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The History of the Future of Education Technology

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  • 05/11/18--06:10: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    First Lady Melania Trumplaunched her “Be Best” campaign this week, encouraging people to be nicer on social media. Looks like she just recycled an Obama-era document that the FTC put out. Oh well. At least some people heard her message:

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Federal task force releases ”roadmap“ for alternative federal system for apprenticeships, with calls for more industry involvement and criticism of higher education. But questions remain about how the new system would work.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The U.S. Department of Education plans to hold a negotiated rule-making session aimed at changing regulations for federal aid eligibility to try to ‘promote greater access for students to high-quality, innovative programs,’ according to a Wednesday posting from the Office of Management and Budget.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “DeVos to Review Restrictions on Religious Institutions.”

    There’s some news in the venture capital section below on Betsy DeVos’s (terrible) investments.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced a reorganization Wednesday that will eliminate the separate arm that focused on the interests of students and other young Americans. The Office of Students and Young Consumers had actively and aggressively policed the student loan industry and monitored credit card companies and other financial institutions that serve – or target – college students and other young people.” More via NPR.

    Via The Washington Post: “Free textbooks? Federal government is on track with a pilot program.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via The Oregonian: “Portland Public Schools fielded report after report that educator Mitch Whitehurst engaged in sexual misconduct with students, starting the very first year of his 32-year career, a damning investigation released Thursday says.”

    Via The 74: “Under Shadow of Online Charter School Scandal, Mike DeWine & Richard Cordray Win Primaries in Race for Ohio Governor.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The chancellor’s office for California’s community college system on Tuesday released recommendations for a performance funding formula that Jerry Brown, the state’s Democratic governor, proposed in January as part of his last budget plan.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via Pacific Standard: “Children Will Now Be Separated From Their Parents at the U.S. Border.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via CBS News: “Texas Christian University tutors accused in alleged cheating case.” The alleged cheating involved study materials posted to Quizlet.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “University of Michigan Sued Over Speech Code.”

    Via The New York Times: “Man Who Hacked West Point and Government Websites Is Charged.” That’s Billy Ribeiro Anderson.

    “Free College”

    Via The Washington Post: “Maryland governor plans to sign free community college bill into law.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via the BBC: “The man hired to run the Student Loans Company was appointed against officials’ advice and without having his references checked, a report says.” That’s Steve Lamey, who ran the British loan company, and who was fired for “gross misconduct” in late 2017.

    There’s more financial aid-related news in the federal education section up top.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via Tom Vander Ark in Getting Smart: “Venture University: A Trade School for the Innovation Economy.” There’s no degree. “The tuition becomes an investment fund. Learners can earn tuition back and then some–or not, depending on how their investments fair.” Sounds legit.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Laureate Describes Its Shifted Focus.”

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    “If You’re Worried About Free Speech on Campus, Don’t Fear Students – Fear the Koch Brothers,” writes David Perry in Pacific Standard.

    To be honest though, lots of folks should fear white women on campus:

    Via NPR: “College Apologizes After Native American Students’ Visit Is Sidelined By Police.” That’s Colorado State University.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Yale Police Called on Black Student Taking a Nap.”

    And another story from David Perry: “A Texas Principal and the Casual Criminalization of Race and Disability in Schools.”

    “The University of Oregon is changing course evaluations to make them more useful and eliminate implicit bias,” says The Daily Emerald.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “AAUP says University of Nebraska-Lincoln violated Courtney Lawton’s academic freedom when it ended her teaching appointment over a high-profile political dispute on campus.” (Be sure to read Steve Kolowich’s coverage of this.)

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “UNC Rejects Faculty Panel’s Finding That Administrators Interfered in Critic’s Class on Sports.”

    Via The Detroit Free Press: “Auditors probed U-M’s endowment years ago. Then delay, delay, delay.” U-M here is the University of Michigan.

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “At Columbia University, Art Students Want Their Tuition Back.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “NYU’s Abu Dhabi Campus May Still Be Exploiting Workers, Report Says.”

    Via Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Postscript on Rio Salado Coverage: Clarity about different outcome types.”

    Via Wyofile: “College dumps transgender protections after GOP, community pressure.” That is Eastern Wyoming College.

    Oh look. Another “banning laptops” story, this one from Ohio State University: “Professor Bans Laptops, Sees Grades Rise.”

    “Which university or college will be the first to reach $100,000 per year?” asks Bryan Alexander.

    Via The Atlantic: “One Ohio School’s Quest to Rethink Bad Behavior.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Education Dive: “Stackable degrees could be the future of higher education, experts say.” “Experts.”


    The College Board has called for extra security on the upcoming AP exams.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via ThinkProgress: “Michigan State admits Nassar sexually abused student-athletes, but says he didn’t break NCAA bylaws.”

    There’s some more sports-related news in the “meanwhile on campus” section above.

    Labor and Management

    Edsurge talks with AFT head Randi Weingarten.

    Via Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein: “Portentous Changes in Instructure’s Executive Management.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Nearpod Names Ed-Tech Veteran Maurice Heiblum to President, COO Post.”

    Via NPR: “After 3-Day Strike, University Of California’s Service Workers Vow To Keep Fighting.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Duke Administrator’s Complaint About Music Apparently Got 2 Campus Baristas Fired.”

    There’s more news on hirings and firings in the financial aid section above.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Is diversity hiring a threat to academic growth?asks Education Dive.

    Can This AI-Powered Baby Translator Help Diagnose Autism?asks Wired.

    Should Professors (a) Use Multiple Choice Tests or (b) Avoid Them At All Costs?asks Edsurge.

    (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

    Google’s got our kids,” says The Outline.

    Google had a big event this week – you know, the one where tech journalists do the company’s marketing work for them by writing up every announcement made on stage in its own, separate article. (Some of the stories are in the “robots” section below.)

    Chromebooks are ready for your next coding project,” says the Google blog.

    Klout is closing. (Thanks GDPR!) However will Michael Petrilli and Rick Hess rank teachers now?

    Via Boing Boing: “After the Boy Scouts opens up to trans kids, queer kids and girls, the Mormons severed their 105-year relationship to scouting.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    “A Google Assistant update will teach kids to say ‘please’,” says Techcrunch.

    Google just announced an AI bot that could change teaching & learning…. consequences are both exciting & terrifying…” says Donald Clark.

    Via The New York Times: “Facebook Adds A.I. Labs in Seattle and Pittsburgh, Pressuring Local Universities.” The privatization of research…

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via Education Week: “Gates Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Team Up to Seek ‘State of the Art’ Ideas for Schools.” More via Peter Greene.

    Sponsored content this week on Edsurge, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, includes this and this and this.

    Edsurge covers the NewSchools Venture Fund Summit, a conference run by its investor NewSchools Venture Fund.

    Via The New York Times: “What Charles Koch and Other Donors to George Mason University Got for Their Money.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Theranos Cost Business and Government Leaders More Than $600 Million.” Betsy DeVos and her family invested $100 million in the company. The Walton family invested $150 million. Rupert Murdoch invested $120 million. Carlos Slim invested $30 million. Gee, what is with some people and their penchant for backing fraudulent tech?!

