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. I’m starting on that project soon, and my god, this all looks so grim.
(National) Education Politics
Via Vox: “Brazilian media report that police are entering university classrooms to interrogate professors.” And this was before the far- right politician Jair Bolsonaro was elected the new president of Brazil.
Via ThinkProgress: “Bolsonaro‘s party launches campaign against ’indoctrinator teachers’.” That’s all you lovers of Paolo Freire, to be sure.
Thank God we spent the last 20 years paying a dozen middle-aged white men to rehash the same articles on how political correctness on campus is the true threat to free speech https://t.co/XaN9Ou8Mn2— Dara Very Rude Elevator Screamers Kaye (@DaraKaye) October 29, 2018
In related news: “Right-wing groups are recruiting students to target teachers,” says Reveal.
In today's @FedRegister, @usedgov said it's re-upping the application questions for colleges that want to participate in EQUIP. Only one reason to do that: ED's going to reopen and expand the experiment. 1/ pic.twitter.com/MDuwuX3Hv2— Clare McCann (@claremccann) October 26, 2018
Via Education Week: “Reorganization of U.S. Ed. Department’s Privacy Office to Take Effect in Early 2019.”
Via the Center for American Progress: “How the DeVos Family Is Buying Political Sway Ahead of the Midterm Elections.”
“Who’s Meeting With DeVos? Lots of Republicans, Few Democrats,” says Education Week.
There’s another story on DeVos and virtual schools down in the “online education” section below.
(State and Local) Education Politics
Buzzfeed on a campaign in Massachusetts: “Transgender Teens Could Destroy The Bathroom Predator Myth Once And For All.”
Via The New York Times: “After Teacher Walkouts, Arizona Republicans Jostle Onto Education Platform.”
Via Chalkbeat: NYC schools Chancellor Richard “Carranza unveils capital plan with $750 million in fixes for disability access.”
There’s more NYC school news in the testing section below.
Via Chalkbeat: “After 120 days on the job, Newark’s new superintendent is asked: Where’s your plan?”
Education in the Courts
The Harvard admissions trial is wrapping up – coverage in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Appeals court ruling continues decade-long legal battle between Georgia State University and three publishers over what constitutes ”fair use“ of course materials.”
Via The Salt Lake Tribune: “Utah Valley University paid $45,000 to settle former Title IX director’s whistleblower lawsuit.”
The Business of Financial Aid
News from the most well-funded ed-tech company, student loan provider SoFi:
SoFi settles w/ FTC over allegations it misrepresented how much borrowers save by refinancing. SoFi ads "inflated the actual average savings, sometimes even doubling it, by excluding large categories of consumers." https://t.co/Xd5Jmhagc0— Kaitlin Mulhere (@KMulhere) October 30, 2018
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Economic Boom Isn’t Helping Some Student-Loan Debtors, Advocacy Group Says.”
The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed
Via The Seattle Times: “Art Institute of Seattle lays off all but 3 full-time teachers amid fears for school’s future.”
There’s an update on the potential sale of for-profit operator Navitas down in “the business of education” section.
Online Education (and the Once and Future “MOOC”)
“Life Is Complicated: Distance Learning Helps,” says The New York Times.
Via Chalkbeat: “Here’s what Betsy DeVos has to say about Indiana’s failing virtual schools.”
Via Edsurge: “The Beginning of a New Era in the Online Degree Market.”
Meanwhile on Campus…
The ongoing saga at the University of Maryland: Via The Washington Post (on Tuesday): “U-Md. president to retire in wake of football death.” Then, “A Day Later, Football Coach Out at Maryland,” Inside Higher Ed reported. “Board Chairman Resigns in Fallout Over a Maryland Football Player’s Death,” The New York Times reported on Thursday. “University of Maryland’s accreditation under review in wake of football death,” The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
University of Nebraska political science professor Ari Kohen “liked” a photo on Facebook depicting a defaced campaign sign for Congressman Jeff Fortenberry. One of Fortenberry’s staffers apparently called Kohen and his department chair and the school chancellor to complain about the professor’s support for “political vandalism.” The Lincoln Journal Star has the story. But remember, kids, the biggest threat to free speech on campus comes from liberal students.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Virginia Bans Richard Spencer and Other Leaders of Violent ‘Unite the Right’ Rally.”
Buzzfeed on complaints about a special education teacher at Redlands High School in California: “‘He Betrayed My Trust’: How Students With Special Needs Finally Stopped Their Abusive Teacher.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “With Student Interest Soaring, Berkeley Creates New Data-Sciences Division.”
Writing in The Atlantic, Jeffrey Selingo argues, “As Humanities Majors Decline, Colleges Try to Hype Up Their Programs.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Valparaiso Law School announced its plans to close less than a month after the Tennessee Higher Education Commission rejected its plan to transfer to a public university in that state.”
Yes, Guns Are Ed-Tech (and It’s So F*cked Up that I Had to Make This a Category)
Via The New York Magazine: “The Class of 1946–2018 Twenty-seven school-shooting survivors bear their scars, and bear witness.”
