Jared Keller on Ahmed Mohamed's experiences and “The Criminalization of the American Schoolyard”:

The simple facts of the case surrounding the 14-year-old student’s arrest are infuriating. [Ahmed] Mohamed, a ninth-grader at Irving MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, loved to tinker with electronics. One evening, he built a clock from circuit boards and wiring, which he stashed in a pencil case. On Tuesday, he showed his creation to his teachers. His engineering instructor praised the design; the English teacher thought it was a bomb. Mohamed was handcuffed by police officers and interrogated for hours. No charges were filed.

More via WaPo, Alan Levine, The Dallas Morning News, POTUS, Sylvia Martinez, Will Richardson, and Wired.

How to Make Your Own Homemade Clock That Isn’t a Bomb.”

The outpouring of support for Ahmed Mohamed was truly wonderful to see. But I think it's important that we call out the injustice of the school-to-prison pipeline as it affects all students, particularly students of color, not just those students who are science whizzes.

Education Politics

The Obama Administration announced that it’s making a change to FAFSA, starting in the fall of next year. Applicants will be asked to provide the prior prior year’s tax information, rather than the prior year’s.

The Obama Administration also unveiled its new “college scorecard.” I’ve put the round-up of responses below under “Data and ‘Research’.”

Seattle teachers have reached a tentative agreement with their school district, NPR reports, ending their week-long strike.

Manitoba announced an Open Textbook Initiative, that will create a library of free and openly licensed textbooks for the province’s most highly enrolled college classes.

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a ten-year deadline for all schools in the city to offer computer science (although CS won’t be a graduation requirement). Zeynep Tufekci’s response: “How de Blasio Should Expand Computer Science Education (Hint: Don't Arrest Ninth Graders Showing the Way).”

Inside Higher Ed looks at coding boot camps, including General Assembly, which have gone through various state regulatory approval processes.

Education in the Courts

A federal appeals court has ruled that copyright holders must consider fair use before sending DMCA takedown notices.

Testing, Testing…

Cornell College and Rivier University announced they are dropping the ACT/SAT requirements for admissions. Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai will, however, be required to take the SAT if she applies to Stanford.

Via The New York Times: “New York Will Trim Common Core Exams After Many Students Skipped Them.”

“California charter school scores dive,” the San Jose Mercury News reports.


Groundbreaking discovery from MOOC researchers: “In Online Courses, Students Learn More by Doing Than by Watching.” Wow. Who’d have thunk it.

Udacity Says It Can Teach Tech Skills to Millions, and Fast.” The latest argument for the MOOC revolution: “upskilling.”

Coursera has three new partners: Tomsk State University, National Research Nuclear University, and Novosibirsk State University.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “EVersity, the University of Arkansas System’s fully online institution that launched last week, now has its first applicants and a ‘preferred content provider’ in Cengage Learning.”

Yale is moving forward with its online physician assistant program, which it had to pause earlier this year due to accreditation issues.

Meanwhile on Campus

The Open University says it will close seven regional centers centres.

“The entire Japanese public university system attempts a massive queen sacrifice,” writes Bryan Alexander. The education minister has called on colleges there to scrap all social science and humanities departments.

Harvard’s Spee Club will admit women and its Hasty Pudding Theatricals will allow women to perform on stage. Wow, the innovation.

Delta State University assistant professor Ethan Schmidt was shot and killed by another professor.

The Kilton Public Library in New Hampshire has voted to continue to support the Tor network. (Tor makes Internet browsing anonymous.) The Department of Homeland Security and local police had warned the library that running the relay would facilitate crime.

School Nurses Stock Drug To Reverse Opioid Overdoses.”

AltSchool, a private school startup, says it plans to expand to Manhattan next year.

Did you really read the syllabus? A test.

Go Ducks.

Go, School Sports Team!

Via The New York Times: “High School Football Inc” – a look at private, for-profit schools that focus on sports.

The NCAA is considering loosening the rule that prevents student athletes from using their name and likeness to make money.

UT athletic director Steve Patterson has been fired.

From the HR Department

The Department of Education’s Office of Ed-Tech has hired Andy Marcinek to be “the first ever open education adviser to lead a national effort to expand schools’ access to high-quality, openly-licensed learning resources.”

