Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the mammoth review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education. I’ve probably missed a few of those stories this week as I am on vacation. But look how dutiful I am, still writing this list of shitty things that keep happening despite all the warnings I give.

(National) Education Politics

US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is one of the various administration officials who insists she is not the author of anonymous op-ed in the The New York Times criticizing President Trump. But come on. No one actually thought it was her, right?

Via Vanity Fair: “‘I’m Tired of America Wasting Our Blood and Treasure’: The Strange Ascent of Betsy DeVos and Erik Prince.”

Speaking of terrible people with too much power, there’s this gem from Mediaite: “Clarence Thomas’ Wife Hired Ex-TPUSA Staffer Known For Saying ‘I Hate Blacks’.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Scholars Describe ‘Incalculable Loss’ as Museum in Brazil Goes Up in Flames.”

NPR asks, “Whatever Happened To… The Millennials Who Started A School For Boko Haram Escapees?”

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via The New York Times: “California Lawmakers Pass Nation’s Toughest Net Neutrality Law.”

Chalkbeat with some news from Chicago: “What Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to not seek re-election means for schools.”

Chalkbeat with some news from NYC: Schools chancellor RichardCarranza is ready to approve an integration plan for Brooklyn middle schools. Here’s a guide to the potential changes.”

And Chalkbeat with the NYC data: “Find out what your New York City school spends per student.”

Are your school’s employees armed?asks the Argus Leader. “For some S.D. parents, the answer is unclear.” (S.D. is South Dakota.)

Via Chalkbeat: “Chicago Schoolsbackground checks send many teachers into limbo just as school sets to open.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “China Protest Over Cash-Strapped City’s School Plan Turns Violent.” The city in question: Leiyang. The plan: forcing some students to attend private schools.

Via NPR: “Catholic Schools And Parents Grapple With Whether To Address Abuse Report.”

Edsurge writes about “How Crowdfunding Is Matching Teacher Requests to District Tech Policies.” Personally, I’d say we should rethink how taxes support schools and how democratic practices support policies rather than being guided by these private entities and their evangelists.

Immigration and Education

Via The Texas Tribune: “Texas won’t pay to educate migrant kids in shelters. Now two charter schools are scrambling.” (The schools are located inside shelters.)

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Judge Keeps DACA in Place.”

Via ProPublica: “As Months Pass in Chicago Shelters, Immigrant Children Contemplate Escape, Even Suicide.”

“Free College”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Reports: Free College Programs Don’t Benefit Low-Income Students.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via Edsurge: “Purdue Global Drops Requirement That Professors Sign Nondisclosure Agreements.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Federal Trade Commission has reached agreements to shut down several copycat military websites that targeted people looking to join the armed services and then used their personal information to market for-profit colleges, the commission announced Thursday.”

A working paper from NBER on for-profit higher ed, by Charlie Eaton, Sabrina Howell, and Constantine Yannelis: “When Investor Incentives and Consumer Interests Diverge: Private Equity in Higher Education.”

There’s another NBER working paper in the “labor and management” section above. And there’s more research on the effects of attending a for-profit college on one’s future earnings down in the “research” section below.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Elon Musk’s secretive LA private school doesn’t just teach spelling and math -- it also asks students ethics and critical thinking puzzles you usually don’t see elsewhere,” says Business Insider. I bet you didn’t know that ethics and critical thinking are not taught anywhere else but in an elite private school founded by a guy who likes LSD and science fiction. Apparently this curriculum comes from ClassDojo, which screams something about “ethics,” I reckon.

Edsurge writes about e-scooters, one of the “hot new trends” out of Silicon Valley, and how these companies are defying the rules of college campuses in order to build up a new customer base there.

“Today’s College Students Aren’t Who You Think They Are,” says NPR.

Via Buzzfeed: “Most Fraternities Are Banning Hard Alcohol In Response To A Series Of Drinking-Related Deaths.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “New Jersey 2-Year Colleges Pursue Merger.” That is, Cumberland County College and Rowan College at Gloucester County.

