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.

Immigration and Education

“The Trump administration is committing violence against children,” says UVA professor James Coan in The Washington Post – that is, of course, by separating them from their parents and placing them in jail.

Via The Houston Chronicle: “Explainer: Must immigrant parents, children be separated at the border?”

Via Vox’s Dara Lind: “What Obama did with migrant families vs. what Trump is doing.”

Via ProPublica: “Listen to Children Who’ve Just Been Separated From Their Parents at the Border.”

Via Reveal: “Immigrant children forcibly injected with drugs, lawsuit claims.”

Via Wired: “How a Child Moves Through a Broken Immigration System.”

Via The Washington Post: “ Inside Casa Padre, the converted Walmart where the U.S. is holding nearly 1,500 immigrant children.”

Separating Kids From Their Families Can Permanently Damage Their Brains,” writes The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan.

The Naples Daily News on a lawsuit by the SPLC over schools blocking immigrant students from attending: “This teen is one of about 200 immigrant students who have been excluded from Collier County high schools.”

Via The Atlantic: “The Overlooked Children Working America’s Tobacco Fields.”

After someone noticed that Microsoft had boasted that it was working with ICE, Nitasha Tiku says that “Microsoft’s Ethical Reckoning Is Here.”

Via The Mercury News: “23andme donating DNA kits to help reunite migrant families.” Ah yes, trust Silicon Valley to make a terrible situation even worse.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Britain Makes It Easier for Chinese Students to Get Visas.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The number of universities contracting with corporate entities to recruit for and manage first-year programs for international students keeps growing. As competition increases, institutions report mixed results with the model.”

(National) Education Politics

White House to Propose Merging Education, Labor Departments,” The Wall Street Journal reports. Betsy DeVos’s statement. Via The Washington Post: “Merging the Labor and Education departments won’t accomplish much, say experts.” “Trump’s education department merger plan echoes Indiana priorities under Pence, Holcomb,” Chalkbeat notes. “The Dept. of Ed. Reorganization Plan is Out. Where Is the Office of EdTech?” asks Edsurge. Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Brief History of GOP Attempts to Kill the Education Dept.” Still more on the proposal from Inside Higher Ed, from The Chronicle of Higher Education, from Education Week, and from Edsurge.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Education Department announces a second yearlong delay of some gainful-employment disclosures as DeVos works on a do-over of the vocational education rule.”

There’s more Department of Education news in the financial aid and accreditation sections below.

Via ProPublica: “DeVos Has Scuttled More Than 1,200 Civil Rights Probes Inherited From Obama.”

Via Reuters: “U.S. quits U.N. human rights body, citing bias vs. Israel, alarming critics.”

Via The Verge: “Trump directs DOD to establish a Space Force in a surprise announcement today.” Really looking forward to Space Force Academy. (Ron Howard voiceover: she was not really looking forward to Space Force Academy.)

From the Department of Education press release: “Federal Commission on School Safety Meeting to Focus on the Effects of Entertainment, Media, Cyberbullying and Social Media on Violence and Student Safety.” Notice anything missing from that list? Starts with a g? Ends with -uns?

Via ProPublica: “HUD Is Failing to Protect Children From Lead Paint Poisoning, Audits Find.”

Via The Guardian: “Algeria shuts internet to prevent students cheating during exams.”

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via Education Week: “This Is What Hundreds of School Closures in Puerto Rico Looks Like.”

Via NPR: “Closures Of Schools In Puerto Rico Complicate Family Life.”

Via the Journal Sentinel: “More than 300 Kettle Moraine parents sign petition against online learning platform.” That’s a school district in Wisconsin, and the learning software in question is the Summit Learning Platform, created by the Summit charter school chain and built by Facebook and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Colorado May Drop ‘Liberal’ From ‘Liberal Education’.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “Summer learning programs are too expensive for many of Mississippi’s kids.”

