Education Politics

An incredible piece of reporting by The Guardian on corporate lobbying and influence in Wisconsin politics following Scott Walker’s anti-union efforts in the state.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has reiterated his promise for free community college tuition for eligible high school graduates.

From the press release: “The U.S. Department of Education released the America’s College Promise Playbook, a comprehensive and up-to-date resource guide that provides practitioners with relevant and actionable information about how they can offer more students access to an affordable, high-quality education through which students can go as far as their talents and work ethic can take them.”

Another Department of Education release: an update to the College Scorecard.

Via The Washington Post: “ Obama administration goes ahead with $71 million grant for Ohio’s scandal-ridden charter sector – but calls it ‘high risk’.”

The White House held a Computer Science for All summit this week. Here’s Anil Dash’s take.

California vs. Massachusetts education ballot question politics” by Sherman Dorn.

Presidential Campaign Politics

Trump ‘plans’ to make Peter Thiel a supreme court judge,” says Boing Boing.

Via ProPublica: “Another Unrealistic Trump Policy Proposal: Homeschool Vouchers.”

Libertarian (and longshot) presidential hopeful Gary Johnson says his education policy proposals would involve scrapping the Department of Education.

Via Buzzfeed: “Clinton Touts Plan That Would Make College Free For Most.” (Thanks, Bernie Sanders!)

Education in the Courts

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A year after filing a lawsuit against UCLA, two graduate students who said a professor sexually assaulted and harassed them will receive a combined $460,000 as part of a settlement agreement, the university said in a statement on Friday.”

Via The Kansas City Star: “A lawyer for the largest teachers union in Kansas told the state Supreme Court on Tuesday that lawmakers’ 2014 decision to get rid of a job protection for tenured K–12 educators was unconstitutional.”

Via Education Week’s Market Brief: “Closely Watched Lawsuit Has Implications for Open Ed. Resources Market.” Great Minds is suing FedEx, contending that FedEx stores are in violation of the Creative Commons non-commercial licensing of its materials when they charge for photocopies of Great Minds’ curriculum.

More on toys as surveillance in the privacy section below.

Testing, Testing…

Via The Washington Post: “School informed parents of low-performing students they could opt out of state tests.” The school in question: Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia.

Via Education Week’s Market Brief: “Test Vendors Weigh In On Future of PARCC.”

More on test scores and ed-tech in the research section below.

Online Education (The Once and Future “MOOC”)

UC Berkeley says it will remove online course content in response to a Department of Justice assertion that the materials violate the ADA as they are not fully accessible to those with disabilities. Remind me: who’s keeping track of the bullshit associated with words like “open online education”?

Udacity has launched a nanodegree program in self-driving car engineering. Edsurge has more details – including this tidbit on Udacity’s money-back guarantee for job placement, something that doesn’t apply to the self-driving car program: “While attractive, Udacity’s promise flirts with flouting rules set by California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education, which state that institutions ‘shall not promise or guarantee employment.’” (In related self-driving car regulation news: “Google’s ‘Cozy’ Relationship With Driverless-Car Regulators.” Food for thought about how some folks hope this works in higher ed, no?)

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

The fallout from ITT’s closure continues:

“Some community colleges not transferring all ITT Tech credits,” KPCC reports. According to this story, students are opting instead to transfer to another for-profit (DeVry) as some community colleges contend that ITT courses were not rigorous enough to “count” for credit. NPR also explores what former ITT students will do.

Reuters says that ITT plans to file for bankruptcy.

SNHU will take over Daniel Webster College from ITT.

Via The 74: “ITT Tech Isn’t Just a College Scandal. It Also Ran Charter Schools – and Left Teens Scrambling.”

440+ ITT students are now on debt strike.

“More than 20 Senate Democrats have signed a letter to U.S. Secretary of Education John King asking the Education Department to support former ITT Technical Institute students by discharging their student loans,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

“After ITT’s Demise, More Trouble Is Likely for For-Profit Colleges,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has ordered Bridgepoint Education Inc., owner of the for-profit Ashford University, to forgive all outstanding private student loans and to refund any payments already made on those loans.”

Via PBS Frontline on for-profits: “A Subprime Education.”

Via Education Dive: “The Iron Yard and Code Fellows, have partnered with nonprofit financial literacy organization Operation HOPE to create a $100 million scholarship fund to spur minority and low-income student engagement in tech fields.”