Also via Chalkbeat: “Newark charter school faces firestorm after kicking out students for dress code violations.”

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: “Wander the Halls, Say Hello: A New Approach to School Safety.”

There’s a story about surveillance, school shootings, and suicide prevention in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section below.


The New York Times on the SHSAT: “The Test That Changed Their Lives.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The SAT Mess That’s Not Going Away.”

From the Khan Academy blog: “School district reports test scores rise with mastery learning on Khan Academy.”

Speaking of test prep, there’s more news from Princeton Review down in the “labor and management” section below.

Go, School Sports Team!

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “College of the Ozarks Drops Nike for Using Colin Kaepernick in Ad Campaign.”

Labor and Management

Via The Guardian: “How I survive: American teachers and their second jobs – a photo essay.” See also: how a small number of young white women teachers make money as Instagram stars. Story above.

Edsurge has a new guide on the ed-tech job market, with articles including “Diversity in Hiring Doesn’t Start With Hiring” and “Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile for Your Edtech Job Hunt.” Not clear who’s sponsoring this narrative…

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Is having a chief diversity officer linked to significant gains in faculty diversity? Not really, says a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.”

“What Is Missing From Our Curricula?” asks Edsurgework-based learning, apparently. Honestly, I would have gone with “anti-racist history and literature” or “civics,” but that’s me.

Oh. My. God. Speaking of Edsurge, spot the misinformation and disinformation and invented history in this article on coding bootcamps.

Via EdWeek Market Brief: “Princeton Review Weathers Layoffs, Changes in Test-Prep Market.”


The Business of Job Training (and Educational Employee Benefits)

Via The New York Times: “The Hot College Gig: Online Brand Promoter.”

Via e-Literate: “Expansion of OPM-Derivative Model: Disney covers online degrees for hourly employees through Guild Education.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Could Monitoring Students on Social Media Stop the Next School Shooting?asks The New York Times.

Do Corporate-Style NDAs Have a Place in Higher Ed?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

College students say they want a degree for a job. Are they getting what they want?asks Jeffrey Selingo.

Is NYTimes Correct That College Students Don’t Read Books?asks Joshua Kim.

(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

Via Buzzfeed: “Teachers Are Moonlighting As Instagram Influencers To Make Ends Meet.” I have many thoughts on this, and if I wasn’t on vacation right now, you would hear an earful. There’s a related story on teachers’ second jobs – none of whom are raking in $200K a year like these Instagram stars, mind you – down in the “labor and management” section below.

Speaking of Instagram, The Verge says that “Instagram launches a new parent portal to help them talk to their kids about online life.” I hope parents have fun talking about their teachers’ online lives on Insta.

It’s time for the back-to-school articles touting this-and-that ed-tech trends. Via Edsurge: “10 Inspired Tech Trends Every Teacher Should Know About.” Via the Getting Smart blog: “What Do Broad EdTech Trends Mean for Your School District?”

“What is Blockchain and How Can it be Used in Education?” asks MDR Education. Let me tell you (although this doesn’t seem to be what the article says): it’s a hype machine baked with a hot molten core of alt-right ideology and anti-Semitism. How can it be used? Well, by con artists, I reckon, it can be used quite deftly for any number of techno-magical things.

Hearables are hear to stay in learning – podcasts, learning, language learning, tutoring, spaced-practice and cheating in exams!” according to Donald Clark.

Via Techcrunch: “Amazon launches kid-friendly FreeTime service in Spanish.” “Kid-friendly.”

How Do We Know If Technology Is the Solution or the Problem?asks Edsurge. Related, from IHE’s Joshua Kim: “What If Digital Is Antithetical to Learning?” JFC. “I am part of the resistance inside the ed-tech industry” or something like that.

A dispatch from Techcrunch’s “Disrupt SF” conference: e-cigarette maker “Juul says it will use technology to help you quit e-cigarettes, too.” LOL. Please tell me there’s a “mindfulness” curriculum component too.