    LMS-maker Fuse Universal has raised $20 million from Eight Roads Ventures. The company has raised $30 million total.

    Blockchain company Learning Machine has raised $3 million from PTB Ventures, Omidyar Network, and Learn Capital.

    Shearwater has raised $600,000 from Rethink Education. The mentoring company has raised $1.2 million total.

    Income-sharing agreement company Lumni has acquired two income sharing agreement companies, Base Capital and Paytronage.

    Private equity firm Francisco Partners is acquiringRenaissance Learning and myON.

    And on a side note, this article in Edsurge (penned by an investor) on “Where Edtech and Its Investors Miss the Mark” is a thing to behold. I’m not sure what my favorite part is. Perhaps it’s opening with a quotation that cannot definitively be attributed to William Butler Yeats (which could, indeed, explain why investors miss the mark: they don’t do good research).

    More VC-related news: “The ASU + GSV Conference was More GSV than Ever – And That’s Good,” says Mindwire Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Buzzfeed looks at how privacy laws curtail students’ access to information about perpetrators of sexual misconduct against them.

    Via Edsurge: “COPPA Best Practices: Advice for Schools on Staying on the Right Side of the Law.”

    More on that study on how Android apps violate COPPAvia Appcensus.

    There are some data security-related court cases in the legal section above.

    Via The New York Times: “Scholars Have Data on Millions of Facebook Users. Who’s Guarding It?”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via EdWeek Market Brief: “Principals Report More Influence Over School Budgets Than Curriculum Choice in National Survey.”

    Via Edsurge: “Streaming Platforms Show Promise – And Risks – For Developing Literacy In Preschoolers.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “New findings: college students actually perform worse with access to digital course-planning platforms that show how previous students performed.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Report finds that attacks on educational institutions and their students and employees appear to be on the rise.”

    A new report from the NEPC: “Full-Time Virtual and Blended Schools: Enrollment, Student Characteristics, and Performance.”

    What kinds of research matter to educators?asks Benjamin Doxtdator.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 05/18/18--06:20: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via Forbes: “The Startup President: How France’s Macron Nearly Built An EdTech Company.” Ed-tech: where you don’t need an actual product idea for a company, and you can incubate your neoliberalism anyway.

    Mick Zais has been confirmed as the Deputy Secretary of Education.

    Via Education Week: “DeVos Team Considering Reshuffling of Education Department’s Main K–12 Office.”

    Lots of Betsy DeVos-related for-profit higher education news in the for-profit higher ed section below.

    Via Education Week: “FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal to Take Effect June 11, Worrying Schools.” More via Edsurge.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Career Training Groups Encouraged by Trump Pick for CTE Job.” That is, Scott Stump. And CTE here, to be clear, means career and technical education not chronic traumatic encephalopathy, although I would understand it if you were confused.

    The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss with a clickbait-y headline: “Betsy DeVos went to New York to visit schools for the first time. Guess which ones.” I’ll save you the click – two private orthodox Jewish schools: Manhattan High School for Girls and the Yeshiva Darchei Torah Boys School.

    Via The Yale Daily News: “Federal Office of Civil Rights investigates Yale” for too many programs that benefit women, or something.

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    State and local teachers’ protests are in the “labor and management” section below.

    Via EdScoop: “Google adds new terms to comply with Connecticutstudent data privacy laws.”

    Via NPR: “Illinois Imposes Sweeping Control Over Chicago’s Special Education Program.”

    Local Indianapolis school politics via Chalkbeat: “The Mind Trust’s new CEO pledges to listen to critics and look to parents to lead changes.”

    Via The New York Times: “L.G.B.T. Students in Oregon Were Bullied and Forced to Read Bible, Report Says.” That is, students in the North Bend School District.

    Immigration and Education

    Via Slate: “ICE claimed a Dreamer was ‘gang-affiliated’ and tried to deport him. A federal judge ruled that ICE was lying.”

    Via NPR: “A DACA Recipient Graduates Amid Deportation Fears.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Texas System Apologizes for Revoking Nepali Students’ Scholarships.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Violate Your Student Visa? You’re Not Welcome Here.”

    Education in the Courts

    More about the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize sports gambling in the sports section below.

    Via NPR: “Michigan State University Reaches $500 Million Settlement With Nassar Abuse Victims.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Textbook Authors Sue Cengage Over Subscription Model.” More via Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.

    Via “KU student who hacked computers and changed his grades is convicted of 4 felonies.” That’s the University of Kansas.

    “Free College”

    Via Edsurge: “For Free Community College, Online Learning Isn’t Always Part of the Recipe for Success.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A two-year college in Ohio will award students a free second year of tuition if they successfully finish their first year while completing at least 30 credit hours.” That is, Marion Technical College.

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “How Parent PLUS Worsens the Racial Wealth Gap.”

    Via Bustle: “I’ve Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000.”

    “Examining Trends in Graduate Student Debt by Race and Ethnicity” by Seton Hall University professor Robert Kelchen.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via The New York Times: “Education Department Unwinds Unit Investigating Fraud at For-Profits.”

    Via The New York Times: “A State Attorney General Calls Out Betsy DeVos on For-Profit Colleges.” That’s New Jersey’s AG, Gurbir S. Grewal.

    David Halperin writes, “The once for-profit Art Institutes are now run by the non-profit, faith-based Dream Center. But they’re connected to the new Woz U and a web of for-profit companies – raising questions of conflict of interest and legal compliance.”

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

    Via The Blade: “School that took ECOT students wants poor scores ignored.” ECOT is the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, a failed online charter school. The school that took the students when Ohio shut the former down, K12 Inc’s Ohio Virtual Academy – another institution with a pretty shoddy track record.

    Via The Washington Post: “Don’t know the graduate next to you? You’re not alone. One-third of students take at least one class online.”

    VCU’s Jon Becker on distance education as a “pot of gold” – parts 1 and 2.

    The University of Rosario has joinededX.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via Willamette Week: “Marylhurst University Will Abruptly Announce Its Closure Today, In its 125th Year of Operation.” More on Marylhurst from Inside Higher Ed and from The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Note: Marylhurst was one of the experimental sites of the EQUIP program.)

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Catholic U. Plan, Which Could Result in Layoffs of Tenured Profs, Moves Ahead.”

    Via The LA Times: “A USC doctor was accused of bad behavior with young women for years. The university let him continue treating students.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The accusations against Columbia International University President Mark Smith were shocking enough – a former university general counsel alleging that Smith covered up rampant sexual harassment and bigotry by his son when they were both employed by another religious college.”

    Via Edsurge: “How Cornell University Diversified Its Incoming PhD Computer Science Student Body.”

    The Atlantic on the University of Pennsylvania: “The Ivy League School That Won’t Talk About Its Most Famous Graduate.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After Years of State Budget Woes, the U. of Illinois Will Hire Hundreds of Faculty Members.”

    Via NPR: “Spelman College Quietly Eliminates One Of The Country’s Few Jazz Programs For Women.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “This Is What Georgia Tech Thinks College Will Look Like in 2040.” Don’t worry. I’ll circle back around in a couple decades to check up on these predictions.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “UMass-Boston Faculty Votes No Confidence in System’s Leaders Over Purchase of Small College.”

