Education Politics

Ugandan parliament orders Bridge Academy schools closed,” according to Education International. “In a sweeping move, the for-profit school chain has been told to lock its doors after parliament demanded it halt operations in response to its failure to meet educational and infrastructure standards.” The company – funded by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Pearson, Learn Capital, and others – says it will remain open.

The US Department of Education announced it was launching “a pilot to test rigorously the effectiveness of more flexible loan counseling policies on federal student loan borrowers.”

Via The New York Times: “State Department, Citing Security, Suspends Teaching Program in Turkey.”

Presidential Campaign Politics

Via Education Week: “Donald Trump Proposes Making Parents’ Child-Care Costs Fully Tax-Deductible.” No details on how this would actually work.

Education in the Courts

Via The New York Times: “Ahmed Mohamed, Boy Handcuffed for Making Clock, Is Suing.”

Via the Dallas Morning News: “Professors who ban guns in their classrooms will be punished, UT lawyer says.”

MIT, New York University, and Yale are being sued by employees, “accused of allowing their employees to be charged excessive fees on their retirement savings,” The New York Times reported on Tuesday. By the end of the week, additional, similar complaints had been filed by employees at Duke, Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania, and Vanderbilt.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against New Mexico State University, alleging that the university paid a female former assistant track coach significantly less than her male colleagues, the department announced on Thursday.”

Testing, Testing…

Reuters continues its reporting on standardized testing security (or lack thereof): “ACT shakes up security unit, plans audit after cheating reports.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Unpublished SAT Exam Material Stolen, College Board Says.”

“The Indiana Department of Education is seeking $4 million in damages from the company that created last year’s problem-plagued ISTEP test. The state blames the California-based CTB company for the scoring problems and technical glitches that led to delays in releasing last year’s test results,” says Chalkbeat.

From the US Department of Education’s blog: “Building the Next Generation of Assessments in Education.”

Online Education (The Once and Future “MOOC”)

Via the Coursera blog: “Coming soon to all courses: Flexible session-based schedules.”

Imperial College London has joined edX.

Education Dive makes claims about “MOOCs as tools for equity in under-resourced high schools.” Elsewhere, more claims about “the global poor” and MOOCs (and other ed-tech companies) in Edsurge.

Remember when the World Economic Forum was super-into MOOCs? Well, now the organization is making similar-sounding predictions about Bitcoin, for what it’s worth.

Coding Bootcamps (The Once and Future “For-Profit Higher Ed”)

From the press release: “The U.S. Department of Education today denied a request from the Center for Excellence in Higher Education (CEHE), a Utah-based chain of for-profit career colleges, to convert to non-profit status for purposes of federal financial student aid. The denial means that the colleges' programs must continue to meet requirements under the federal Gainful Employment regulations.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “An Education Department review of Ashford University’s compliance with federal financial aid rules has resulted in a fine of $137,695 for a handful of violations, Bridgepoint Education, which owns Ashford.”

“Are coding bootcamps only for the rich?” asks Techcrunch.

Also via Inside Higher Ed: “Traditional colleges including Northeastern University and Bellevue College are entering the coding boot camp market by partnering with boot camp providers or by creating their own programs.”

General Assembly plans to expand to 10 new cities, Edsurge reports (but doesn’t mention that just a few weeks ago, the bootcamp laid off 7% of its staff).

More on General Assembly in the “business” section below.

Here’s a puff piece in Education Dive about the for-profit Ubiquity University.

Via Eater: “Culinary Schools Are Getting More Expensive – Should You Go?”

Meanwhile on Campus

BYU is under Title IX investigation, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Via the Seattle Times: “As many as 90 University of Washington students from China may have been defrauded of up to $1 million in tuition money, UW Police Department investigators said Monday.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Association of American Publishers complains about Cal State librarian who studies popularity of pirated scientific papers. Cal State defends its librarian.”

Via The Atlantic: “Assault-Rifle Camp for Kids, Courtesy of the American Military.”

Xavier University in Ohio will later this month become the home to the first pizza ATM in the US,” says Inside Higher Ed.

Vermont schools have more computers than students, says the Burlington Free Press.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What $500 Tuition Could Mean for 3 UNC Campuses.”

Via Education Week: “Personalized learning pioneer Summit Public Schools is expanding its network to include 100 new schools, CEO Dianne Tavenner announced via a Facebook post today.”

