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

The big ed-tech news this week is, of course, that Betsy DeVos is considering allowing schools to use federal funds to arm teachers and staff. I’ve put all the stories in the “yes, guns are ed-tech” section below.

There are more stories about some of DeVos’s other policies in the for-profit higher ed section below.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The White House announced Tuesday that President Trump will nominate Robert L. King to be the assistant secretary of postsecondary education.”

Via Edsurge: “As the Higher Ed Opportunity Act Turns 10, Here's How the Landscape Has Changed.”

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via Pacific Standard: “It’s Back-to-School Season, and Schools Are Still Underfunded.”

Via Chalkbeat: “How Newark’s former schools chief used a ‘victory lap’ and privately paid consultants to cement his legacy.” That would be Chris Cerf.

Via Chalkbeat: “Secret CPS report spotlights big vacancies, lopsided options for students.” CPS is, of course, the Chicago Public Schools.

Via NPR: “In A Segregated County, A New Charter School Offers An Alternative.” This is in Alabama.

Via Chalkbeat: “After a spike in unpaid school lunches last year, Denver takes steps to prevent a reprise.”

Immigration and Education

ICE hunted me down; my teachers and classmates fought back” by Dennis Rivera in The Houston Chronicle.

Education in the Courts

Via The New York Times: “How Do You Get Better Schools? Take the State to Court, More Advocates Say.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The U.S. Department of Education is being sued for ‘illegally’ delaying state authorization rules designed to help college students determine in which online university to enroll.”

Via Education Week: “Ohio Sues Cyber Charter Founder, Pursuing Millions in Disputed Funds.”

Via The Washington Post: “ Former George Mason professor accused of sexual harassment is now facing embezzlement charges.” That would be Peter Pober, former communications professor.

There are more legal stories in the “sports team” section below.

I honestly don’t know where this story should go, and I’m really only including it here because of the flimsiest of connections to education – Jerry Alter, one of the characters in the story, was a teacher. Via The Washington Post: “ A small-town couple left behind a stolen painting worth over $100 million – and a big mystery.”

“Free College”

The Chronicle of Higher Education asks “5 Key Questions About NYU’s Tuition-Free Policy for Medical School.”

Via WBRC: “FedEx to offer tuition-free online University of Memphis degrees to Memphis hub employees.”

The Business of Financial Aid

Via The Hechinger Report: “For students teetering on the edge financially, micro-grants help them finish college.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Student-Loan Borrowers, by Age Group, Amount Owed, and Repayment Status, 2017.”

There was some income-sharing agreement news this week but the headline was in the form of a question so it’s not in this section, is it.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A higher ed researcher cited by Betsy DeVos to justify dropping gainful-employment rule says her work actually backed more stringent standards.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “For-Profit Companies With the Highest Enrollments at Their Colleges, Fall 2016.”

There are more stories about Purdue University Global, formerly the for-profit Kaplan University, in the “labor and management” section below.

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

Gotta keep hyping that MOOC thing. Via Edsurge: “MOOCs Are No Longer Massive. And They Serve Different Audiences Than First Imagined.”

Via Class Central: “Class Central’s Top 50 MOOCs of All Time (2018 edition).”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Cumulative Growth in Number of MOOCs, 2011–18.”

Not surprisingly, there is more MOOC news in the surveillance section below. There is some (ongoing) online education news from Ohio in the legal section above.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Students at UNC Chapel Hill tore down the Confederate memorial Silent Sam this week. “UNC’s Moment to Lead – or Not,” writes Angus Johnston. More via WaPo and via The Daily Tar Heel.

Via the BBC: “US school faces backlash after black student’s ‘unnatural hair’ criticised.” That is the Christ the King Parish School in Terrytown, Louisiana.

Via Inside Inside Higher: “Ohio State University has launched a new centralized office designed to handle complaints of sexual harassment and violence after the old iteration of the unit shut down in June.” The timing of all of this is rich. Rich! (See the “sports team” section for more OSU news.)

World Magazine on how Liberty University handles its student newspaper: “Papered over.” Bookmark this one for the next time some conservative tries to tell you that left-leaning students are the biggest threat to free speech on campus.

Inside Higher Ed on “The End of a Blogging Era at Harvard.”

Susan Crawrford argues “Why Universities Need ‘Public Interest Technology’ Courses.”

Via the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette: “More than $300,000 spent on high-tech parking management system at UA.” UA, as the newspaper name should probably tell you, is the University of Arkansas.

“How a Faculty Trip to Silicon Valley Changed the Classroom Experience,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Something something innovation something something blockchain.