Via The New York Times: “At Butler High School in N.C., Bullying Led to Fatal Shooting of Student, Police Say.” Via WSOCTV: “Matthews police to add officers at schools after deadly shooting at Butler HS.”
On the heels of a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, Inside Higher Ed writes, “For Hillel, Community and Safety.”
Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies
There are some accreditation rumblings at the University of Maryland – I’ve gathered all the stories related to the death of a football player there in the “meanwhile on campus” section above.
Via The New York Times: “A High School Education and College Degree All in One.” I swear, IBM gets its marketing money’s worth with this P-TECH stuff, doesn’t it.
Something about the “blockchain-powered future.”
Via Chalkbeat: “NYC is offering the SHSAT during school hours to boost diversity, but it’s mostly benefitting white and Asian students.”
Edsurge profiles Imbellus: “A Test Worth Teaching To? How a College Dropout Plans to Replace the SAT and ACT.” My most favorite lines simply must be these: “One of the early adopters of Imbellus was McKinsey & Company, the management consulting firm, which uses the scenario assessments to find job candidates. McKinsey employees, after all, solve problems for a living.” LOL, they do?! And wait, wait, wait… wasn’t McKinsey in the news recently? Ah yes. “McKinsey’s Work for Saudi Arabia Highlights its History of Unsavory Entanglements,” as The New Yorker writes. Imbellus raised a round of funding – hence the profile – and there are more details in the venture capital section below. One of the investors, I feel like I should mention here since we’re on the topic of Saudi Arabia now suddenly, is Thrive Capital, which is the VC firm run by Joshua Kushner, brother to a certain Jared, who, funnily enough, has some deep ties to Saudi Arabia too. Really looking forward to this new testing company though! Seems like it’s got only the best connections to folks with all of our very best futures in mind.
There’s more testing news from Tennessee down in the “labor and management” section.
Go, School Sports Team!
There’s more about the fallout from the death of a football player at the University of Maryland in the “meanwhile on campus” section above."
ASU’s Michael Crow is one of the new members of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.
“Video Games Are a Waste of Time? Not for Those With E-sports Scholarships,” says The New York Times.
Via NJ.com: “Rutgers football player charged in attempted double-murder plot.”
Labor and Management
Via The New York Times: “Alphabet Executive Resigns After Harassment Accusation.” Also via The New York Times: “Google Faces Internal Backlash Over Handling of Sexual Harassment.” Also via The New York Times: “Google Employees Stage Worldwide Walkout.”
“Instructure Announces a New CEO” – Michael Feldstein on Dan Goldsmith.
Via Chalkbeat: “Questar hires tech guru amid TNReady testing cleanup.” The “guru” is Brendan Kealey, formerly with Pearson.
There’s more hiring/firing news in the for-profit higher ed section above.
The Business of Job Training (and the Business of Jobs Giving Educational Benefits for Employees)
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Arizona State Will Give Uber Drivers in 8 Cities Free Tuition in Its Online Program.”
Via the AP: “Amazon’s new goal: Teach 10 million kids a year to code.”
At the height of the Great Recession, more than one out of every 6 workers without a high-school degree was trying unsuccessfully to find a job. Today, only one in 18 is in that situation. pic.twitter.com/RRdm0rIpN8— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) October 31, 2018
Perhaps the problem isn’t “skills.” Perhaps, just perhaps, there are other factors at play in the labor market, eh?
This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines
“Is Open Content Enough?” asks Edsurge.
“Are ‘Smart’ Classrooms the Future?” asks Campus Technology.
(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: “Juul Offered To Pay Schools As Much As $20,000 To Blame Vaping On Peer Pressure.” Social emotional learning! Mindfulness! My god, it’s all too perfect.
Via Getting Smart: “Extending Social Emotional Learning into the Home.”
Via The New York Times: “Your Kid’s Apps Are Crammed With Ads.” (The Atlantic and Vox also wrote up this study.)
Flickr, which was acquired from Yahoo by SmugMug, is changing how it handles free accounts – that is, it will limit those to 1000 photos (and delete any photos over that number if you don’t pay up). What’s going to happen to that huge collection of openly licensed content on the site? Creative Commons seems to think it’s not a problem. Shrug.
“Young Makers Take Action and Tackle Problems,” says The New York Times in a puff piece about the Maker Faire. And speaking of utterly uncritical reporting, here’s another story in The NYT that does very little to demonstrate the claims made in the headline: “How ‘Makers’ Make the Classroom More Inclusive.”
In other “maker” news, “Apple investigates report that Chinese students were forced to make its watches,” says CNN.
“The Moodle/Blackboard Breakup: The Long and the Short of It” by e-Literate’s Michael Feldstein.
Via Common Dreams: “Downplaying Deportations: How Textbooks Hide the Mass Expulsion of Mexican Americans During the Great Depression.”
Not directly education-related, I suppose, but I think still relevant for thinking about the ideology of software (and software makers and software funders) is this story from The Washington Post: “From Silicon Valley elite to social media hate: The radicalization that led to Gab.”
Stop acting like “self-directed learning” is a new thing. Thanks in advance.
