via DML Central: “Google Report Reveals State of K–12 Computer Science Education.”

Via WaPo: “New polls find most Americans say teachers are underpaid – and many would pay higher taxes to fix it.”

Also via WaPo: “Are American kids happy in school? New data tells a surprising story.”

New research on hot classrooms via NBER: “We provide the first evidence that cumulative heat exposure inhibits cognitive skill development and that school air conditioning can mitigate this effect.”

Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends. (I haven’t looked to see how closely this follows the Kleiner Perkins investment portfolio. But as always, take these “trends” with a grain of salt. Some people tell stories about the future because that’s where they think they’re going to profit.)

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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