Education Week on an initiative in the San Francisco school district: “A Bold Effort to End Algebra Tracking Shows Promise.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “Louisiana ends policy that held thousands of students back a grade or more.”

Andre Perry on public transportation in DC: “The route school buses can take toward racial equity.”

Via The New Yorker: “The Complex Disadvantages Underlying New York City’s Specialized-High-School Dilemma.”

Via NPR: “NYC Mayor On Diversity Problems With City’s Elite Public High Schools.”

Via The Casper Star Tribune: “ Remains of Northern Arapaho boy will be returned to Wyoming after a century in boarding school graveyard.” (So yeah. The US has a long history of separating children from their parents and sending them to violent institutions.)

Education in the Courts

Via Techdirt: “Court Says Probation Violations By Teen Don’t Justify On-Demand Warrantless Searches Of His Electronics.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Washington Settles Campus Republicans’ Free-Speech Lawsuit for $127,000.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Supreme Court of Canada says law society acted reasonably in denying approval to proposed Christian law school with a code of conduct prohibiting same-sex sexual activity.”

There are more court cases in the immigration section above and in the financial aid section below.

“Free College”

“Long-shot gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon takes aim at New York’s free tuition program, calling for a lower income limit, less stringent credit requirements and a first-dollar program,” says Inside Higher Ed.

The Business of Financial Aid

Via The Washington Post: “Judge rejects DeVos’s interpretation of order to halt partial student debt relief plan.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Crisis-level student loan default rates among black borrowers and those who attended for-profits cannot be explained fully by students’ backgrounds, study finds, including measures of income, employment and parental wealth.”

Via The Washington Post: “Are Betsy DeVos’s policies exacerbating racial inequities in student debt? These lawmakers think so.”

“An ambitious college affordability plan released by the Center for American Progress Wednesday would aim to guarantee that no student has to borrow to pay for their education,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Woolf University: the Airbnb of higher education or a sheep in wolf’s clothing?” asks Tony Bates.

There’s more for-profit related news in the national politics and in the financial sections above.

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

To borrow from Jello Biaffra, “MOOCs aren’t dead, they just deserve to die.”

From Edsurge: “How Blockbuster MOOCs Could Shape the Future of Teaching.”

Via Class Central: “Udacity Completes the Switch to Term-based Scheduling for Its Nanodegrees.”

Also via Class Central: “Coursera Lets Instructors A/B Test Their Courses, Experiments With Automated Coaching.”

There’s more MOOC-related news in the nanodegree section below.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via The Investigative Fund: “How Elite Charter Schools Exclude Minorities.” More in The Hechinger Report.

“Has Your School Been Investigated for Civil Rights Violations?” asks ProPublica, and you can answer that question via the publication’s new database containing “status of all of the civil rights cases that have been resolved during the past three years, as well as pending investigations.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Ohio State Shuts Down Office That Helped Sexual-Assault Victims.”

Via The New York Times: “New York’s Elite Girls’ Schools Are Starting to Admit Transgender Students.”

Via the BBC: “University includes Rommel quote in email to students.” That’s the University of Exeter offering what it thought was a motivational message. (!!??)

Via The Seattle Times: “Evergreen State College is updating after protests, decline in enrollment.”

College Admissions Will Never Be Fair,” says “MathBabe” Cathy O’Neil.

Via The Atlantic: “Harvard’s Impossible Personality Test.”

Via CTV News: “Yukon College set to become Canada’s first northern university.”

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

“The U.S. Department of Education is preparing to take a "deep dive" into accreditation, Diane Auer Jones, a special adviser to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, said Tuesday,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via the Udacity blog: “Introducing the Udacity Blockchain Developer Nanodegree Program.” Also via that blog: “Udacity’s School of Artificial Intelligence Opens the New Deep Reinforcement Learning Nanodegree Program for Enrollment.” I’m curious what “deep reinforcement learning” is, but have zero interest in paying money for a nanodegree.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Accreditor Places Sweet Briar on Warning Status.”