    Via The Washington Post: “ Teachers at a D.C. school say seniors’ absences were erased, prompting investigation.”

    “The Radical Self-Reliance of Black Homeschoolingby The Atlantic’s Melinda D. Anderson.

    Stanford’s Larry Cuban on Khan Lab School– part 1 and 2.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “One Year of ‘College’ With No Degree, But No Debt And a Job at the End” – and, I guess, no school either as this is a story on MissionU, which just closed its doors after being acquired. More on that in the “upgrade/downgrade” section below.

    Speaking of unaccredited programs that seem to get lauded in the press, here’s The Chronicle of Higher Education onRunchero University, an unaccredited “utopian community based on cooperative living and practical skills”: “This Software Millionaire Is Building the Low-Tech College of His Dreams.” The rich guy in question: Kevin Runner.

    Via Edsurge: “Why the Lumina Foundation Is Betting Big on New Kinds of Credentials.”


    Via The Atlantic: “An SAT for CEOs.”

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Supreme Court’s decision permitting sports gambling creates a slew of issues for colleges, sports administrators and the NCAA, David Welch Suggs Jr. says.”

    Labor and Management

    Via NPR: “Before They Walk Into A Classroom, These New Teachers Will March On The N.C. Capitol.” More on why North Carolina teachers are protesting in The Washington Post.

    Via In These Times: “Colorado Teachers Are Mad as Hell – And Now They’re out on Their First Strike in Decades.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Cornell Violated Federal Labor Law in Grad Assistant Union Election.”

    Postdoctoral researchers at the University of Washington have voted to unionize.

    Via The Kentucky Kernel: “ UK seeks to fire tenured journalism professor over sales of his own textbook.” The UK, in this headline, stands for the University of Kentucky. The professor in question: Buck Ryan. (If you Google him, you might surmise there’s a lot more going on here than just textbook sales.)

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Texas State U. Police Chief Resigns Amid Racial Tensions on Campus.”

    An op-ed from someone from Kelly Services– you know, the temp agency – in Edsurge on “Why Solving the Teacher Shortage Is Critical for Edtech.”

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Campus Technology: “University of Washington Continuum College Launches Coding Boot Camp.” That is, the university has outsourced the teaching of JavaScript, Node.js, HTML, CSS, and jQuery to the for-profit company Trilogy Education.

    Speaking of which, Inside Higher Ed writes, “Trilogy Education Services runs coding boot camps for a growing number of universities. The partnerships are lucrative for the institutions, but are they worth the reputational risk?”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Is the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative the Future of Philanthropy?asks the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

    (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

    College “alternative” startup MissionUentersthe ed-tech deadpool. More on the ending in the venture capital section below. Somanypuff piecesin the ed-tech press about this – including one a week ago in The Wall Street Journal. So many people predicting this company would disrupt higher ed. How embarrassing for y’all.

    Michael Horn writes in Edsurge about “Why Google Maps– not Netflix or Amazon– Points to the Future of Education.” Funny, it was just a few years ago that he wrote that, indeed, Netflix and Amazon did point the way.

    It’s almost as though there are zero consequences in ed-tech for being full of shit.

    Techcrunch with the corporate PR: “For Apple, this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day is all about education.” And another one: “Apple brings its coding lessons to schools for students who are blind and deaf.”

    Different company, but same practice – tech journalism as marketing. Via Techcrunch: “Facebook launches Youth Portal to educate teens on the platform, how their data is being used.” The Verge tries to take a slightly skeptical angle: “If Facebook wants to appeal to teens, it might start by rethinking its new ‘Youth Portal’.”

    Still more advertorialcontent.

    The New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino on“The Promise of Vaping and the Rise of Juul.” Bonus points, truly, for having a “mindfulness curriculum.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What a Controversy Over an App Tells Us About How Students Learn Now.” The app in question is Quizlet, a digital flash card tool that allows students to share their study notes. Because students have never been able to share notes or study together until this moment in history.

    Rolin Moe is just on fire with this essay on the idea that “innovation should be an academic discipline.

    Via The New York Times: “Assassin’s Creed Has a New Mission: Working in the Classroom.” (Compare/contrast with this pretty terrible piece on Fortnite.)

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Despite the headlines, Google Duplex did not defeat “the Turing Test.” In fact, Axios suggests that Google might have staged the demo it gave of its new voice assistant. But questions about accuracy never stop ed-tech evangelists from pronouncing that new shiny things are the future of teaching.

    Via Campus Technology: “Carnegie Mellon to Offer Undergrad AI Degrees.” Tune into my newsletter tomorrow when I blast a curriculum that offers no social sciences or humanities courses.

    Via Techcrunch: "Starting a robotics company out of school? Not so fast, suggest investors.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via Wired: “Musk, Zuckerberg, Bezos, and Ethically Iffy ‘Philanthropy’.”

    Via the AP: “Bill Gates Gives $44M to Influence State Education Plans.”

    There’s some CZI news in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section.

    Sponsored content on Edsurge this week, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative includes this.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    OpenClassrooms, a French MOOC provider according to Techcrunch, has raised $60 million from Bpifrance, General Atlantic, Alven Capital, and Citizen Capital. It has raised $69.7 million total.

    Coding, a Chinese learn-to-code company, has raised $15 million from Tencent Holdings.

    ClassWallet has raised $2.3 million from Sinovation Ventures, NewSchools Venture Fund, Florida Funders, Brentwood Associates, and Rainfall Capital. The financial management company has raised $6.3 million total.

    Selected has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Propel Capital and Kapor Capital for its teacher-hiring software.

    WeWork has acquiredMissionU. (Among its other recent acquisitions: the Flatiron School and about $18 billion in rental contracts.) MissionU will close its doors.

    Chegg has acquiredWriteLab for $15 million.

    Learn-to-code company Tynker has acquiredPythonroom.

    Boxlight has acquiredCohuborate for $1.8 million.

    Pluralsight has gone public, raising $310 million. Several more storiesvia Techcrunch.

    “Why Was Springer Nature’s IPO Withdrawn?” asks The Scholarly Kitchen’s Roger Schonfeld.

    Via Edsurge: “New Markets Venture Partners’ Latest Edtech Fund Closes at $68 Million.” Investors in the venture capital fund include ACT, Lumina Foundation, Strada Education Network, ECMC Group, and Prudential Financial.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via Wired: “Congress, Privacy Groups Question Amazon’s Echo Dot for Kids.”

    Via The Intercept: “Experts Say Keep Amazon’s Alexa Away From Your Kids.” So of course, it’ll be in classrooms everywhere.

    Via “Machine learning algorithm is claimed to predict which students will drop out.”

    Via The Epoch Times: “High School in China Installs Facial Recognition Cameras to Monitor Students’ Attentiveness.”

    Coming soon to a school near you, this via the South China Morning Post: “China is mining data directly from workers’ brains on an industrial scale.” Sounds like “social emotional learning” to me!

