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 NPR: “A History Of The Department Of Education.”

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via The New York Times: “California Passes Sweeping Law to Protect Online Privacy.” The law forestalled a proposed ballot initiative with much stricter language. “Google, Facebook, Verizon, Comcast and AT&T each contributed $200,000 to a committee opposing the proposed ballot measure, and lobbyists had estimated that businesses would spend $100 million to campaign against it before the November election.”

“Here’s what you need to know about CPS’ new $3 million ‘Student Protections’ office,” according to Chalkbeat. (CPS is the Chicago Public Schools, for those not up on their acronyms.)

Via Chalkbeat: “What the primary results in Colorado’s governor’s race mean for education.”

Via Education Week: “A bill shielding what is now Ohio’s largest online school and its sponsor from the negative consequences of accepting thousands of former Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow students is headed to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.” The school in question: Ohio Virtual Academy, owned by K12 Inc.

Via Chalkbeat: “Leadership shake-up at Newark schools as officials are forced to resign or be fired.”

Via Chalkbeat: “When Denver stopped lunch-shaming, debt from unpaid meals skyrocketed.”

Via Wired: “How the Startup Mentality Failed Kids in San Francisco.”

Immigration and Education

Via ProPublica: “The Immigrant Children’s Shelters Near You.”

Also via ProPublica: “Here’s What It’s Like to Work at a Shelter for Immigrant Kids.”

Via The Dallas News (one of many publications I cannot access from here in Europe, incidentally, so I think this is the headline): “Charter School Founded by Southwest Key Wants to Educate Immigrant Kids Housed in Its Shelters.”

Torn Apart / Separados” – “A rapidly deployed critical data & visualization intervention in the USA’s 2018 ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’ for asylum seekers at the US Ports of Entry and the humanitarian crisis that has followed.” Wired on the project: “‘ICE Is Everywhere’: Using Library Science to Map the Separation Crisis.”

There’s more immigration news in the courts section and in the “labor and management” section below.

As the Republican party backs the separation of migrant children from their parents and the indefinite detention of migrant families, this “appreciation” sure seems tone-deaf.

Education in the Courts

The New York Times on Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, No. 16–1466: “Supreme Court Ruling Delivers a Sharp Blow to Labor Unions.” More from Inside Higher Ed and from Edsurge and from Education Week.

(I suppose this could go in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section, but I’ll keep all the Janus related news here, I guess.) “Is This Supreme Court Decision The End Of Teachers Unions?” asks NPR’s Anya Kamenetz.

Teachers’ activism will survive the Janus Supreme Court ruling,” says historian Sherman Dorn in The Conversation.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Supreme Court Upholds Trump’s Travel Ban.”

I don’t know about you but when I got the push notice on my phone about this news, I almost barfed: Justice Kennedy is retiring. Inside Higher Ed on “The Impact of Justice Kennedy”: “He wrote key decisions on affirmative action and other topics that matter to colleges. Kennedy’s departure could erase the Supreme Court majority backing the right of colleges to consider race in admissions.” More on Kennedy’s education-related decisions from Education Week.

Via The New York Times: “Inside the White House’s Quiet Campaign to Create a Supreme Court Opening.” Apparently the Trump family business is quite close to Justice Kennedy’s son:

During Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Penn State’s former president Graham Spanier loses appeal of his misdemeanor conviction for endangering the welfare of a child. He could spend up to 12 months in prison.” This is all related to Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.

There’s more sports related legal news in the sports section below.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Harvard Asks Court to Keep Information on Individual Applicants and ‘Granular’ Admissions Details Under Seal.”

Via The New York Post: “Student, 13, charged with felony after recording talk with principal.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

“What Happens When a Public University Buys a For-Profit Online One?” asks Edsurge. The former: Purdue University; the latter: Kaplan University.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “U.S. Department of Education officials sent a letter to DeVry University’s parent company, Adtalem Global Education Inc., saying they don’t foresee any impediment to the proposed ownership transfer of the for-profit university to Cogswell Capital LLC. Cogswell is the owner of Cogswell College, a private California-based for-profit institution.”

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

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Lessons Learned From a Consortium That Fizzled.” A MOOC consortium, that is, with member institutions Davidson College, Colgate University, Hamilton College, and Wellesley College.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Excellent reporting from The Oregonian’s Bethany Barnes: “Targeted: A Family and the Quest to Stop the Next School Shooter.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “After five years, federal investigators have found that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill mishandled complaints of campus sexual assaults and thus violated a key gender-discrimination law.”

Via The Detroit Free Press: “How a down-and-out broker got University of Michigan to invest $95M.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Audit Raises Money-Management Issues at Stevens Point.”

Ars Technica attempts to profile Ad Astra, the private school founded by Elon Musk: “First space, then auto – now Elon Musk quietly tinkers with education.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Racist messages among fraternity brothers at Texas Tech, including head of fraternity council, anger many.”