More “research” on for-profits and coding bootcamps in the “research” section below.

Meanwhile on Campus

Via The Houston Chronicle: “Denied: How Texas keeps tens of thousands of children out of special education.”

Roger Ailes’ name will be removed from a WOUB newsroom, Ohio University President Roderick McDavis announced Monday during a Faculty Senate meeting,” the Post Athens reports.

Via Muckrock: “The strangest military gear on campus police’s back to school shopping list.”

Via the CBC: “University of Manitoba students receive ‘extortion’ letters over illegal downloads.”

Via the Odyssey Online: “How The University Of New Hampshire Chose To Waste An Alum’s $4m Gift.” Robert Morin, a librarian at the university, bequeathed his estate to the school. The school spent $1 million of the money on a new scoreboard for its football stadium.

Via The New York Times: “As Amazon Arrives, the Campus Bookstore Is a Books Store No More.”

Inside Higher Ed’s Carl Straumsheim looks at Indiana University’s eText initiative, which he says is “rapidly becoming the go-to way for students there to buy textbooks and other course materials.”

Philadelphia University and Thomas Jefferson University will merge.

Via CNN: “Why ‘tents of love’ are popping up in Chinese colleges.” (It’s not what it sounds like: these are campsites for parents, set up in school gyms.)

Accreditation and Certification

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Quality Matters, which offers quality assurance programs for online courses, is this fall expanding into online teaching certification.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Citing Civil-Rights Concerns, NCAA Pulls 7 Championship Events Out of North Carolina.”

The Atlantic Coast Conference also announced it would move all of its championship games out of North Carolina, a response to the HB2 “bathroom bill.”

Via Sporting News: “High school football announcer’s answer to Kaepernick-style protesters? Shoot them.” David Brooks also weighs in with advice for youth athletes of color as white male op-ed writers are wont to do.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Head of Clemson football program says some protesting police violence against black people should move to another country, and implies his comments reflect the ideas of Martin Luther King Jr.”

Via Yahoo Sports: “Why Wisconsin’s Bronson Koenig is joining the Dakota Pipeline protest.”

“With Wearable Tech Deals, New Player Data Is Up for Grabs,” says The New York Times, in a story that explores a $170 million deal between Nike and the University of Michigan. “A clause in the contract could, in the future, allow Nike to harvest personal data from Michigan athletes through the use of wearable technology like heart-rate monitors, GPS trackers and other devices that log myriad biological activities.”

Via The Daily Beast: “UNC Student Claims Cops ‘Laughed’ at Her Rape by Football Player.” The football player in question has turned himself in to face misdemeanor assault and battery charges.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Charleston Southern University suspended 32 of its football players after they violated National Collegiate Athletic Association rules by spending financial aid intended for textbooks on other items.”

From the HR Department

Carla Hayden is the new Librarian of Congress.

Remind CEO and co-founder Brett Kopf will be replaced by Brian Grey, formerly CEO of the Bleacher Report.

The Long Island University faculty lockout is over. Emily Drabinski writes, “Our collective bargaining agreement is extended until May 31, 2017, and the administration agreed to our condition that we engage a professional mediator to facilitate a fair contract.” More via Inside Higher Ed.

UC San Francisco says it plans to outsource its IT operations to India. But oh yes, kids, “everyone should learn to code” for job security.

Via Education Week: “The International Society for Technology in Education and its CEO, Brian Lewis, have parted ways, the organization announced this week, in an unexpected leadership change at the top of the prominent ed-tech organization.”

Teach for America’s presence in New York City hits 11-year low,” Chalkbeat reports.

Seattle University adjuncts have voted to unionize.

Contests and Awards

Via The New York Times: “$100 Million Awarded in Contest to Rethink U.S. High Schools.” More on the contest, funded by the XQ Institute, which is in turn is funded by Laurene Powell Jobs, via Edsurge.

Upgrades and Downgrades

Glam Media has closed. It’s transferred ownership of Ning – remember Ning? – to the New York-based company Cyndx.

Beacon Reader, a journalism crowdfunding platform, is shutting down.

Via NPR: “Teen Creates App So Bullied Kids Never Have To Eat Alone.”

The Christian Science Monitor has launched a new education editorial section, EqualEd.

Via The New York Times: “Apple Offers Free App to Teach Children Coding (iPads Sold Separately).”

Via NPR: “Texas Textbook Called Out As ‘Racist’ Against Mexican-Americans.”