    It’s not really a privacy story, but I’m including it in this section nonetheless. An op-ed in The Hechinger Report by Lisa Petrides and Doug Levin: “A look at the ethics of public education in an increasingly digital world.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via Crunchbase: “These Schools Graduate The Most Funded Startup CEOs.” Surprise surprise. Harvard, Stanford, and MIT top the list.

    I’m not sure what this headline means, but hey. It’s an op-ed from venture capitalist Ryan Craig in Techcrunch: “Broadening education investments to full-stack solutions.” Are full-stack solutions compatible with “unbundling”? It’s so hard to keep the hoopla straight.

    Via KQED’s Mindshift: “Hospitals See Growing Numbers Of Kids And Teens At Risk For Suicide.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “High-income kids seem to benefit more from educational videos more than low-income kids, study shows.”

    Via Edsurge: “Report: Class of 2018 Has Better Job Prospects than Classes of 2009–2017, but Still Faces Challenges.”

    The American Enterprise Institute has released a report on apprenticeships and community colleges.

    Via Education Week: “The Average Teacher Spends $479 a Year on Classroom Supplies, National Data Show.” For what it’s worth, this is self-reported data.

    The NEPC has released a new report on “full-time virtual and blended schools.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Yes, College Is ‘Worth It,’ One Researcher Says. It’s Just Worth More if You’re Rich.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “As NYC encourages more elementary teachers to specialize in math, new research shows the strategy could hurt student learning.”

    School funds should follow students, not protect institutions,” says Brookings Institution, echoing Betsy DeVos’s rhetoric so that’s interesting.

    Via The Associated Press: “Schools See Steep Drop in Librarians, New Analysis Finds.”

    Related: Education Week’s Ben Herold on a recent talk by USC professor Safiya Noble: “Schools Shouldn’t Trust Google Search Because It Reinforces Racism, Researcher Argues.”

    You know that stat that folks like to toss around about the 30 million “word gap” experienced by poor children and children of color? Guess what…

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 05/25/18--04:50: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Arne Duncan Is Serious: Americans Should Boycott School,” writes The Atlantic’s Adam Harris. That is, boycott schools until gun laws are changed.

    Via the Department of Education’s press office: “Prepared Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to the House Education and the Workforce Committee.”

    Also via the Department of Education’s press office: “U.S. Department of Education Announces Opportunity for Federal Student Loan Borrowers to be Reconsidered for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.”

    More about some of the horrible stuff she said in the immigration section below.

    Via NPR: “Education Department Launches ‘Top-To-Bottom’ Review Of Teachers’ Grant Program.”

    More on the business of financial aid in “the business of financial aid” section below.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The National Women’s Law Center on Monday blasted the Education Department for investigating Yale University for potentially discriminating against men, saying the Trump administration appears hostile toward a key federal gender discrimination law.”

    Via The Chicago Sun-Times: “Dems want to scrap tax cut for rich to fund teachers’ raises.”

    Mark Zuckerberg testified before the European Parliament this week. I’m gonna quibble with this “take” from The Verge: “European legislator says Jobs and Gates ‘enriched’ society, asks if Zuckerberg ‘created a digital monster’.”

    Via NPR: “German Families Playing Hooky Stopped By Police At Airports, May Be Fined.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    California Governor Jerry Brown says that higher education should be like Chipotle: “You stand in the line, get either brown rice or white rice, black beans or pinto beans. You put a little cheese, a little this, a little that, and you’re out of there. I think that’s a model some of our universities need to follow.”

    Via Vogue: “Rape Culture Is on the Ballot ​i​n California.”

    There’s more on research about school closures in Chicago in the “research” section below.

    Via “Arizona’s Schools Chief Seeks Limits on Teaching Evolution, Big Bang Theory.”

    Via “Newark picks its own school superintendent for first time in 22 years.” That’s Roger Leon.

    Via EdWeek: “Teacher Beats Kentucky House Majority Leader in GOP Primary.” More via The NYT. That’s Travis Brenda.

    Via Chalkbeat: “The Denver school district is exploring the idea of creating its own police officers.”

    Rachel Cohen in the Washington City Paper: “Behind the Consulting Firm Raking In Millions From D.C. Charter Schools.” That firm: TenSquare.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Charter schools advocates’ next push: Funding for school security.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “New York Doubles Down on Open Educational Resources.”

    Via Education Week: “Wyoming school district begins search for firearms trainers.” That’s the Cody School District.

    Immigration and Education

    Via Politico: “DeVos: Schools should decide whether to report undocumented kids.” This is, in fact, unconstitutional, but I gather we no longer expect government officials to worry about such things.

    Education in the Courts

    Via NPR: “Court Sides With Transgender Student In Bathroom Case.” Also via NPR: “‘I Hope This Will Set A Precedent,’ Says Trans Teen Who Won Case Over Bathroom Access.” The student: Gavin Grimm. Hero.

    Via the ACLU: “ACLU of Oregon Reaches Sweeping Settlement with North Bend School District Over LGBTQ Discrimination and Bible Reading.”

    Via The Detroit Free Press: “Michigan State to pay Larry Nassar victims $500 million in settlements.” Via Deadspin: “Michigan State’s Nassar Settlement Could Set A Troubling First Amendment Precedent.”

    Via Wired: “Supreme Court Rules Against Workers In Arbitration Case.”

    Via the AP: “Families of Sandy Hook victims sue Infowars’ Alex Jones.”

    Via The Charlotte Observer: “Charlotte School of Law turns to one of America’s top lawyers to fight back in lawsuit.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    “The Department of Education on Wednesday announced the process by which borrowers who had made ineligible payments for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program could be reconsidered for the benefit,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The biggest chain of for-profit colleges that is still overseen by an accreditation group axed by the Obama administration – and given a second chance by Betsy DeVos – failed this month in its initial bid to get recognition elsewhere.” That’s Virginia College.

    There’s more for-profit higher ed news in the “courts” section above.

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

    Oh look. MOOCs are back in the headlines again.

    Via Edsurge: “The Second Wave of MOOC Hype Is Here, and It’s Online Degrees.”

    IHE blogger Joshua Kim offers“25 Million Reasons Why LinkedIn / Microsoft Will Buy Coursera.”

    Cyber Charters in at Least 5 States Face Closure. What’s Going On?” asks Education Week’s Ben Herold.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via Education Week (from last Friday – as I work on the week’s round-up of news, I try to avoid looking at social media, but I think there was another school shooting this morning): “10 Dead, Most of Them Students, and 10 Wounded in Texas High School Shooting.”

    The Washington Post claims that, “2018 has been deadlier for schoolchildren than deployed service members.” (It is a stretch to argue that schools are more dangerous than the military. Puh-lease. Schools are – statistically speaking, at least – the safest place for children to be.)

    Via Haaretz: “ Spying on Linda Sarsour: Israeli Firm Compiled BDS Dossier for Adelson-funded U.S. Group Battling Her Campus Appearances.” I haven’t seen anyone who argues that left-leaning college students are the greatest threat to free speech comment on this. (Or on this. Or on this.)

    Via SPLC: “Texas principal censors paper, bans all editorials and ousts award-winning adviser.” That’s the Eagle Nation Online at Prosper Higher School in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

    Via the Harvard Crimson: “Star Economics Prof Fryer Facing Harvard and State-Level Investigations, Barred from Lab He Heads.” That’s Roland Fryer and these are harassment allegations, in case the headline isn’t clear.

