(National) Education Politics

Late last Friday, the US Senate did pass its version of a tax reform bill, one with scribbles in the margins and handwritten addenda because everyone now thinks “move fast and break things” is a genius tactic. Thanks, Zuck.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Senate Passes Tax Bill With Major Implications for Higher Ed.” Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Passage of Senate Tax-Reform Bill Leaves Colleges Scrambling.”

Via The Washington Post: “ After a high-drama vote, here’s what the Senate tax bill means for schools, parents and students.”

“8 Grad Students Are Arrested Protesting the GOP Tax Bill on Capitol Hill,” The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Adam Harris reported on Tuesday. But now “House Republicans May Be Backing Away From Taxing Grad-Student Tuition Waivers,” Harris says.

Via The Hill: “GOP bill would eliminate student loan forgiveness for public service.” That bill: the move to re-authorize the Higher Education Act.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A graduation rate requirement for access to special funds for minority-serving institutions in a proposed House Republican rewrite of the Higher Education Act would exempt historically black colleges and universities.” HBCUs would be exempted.

Higher-Ed Lobbyists Are Told to Make Peace With Republicans,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via NPR: “School Voucher Programs Should Be Clear About Disability Rights, Report Says.” That’s a report from the GAO.

Via Edsurge: “How a ‘New’ GI Bill May Shape Tomorrow’s Education-to-Employment Pipeline.” Let’s watch how the “new” for-profit higher ed takes advantage of this, shall we?

“Without Net Neutrality, How Would Internet Companies Treat K–12 Districts?” asks Education Week’s Market Brief.

I’m not sticking this story in “the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines” section even though the headline is in the form of a question, and that’s because I very much hope that we can get to the answer “yes” here. Indeed, our future depends on it. From Rachel Cohen and Will Stancil, “Will America’s Schools Ever Be Desegregated?

“How Education Reform Ate the Democratic Partyby Jennifer Berkshire in The Baffler.

Hey, what’s Betsy DeVos’s brother up to these days? Oh.

(State and Local) Education Politics

A couple of profiles of Success Academy’s Eva Moskowitz this week – good to read side-by-side. “Success Academy’s Radical Educational Experiment” by The New Yorker’s Rebecca Mead. “The Charter-School Crusader” by Elizabeth Green in The Atlantic. (Green also penned a piece in Chalkbeat: “Why my Eva Moskowitz story is the scariest one I’ve ever written.”)

“A ‘portfolio’ of schools? How a nationwide effort to disrupt urban school districts is gaining traction” by Chalkbeat’s Matt Barnum. Any time you hear that word “disrupt,” taxpayers, get out your wallets.

Via the AP: “Colorado school board votes to end voucher program.” Specifically, the Douglas County school board, in the suburbs outside of Denver.

Privacy advocate Leonie Haimson visits a Summit Charter School.

Via Chalkbeat: “Gov. Eric Holcomb says Indiana’s low-rated online charter schools need ‘immediate attention and action’.”

Via Motherboard: “Half of West Virginia has Applied for Broadband Assistance.”

Via the Bangor Daily News: “White Maine students are least likely in nation to see kids of another race at school.”

Via ProPublica: “How Students Get Banished to Alternative Schools.”

Education in the Courts

“As lawsuits mount over access to learning technologies for people with disabilities, universities consider banding together to share accessibility reviews of vendor products,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via The New York Times: “Brock Turner Is Appealing His Sexual Assault Conviction.” Of course he is.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Supreme Court Allows Travel Ban to Go Into Effect.”

Via The New York Times: “Too Many Children in California Can’t Read, Lawsuit Claims.”

Via The New York Times: “Harvard Agrees to Turn Over Records Amid Discrimination Inquiry.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Adtalem Global Education, the company that owns DeVry University, announced Monday that ownership of the for-profit institution would transfer to Cogswell Education LLC.” “Troubled DeVry University Gets Sold Off For A Pittance,” Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy reports. “Huh?” says “Dean Dad” Matt Reed.