Shocking, I know, but according to The Outline, education is not a silver bullet.
Robots and Other Education Science Fiction
Via The New York Times: “Colleges Grapple With Teaching the Technology and Ethics of A.I.”
Speaking of ethics, “Google offers money to universities to use artificial intelligence to scale up research,” The Washington Post reports.
Via Edsurge: “Robots Won’t Replace Instructors, 2 Penn State Educators Argue. Instead, They’ll Help Them Be ‘More Human.’”
(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform
“The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, pledged $3.3 million to four organizations focusing on helping students develop critical life skills,” says Politico. $750,000 to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning; $685,000 to Roses in Concrete Community School; $700,000 to Peer Health Exchange; and the rest to GripTape.
Sponsored content on Edsurge, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in order to promote personalized learning, promotes "personalized learning,“ among other things.”
Venture Capital and the Business of Education
Peilian.com has raised $150 million from Tiger Global Management, Tencent Holdings, Orchid Asia Group Management, Long Capital, Lanchi Venture Capital, Jinshajiang Venture Capital, GSR Ventures, and BHG Long Hills Capital. This is a Series C round of funding for the Chinese online music education company, but I’m not sure how much it’s raised previously.
Handshake has raised $40 million from True Ventures, Spark Capital, Reach Capital, Omidyar Network, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins, KPCB Edge, EQT Ventures, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The career services company – which has been covered many times by Inside Higher Ed for its questionable privacy practices – has raised $74 million total. I know. I too am shocked that these investors, particularly CZI, would back a company with questionable privacy practices.
Imbellus has raised $14 million from Upfront Ventures, Thrive Capital, Rethink Education, and Owl Ventures. The testing company (profiled by Edsurge in the “testing” section above) has raised $22.5 million total.
IXL Learning has acquired ABCya.
The Financial Review, tracking on the potential sale of the Australian for-profit college company: “Navitas gives in to shareholders, agrees to meeting but says BGH offer ‘does not reflect value’.”
Via The New York Times: “Apple Raises Prices, and Profits Keep Booming.”
Not education-related (unless, of course, you’re in the camp that likes to tout the politics of “open,” I guess), but The New York Times reports that “IBM to Buy Red Hat, the Top Linux Distributor, for $34 Billion.”
Data, Surveillance, and Information Security
“Programmed for Success” – The New York Times on how community colleges surveil their students in order to identify ones who are struggling (academically).
Via Motherboard: “Facing Tomorrow’s High-Tech School Surveillance.”
Via Futurism.com: “Schools Are Installing Bathroom Surveillance Systems to Bust Vapers.”
Via Fast Company: “Alexa will soon order you around at home–politely, of course.” Some asshole is going to brand this as “social emotional learning,” I guarantee it.
More toddler surveillance, from Google: “Google and Disney launch interactive Little Golden Books that work with Google Home,” says Techcrunch.
Still more surveillance: “Silicon Valley Nannies Are Phone Police for Kids,” says The New York Times.
Via Motherboard: “‘Remini’ App Used by Schools Left Personal Info Open to the World.”
There’s news about how the Department of Education will reorganize its privacy office in the “national education politics” section at the top.
Research, “Research,” and Reports
Here are my latest calculations about the venture capital flowing into education businesses – as well as acquisitions, mergers, and spinoffs – during the past month. (I’ve also updated the web pages where I track where the Gates Foundation and CZI dollars are going.)
Techcrunch touts Angela Duckworth touting “grit”.
Inside Higher Ed on new data about adjuncts from the TIAA Institute: “The majority of adjunct instructors are over 40 and primarily teach at a single college or university, ‘countering common perceptions that faculty is younger and teach at multiple colleges while pursuing a tenure-track position,’ according to TIAA.”
George Veletsianos on the “ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2018.”
NPR on “How Americans Feel About Affirmative Action In Higher Education.”
The Hechinger Report on a study on “personalized learning” and the cultural relevance of curriculum.
There’s more “research” (or at least a write-up of a survey) on student loan debt in “the business of financial aid” section above.
Via Edsurge: “Campus Support for OER is Growing, Survey Finds.”
The Atlantic on recent Pew Research data about families lacking high-speed Internet access at home: “Why Millions of Teens Can’t Finish Their Homework.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Two new reports find public universities less affordable for low-income students and less accessible for members of minority groups.”
“Just how polarized are we about reading instruction?” asks Daniel Willingham.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new study shows few student achievements from an innovative initiative in Tennessee that moved college math remediation back to high school.”
ProPublica on its “trove of education data”: “Reporting Recipe: How to Investigate Racial Disparities at Your School.”
Paging that ridiculous trio who wanted to hoax us about the dangers of “grievance studies” – perhaps this is a bigger problem? Via The New York Times: “He Promised to Restore Damaged Hearts. Harvard Says His Lab Fabricated Research.”
Via The New York Times: “Study of Cellphone Risks Finds ‘Some Evidence’ of Link to Cancer, at Least in Male Rats.” No evidence yet that mobile computing harms pigeons so your children are safe, I’m sure.
Icon credits: The Noun Project