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. In the meantime, it also depresses the hell out of me.

(National) Education Politics

“Can Federal ‘School Safety’ Funds Be Used for Surveillance Tech?” asks Edsurge, narrowly avoiding having this story in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section by adding this sentence after its question: “Congress Is Looking Into It.”

Via The New York Times: “Education Dept. Reopens Rutgers Case Charging Discrimination Against Jewish Students.”

An op-ed in The Hechinger Report: “Betsy DeVos’ slippery slope of religion, ethnicity and race.”

An op-ed in Edsurge: “With the Fox in the Henhouse, Betsy DeVos’s Ed Department Is Hurting Low-Income College Students.”

Via Education Week: “DeVos’ Trip to South America Focuses on Workforce Prep.”

There’s more about Betsy DeVos and her policies in the courts section and in the financial aid section below.

A public service announcement from the FBI: “Education Technologies: Data Collection and Unsecured Systems Could Pose Risks to Students.” More on this from Education Week’s Ben Herold.

Via The Verge: “Juul has 60 days to prove it can keep its e-cigs away from kids, FDA warns.”

Via The New York Times: “Australian Politicians Threaten Schoolgirl Over National Anthem Protest.” She’s 9. They’re assholes.

(State and Local) Education Politics

There’s more about the teachers’ strike in Tacoma, Washington in the “labor and management” section below.

Via Chalkbeat: “New York bans the use of federal, state money to buy guns for schools.”

Via Education Week: “ECOT Looms Over Ohio Gubernatorial Candidates’ Education Plans.” ECOT is the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, an online charter school.

The New York Times Magazine has a long and thoughtful piece by Sara Mosle on school reforms in the Atlanta Public Schools.

Education in the Courts

Via Politico: “Judge rules DeVos delay of Obama-era student loan rulesunlawful’.”

Via NEA Today: “NEA, CTA Sue DeVos Over Rollback of Protections for Online Students.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “ITT Bankruptcy Trustee Sues Lenders, Department of Education.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “An Oregon grand jury has declined to indict two police officers at Portland State University who shot and killed a man this summer.”

Immigration and Education

This is evil. Via The New York Times: “Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever.”

Via ProPublica: “Here’s What Happened to the 99 Immigrant Children Separated From Their Parents and Sent to Chicago.”

Via The Washington Post: “Trump slams Jealous’s plan for free community college for ‘dreamers’.” That’s Maryland candidate for governor Ben Jealous.

“Free College”

“Don’t Dismiss the Value of Free-College Programs. They Do Help Low-Income Studentsby Sara Goldrick-Rab and Michelle Miller-Adams.

“America Wakes Up From Its Dream of Free Collegeby The Atlantic’s Adam Harris.

The Business and Politics of Financial Aid

Via The AP: “The Trump administration is granting only partial loan forgiveness to the vast majority of students approved for help because of fraud by for-profit colleges, according to preliminary Education Department data obtained by The Associated Press.”

There’s more about the Trump Administration’s attempts to delay implementing regulations regarding loan forgiveness up in the “courts” section above.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via Inside Higher Ed: the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges “places each college of the for-profit Center for Excellence in Higher Education on probation, finding misrepresentations to students and – at one campus – discriminatory attitudes toward students.”

There’s more for-profit higher ed news in the courts section above.

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

Via Class Central: “Monetizing A MOOC Platform.”

Also via Class Central: “First Look at edX’s Paywall Experiments.”

Via Campus Technology: “Coursera’s CEO on the Evolving Meaning of ‘MOOC’.”

There’s more ECOT news – there’s always more ECOT news – in the “state and local politics” section above. There’s also more legal news regarding online education in the “courts” section above.

Meanwhile on Campus…

It has now been at least five years since Clayton Christensen started predicting that half of colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years. He’s still at it. Via CNBC: “Harvard Business School professor: Half of American colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years.” “No, Half of All Colleges Will Not Go Bankrupt,” Derek Newton responds in Forbes.

Via The Atlantic: “The Moral Catastrophe at Michigan State.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Women Say A School For Troubled Teens Punished Girls For Being Gay.” That is the River View Christian Academy.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “University of Arizona psychologist is under scrutiny for taking money from an organization founded to support research in eugenics.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Another controversial policy proposal in Wisconsin would eliminate all programs with fewer than five majors annually, on average, if ‘remediation’ didn’t work. Faculty leaders see attempt to turn system into a ‘widget factory.’”

“Many College Courses Are Either Overloaded or Underfilled,” writes Jeffrey Young in Edsurge. “That May Be Hurting Retention.”

Via The Atlantic: “Teens Are Protesting In-Class Presentations.”

Via Chalkbeat: “‘Kicked out’: Newark charter school purges students in possible violation of state rules.” The school in question: Marion P. Thomas Charter School.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Nebraska Wondered Whether Conservative Students Were Being Silenced. Here’s What It Found Out.”

Via The Hechinger Report: “A new challenge for colleges: opioid-addicted students.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Purdue pilot program restricts access to sites such as Netflix and Hulu in specific lecture halls.”

To everyone in the path of Hurricane Florence – teachers and students and staff and families alike: you’re in my thoughts. Stay safe.

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

This, via, is quite terrifying: “Blanks to be fired during school’s active shooter drill.”

Via The Washington Post: “A sleeping student wouldn’t wake up in class. So an officer pulled out her Taser.”

There’s more gun-related news in the “state and local politics” and “courts” sections above.

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

There’s more accreditation news in the “for-profit higher ed” section above.


“What If a DNA Test Could Show How to Teach a Student With Dyslexia?” asks Education Week.

“What Personality Tests Really Deliver” by Louis Menand in The New Yorker.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “ACT Announces Retest Over Glitches.”