There’s more Summit Public Schools / Facebook news in the downgrades section below.

Accreditation and Certification

“Digital badges aren’t replacing the bachelor’s degree any time soon,” Inside Higher Ed helpfully points out. “But a growing number of colleges are working with vendors to use badges as an add-on to degrees, to help students display skills and accomplishments that transcripts fail to capture.” Smart idea, schools, to outsource one of your core functions to a vendor. Super smart.

Go, School Sports Team!

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The National Collegiate Athletic Association and five co-defendants will pay $1.2 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a Frostburg State University football player who died after suffering a head injury in 2011. Three Frostburg State staff members, helmet manufacturer Kranos Corp. and retailer George L. Heider Inc. also agreed to the settlement.”

From the HR Department

Linda Katehi has resigned as chancellor of UC Davis. “What Began With Pepper Spray at UC Davis Ends With a Golden Parachute,” as The Atlantic puts it.

Chicago Public Schools has laid off some 1000 employees, including 500 teachers. Here’s my friend Xian Franzinger Barrett describing his experiences getting “the phone call.” His first child is due in a couple of months.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A member of the Board of Governors of Metropolitan Community College, in Omaha, will resign following threats by the federal government to withhold student aid from the college if he stayed on the board.”

Chris Lohse is the new head of the Education Technology Industry Network, the ed-tech division of the Software & Information and Industry Association.

More on teacher pay in the research section below.

Upgrades and Downgrades

It’s not a pivot; it’s “phase two,” apparently. That’s how Techcrunch describes the private school AltSchool, which now says it plans to charge $1000 per student for others to use its surveillance ed-tech software.

Schoology: The strongest LMS you’ve never seen” – according to Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill at least.

And from his business partner Michael Feldstein: “Instructurecon 2016: Why This Company is Still Formidable (and Misunderstood).” Poor poor misunderstood LMSes.

Facebook is out to upend the traditional student-teacher relationship,” says The New York Times in one of the worst pieces I’ve seen it write about ed-tech in a long time. “On Tuesday, Facebook and Summit Public Schools, a nonprofit charter school network with headquarters in Silicon Valley, announced that nearly 120 schools planned this fall to introduce a free student-directed learning system developed jointly by the social network and the charter schools.”

Oh look. Another “Pinterest for education.”

Funding and Acquisitions (The Business of Ed-Tech)

Kaltura has raised $50 million and says it plans to IPO. The video platform has raised $165.1 million total.

Kira Talent has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Relay Ventures, BDC Capital IT Venture Fund, Globalive, and Roger Martin. The “talent acquisition” and college admissions app has raised $8.2 million total.

Job matching company Viridis Learning has raised $3.2 million in Series A funding from Thayer Ventures, Lumina Foundation, the Carver Family Office, Serious Change, NVC Investments, Carlos Gutierrez, C.S. Park, and Ken Hicks. has raised $1.9 million from the The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Omidyar Network Fund. The press release describes this as grant money, and I hope so because I’d sure hate to see VC funding from that later organization ruin a startup that higher ed folks seem to like.

General Assembly has acquired the coding bootcamp Bitmaker.

PowerSchool has acquired SRB Education Solutions.

Data, Privacy, and Surveillance

“The University of Melbourne has moved to allay privacy concerns amid revelations it is tracking students through their wi-fi usage,” says The World Today. “The university said the practice, which looked at where people were moving around campus, helped institutions improve retention rates and the experience of students.”

“What kinds of data do school districts release?” asks the Sunlight Foundation.

Data and “Research”

Via the AP: “Gay, lesbian and bisexual high school students are far more likely than their classmates to be raped or assaulted in a dating situation, according to the first national survey of its kind.”

There are “merits” to reading paper books – “real books,” says the headline – to children, and The NYT is on it.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Employer-sponsored wellness programs are on the decline, as are benefits for part-time faculty members, according to a new study from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources.”

“Teachers of math and English/language arts in states following the common-core standards are playing a strong role in developing or selecting the classroom resources they use,” according to a RAND Corporation report.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new national survey finds that student debt has an impact on how people view relationship potential.” Debt is “baggage,” apparently.

Via EdSource: “Pay for teachers has stagnated nationally over the past two decades, and fallen behind earnings of other workers with college degrees, the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based nonpartisan think tank, concluded in a report released Tuesday.” But Atlschool's fouder thinks schools are gonna pay $1000 per student for some creepy software. Right.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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