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

The accrediting body the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has placed the following universities on probation: Bethune-Cookman University, Fisk University, Louisiana Delta Community College, and Salem College.

Via The Moscow Times: “A state education watchdog has revoked the accreditation of a prestigious Russian private university in what critics fear could further erode independent education in the country.” The school: the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences.

Via the Google blog: “Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate enrolls in community college.”


Via The New York Times: “Educators Turn to Programs for Top Students to Narrow the ‘Excellence Gap’.”

Via Chalkbeat: “‘There was no cyber attack,’ investigator says of Tennessee’s online testing shutdown.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Inside Higher Ed reports on a settlement just 3 days into a concussion-related trial: “The aggrieved widow of a former college football player had sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association for allegedly ignoring the signs – repeated head trauma – that potentially led to her husband’s death.”

Labor and Management

For more details an important (and pretty devastating) Supreme Court decision regarding organized labor, see the courts section above.

Via The Washington Post: “Boston schools chief resigning after lawsuit says district shared student data with immigration officials.” More on Tommy Chang’s departure via The Boston Globe.

Via Axios: “Toys ‘R’ Us employees seek severance from private equity.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Vermont Law School plans to cut professors’ tenure to deal with budgetary concerns. Skeptics wonder if it will hurt the institution more than it helps.”

Faculty at Oregon State University have unionized.

Inside Higher Ed reports there’ll be 55 layoffs at Meharry Medical College and 24 layoffs at Western Illinois University.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Second Dartmouth Professor Departs Following Misconduct Inquiry.” That’s Paul J. Whalen from the school’s brain sciences department.

The Business of Job Training

Another coding bootcamp shuts down. This time, it’s Learners Guild (whose business model included income sharing agreements). More details in Edsurge.

Via The New York Times: “The Snake Oil of the Second-Act Industry.”

VR Pilot Training Now Comes With a Sense of Touch,” says Wired, which I guess doesn’t know that flight simulators always have?

From the Google blog: “How Google Digital Workshop prepares you for new job opportunities.”

Via The New York Times: “Robots or Job Training: Manufacturers Grapple With How to Improve Their Economic Fortunes.”

Via MIT Technology Review: “Rebuilding Germany’s centuries-old vocational program.”

Contests and Conferences

Via Education Week: “ISTE 2018 Kicks Off in Chicago For Educators and Ed-Tech Vendors.”

Via Education Week: “Making Better Ed-Tech Choices: Q&A With Richard Culatta of ISTE.”

Via Edsurge: “ISTE Wants to Be More Than Just a Conference. Learn How They Are Expanding.”

Edsurge summarizes all the press releases timed with ISTE: “All the Upgrades and Updates From Apple, Google and More at ISTE 2018.”

Via Education Week: “Educators Share Hopes, Concerns About Virtual Reality at ISTE.”

Edsurge interviews ISTE keynote speaker, neuroscientist David Eagleman on “Why Today’s Kids Have Different Brains.”

Education Week on accessibility at ISTE: “For Students With Disabilities, Ed Tech Can Empower. But It Often Doesn’t.”

There’s more about ISTE and IOT badge-stalking in the surveillance section below.

Meanwhile, at another awful event, it looks like the Aspen Ideas Festival hosted University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson.

Via The Guardian: “Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name removed from book award over racism concerns.” The ALA has changed the name of the award to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.

Upgrades and Downgrades

I’ve signed a book deal with MIT Press, which will publish Teaching Machines.

Via Buzzfeed: “ Is Dropping The ‘Hotness’ Rating After Professors Called It Sexist.” Pretty sure professors have been calling it sexist for a very, very long time, but anyway.

Also via Buzzfeed: “Yelp, The Red Hen, And How All Tech Platforms Are Now Pawns In The Culture War.”

From the Facebook blog: “Messenger Kids Introduces New Features and Expands to Canada and Peru.” “We’re working on new features rooted in principles of social and emotional learning,” says Facebook, which should chill you to the bone.

Speaking of SEL, here’s some social-emotional learning sponsored content on Edsurge – sponsored by Newsela – includes this and this. Newsela is funded in part by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (as is Edsurge, which publishes CZI-sponsored content). Small world.

Via Edsurge: “In Tynker’s Partnership With Mattel, Kids Can Undertake Maker Careers With Barbie.”

Via Gizmodo: “Flying Saucer Toy Recalled For Teaching Kids That Nazis Achieved Space Travel.”

Via Techcrunch: “Papa is ‘grandkids on-demand’ for seniors who need some extra help.” More “gig” work for college students.

From the Google blog: “Optimizing Google Classroom for the way you work.” Churnalism. More churnalism.