    Via The LA Times: “Students warned USC about gynecologist early in his career: ‘They missed an opportunity to save a lot of other women’.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Amid Scandal of Campus Gynecologist, USC Faculty Members Call on President to Resign.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “This Professor Was Accused Of Sexual Harassment For Years. Then An Anonymous Online Letter Did What Whispers Couldn’t.” The professor in question: UC Santa Cruz’s Gopal Balakrishnan.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Inside Gay Students’ Fight to Be Heard at BYU.”

    Via The Boston Globe: “‘Shame on you, Jared Kushner’: Harvard alumni tear apart classmate in 15th reunion notes.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Oregon Officials Apologize for Linking Student’s Death to ‘Poor Life Choices’.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Western Governors’ New Fund-Raising Arm for Scholarships.” The Chronicle of Higher Education headline: “Here’s How Western Governors U. Aims to Enroll a Million Students.”

    Via The New York Times: “Oxford Lifts the Veil on Race, Wealth and Privilege.”

    The Atlantic’s Adam Harris on“The Schools That Are Bringing Poor Kids Into the Middle Class.”

    Via NPR: “For Troubled Kids, Some Schools Take Time Out For Group Therapy.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Fuller Theological Seminary has announced that it will sell its Pasadena, Calif., campus and move to a new site about 30 miles away.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Fallout from the closure of Mount Ida College continued this week with new revelations of personal and business ties between the college president and a benefactor who loaned the college money to try to keep it operating.”

    Via The Intercept: “Cash Incentives for Charter School Recruitment: Unethical Bribe or Shrewd Marketing Technique?”

    Democracy Prep: ‘No Excuses’ Schools that Build Citizens?” by Stanford’s Larry Cuban.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which oversees the country’s higher ed accrediting bodies, voted Thursday to have a subcommittee study oversight questions involved in for-profit colleges seeking to reclassify as nonprofit entities.”

    Via Edsurge: “Elon U. Has Been Working to Reinvent the Transcript. And That Has Given It Some Eye-opening Data.” (“Reinventing the transcript” seems to be one of the things folks are hoping to make “trend” this year.)

    Via Education Dive: “An 80 credit-hour bachelor’s degree?”

    “It’s Time to End College Majors as We Know Them,” argues Jeff Selingo in The Chronicle of Higher Education. “Before We End Majors As We Know Them…” IHE blogger John Warner responds.


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “New ACT Rules on Those With Disabilities.”

    Go, School Sports Team!

    There’s more Nassar news in the courts section above.

    ESPN on women’s softball: “Why in the world a defunct school in a town called Wahoo matters to Oklahoma’s 3-peat bid.”

    Labor and Management

    I don’t really know where to stick this profile of the University of Toronto psych professor that appeared in the Style section of The New York Times. Here I guess as I think it does say something about the sort of academic labor that is valued right now. “Jordan Peterson, Custodian of the Patriarchy.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education has hired as its new chancellor a former University of California official who managed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work on postsecondary education from 2012 until early this year.” That’s Daniel Greenstein.

    Via E-Literate: “Interview with CEO of Instructure on changes to executive team.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Success Academy COO leaving for another charter network.” That’s Kris Cheung who plans to join KIPP.

    The Business of Job Training

    “What does the ‘future of work’ mean for schools?” asks Chalkbeat’s Matt Barnum. “Big claims leave educators with more questions than answers.”

    Speaking of predictions about the “future of work,” Campus Technology says that “Skills Deficit Will Imperil U.S. Economy by 2030.” Imperil!!

    Via Education Week: “Is STEM Oversold as a Path to Better Jobs? Which STEM jobs are in demand and pay well? It’s complicated.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “A growing Jeffco program trains future early childhood workers while they’re still in high school.” That’s the Jeffco Public Schools in Jefferson County, Colorado.

    “Education recoded: policy mobilities in the international ‘learning to code’ agenda” by Ben Williamson, Annika Bergviken Rensfeldt, Catarina Player-Koro, and Neil Selwyn.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Can Portable Schools in India Keep Kids Off the Streets?asks Pacific Standard.

    Will Blockchains Revolutionize Education?asks Educause.

    (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

    Via The Verge: “Hasbro just trademarked the smell of Play-Doh.”

    “The One-Teacher, One-Classroom Model Needs an Upgrade,” says Edsurge. “Here’s What’s Next.”

    From the Google blog: “Google Science Fair 2018: Resources for educators to get ideas flowing.”

    Also from the Google blog: “More tools for homeschoolers.” Just what every homeschooler wants! An LMS!

    Via Gizmodo: “Google Removes ‘Don’t Be Evil’ Clause From Its Code of Conduct.” Finally. Of course, much like the myth about “20% time,” I am sure educators will consider to cite this as a reason why schools should be more like Google.

    “What Happened to Facebook’s Grand Plan to Wire the World?” asks Wired.

    Inside Higher Ed on the closure of MissionU: “Self-Proclaimed Alternative to College Closes After a Year.”

    Via Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Top Hat’s OER Announcement: Doubling down on faculty engagement.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via The Atlantic: “The Future of AI Depends on High-School Girls.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Sponsored content appearing this week on Edsurge, paid for by the Gates Foundation, includes this article (suggesting most professors think they’re better teachers than they actually are) and this article (making the case for “flipped learning” without using videos).

    Sponsored content appearing this week on Edsurge, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, includes this article touting Slack.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Real Time Cases has raised $3.5 million from SWaN Ed LLC. The content provider has raised $4.2 million.

    Yellowdig has raised $800,000 from Musketeer Capital, SRI Capital, QB1 Ventures, Rosecliff Capital, and Bob Ciaruffoli. The discussion forum software maker has raised $2.4 million total.

    Frontline Education has acquiredPrologic Technology Systems.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via the ACLU: “Amazon Teams Up With Law Enforcement to Deploy Dangerous New Face Recognition Technology.”

    Via The Washington Post: “And now, facial-recognition technology used in casinos is going into a public school district.” That’s the Lockport schools in Buffalo, New York.

    Via Fox13: “Amazon Alexa recorded private conversation, sent it to random contact, woman says.” Amazon later said it appeared to be an Alexa “butt-dial.”

    Via NPR: “How Schools Across The Country Are Working To Detect Threats Made On Social Media.”

    Via The Verge: “Teen-monitoring appTeenSafe leaks thousands of user IDs and passwords.” Oh. The. Irony.

    When a school scans your driver’s license, who keeps your information safe?” asks Shrug emoji.

    Via Common Sense Media: “2018 State of EdTech Privacy Report.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “3 Takeaways From a Book-Length Federal Report on ‘The Condition of Education’.”

    Via The Atlantic: “An Unusual Idea for Fixing School Segregation.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Demand for K–12 Private Education Poised to Soar in Persian Gulf Countries.”

    Via Bryan Alexander: “American higher education enrollment declined. Again.” More on enrollment data from the NCES and from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

    “What’s Going On In Your Child’s Brain When You Read Them A Story?” asks NPR.

    The 74 Explains: How to Teach Your Baby Grit.”