Via Techcrunch: “CollegeBacker publicly launches its college savings account advisory service.” Robo-advisory, yo.

Funding and Acquisitions (The Business of Ed-Tech)

Open Up Resources has raised $10 million in “foundation funding,” says Edsurge. Founded by former Pearson exec Larry Singer, the company will offer openly licensed resources to schools.

OpenClassrooms has raised $6.74 million in funding from Banque Publique d’Investissements, Citizen Capital, Xavier Niel, and Alven Capital. The startup, which something something MOOC something something, has raised $9.69 million total.

Portfolium raises $6.6 million to get college students into jobs where they’ll kick butt,” says Techcrunch. Investors include SJF Ventures, University Ventures, and USA Funds. The company has raised $7.45 million total.

Fluent City has raised $2.5 million from 1776, Learn Capital, Lerner Investments, and New Ground Ventures. “The New York City-based language company, founded in 2011, offers 10 language classes along with courses in interior design, mixing cocktails and French culture,” says Edsurge. It’s a place to “teach Brooklyn hipsters about French culture,” says Venture Beat.

Everest Education has raised $1 million from unnamed investors for its “personalized learning” platform.

“Engagement” app Check I’m Here has raised $1 million in Series A funding from Jeffrey Vinik, Ronald Schlosser, and 500 Mobile Collective.

John Wiley & Sons has acquired online education marketing firm Ranku. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The National Research Center for College & University Admissions has acquired Eduventures. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Private equity firm Bridge Growth Partners has acquired acquire Finalsite from another equity firm, Spectrum Equity. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Data, Privacy, and Surveillance

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The science press release database EurekAlert went off-line on Wednesday after a hacker gained access to the website and leaked embargoed news out of the University of Sussex and the University of Montreal.”

Via Christian Science Monitor: “The state attorney general [of New York] announced settlements Tuesday with Viacom, Mattel, Hasbro and JumpStart Games to stop them from using or allowing tracking technology on their popular children’s websites.”

More on student athletes’ privacy in the sports section above.

Data and “Research”

Course Report has released its latest report on coding bootcamp graduates. “Coding bootcamp alumni report a 64% increase in salary” reads the subhead. Other details: “The typical attendee is 30 years old, has 6.8 years of work experience, has at least a Bachelor's degree, and has never worked as a programmer.” It would be great if there were independent evaluations of bootcamps, not just this self-reported survey stuff. But rah rah rah!

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new study co-authored by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and the State University of New York at Buffalo finds that the streamlined curriculum at for-profit institutions is the reason many poor students – particularly young African-Americans – drop out.”

The OECD has released its latest “Education at a Glance” report.

Via Campus Technology: “The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 17.2 percent in 2016 to total $208.6 billion, up from $178 billion in 2015, according to recent reports by tech market research firm Gartner.”

Via Education Week’s Market Brief: “Global K–12 Market for Personal PCs to Contract in 2016, Experts Project.”

“Best Evidence and the What Works Clearinghouseby Jason Stockard.

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center has released the results of a survey of 700 parents whose 4–13-year old children play video games.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Since the late 1980s, colleges and universities have spent increasingly more per student across nearly every major spending category, according to a new report from a Federal Reserve Bank economist who says his findings indicate broad-based reasons behind rising college costs.”

Via FiveThirtyEight: "Fancy Dorms Aren’t The Main Reason Tuition Is Skyrocketing."

The Pew Research Center has released its latest report on libraries.

Via Education Week: “Does Graduating From a Charter Help or Hinder Future Earnings?”

“When School Feels Like Prison.” The Atlantic’s Melinda D. Anderson writes that “A new study shows that campuses with larger populations of students of color are more likely to use harsh surveillance techniques.”

Also via The Atlantic: “How Marginalized Families Are Pushed Out of PTAs.”

Via Education Week: “The latest attempt by researchers to determine the impact of educational technology investments on student achievement suggests that federal E-rate program subsidies that schools receive are unlikely to improve student test scores.”

“The U.S. is teetering on the edge of a teacher shortage crisis, and if nothing is done to stop it, the country could be grappling with a shortage of more than 100,000 teachers annually by 2025,” according to a report by the Learning Policy Institute.

The latest Horizon Report for K–12 has been released. On the horizon: makerspaces, online learning, robotics, VR, artificial intelligence, and wearables. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that most of those are going to be forever and always “on the horizon.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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