Labor and Management

Teachers are on the cover of Time Magazine, this time making a very different case than that infamous cover of Michelle Rhee holding a broom. The featured article: “13 Stories of Life on a Teacher’s Salary.”

Via The New York Times Magazine: “The Second Shift: What Teachers Are Doing to Pay Their Bills.”

Teachers in Tacoma, Washington have been on strike this week, but The Seattle Times reports that “Tacoma teachers reach deal with district; schools could open Monday.”

Via The News Tribune: “Attention Tacoma Public Schools: When teacher Anne Hawkins quits, you’re doing something wrong.”

Former Department of Education official Yuanxia Ding has joined the student loan provider Skills Fund as its “chief impact officer.”

Contests and Awards

Via the BBC: “Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell has been awarded a Breakthrough Prize for the discovery of radio pulsars.” Her male collaborators won the Nobel back in 1974 for her work.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Would the Education Dept.’s New Title IX Rules Really Save Colleges Money?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

(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 The Atlantic: “What Kids’ Backpacks Say About Them.” Perhaps their parents have money (or not)?

Via Education Week: “Instagram and Teens: What Do You Need to Know?” Well, you probably need to know more than what Facebook / Instagram has revealed in its new parents’ guide.

Techcrunch with the press releases and product announcements: Via Techcrunch: “YouTube Kids adds a whitelisting parental control feature, plus a new experience for tweens.” Via Techcrunch: “Kano’s latest computer kit for kids doubles down on touch.” Via Techcrunch: “LittleBits intros three kits to explore music, space and more.” Via Techcrunch: “Sphero launches Bolt, as education moves front and center.”

Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein continues to write about the OPM market: “Extension Engine and OPM Market Transparency.”

And from Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Blackboard Learn Ultra in 2018: Is it ready and does it matter?” (Also from Hill: “Timeline of e-Literate Coverage of Blackboard Learn Ultra.”)

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

Probably my favorite “robots are the future of education” story in a good, long while. Via Buzzfeed: “Students Are Using Bots To Crash Games Of Kahoot At School.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Jeff Bezos posted a note on Twitter, outlining his plans to launch a $2 billion fund to build a chain of preschools and to support organizations that work with homeless families. Everyone, it seemed, had a story: The New York Times, Techcrunch, Chalkbeat, The Verge, Ed Week’s Market Brief, Edsurge, etc etc etc. Historian Diane Ravitch says we should “wait and see how the Bezos philanthropy plays out,” but I think we know enough from the history of Amazon’s labor practices and the history of tech billionaires’ education philanthropy to weigh in. So I took a brief break from book research to rage-type my thoughts.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma, China’s Richest Man, to Retire From Company He Co-Founded,” The New York Times reports. And what is he going to do? Education philanthropy of fucking course.

Via The Guardian: “Billionaires v teachers: the Koch brothers’ plan to starve public education.”

Via Techcrunch: “Interview with Priscilla Chan: Her super-donor origin story.”

Ben Williamson summarizes some of the recent news (certainly not all of it “philanthropical”) about tech billionaires’ education initiatives: “The tech elite is making a power-grab for public education.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

Perlego has raised $4.8 million from Alex Chesterman, ADV, Simon Franks, and Peter Hinssen. The textbook company has raised $6 million total.

Carnegie Learning has acquired Mondo Publishing.

WeWork has acquired the office management startup Teem. OK, this isn’t necessarily ed-tech related, but as WeWork is attempting to be in the education business (with its acquisition of the Flatiron School, for example) perhaps we will see if and how the real-estate-company-disguised-as-a-co-working-space pivots to software sales.

Edsurge’s Tony Wan on “When Education CEOs and Bigwig Financiers Go ‘Back to School’” – that is, on the BMO Capital conference in NYC.

Also by Wan: “Companies Are Bought, Not Sold: M&A Advice From 3 Edtech CEOs Who Survived the Process.”

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

This story by Doug Levin is really important as it challenges some of the popular narratives about “student hacking.”

Via The New York Times: “How Game Apps That Captivate Kids Have Been Collecting Their Data.”

Via Education Week: “Data-Privacy Questions From Parents That Schools Should Be Ready to Answer.”

Via Edsurge: “The Unintentional Ways Schools Might Be Violating FERPA, and How They Can Stay Vigilant.”

Also via Edsurge: “Tear Down That Wall? Why Data Walls May Cause More Harm Than Good.”

There’s more surveillance news in the federal education section up top.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

Via Inside Higher Ed: “George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health defended its study on Hurricane Maria-related mortality rates in Puerto Rico on Thursday after President Trump falsely said on Twitter that an estimated death toll of around 3,000 was manufactured by Democrats who wanted to make him look bad.”

Via The New York Times: “Asbestos in a Crayon, Benzene in a Marker: A School Supply Study’s Toxic Results.”

Via Edsurge: “Polls Reveal What Teachers and Parents Want From School Data.” The polls in question: from the Data Quality Campaign.

Edsurge on a new report from Common Sense Media: “Teens Know Social Media Is Manipulative. But They Just Can’t Get Enough.” More on the report via Education Week.

Inside Higher Ed on a new Woodrow Wilson Center report on China’s influence in US higher ed.

Teaching Tolerance has released its latest report on “Hate at School.”

“Number of International Private Schools Surges Again, Up 6 Percent Over Last Year,” says EdWeek’s Market Brief, citing a report from ISC Research.

Via The Chronicle of Education: “How a Famous Academic Job-Market Study Got It All Wrong – and Why It Still Matters.”

Why aren’t kids being taught to read?asks Emily Hanford in APM Reports.

Sound the education prediction klaxon. Someone get Clayton Christensen on the phone. STAT. “College students predicted to fall by more than 15% after the year 2025,” says The Hechinger Report.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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