Online Education (and the Once and Future “MOOC”)

Via The Columbus Dispatch: “ECOT again fights repaying millions in taxpayer money.” ECOT is the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, an online charter school company that has been battling Ohio for quite some time now.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via The Huffington Post: “Voucher Schools Championed By Betsy DeVos Can Teach Whatever They Want. Turns Out They Teach Lies.”

Via the AP: “US charter schools put growing numbers in racial isolation.” “Racial isolation” here is a nice way, I guess, of saying “segregation.” Even with the euphemism, this story made education reform folks mad mad mad.

Via The New York Times: “Now on Oracle’s Campus, a $43 Million Public High School.” Curious if students are allowed to use any tech products made by Oracle’s arch-nemesis, Google.

Via The Richmond Times-Dispatch: “In CodeRVA, a high school experiment with hopes for a diverse region.” CodeRVA is a new high school in Richmond, Virgina focused on computer science.

“Auditors Reviewed How UVa’s Police Prepared for White Supremacists. They Didn’t Like What They Found,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. More on the report in The Washington Post.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Steve Kolowich: “Spotted at a White-Power Rally, but Still Popular With Campus Republicans.” Popular with campus Republicans at Washington State University, that is, who just re-elected him their president.

Via The Chicago Tribune: “Bus company serving University of Illinois criticized for ’racist and bigoted’ ad.”

Via Teen Vogue: “School Shooting in New Mexico Leaves Three Dead.” It’s heartbreaking that this was hardly news at all this week.

Via The Atlantic: “The Two Clashing Meanings of ‘Free Speech’.”

Via the BBC: “Oxford University raises £750m from biggest bond issue.” Phew! I was so worried about its financial wellbeing and ability to stay afloat.

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

Via Edsurge: “​Why New Jersey is Banking on a Credential Registry to Boost its Middle Class.” I hope the state isn’t really banking on it. Seems like there are some other things one might do to boost the middle class other than create a database that lists all available higher ed credential. But what do I know.


“Worried about the drop in U.S. scores on international literacy test? Well, stop it,” says Valerie Strauss.

Go, School Sports Team!

Fire Dana Altman now.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “University of Mississippi has been punished yet again by the NCAA for giving cash to recruits, its third such violation since 1986.”

From the HR Department

Via The Washington Post: “Georgetown University refuses to recognize graduate student union.”

The Business of Job Training

Via Motherboard: “To Solve the Diversity Drought in Software Engineering, Look to Community Colleges.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Everyone Agrees on Value of Apprenticeships. The Question Is How to Pay for Them.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Is Protesting a Privilege?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Is Private Education in Africa the Solution to Failing Education Aid?asks the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Can Entrepreneurs Balance Educational and Financial Returns?asks Edsurge.

Should Children Form Emotional Bonds With Robots?asks The Atlantic.

Will Open Online Education Disrupt the Master’s Admissions Funnel?asks IHE blogger Josh Kim.

(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

It’s Computer Science Education Week, which means everyone had to crank out articles on why, to prepare for the future of work, “everyone should learn to code” (or not): Edsurge. Techcrunch. Edsurge again. Mashable. And many others but I got bored of jotting down the links. So much industry-driven fun fun fun. “Should Teachers Get $100 For Steering Kids To Google‘s ’Hour of Code’ Lesson?” asks a poster on Slashdot. More details about more industry money for in the venture philanthropy section below.

Silicon Valley Takes Over Classrooms: Yes and No (Part 1)” by Stanford University’s Larry Cuban.

Facebook is coming for your children. Via The New York Times: “New Facebook App for Children Ignites Debate Among Families.” More coverage in Techcrunch and the MIT Technology Review.

This is my new favorite analogy for “personalized learning” and “algorithmic, predictive, adaptive blah blah blah” in education:

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Cengage, the publisher and technology company, is introducing a subscription service that will enable students to access Cengage’s entire digital portfolio for one set price, no matter how many products they use.” The price tag: $179.99/year. Just what ever college student wanted.