Via Pacific Standard: “The Future of Podcasting Is Educational.”

Via Publishers Weekly: “Penguin Random House Changes Library E-book Lending Terms.”

The Prof Hacker blog is leaving its current URL at The Chronicle of Higher Education and will be indie once again.

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

Kadho debuts Kidsense A.I., offline speech-recognition tech that understand kids,” Techcrunch claims.

Via Wired: “This Hyper-Real Robot Will Cry and Bleed on Med Students.”

Via Edsurge: “Applying Artificial Intelligence to the Search for EdTech: An SRI-EdSurge Collaboration.”

Donald Clark makes the case for chatbots in education being a “gamechanger in learning.” I mean, we’re well into Year 50 of chatbots in education, so I’m sure the game will be changed any day now.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Via Chalkbeat: “Mark Zuckerberg’s education giving so far has topped $300 million. Here’s a list of where it’s going.” (I will update my list of CZI investments accordingly.)

Via Inside Philanthropy: “‘Local Context.’ The New Gates K–12 Strategy is Coming Into Sharper Focus.” I’m sure it’s a good strategy this time.

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

I’m not sure I’ll include this investment in my monthly calculations of ed-tech funding, since I’m not sure how educational this really is. But it’s fairly close to being framed as such, so here it is: Roblox, “which allows kids to create 3D worlds and games” per Techcrunch, has raised $150 million in Series F funding from Index Ventures, First Round Capital, Greylock Partners, Tiger Global Management, Meritech Capital Partners, and Altos Ventures. The company has raised $251.6 million total.

I’m also never sure whether or not to include investment in private schools in my ed-tech calculations. Regardless, Sanyu Education just raised $250 million for its private chain of kindergartens from Legend Holdings.

MasterClass has raised $80 million from IVP, Javelin Ventures, NEA, Advancit Capital, Atomico, and Evolution Media. The company, which offers online courses “taught” by celebrities, has raised $136.4 million total.

Makeblock has raised $44 million from CICC ALPHA, Yuexiu Industrial Investment Fund, GX Capital, and Everest Capital. The educational robotics company has raised $79.9 million total.

Open Assessment Technologies has raised an undisclosed amount of money from ACT, whose CEO tells Edsurge “Besides just being an assessment company, we’re also becoming a learning and navigation company.” Oh.

Carnegie Learning has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the private equity firm CIP Capital. It will merge with New Mountain Learning, already owned by CIP Capital, but keep the Carnegie Learning brand name, because brand name.

VitalSource has acquired Acrobatiq.

Via Reuters: “Brazilian learning systems company Arco Platform should raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering on Nasdaq expected in September, one source with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.”

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

Well, let’s all be sure to look forward to IBM’s work on “personalizing education” with this story from The Intercept in mind: “IBM Used NYPD Surveillance Footage to Develop Technology That Lets Police Search by Skin Color.”

There’s a story about surveillance, school shootings, and suicide prevention in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section above.

Via The Register: “Victoria’s educational apps-for-students let creeps contact kids.” That’s the Victorian Department of Education in Australia.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

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

There’s more “research” on free college up in the “free college” section above. There’s more “research” on how Khan Academy improves test scores up in the “testing” section above. There’s more research on for-profit higher ed in the for-profit higher ed section above.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Attending a for-profit college widens the earnings gap between rich and poor students, new research finds. Enrolling at a selective college does the opposite.”

Via Edsurge: “Report: ‘Colleges Need to Better Inform Students of Tradeoffs Between Working and Learning’.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Marijuana Use Still High Among College Students.”

Via the ACLU: “Federal Data Shows Public Schools Nationwide Are a Hotbed of Racial Injustice.” A hotbed of racial injustice, surveillance technologies, e-cigarettes and accompanying mindfulness curriculum, and e-scooters. God bless ed-tech.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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