    “The Maps for Learning Don’t Exist Yet” says Amplify CEO Larry Berger.

    Via Chalkbeat: “From an ‘F’ to an ‘A’, Tennessee now sets high expectations for students, says Harvard study.”

    Via WBEZ: “Study: 2013 Chicago School Closings Failed To Help Students.” Via The Chicago Reporter: “Study: After mass school closings, impacted students lagged academically.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 06/01/18--04:20: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The Atlantic: “The GOP’s Public-Education Dilemma.”

    Via Politico: “Trump issues orders making it easier to fire federal employees.”

    There’s more on the Department of Education’s awfulness on student debt relief in the financial aid section below.

    Via The New York Times: “Sarah Huckabee Sanders Chokes Up at Student’s Question on Shootings.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The Forgotten Girls Who Led the School-Desegregation Movement.”

    Via The New York Times: “‘OMG This Is Wrong!’ Retired English Teacher Marks Up a White House Letter and Sends It Back.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    While most of the headlines this week about Puerto Rico addressed the fact that a Harvard study found the death toll from Hurricane Maria hit almost 5000, Edsurge runs with a happy story about the island: “Months After a Devastating Hurricane, Puerto Rican Schools Turn to the Sun.”

    Via NPR: “Texas Governor Lays Out School Safety Plan In Wake Of Santa Fe Shooting.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Montgomery County, Maryland District Pulls RFP for Curriculum Decision Worth Millions.” That’s after the district discovered that someone involved in the RFP review process had plans to retire and go work for Discovery Education.

    The Hechinger Report onpersonalized learning: “The massive experiment in New Orleans schools that few have noticed.”

    Via NPR: “Preschools In Ghana’s Capital Challenge Call-And-Response System.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via Buzzfeed: “A Pilot And His Assistant Were Arrested For Trying To Deport A Student Back To China.” I don’t know if “deport” is the right verb here. Perhaps “kidnap” is more accurate.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Higher-Ed Groups Warn Against Visa Restrictions for Chinese Students.”

    Via Pacific Standard: “Thousands of Children Have Suffered Abuse at the Hands of U.S. Border Protection Agents.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via the AP: “Court: Gov’t violated privacy law for defrauded students.”

    There’s more legal wrangling in the financial aid section below.

    Okay, this isn’t an education story per se, except the part where ed-tech seems so enthusiastic about the whole “neuromarketing” thing. (I think it’s called “social emotional learning” in education circles though.) Via The Guardian: “Food firms could face litigation over neuromarketing to hijack brains.”

    “Free College”

    Via NPR: “A Degree With Zero Student Debt. Does It Work?”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The Washington Post: “Courts halt DeVos’s partial student debt relief plan.” More via Inside Higher Ed.

    Via The Washington Post: “Trump administration to hand student debt collection to loan servicers, ending use of collectors.”

    The Outline highlights the “Summer’s hottest dystopian crossover event is MoviePass and student loan debt”:

    Refinance your debt with Laurel Road, and get a free annual MoviePass membership! A fabulous example of our healthy capitalist economy working its magic.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Mostly Positive Effects of a ‘Last-Dollar’ Scholarship.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via NPR: “New Jersey Attorney General On Investigating For-Profit Colleges.”

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

    Via The Diplomat: “Online Learning in North Korea.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “In Indiana’s Wild West of virtual charter schools, a new one is opening – on a farm.”

    Via Education Week: “How an Online Tutor Became a ‘Math Celebrity’.”

    Via Edsurge: “CSU and California Community Colleges Partner on a Tool to Find Transferable Online Courses.”

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    (From last Friday. This story broke as I was typing up my weekly news round-up.) Via Chalkbeat: “A student is in custody after Noblesville West Middle School shooting that injured another student and teacher.” Via The Washington Post: “‘Hero’ teacher released from hospital after Indianaschool shooting, says congresswoman.”

    Via The Outline: “I went to high school in a high-security fortress. You don’t want that for your kids.”

    Via The New York Times: “For ‘Columbiners,’ School Shootings Have a Deadly Allure.”

    “I was Jordan Peterson’s strongest supporter. Now I think he’s dangerous,” writes Bernard Schiff in The Star.

    Via Journal & Courier: “As the waiting continued this week at Purdue University, President Mitch Daniels and the university’s trustees were keeping a low profile about their bid to take on management of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.” Wait, so Purdue is gonna run Kaplan and a nuclear lab? JFC.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How a Student Got Kicked Out of Class – and Became a Conservative Hero.”

    Georgia State University must have a huge marketing budget. Or maybe the company it’s using for its predictive analytics programs– EAB, I think – does and that’s why we’re hearing all these stories.

    New England College and the New Hampshire Institute of Art will merge.

    Morthland College will close.


    Genetic Intelligence Tests Are Next to Worthless,” says The Atlantic. Not that that’ll stop folks from hawking "precision education," of course.

    Via TPM: “No Test Left Behind – How Pearson Made a Killing on the US Testing Craze.”

    “How Can a Student Be ‘Proficient’ in One State But Not Another?” asks Edsurge. Spoiler alert: because states have different proficiency standards.

    Via The Washington Post: “U.S. Education Department warns school districts to protect student privacy for SAT and ACT.”

    Via the BBC: “A head teacher has been banned from the profession indefinitely after helping pupils cheat in their SATs. Karen Parker also bought them junk food for motivation and set off a fire alarm during exams at Robert Bruce Middle School in Kempston, Bedfordshire.”

    News from Egypt in University World News: “Mandatory electronic marking system draws mixed response.”

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via Buzzfeed: “These Basketball Players Sued Their College For Anti-Gay Discrimination– And Lost.” That would be Pepperdine University.

    Via Education Week: “Gamers Are the New High School Athletes: The Rise of Esports.”

    Via SportsDay: “Wealth vs. wins: Inside the economic disparity that separates some area baseball, softball teams from others.”

    Labor and Management

    Via The New York Times: “U.S.C. President Agrees to Step Down Over Scandal Involving Gynecologist.” And via The LA Times: “Nikias’ tenure as USC president was marked by growth and scandal.”

    Former Kaplan exec Justin Serrano has been hired as the president of Schoology.

    There’s more HR news in the testing section above.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Edsurge: “Walmart Chooses Three Colleges Where Its Employees Can Study For $1 a Day.” That is: University of Florida, Brandman University, and Bellevue University. The offer applies to business and supply chain management degrees only. More on the story from The Atlantic.

    Upgrades and Downgrades

    Via Edsurge: “Teaching Kids Finance and Smart Spending With Cryptocurrency.” Does this curriculum teach kids about the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about centralized banking that are intertwined with cryptocurrency too? Just curious.

    Via The San Francisco Chronicle: “As Juul vaping surges among teens, health concerns grow.”

    Via Variety: “Valve Removes ‘Active Shooter’ Game and Its Developer From Steam.” (My god. I am going to have to make a “school shooting” section for this weekly news stuff, aren’t I.)

    Via Techcrunch: “Roblox follows Minecraft into the education market.”

    Via Wired: “With Venues, Oculus and Facebook Push Social VR Into New Territory.”

