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: “DeVos Says There’s One Thing Her School-Safety Commission Won’t Be Studying: Guns.” Also via The Atlantic: “The Trump Administration’s Approach to School Violence Is More Style Than Substance.”

The Department of Education plans to shutter its cafeteria, once known by the lovely name of EDibles. (Probably afraid EPA head Scott Pruitt was going to start dining there now that he’s been banned from the White House mess hall.)

Via E&E News: “Cabinet heads told to praise Paris exit. ‘No exceptions’.” Good job, Betsy. A+ for compliant behavior.

The US Senate has confirmed Kenneth L. Marcus to serve as Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights. Remarks from the Secretary of Education on the confirmation.

(State and Local) Education Politics

Chalkbeat with the scoop: “De Blasio’s plan to overhaul admissions at elite – and segregated – high schools.” That’s high schools in NYC in case you don’t recognize the mayor’s surname. Via The New York Times: “De Blasio Proposes Changes to New York’s Elite High Schools.” More on the plan from Chalkbeat.

Via KPCC: “LAUSD may try again to give an iPad or computer to every student.”

The Orlando Sentinel on what students are learning in some of Florida’s voucher schools: “Private schools’ curriculum downplays slavery, says humans and dinosaurs lived together.”

The Atlantic on psychiatric hospitals in Illinois: “The Kids Who Are Cleared to Leave Psychiatric Hospitals – But Can’t.”

Via The Charlotte Observer: “NC legislators advance bills putting God and cursive in schools, expanding charter takeovers.”

Elsewhere in North Carolina, Dana Goldstein reports for The NYT on “What Budget Cuts Mean for Third Graders in a Rural School.”

Via Democracy Now: “Puerto Rico Is a ‘Playground for the Privileged’: Investors Move In as Homes Foreclose & Schools Close.”

Via Chalkbeat: “In contentious interview, Betsy DeVos’ husband Dick DeVos says ‘everybody wins’ with charter schools.” (The interview was part of a VICE documentary on the effect charter schools have had in Michigan.)

An update from LA School Report on Tuesday’s primary elections in California: “California primary results: Newsom and Cox advance to November’s gubernatorial race; Tuck leads Thurmond in battle for state superintendent.”

Immigration and Education

Via The New York Times: “‘It’s Horrendous’: The Heartache of a Migrant Boy Taken From His Father.”

Education in the Courts

Via The San Francisco Chronicle: “Judge Aaron Persky, who ruled in sex assault case, recalled in Santa Clara County.” The case in question: Brock Turner, the Stanford athlete that many felt was given a too-lenient sentence for attempting to rape an unconscious woman.

The Business of Financial Aid

Via The Atlantic: “The Confusing Information Colleges Provide Students About Financial Aid.”

Via The New York Times: “The Cost of Going Back to School as an Adult.”

Via NPR: “We Now Know A Lot More About Students Who Receive Federal College Grants.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The number of career colleges and the number of credentials they award have dropped by roughly 20 percent in the last four years, new data from the U.S. Education Department show.”

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

Via Edsurge: “Andrew Ng Is Probably Teaching More Students Than Anyone Else on the Planet. (Without a University Involved.)” (I think it’s probably Big Bird and friends, but hey. Hype men gonna hype.)

Meanwhile on Campus…

Here’s How Higher Education Dies – A futurist says the industry may have nowhere to go but down. What does the slide look like?” – that’s Bryan Alexander interviewed by The Atlantic.

Here’s how higher education dies – you let Niall Ferguson drive the narrative about “free speech” and intellectual honesty on campus. Via The Stanford Daily: “Leaked emails show Hoover academic conspiring with College Republicans to conduct ‘opposition research’ on student.” Via Inside Higher Ed: “Niall Ferguson Resigns From Stanford Speaker Series Post Over Leaked Emails.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Questions on Michigan’s Investment Tactics.” That’s the University of Michigan to be clear.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “UVa Library’s Plan to Cut Stacks by Half Sparks Faculty Concerns.” (Contrary to the headline, from what I hear from my friends at UVa, most faculty, students, and librarians seem to support this move.)