Via The Atlantic: “Black Colleges Have to Pay More for Loans Than Other Schools.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “Seeking advantage, colleges are increasingly admitting students as sophomores.”

There are more stories about Purdue University Global, formerly the for-profit Kaplan University, in the “labor and management” section below. And there are more stories about various sports-related scandals in the sports section below. There’s also a very good story about Success Academy’s high school but the headline is in the form of a question, so you know where you’ll find it…

Yes, Guns Are Ed-Tech (and It’s So F*cked Up that I Had to Make This a Category)

Via The New York Times: “Education Secretary Considers Using Federal Funds to Arm Schools.” Via The Washington Post: “Betsy DeVos considers allowing schools to use federal funds to buy guns.” Via The Atlantic: “A Loophole That Could Let States Buy Teachers Guns With Federal Funds.”

Via NPR: “Virginia County Approves Plan To Arm Teachers.”

Not guns per se, but certainly part of this new ed-tech security theater we’re seeing play out. Via Education Week: “Latest in Back-to-School Tech: Panic Buttons for Teachers.”

Also via Education Week: “What Counts as a School Shooting? The Answer to That Question Shapes Safety Debates.”

Credentialing and Competencies

Via CNBC: “Google, Apple and 13 other companies that no longer require employees to have a college degree.”

Via the AP: “A requirement that teachers obtain master’s degrees has been removed by Kentucky officials.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “South Carolina technical colleges received formal permission on Wednesday to offer bachelor’s degrees in advanced manufacturing technology.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Program at Kean U. Is Losing Its Accreditation. Many Faculty and Students Have No Idea.”

“An update on Badges and Backpack” from Mark Surman.

There’s some other badging news but the headline was in the form of a question so it’s not in this section.


“A Story about District Test Scores,” by Larry Cuban.

Go, School Sports Team!

Ohio State head football coach had been investigated for his handling of domestic abuse allegations against one of his former assistant coaches,” says Inside Higher Ed. That’s Urban Meyer. The suspension: three games. Gee. Taking this pretty seriously, I see.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As Football Scandal Unfolds at Maryland, Professors Fear Lack of Athletics Oversight.” Via NPR: “University Of Maryland Football Abuse Scandal And The Rights Of College Athletes.”

Via The New Yorker: “How Charles Koch Turned Wichita State into a College-Basketball Powerhouse.”

Commentary in CHE: “Sports Scandals Soil the Land-Grant Legacy.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Authorities in Michigan have charged a onetime Michigan State University gymnastics coach with lying to police about what she knew about sexual misconduct allegations against Larry Nassar, the doctor who pleaded guilty to assaulting hundreds of women.” The authority in question: Kathie Klages.

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Wealthy Parents Help Child Athletes Go Pro in Their Own Backyards.”

Labor and Management

Teachers at LAUSD are weighing whether to authorize a strike.

The ed-tech company Gaggle is peddling a “solution” to teachers’ strikes, apparently.

“Who Owns Faculty Work at Purdue Global?” asks Inside Higher Ed. “‘Gag Clause’ at Purdue Global Raises Alarms About Faculty Rights,” writes The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Princeton Review Has Laid Off Many Employees. But Revenue Might Not Be Its Only Problem.”

OPB on “The Strange Case of Susie Strangfield,” Parts 1 and 2.

Via AZ Central: “Primavera charter CEO gets $8.8M despite having Arizona’s third-highest dropout rate.”

Fast Company profiles Fusion Academy: “This DeVos-Style School Turned Teachers Into Gig Economy Workers.”

Joe Holland will become the new CEO of Teachers Pay Teachers.

The Business of Job Training

Via The Atlantic: “Teaching Kids to Code During the Summer – for $1,000 a Week.”

Good grief. I hope none of these programs are teaching “data science,” because this is just a silly claim based on bad data.

Even worse? This idea from another bootcamp founder.

“Posting Instagram Sponsored Content Is the New Summer Job” by The Atlantic’s Taylor Lorenz.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Can an Online Tool Depolarize Campus Discussions?asks Edsurge.

Are Teachers About To Be Replaced By Bots?asks Forbes.

Can a billionaire’s private school become a model for public education in Florida?asks The Tampa Bay Times.

Income-Share Agreement Providers Want to Woo Higher Ed. But Will It Work?asks Edsurge.

With Employers in the Mix, Can Badges Become More Than a Fad?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Behind the scenes, Success Academy's first high school spent last year in chaos. Can Eva Moskowitz turn it around?asks Chalkbeat.