There’s an accreditation-related court case in the legal news section above.


Via Inside Higher Ed: “Eight private schools in Washington area – including St. Albans and Sidwell Friends – announce they will stop offering Advanced Placement courses.”

Via The New York Times: “A.P. World History Tries to Trim Thousands of Years, and Educators Revolt.”

Via The New York Times: “What Is the SHSAT Exam? And Why Does It Matter?”

There’s more testing news in the national politics section above.

Labor and Management

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Brown Agrees to Grad Union Election Terms.”

Via The New York Times: “For First Time, New York City Teachers Will Get Paid Parental Leave.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “MIT Clears Junot Díaz to Teach.”

There’s more labor news in the immigration section above. And, of course, there’s the proposal on merging the Departments of Education and Labor – that’s in the national politics section up top.

The Business of Job Training

Via Techcrunch: “Patriot Boot Camp wants to turn soldiers into entrepreneurs.”

Personalized learning” now includes working on a goat farm apparently.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Is AI disrupting higher education?asks Education Dive.

Can an AR and VR Pilot Program From Google Prepare Kids for Future Careers?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

“Can You Put a Score On a Student’s ‘Agility’ or ‘Diligence’?” asks Edsurge. “A New Service Tries It.” That is, a new behavioral testing product from Cerego, which also announced it would launch a “skill” for the Amazon Alexa surveillance device.

Speaking of pseudoscientific products, Education Week reports that “DeVos-Supported ‘Brain-Performance’ Company Loses Appeal Over Misleading Advertising.” That’s Neurocore which has claimed it can treat autism and ADD.

All this pseudoscience is, of course, part of the “social emotional learning” hype. Case in point: “A Growth Mindset Isn’t Enough. It’s Time for a Benefit Mindset,” says commentary in Education Week. Or this one: “A Growth Mindset Can Reduce the Gender Gap in STEM,” claims Coursera’s blog.

Via The MIT Technology Review: “School lockdowns are so prevalent that companies are making apps to help teachers manage them.” (Guess what’s going to be one of the "top ed-tech trends" this year?)

Microsoft backpedals on VR promise,” says Techcrunch. Viva la VR revolución!

Speaking of Microsoft… “GitHub’s New Education Bundle Equips Students With Industry-Standard Coding Tools,” says Edsurge.

There’s more Microsoft news in the immigration section above and in the acquisition section below. I’d love to hear any folks involved with the company’s education-related products speak out about the ICE connection, eh?

Via TorrentFreak: “YouTube’s Piracy Filter Blocks MIT Courses, Blender Videos, and More.”

Via Techcrunch: “Sesame Workshop will produce children’s shows for Apple.”

Via NPR’s Anya Kamenetz: “A Guide To Parental Controls For Kids’ Tech Use.”

“The Dangers of Distracted Parenting” – according to The Atlantic.

Via Edsurge: “Facebook Expands Digital Training Initiative with College Partnerships in Chicago.”

Ben Williamson on Pearson: “Edu-business as usual – market-making in higher education.”

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

Via The Guardian: “‘This is awful’: robot can keep children occupied for hours without supervision.”

There’s another robot story this week but since the headline was in the form of a question, it’s not in this section.

(Venture) Philanthropy, Foundations, and the Business of Education Reform

Via Chalkbeat: “The Gates Foundation bet big on teacher evaluation. The report it commissioned explains how those efforts fell short.”

Via Techcrunch: “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative hires to donate tech, not just money.” The new hires: Jonathan Goldman, formerly of Level Up Analytics and Intuit (and Khan Academy board member) and Phil Smoot, formerly of Microsoft.

Via “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative partners with Philly DA’s office on tech, data.”

Walton Family Foundation Unveils New $100M Effort to Support School Diversity, Inclusion, and Innovation,” says Walton-backed publication The 74.