Via The New York Times: “Columbia University Is Cited for a Cracked Building Facade, Inviting Memories of a 1979 Death.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Mizzou’s Freshman Class Shrank by a Third Over 2 Years. Here’s How It’s Trying to Turn That Around.”

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

Via Inside Higher Ed: “After becoming the first public college in California to lose accreditation, Compton College is preparing to stand on its own once again.”


Via The Hechinger Report (and related to a lot of the goings-on in the local education news section above): “How one test kept New York City high schools segregated.”

“So Long, SAT Essay. Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out” by John Warner.

Khan Academy launches free Official LSAT Prep,” says the Khan Academy blog.

Labor and Management

Gotta love corporate blog entries with headlines like “Continuing on our journey.” That is, the latest from Blackboard announcing a string of changes to executive roles.

Adjunct faculty at Nazareth College have voted to unionize.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Southern Illinois U. May Be About to Fire Its President.”

“collapse porn: MLA edition” by Alex Reid.

The Business of Job Training

Via Techcrunch: “Udacity and Google launch free career courses for interview prep, resume writing and more.”

The head of the OECD’s education division, Andreas Schleicher, writes in The Hill about “Educating students for the fourth industrial revolution.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “How Silicon Valley schools are trying to boost lower-income students into high-tech jobs.”

Via the Google blog: “Teaching coding, changing lives: supports MolenGeek.”

Via The 74: “Ripple, Blockchain-Based Payment Network, to Grant $50M to 17 Universities for Blockchain, Cryptocurrency Research, Workforce Development.”

Upgrades and Downgrades

Here’s how you do clickbait. You put a celebrity in the headline when he’s really not connected to the idea. You make broad and unprovable claims. Via Forbes, the king of clickbait: “Elon Musk-funded XPRIZE Is One Step Closer To Ending Global Illiteracy.”

This is also how you do clickbait, I suppose. Via Philadelphia Magazine: “This Quaker Sex Ed Teacher Says Your Kids Need to Be Porn-Literate.”

Via Motherboard: “Twitter Is Banning Anyone Whose Date of Birth Says They Joined Before They Were 13.”

Via Techcrunch: “GitLab’s high-end plans are now free for open source projects and schools.” (Yes, GitLab is a competitor of GitHub – and there’s some big GitHub news in the funding section below. A well-timed press release, hoping for some tech churnalism. Seems like it worked out.)

Apple had a big press event this week. Among the education-related news: “Apple unveils new screen time controls for children,” says Techcrunch. “Apple’s New Focus: Student ID Cards,” says Inside Higher Ed. (More in the privacy/security section below on the implications of this.)

Inside Higher Ed on Facebook’s plans to partner with community colleges to teach digital literacy. Here’s how the Des Moines Register wrote about Des Moines Area Community College’s involvement: “Facebook chooses Iowa college for rare digital marketing education partnership.” Hi schools. If your marketing department thinks this is a good idea, if your media studies department thinks this is a good idea, tell them to read more.

Via The New York Times: “Steam, After Pulling School Shooter Game, Says It Will Sell Nearly Everything.”

Via Edsurge: “Thunkable Launches Cross-Platform App Maker That Lets Kids Drag, Drop and Build.”

Via The New York Times: “Edcamps: The ‘Unconferences,’ Where Teachers Teach Themselves.” No mention of how corporations flood these events with their products and pitches.

“Some Thoughts on OERby Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “LearnZillion Going After District Curriculum Business, Aims to Compete With Big Publishers.”

Via Edsurge: “Amplify’s Been Quiet. Here’s Where CEO Larry Berger Says It’s Going in 2018.” That’s Amplify, formerly Wireless Generation, formerly NewsCorp’s education division.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “How Textbook Rentals Undercut Students.”

Via Mashable: “Amazon wants to send your kiddos science and tech toys for $20 a month.”

Copy Machines in Libraries Are ‘Going the Way of the Dodo’ – Slowly,” says Edsurge.

