Education Politics

British Prime Minister David Cameron wants every school in England and Wales to become an academy (that is, a school independent of local control).

Via Buzzfeed: “Education Department Wants To ‘Claw Back’ Loan Dollars From Disgraced Colleges. As more for-profit college students seek to have their federal student loans cancelled, the government is looking for ways to keep taxpayers off the hook.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: the role that banks like Bank of America have played in for-profit universities.

Via Education Week: “The Department of Education is asking for bids to design a prototype system to quickly evaluate ed-tech in K–12 schools, in hopes of making it easier for educators to figure out what works in products they purchase with federal funding.”

The Department of Education is also seeking input on what sorts of privacy protections should be in place for students’ medical records.

Education in the Courts

A US District Court judge has begun hearing a lawsuit brought against Compton Unified School District, claiming “trauma is a disability and that schools are required – by federal law – to make accommodations for traumatized students, not expel them. The plaintiffs want Compton Unified to provide teacher training, mental health support for students and to use conflict-mediation before resorting to suspension.”

Testing, Testing…

“Test-Refusal Movement’s Success Hampers Analysis of New York State Exam Results,” says The New York Times.

The ACT makes the case for multiple choice tests – they “can and do efficiently assess students’ higher-order thinking skills and reflect their real-world problem solving skills.”


Once upon a time, Gregory Ferenstein, then writing for Techcrunch, predicted that Udacity would bring about “the end of college as we know it.” He’s dialed it back a little this week with his prediction in ReadWrite: “Online Education May Be Poised To Take Off.”

According to Inside Higher Ed, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, the University of Washington, the University of California's Davis, Irvine and Los Angeles campuses, and the University of Wisconsin Extension are teaming up to create the University Learning Store for online assessments and microcredentials.

Edsurge reports that News Corp’s education division Amplify has sold its computer science MOOC to an unnamed buyer.

Meanwhile on Campus

Mashable reports that “Up to 2,300 students will go to college for free thanks to LeBron James.”

Via the Houston Chronicle: “The Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has asked a state district court to block the University of Texas at Austin from relocating its statue of Jefferson Davis from the campus’ main mall, prompting UT to delay the move at least temporarily.”

Paul Smith’s College will get a $20 million gift from Joan Weill – as long as it changes its name to Joan Weill-Paul Smith's College.

“What Are Los Angeles USD’s Plans to Combat Sexting?” asks Edsurge. (Answer: apparently, show educational videos.)

Via The LA Times: “For-profit colleges are using the GI Bill to make money off veterans.”

“Ex-cop with KKK ties found working in FL elementary school – and parents are furious,” says Raw Story.

Failure factories in Florida.

Go, School Sports Team!

The National Labor Relations Board has declined to weigh in on whether football players at Northwestern University can unionize. More via The New York Times and NPR.

There are possibly new NCAA violations at UNC Chapel Hill.

Via Jessia Luther and Dan Solomon in Texas Monthly: “Silence at Baylor”: “A much-talked-about football player at Baylor University – whom coaches ‘expect back’ this fall – is currently on trial for the sexual assault of a fellow student. Questions now swirl around what the program knew and when they knew it.”

And via Jessica Luther, writing for Vice Sports: “Former UTC Wrestler’s Expulsion Reversed in Sexual Assault Case.”

Data on the arrests of college football players.

From the HR Department

Amazon is hell.

Sociologist Zygmunt Bauman accused of serial “self-plagiarism,” says the Times Higher Education, as he’s recycled some 90,000 of his words across various books and articles. (For what it’s worth, it doesn’t really strike me as plagiarism at all.)

Upgrades and Downgrades

Chinese ed-tech company 17zuoye is partnering with Knewton.

Via David Wiley: “Personalization in Lumen’s ‘Next Gen’ OER Courseware Pilot.”

Via Education Week: “TES Global Unveils Platform for U.S. Teachers to Sell Content Online.” More via Edsurge.

“Chromebooks Gaining on iPads in School Sector,” and The New York Times is on it.

Funding and Acquisitions

Test prep company Testive has raised $1.15 million, says BetaBoston.

Private equity firms Leonard Green & Partners and TPG Capital have agreed to buy Ellucian. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

EdCamp has received a $2 million grant from the Gates Foundation. Because nothing says “grassroots” like a couple of million dollars from Bill and Melinda.

Data, Privacy, Security, and Surveillance

AT&T Helped U.S. Spy on Internet on a Vast Scale.”

The University of Virginia’s IT system was hit with a cyberattack.

San Diego Unified School District uses facial recognition software.

Inside Higher Ed reports that there are 74,468 unique email addresses from .edu domains released as part of the hack of the Ashley Madison website.

Teachers applying for a Google Certified Educator certificate will be monitored via their webcams.

Data and “Research”

Gallup has released the results of a poll about the availability of computer science in schools. Among the findings, “just 7% of principals and 6% of superintendents surveyed report that demand for it is high among parents in their school or district.”

“When teachers are asked about their expectations for black students, nonblack teachers were 30 percent less likely than black teachers to say they thought those students would earn a college degree.” More on a study of race and teachers’ expectations of students via Vox.

Also via Vox: “Parents think standardized tests are useless. Teachers agree.” (Here’s the link to the survey this headline refers to.)

Via NPR: “New research by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows education does not help black and Hispanic college graduates protect their wealth the same way it does for their white and Asian counterparts.”

According to Edsurge’s calculations, “US Edtech Brings in $73M in July.”

Market research first MarketsandMarkets claim that “the global Education Technology (Ed Tech) and Smart Classrooms Market is expected to grow from USD 43.27 Billion in 2015 to USD 93.76 Billion in 2020.” (The report will cost you almost $5000, so clearly the market for selling data about ed-tech also remains strong.)

Alfie Kohn in Salon on the dangers of “growth mindset” – or at least the dangers in how research gets picked up by conservative ideology.

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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