Via The New York Times: “How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country.” See also: How the Koch Brothers are killing public education and academic freedom around the country.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Motivated by 2017 violence in Charlottesville, Lumina Foundation adds racial justice to grant making, which has focused heavily on college completion.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

VIPKID has raised $500 million from Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, Tencent Holdings, Sinovation Ventures, Northern Light Venture Capital, Learn Capital, YF Capital, Coatue Management, and Bryant Stibel Investments. The tutoring company has raised $825 million total.

Sphero has raised $12.1 million from Walt Disney and Mercato Partners. The educational toy-maker has raised $119.5 million total.

TinyTap has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Reinvent VC, Radiant Venture Capital, Aleph, and Inimiti. The educational app-maker has raised $9.1 million total.

Microsoft has acquired Flipgrid.

2U has acquired CritiqueIt.

Degreed has acquired Pathgather.

Vista Higher Learning has acquired SANTILLANA USA.

Pharos Capital has acquired CCME School.

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via DML Central: “Scientists Seek Genetic Data to Personalize Education.” Honestly, I prefer the version of “personalized learning” that involves the goat farm (see the job training section above).

Via the ACLU: “Facial Recognition Cameras Do Not Belong in Schools.”

There’s more surveillance-related tech in the “upgrade/downgrade” section above.

Via The Telegraph: “University students’ data to be shared with private companies.” Surprise, surprise, “private companies” here would include Pearson.

Via Wrench in the Gears: “Childhood Captured: Pay for Success and Surveillance Pre-K Play Tables.”

Sponsored content on Edsurge, paid for by Newsela: “Building Social Connections for LGBTQ Students with Data and Tech-Enhanced Curriculum.”

Some privacy and security tips from the K–12 Cybersecurity Resource Center: “Must-Have Technology Gear to Bring to ISTE 2018.”

Via EdTech Strategies: “Scholastic Makes Misleading Privacy, Security Claims in Services Directed to Children.”

I don’t really know which section is best for this story on Julia Kristeva, literary theorist and alleged collaborator and spy. So surveillance section it is.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

There’s more research on lead poisoning in the national politics section above. There’s more research on student loan debt in the business of financial aid section above. There’s more research on how the Gates Foundation throws its money around in the venture philanthropy section above.

Via Education Week: “20% of Educators Say They’ve Been Sexually Harassed or Assaulted at Work.”

Also via Education Week: “To Make Ends Meet, 1 in 5 Teachers Have Second Jobs.”

Via Chalkbeat: “More bullying reported at New York City schools, study shows.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Employment and Debt of 2008 College Graduates.”

Via Chalkbeat: “Teaching more black or Hispanic students can hurt observation scores, study finds.”

“Young people ‘see cannabis as safer than alcohol’,” says the BBC.

Via Wired: “WHO Calls Gaming Disorder an Illness. Experts Say Not So Fast.”

Via The Atlantic: “The College-Graduation Problem All States Have.”

Via Campus Technology: “Survey: 7 in 10 People Don’t Believe Online Classes Can Provide a ‘True College Experience’.”

Another survey written up by Campus Technology: “Two-Thirds of Online Students Do Some Coursework on a Mobile Device.”

Via The 74: “New Research: Despite Great Enthusiasm for Personalized Learning, Teachers Say Attempts to Innovate Are Often Stymied by School District Bureaucracy.” This research, for what it’s worth, is from the Center on Reinventing Public Education, which is happy to find any excuse to talk about public school bureaucracy, no doubt.

“Some new data on learning stylesfrom UVA professor Daniel Willingham.

“Study shows VR increases learning,” says Donald Clark.

Via NPR: “It’s Easier To Call A Fact A Fact When It’s One You Like, Study Finds.”

Via Vox: “The Stanford Prison Experiment was massively influential. We just learned it was a fraud.” Perhaps we should put a moratorium on all invocations of famous psych studies. I propose we start with Bloom’s 2 Sigma claims.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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