Via the Getting Smart blog: “Incubating EdTech: AT&T Announces 4th Aspire Accelerator Class.” No matter how bad things get in ed-tech, someone still wants to fund more startups. See also,from the press release: “ETS and LearnLaunch to Fund Edtech Startups.”

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

Via The Verge: “MIT fed an AI data from Reddit, and now it only thinks about murder.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Via CNBC: “Billionaire conservative donor David Koch to retire from Koch Industries, influential political network.”

Via Counterpunch: “Billionaires Want Poor Children’s Brains to Work Better.”

Sponsored content on Edsurge this week, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, includes this on “student voice and choice.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “$100M Gift to National U for ‘Social Emotional Learning’.” The money comes from South Dakota businessman T. Denny Sanford, whose company – checks notes – sells social emotional learning curriculum to schools.

Via The 74: “Michael Bloomberg Pledges $375 Million to Help Prepare Students for College and Careers.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

PlayVS has raised $15 million to bring “esports infrastructure to high schools.” Investors in the round include New Enterprise Associates, Science, CrossCut Ventures, Coatue Management, Cross Culture Ventures, the San Francisco 49ers, Nas, Michael Dubin (Dollar Shave Club founder ), and Kevin Lin (co-founder of Twitch). The company has raised $15.7 million total.

Microsoft has acquired GitHub. Here’s the NYT headline: “Microsoft Buys GitHub for $7.5 Billion, Moving to Grow in Coding’s New Era.”

Curriculum maker Lincoln Learning Solutions has acquired curriculum maker Evan-Moor Corporation.

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via The New York Times: “Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends.” I’m sure this is covered in that Facebook-created digital literacy curriculum folks are cooing about.

Via Education Week: “‘Impenetrable’ World of Student Data Brokers a Major Concern, Study Says.” More on the report from Bill Fitzgerald.

Via Connecticut Public Radio: “School Districts Struggle To Comply With New Student Data Privacy Law.”

Via The Intercept: “Face Recognition Is Now Being Used in Schools, but It Won’t Stop Mass Shootings.”

Via The Washington Post: “ Unproven facial-recognition companies target schools, promising an end to shootings.”

Via Edsurge: “Apple’s New Digital Student IDs Raise Questions About Security.”

An op-ed in The New York Times by Alvaro M. Bedoya, the former chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, on data as “A License to Discriminate.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Lobbying group for independent colleges says it’s open to expanding federal data collection on student outcomes but remains opposed to student-level database favored by public colleges and many policy makers.” That’s the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

How Do We Know If Ed Tech Even Works?asks Education Week.

This isn’t really new news, but I’ll put it here nonetheless as it’s something to pay attention to. “The Research Network On The Determinants Of Life Course Capabilities And Outcomes” from the Center for the Economics of Human Development. Genetics, psychology, and statistics working together to measure people. The genetics of “grit,” if you will.

Via The Atlantic: “Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test.” More on the marshmallow test from Daniel Willingham.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What would Noam Chomsky, Deepak Chopra, a very friendly robot, plus a bevy of scientists, mystics, and wannabe scholars do at a fancy resort in Arizona? Perhaps real harm to the field of consciousness studies, for one thing.”

“Global Demand for Mobile Computing Devices in K–12 Grows, Powered by U.S. Market” – or so predicts Futuresource Consulting, according to EdWeek’s Market Brief.

More on the latest Pew study on teens and social media – I noted it in last week’s round-up – in Education Week and by Bryan Alexander.

“What the Mary Meeker slides mean for the future of education,” according to Bryan Alexander. For those keeping track at home, here are the investments that her venture capital firm, KPCB, has made in the future of education.

Via Pacific Standard: “Suicide Rates Have Increased Across the U.S. Since 1999.”


I feel as though I’d be remiss to not include here a person who taught us so much about the world. I doubt he considered himself an educator. He was a storyteller and a provocateur. Dammit, I adored him. RIP Anthony Bourdain.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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