    Via Edsurge: “How AR and VR are Being Used to Teach SEL.” Sponsored content from Newsela. (Among Newsela’s investors: the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, for those keeping track of who is hustling for VR in education.)

    Speaking of SEL, here’s The Atlantic on“Teaching Sobriety With ‘The Bottle’.”

    Via Venture Beat: “Fantage kids virtual world will shut after 10 years.”

    “The Theranos Story and Education Technology” by John Warner.

    Via Techcrunch: “Messenger Kids no longer requires the kids’ parents to be friends, too.”

    “Where Has Teen Car Culture Gone?” asks The Atlantic.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via Edsurge: “With a Siri-Like Assistant, this Australian U. Wants to Rethink the Student Experience.” This Australian U is Deakin University.

    Maybe this story should go in the privacy section. Maybe it falls under Betteridge’s Law of Headlines. Via The South China Morning Post: “China’s schools are quietly using AI to mark students’ essays… but do the robots make the grade?”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Amazon’s Alexa: Not Yet as Smart as a 5-Year-Old Child.” LOL. “Yet.”

    Via Science: “How researchers are teaching AI to learn like a child.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via The Guardian: “The trouble with charitable billionaires.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Undeterred by Criticism, Koch Foundation Increases Spending in Higher Education.”

    Sponsored content on Edsurge, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, includes this.

    Via the Non-Profit Quarterly: “Gates Foundation Marches to Its Own Drummer – Right Through our Schools.”

    Via Fortune: “Why Melinda Gates Has Been Funding Female VCs Through Her Secretive Investment Firm.”

    DonorsChoose data scientist Barbara Cvenić gives some insight into the kinds of things teachers request on the funding platform. Roombas, for example. And refridgerators. (LOL.)

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Trilogy Education has raised $50 million from Highland Capital Partners, Macquarie Capital, and Exceed Capital. The coding bootcamp has raised $80 million total.

    Learnosity has raised $18.8 million from Battery Ventures. The assessment company has raised over $52 million total.

    SelfStudy has raised $3 million from the International Anesthesiology Research Society.

    GoGuardian raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Sumeru Partners.

    2U has raised another round of funding by selling stock – some $330 million worth.

    Via Edsurge: “Acquisition Autopsy: Details – and Questions – Behind MissionU’s $4M Sale to WeWork.”

    Kaltura has acquiredRapt Media.

    ECS Learning Systems has acquiredPREPWORKS.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Most Ed-Tech Products Don’t Meet Minimum Criteria in Their Privacy Policies, Report Finds.”

    This on “predictive algorithms” is terrible, and I apologize for linking to it.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    There’s more research on testing and on financial aid in the testing and financial aid sections above, respectively.

    Via “The Business of Ed-Tech: May 2018 Funding Data.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Here is where CEOs of heavily funded startups went to school.” I bet you will never guess where.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Moody’s: Declining Enrollment Is Squeezing Tuition Revenue.”

    Via Pew: “Teens, Social Media, & Technology 2018.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “D.C.’s private school voucher program hurt low-income students’ math test scores, according to federal study.”

    Via Education Week: “Fortnite May Be Addictive, But Could Also Promote Learning, Say Stanford Experts.”

    “Asking the Wrong Question About Personalized Learningby Frederick Hess.

    Via NPR: “Let’s Stop Talking About The ‘30 Million Word Gap’.”

    Via Business Insider: “The famous Stanford ‘marshmallow test’ suggested that kids with better self-control were more successful. But it’s being challenged because of a major flaw.”

    Via Edsurge: “Believe and You Can Achieve? Researchers Find Limited Gains From Growth Mindset Interventions.” (I can’t wait ’til the “replicability crisis” comes for the mindset and grit hype.)

    Via DML Central: “Google Report Reveals State of K–12 Computer Science Education.”

    Via WaPo: “New polls find most Americans say teachers are underpaid– and many would pay higher taxes to fix it.”

    Also via WaPo: “Are American kids happy in school? New data tells a surprising story.”

    New research on hot classrooms via NBER: “We provide the first evidence that cumulative heat exposure inhibits cognitive skill development and that school air conditioning can mitigate this effect.”

    Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends. (I haven’t looked to see how closely this follows the Kleiner Perkins investment portfolio. But as always, take these “trends” with a grain of salt. Some people tell stories about the future because that’s where they think they’re going to profit.)

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 06/05/18--11:40: 8
  • Hack Education turns 8 years old today. I’d registered the domain a few days earlier back in 2010, but on this day, I wrote my first article here. I think my boyfriend rolled his eyes. "Good luck," he said. (Funny, 8 years later, he is still my boyfriend.)

    For the past 8 years, I have supported myself through this site, thanks in no small part to the encouragement and financial support of my readers. I have never wanted to scale via venture capital. I have never accepted sponsorship dollars to pay for me to promote certain products or policies. I don’t advertise. I don’t consult. I don’t have a full-time gig that enables me to write about education technology as part of my job description. Hack Education is here because I’ve decided to devote myself to it… and somewhere along the way, folks have decided it was worth keeping (me) around. They’ve invited me to speak and allowed me to publish the transcript of my talks here. They’ve contributed to this work via PayPal or Patreon.

    Thank you.

    I can’t really boast about how many readers this site has had over the years – I don’t believe in tracking that number because I think analytics are suspect at best, surveillance capitalism at worst. I can’t tell you how many articles I’ve published because frankly I’m too lazy to count.

    But I am pretty glad that I get to do what I do: that is, write about education technology and the history of the future of education. I still firmly believe all this is key to understanding the past, present, and future of education (and even of computing technologies more broadly). As it is so goddamn crucial, I suppose that means there are a couple more years left in this website before all this "blogging thing" has run its course....

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  • 06/08/18--11:10: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The Atlantic: “DeVos Says There’s One Thing Her School-Safety Commission Won’t Be Studying: Guns.” Also via The Atlantic: “The Trump Administration’s Approach to School Violence Is More Style Than Substance.”

    The Department of Educationplans to shutter its cafeteria, once known by the lovely name of EDibles. (Probably afraid EPA head Scott Pruitt was going to start dining there now that he’s been banned from the White House mess hall.)

    Via E&E News: “Cabinet heads told to praise Paris exit. ‘No exceptions’.” Good job, Betsy. A+ for compliant behavior.

    The US Senate has confirmed Kenneth L. Marcus to serve as Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights. Remarks from the Secretary of Education on the confirmation.

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Chalkbeat with the scoop: “De Blasio’s plan to overhaul admissions at elite – and segregated – high schools.” That’s high schools in NYC in case you don’t recognize the mayor’s surname. Via The New York Times: “De Blasio Proposes Changes to New York’s Elite High Schools.” More on the plan from Chalkbeat.

    Via KPCC: “LAUSD may try again to give an iPad or computer to every student.”

    The Orlando Sentinel on what students are learning in some of Florida’s voucher schools: “Private schools’ curriculum downplays slavery, says humans and dinosaurs lived together.”

    The Atlantic on psychiatric hospitals in Illinois: “The Kids Who Are Cleared to Leave Psychiatric Hospitals – But Can’t.”