(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

“The Humanities Are in Crisis,” Ben Schmidt argues in The Atlantic.

Via Buzzfeed: “Toys ‘R’ Us’ Demise Means Toys Will Probably Cost Less This Holiday Season.”

Minecraft: Education Edition is coming to iPad,” says Techcrunch.

Via The Verge: “Tinder is rolling out a college-only service, Tinder U.”

“Student marketplace Spitball has launched a token-based ‘blockchain economy’ that aims to switch up the e-learning industry and create a decentralised landscape for students,” says IBS Intelligence. Sounds legit.

“Dean Dad” Matt Reed on “‘Netflix for Books.’”

Via Edsurge: “School’s Out for the Latest Y Combinator Batch, and Here’s What Its Edtech Graduates Are Up to.”

Via the Google blog: “VR Labs open doors of opportunity for STEM students.”

Gotta keep hyping that VR thing. Via Edsurge: “Everything You Need to Know to Get Started With AR/VR in the Classroom.”

e-Literate on the latest debates about LMS markets: “Response to MoodleNews: Some considerations for critical reading of market sizing claims.”

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

“Kids connect with robot reading partners,” says the PR office of the University of Wisconsin Madison.

Via Engadget: “Japan trials AI and robots to boost English skills in schools.”

Via Education Dive: “Artificial intelligence put to use teaching students Mandarin.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

Sponsored content on Edsurge this week, paid for by the Gates Foundation, includes this.

“What Role Do Teachers Play in Education?” asks Cathy Davidson in her review of the new book from Andrea Gabor, After the Education Wars: How Smart Schools Upend the Business of Reform.

Via Chalkbeat: “40 cities in 10 years: Leaked presentation offers more details on new group’s goals to spread charter (and charter-like) schools.” The group: The City Fund.

There’s another philanthropist who likes to use his money to shape colleges how he wants them featured in the sports section above.

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

Mind-reading robot tutor in the sky” company Knewton has raised $25 million from these suckers: Triple Point Capital, Accel, Atomico, Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, First Round Capital, Founders Fund, and Sofina. The company has raised $182.3 million.

HQ Education has raised $7.3 million from Zero2IPO-Chenguang Education Fund and Shunwei Capital for its online education software.

Writing assessment company Writable has raised $3.2 million from Omidyar Technology Ventures and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

EdWeek’s Market Brief looks at a new fund by the VC firm Reach Capital: “New Venture Capital Flowing Into Education, With Parent-Focused Products In Mind.”

Also via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “New Oriental Education & Technology Group, which describes itself as the biggest provider of private educational services in China, has announced it will make a $220 million investment in ed-tech companies there.”

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via Wired: “Schools Are Mining Students’ Social Media Posts for Signs of Trouble.” “Trouble” – like school dress code violations and such.

Via QZ: “Schools are using AI to track what students write on their computers.”

The headline on the press release from Saint Louis University: “SLU Installing Amazon Alexa-Enabled Devices in Every Student Living Space on Campus.” Here’s the churnalism. Here’s more churnalism.

Amazon updates Alexa with kid-friendly version,” the Long Island Business News claims. Only if you think surveillance is kid-friendly.

Speaking of surveillance and paying people to talk about this stuff, the Amazon press release heralds that “Alexa Fund Invests in Student Scientists and Entrepreneurs with Expanded Alexa Fellowship.”

Remember that story in The NYT just a couple of weeks ago about how wellness programs don’t work and how they’re actually just vehicles for more workplace surveillance? I do. So yeah, this story – sponsored content alert! – in Edsurge gives me pause: “Elementary School Wellness Program Helps Young Males of Color Cultivate Their Identities.”

New York Magazine on the history of COPPA: “ Inside the Decades-Long Fight to Protect Your Children’s Data From Advertisers.”

SuperProf private tutor site massively fails password test, makes accounts super easy to hack” by Graham Cluley.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

There’s more about research – and the politicization of research – in the for-profit higher ed section above.

Research from Pew: “How Teens and Parents Navigate Screen Time and Device Distractions.” More via The Atlantic.

I’m not sure why Crunchbase keeps repeating this story, but here we are again: “Top Universities And Business Schools For Funded Founders.” You will never ever guess what those top schools are, I’m sure.

I’ve linked some of the statistics in various section above, but here’s the whole report from The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Almanac of Higher Education 2018–19.”

The Atlantic on the latest Education Next poll: “Public Opinion Shifts in Favor of School Choice.”

One of the worst things about education reporting is that people still write about the Benoit Mindset List every goddamn year. I’m not even linking to it. Next year, you shouldn’t either.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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