From the Apple website: “Apple’s free Schoolwork app now available for teachers.”

Instagram may soon let college students list their schools,” says The Verge.

Via Techcrunch: “Amazon adds a 10-inch tablet to its line of kids products.”

There’s more “upgrade” news in the conference section above.

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

Via Big Data Made Simple Dot Com: “9 ways to use Artificial Intelligence in education.”

Via Fast Company: “The case against teaching kids to be polite to Alexa.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “IBM’s Watson Education, an artificial intelligence platform that uses data trends to provide insights to teachers and students, is partnering with Edmodo and Scholastic in an effort meant to personalize learning.”

Via Techcrunch: “Hands on with the Echo Dots Kids Edition.”

AI and Assessmentby Donald Clark.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Rachel Cohen looks at the New America Foundation and how “A scandal over the encroachment of big business triggered a debate over the identity of a prestigious Washington think tank.”

“Here’s How Not to Improve Public Schools” – “Mathbabe” Cathy O’Neil on the Gates Foundation’s failed initiative, the Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching.

The Daily Beast on the latest tax filing by the pro-Trump college campus group Turning Point: “The filing, which covers the period from July 2016 through June 2017, shows Trump’s ascendancy has been a bonanza for the group. Turning Point brought in more than $8.2 million, up from $4.3 million in the previous fiscal year. Its expenditures more than doubled, to more than $8.3 million.”

Among the highlights of the 2017 Annual Report from Khan Academy: it’s received some $53 million in funding.

Google announced “$2 million for CS & STEM education for aspiring women and student technologists.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Three groups of colleges – 10 total – have received funding from the ECMC Foundation to work together to increase student persistence and graduation rates among low-income, first-generation students and students of color.” That’s the foundation of the student loan collection company Educational Credit Management Corporation.

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

JoyTunes has raised $10 million from Jeremy Stoppelman, Insight Venture Partners, and Genesis Partners. The music education company has raised $17 million total.

Winnie has raised $4 million from Reach Capital. Other investors include Rethink Impact, Homebrew, Ludlow Ventures, Afore Capital, BBG Ventures, and Kairos. The parenting app has raised $6.5 million total.

I won’t include this in my calculations of ed-tech funding, but I’ll note it here nonetheless: “VR blockchain startup founded by Second Life co-creator raises $35m.”

Also not directly education related, but hey: “Jay-Z has a new venture fund and a Silicon Valley partner,” says Techcrunch.

Boxlight has acquired Qwizdom for $2.5 million.

Sphero has acquired Specdrums.

Education Networks of America has acquired CatchOn.

SecureSet Academy has acquired the cybersecurity training company HackEd.

Watermark, the company formed out of the merger of Taskstream, TK20 and LiveText, has acquired Digital Measures.

AdvancED and Measured Progress will merge.

More on the sale of DeVry University in the for-profit college section above.

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

ISTE calls this “personalized learning.” I call it surveillance pedagogy and an act of violence against women just waiting to happen:

This is important work by Doug Levin: and “Hacking the ISTE18 Smart Badge” and “Hacking the ISTE18 Smart Badge, Part II.”

Related, this on “smart” devices from The New York Times: “Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse.”

Via Education Week: “Teacher’s Aide or Surveillance Nightmare? Alexa Hits the Classroom.”

Via USA Today: “Alexa, when’s my next class? This university is giving out Amazon Echo Dots.” This university is Northeastern.

Via Education Week: “State Treasurer Denise Nappier announced Wednesday that 21 Connecticut Higher Education Trust college savings accounts were recently breached, resulting in more than $1.4 million in unauthorized withdrawals.”

“How Transparent Is School Data When Parents Can’t Find or Understand It?” asks Edsurge.

School facial recognition system sparks privacy concerns,” says Naked Security.

Via Techcrunch: “Yet another massive Facebook fail: Quiz app leaked data on ~120 million users for years.”

Via The Verge: “Qualcomm’s first new smartwatch chip in two years is for kids’ watches.”

Research, “Research,” and Reports

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new report from the Anti-Defamation League documents that there were 292 cases of white supremacist propaganda reported on campuses during the 2017–18 academic year, compared to 165 in 2016–17.”

Edsurge on research from the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program: “Elite Colleges’ ‘Blind Spot’: Low-Income and High-Achieving Community College Students.”

“Why Is There a ‘Gaming Disorder’ But No ‘Smartphone Disorder?’” asks The Atlantic’s Ian Bogost.

“Most teachers say tech tools improve teaching and learning” says eSchool News – at least according to a survey of 1000 teachers.


I didn’t note her passing last week, and I know some folks say it’s not nice to speak ill of the recently dead. But hey, The Chronicle of Higher Education went there (sorta): “Koko Is Dead, but the Myth of Her Linguistic Skills Lives On.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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