Dubai Private School Market Presents Opportunities for Curriculum Providers,” says Education Week’s Market Brief.

Via David Perry in The Atlantic: “The Futile Resistance Against Classroom Tech.” I’m cited in this but I strongly disagree that “classroom tech” is inevitable and that resistance is futile. I just have zero time right now to weigh in on the “ban laptops” debates.

Via NPR: “A Tech-Based Tool To Address Campus Sexual Assault.”

Via Mic: “Neo-Nazi wealth is rapidly growing. Why? Bitcoin.” Enjoy those blockchain transcripts, everyone.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

Robot Learning Improves Student Engagement,” the Communications of the ACM claims.

“If the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Work is Unclear, What Can Schools Do?” asks Education Week.

Kiwicampus: a robot delivery service on campus.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform

Via The Verge: “ gets $12 million in funding from the Gates Foundation and others.” Here’s a list of the other companies backing this “learn to code” initiative.

Via The Chicago Tribune: Google gave $1.5 million to the Chicago Public Schools and to Chance the Rapper’s education foundation.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

ALO7 has raised $37.5 million in Series D funding from Legend Capital, GuoHe Capital, UG Investment, Qualcomm, New Oriental, and Vickers Venture Partners. The language learning company has raised $45.7 million total.

Graduway has raised $12.7 million from Susquehanna International Group for its alumni software. The company has raised $15.8 million total.

Early childhood education company Kinedu has raised $1.1 million from Dila Capital, Promotora Social Mexico, Social + Capital, Advenio, Stella Maris, and the Stanford-StartX Fund.

Instructure has acquired the video-based assessment platform Practice. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

VitalSource has acquired corporate learning company Intrepid Learning. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

I guess I’ll take TechShop off my list of startups in the “ed-tech deadpool,” as The Washington Business Journal reports “TechShop to be acquired, reopen maker space locations.” The new company will be TechShop 2.0 LLC, and while it’s not quite clear who the new owners all are, I’m sure the “2.0” insures this is all gonna work out great.

More acquisition news in the for-profit higher ed section above.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via CSO: “Company with no privacy policy to collect brainwave data on 1.2 million students.” That’s BrainCo, which recently inked a deal to sell the product in China and was featured in a story by Edsurge.

Via The Chicago Tribune: “Data mining program designed to predict child abuse proves unreliable, DCFS says.” “Unreliable” is an understatement here. This story is just layers and layers of awful solutionism.

Rutgers has suffered a data breach, exposing some 1700 students’ information.

Via The San Francisco Chronicle: “Stanford University data glitch exposes truth about scholarships.” Spoiler alert: Stanford University is not a meritocracy.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

The best way to predict the future is to issue a press release. Or maybe a slide deck that includes the products you’ve invested in, and then get the folks at Fast Company to cover it…

Via The Outline: “How brands secretly buy their way into Forbes, Fast Company, and HuffPost stories.”

FutureSource is out with its latest report on trends in the education mobile OS market.

“There’s an implosion of early-stage VC funding,” says Techcrunch, “and no one’s talking about it.”

“Educators are ill-equipped to help victims of dating violence,” writes Melinda D. Anderson in The Atlantic, pointing to research about the lack of training and preparedness among teachers and administrators to address the issue.

Self-Affirmation Gets Minority Students on a College Track,” says Pacific Standard. What a great example of placing the expectation of change on the individual and not on the structure.

Via Vox: “Groundbreaking empirical research shows where innovation really comes from.”

Via Education Week: “U.S. Graduation Rate Hits New All-Time High, With Gains in All Student Groups.”

This story. Again. “The World Might Be Better Off Without College for Everyone,” Bryan Caplan argues in The Atlantic. Of course, we don’t have “college for everyone.” Caplan, for those keeping score at home, is an economics professor at George Mason University, a Cato Institute scholar, and the author of a new book The Case Against Education. This is what Koch money buys you, folks.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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