Via WaPo: “The number of black public school teachers in nine cities - including the country's three largest school districts - dropped between 2002 and 2012, raising questions about whether those school systems are doing enough to maintain a diverse teaching corps,” according to research from the Albert Shanker Institute.

Walter Isaacson has apparently turned down the job as the new Librarian of Congress.

Desmos continues to hire super smart math folks – this time, Christopher Danielson.

Stanford Business School dean Garth Saloner is stepping down. Quartz details the drama.

Houston Independent School District superintendent Terry Grier announced his resignation.

Upgrades and Downgrades

Librarian David Lee King writes about his experiences with the learn-to-code startup Treehouse, which has changed how its subscription model works. His library has a subscription, but the startup apparently emailed patrons that they’d need to pay too. I don’t say this often, but read the comments.

Target plans to end its Take Charge of Education program, which gives a small percentage of purchases to schools.

Starting soon: you can buy a .college domain for all your edupreneurial needs. There’s no requirement you be an actual college! Whee!

Funding and Acquisitions

Microsoft announced that it will give $75 million to non-profits that promote computer science education.

Laurene Powell Jobs’s venture philanthropy organization, the Emerson Collective, is running a campaign called the XQ: The Super School Project – an attempt to get folks to “rethink high school.” 5 of the “best” ideas will receive a share of the $50 million Jobs has earmarked for the project. (Other edu-related investments of the Emerson Collective include AltSchool to give you an idea what its notion of “best ideas” might look like.)

LearnZillion has raised $13 million from DCM Ventures, Owl Ventures, and 11 other investors. The company, which creates Common Core-aligned curriculum, has raised $22.4 million total.

LearnUp has raised $8 million from Shasta Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, Floodgate, Greylock Partners, and High Line Venture Partners. The startup, which has raised $9.9 million total, is a job-training platform to place people in entry-level jobs.

Test prep company CL Educate has acquired a 51% stake in Accendere, Business Standard reports.

Data, Privacy, and Surveillance

Gawker on “exam-time spyware software” ProctorTrack: “Students Wonder When Creepy-As Hell App That Watches Them During Exams Plans on Deleting Their Data.” (The answer: once the media picks up on the story.)

Via “Is Google’s signing of the Student Privacy Pledge meaningful at all?” (Trick question. Is any company’s?)

Via the LA School Report: “While LA Unified may still be struggling to integrate its iPads and other digital devices into the classroom, its police department has found a few useful things to do with theirs.” (That is, monitoring schools for “vulnerabilities.”)

Via Bill Fitzgerald: “MySchoolBucks, or Getting Lunch with a Side of Targeted Advertising.”

Data and “Research”

Many thoughts on the new “College Scorecard”: The news, as reported by Inside Higher Ed, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Vox. And the analysis: Via Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill: “17% Of Community Colleges Are Not Included In College Scorecard” and “College Scorecard Problem Gets Worse: One in three associate's degree institutions are not included.” “What Actual High Schoolers Think of the New College Scorecard.” Actual high schoolers! The head of the University of Phoenix is unhappy with what the scorecard says about his school. Shocking. The best advice, no surprise, comes from UW education professor Sara Goldrick-Rab: “College Scorecard: For Analysis Not Action.”

The New York Times has released its own dataset, “The College Access Index,” which purports to measure economic diversity at universities.

The OECD has released a report on computers and education, which finds – no big surprise – that ed-tech isn’t really all that. (My response is here.)

Via NPR, a look at research on computer science and early childhood education.

From Mathematica Policy Research: “Understanding the Effect of KIPP as it Scales.”

Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 2004 to 2014

The latest from Pew Research Center on “Libraries at the Crossroads.”

Are College Lectures Unfair?

“Disruptive innovation” is a myth. Pretty sure I’ve said that before. But hey, who’s keeping track. And now there’s an academic paper that backs up our call that applying the phrase to everything under the sun is mostly bullshit: “Disruption is real but rare, King and Baatartogtokh conclude, which suggests that it’s at best a marginally useful explanation of how innovation happens.”

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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