    Via The Charlotte Observer: “NC legislators advance bills putting God and cursive in schools, expanding charter takeovers.”

    Elsewhere in North Carolina, Dana Goldstein reports for The NYT on “What Budget Cuts Mean for Third Graders in a Rural School.”

    Via Democracy Now: “Puerto Rico Is a ‘Playground for the Privileged’: Investors Move In as Homes Foreclose & Schools Close.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “In contentious interview, Betsy DeVos’ husband Dick DeVos says ‘everybody wins’ with charter schools.” (The interview was part of a VICE documentary on the effect charter schools have had in Michigan.)

    An update from LA School Report on Tuesday’s primary elections in California: “California primary results: Newsom and Cox advance to November’s gubernatorial race; Tuck leads Thurmond in battle for state superintendent.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via The New York Times: “‘It’s Horrendous’: The Heartache of a Migrant Boy Taken From His Father.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via The San Francisco Chronicle: “Judge Aaron Persky, who ruled in sex assault case, recalled in Santa Clara County.” The case in question: Brock Turner, the Stanford athlete that many felt was given a too-lenient sentence for attempting to rape an unconscious woman.

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The Atlantic: “The Confusing Information Colleges Provide Students About Financial Aid.”

    Via The New York Times: “The Cost of Going Back to School as an Adult.”

    Via NPR: “We Now Know A Lot More About Students Who Receive Federal College Grants.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The number of career colleges and the number of credentials they award have dropped by roughly 20 percent in the last four years, new data from the U.S. Education Department show.”

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

    Via Edsurge: “Andrew Ng Is Probably Teaching More Students Than Anyone Else on the Planet. (Without a University Involved.)” (I think it’s probably Big Bird and friends, but hey. Hype men gonna hype.)

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Here’s How Higher Education Dies– A futurist says the industry may have nowhere to go but down. What does the slide look like?” – that’s Bryan Alexander interviewed by The Atlantic.

    Here’s how higher education dies – you let Niall Ferguson drive the narrative about “free speech” and intellectual honesty on campus. Via The Stanford Daily: “Leaked emails show Hoover academic conspiring with College Republicans to conduct ‘opposition research’ on student.” Via Inside Higher Ed: “Niall Ferguson Resigns From Stanford Speaker Series Post Over Leaked Emails.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Questions on Michigan’s Investment Tactics.” That’s the University of Michigan to be clear.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “UVa Library’s Plan to Cut Stacks by Half Sparks Faculty Concerns.” (Contrary to the headline, from what I hear from my friends at UVa, most faculty, students, and librarians seem to support this move.)

    Via The New York Times: “Columbia University Is Cited for a Cracked Building Facade, Inviting Memories of a 1979 Death.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Mizzou’s Freshman Class Shrank by a Third Over 2 Years. Here’s How It’s Trying to Turn That Around.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “After becoming the first public college in California to lose accreditation, Compton College is preparing to stand on its own once again.”


    Via The Hechinger Report (and related to a lot of the goings-on in the local education news section above): “How one test kept New York City high schools segregated.”

    “So Long, SAT Essay. Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out” by John Warner.

    Khan Academy launches free Official LSAT Prep,” says the Khan Academy blog.

    Labor and Management

    Gotta love corporate blog entries with headlines like “Continuing on our journey.” That is, the latest from Blackboard announcing a string of changes to executive roles.

    Adjunct faculty at Nazareth College have voted to unionize.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Southern Illinois U. May Be About to Fire Its President.”

    “collapse porn: MLA edition” by Alex Reid.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Techcrunch: “Udacity and Google launch free career courses for interview prep, resume writing and more.”

    The head of the OECD’s education division, Andreas Schleicher, writes in The Hill about “Educating students for the fourth industrial revolution.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “How Silicon Valley schools are trying to boost lower-income students into high-tech jobs.”

    Via the Google blog: “Teaching coding, changing lives: supports MolenGeek.”

    Via The 74: “Ripple, Blockchain-Based Payment Network, to Grant $50M to 17 Universities for Blockchain, Cryptocurrency Research, Workforce Development.”

    Upgrades and Downgrades

    Here’s how you do clickbait. You put a celebrity in the headline when he’s really not connected to the idea. You make broad and unprovable claims. Via Forbes, the king of clickbait: “Elon Musk-funded XPRIZE Is One Step Closer To Ending Global Illiteracy.”

    This is also how you do clickbait, I suppose. Via Philadelphia Magazine: “This Quaker Sex Ed Teacher Says Your Kids Need to Be Porn-Literate.”

    Via Motherboard: “Twitter Is Banning Anyone Whose Date of Birth Says They Joined Before They Were 13.”

    Via Techcrunch: “GitLab’s high-end plans are now free for open source projects and schools.” (Yes, GitLab is a competitor of GitHub – and there’s some big GitHub news in the funding section below. A well-timed press release, hoping for some tech churnalism. Seems like it worked out.)

    Apple had a big press event this week. Among the education-related news: “Apple unveils new screen time controls for children,” says Techcrunch. “Apple’s New Focus: Student ID Cards,” says Inside Higher Ed. (More in the privacy/security section below on the implications of this.)

    Inside Higher Ed onFacebook’s plans to partner with community colleges to teach digital literacy. Here’s how the Des Moines Register wrote about Des Moines Area Community College’s involvement: “Facebook chooses Iowa college for rare digital marketing education partnership.” Hi schools. If your marketing department thinks this is a good idea, if your media studies department thinks this is a good idea, tell them to read more.

    Via The New York Times: “Steam, After Pulling School Shooter Game, Says It Will Sell Nearly Everything.”

    Via Edsurge: “Thunkable Launches Cross-Platform App Maker That Lets Kids Drag, Drop and Build.”

    Via The New York Times: “Edcamps: The ‘Unconferences,’ Where Teachers Teach Themselves.” No mention of how corporations flood these events with their products and pitches.

    “Some Thoughts on OERby Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “LearnZillion Going After District Curriculum Business, Aims to Compete With Big Publishers.”

    Via Edsurge: “Amplify’s Been Quiet. Here’s Where CEO Larry Berger Says It’s Going in 2018.” That’s Amplify, formerly Wireless Generation, formerly NewsCorp’s education division.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “How Textbook Rentals Undercut Students.”

    Via Mashable: “Amazon wants to send your kiddos science and tech toys for $20 a month.”

    Copy Machines in Libraries Are ‘Going the Way of the Dodo’ – Slowly,” says Edsurge.

    Via the Getting Smart blog: “Incubating EdTech: AT&T Announces 4th Aspire Accelerator Class.” No matter how bad things get in ed-tech, someone still wants to fund more startups. See also,from the press release: “ETS and LearnLaunch to Fund Edtech Startups.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via The Verge: “MIT fed an AI data from Reddit, and now it only thinks about murder.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via CNBC: “Billionaire conservative donor David Koch to retire from Koch Industries, influential political network.”

    Via Counterpunch: “Billionaires Want Poor Children’s Brains to Work Better.”

    Sponsored content on Edsurge this week, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, includes this on “student voice and choice.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “$100M Gift to National U for ‘Social Emotional Learning’.” The money comes from South Dakota businessman T. Denny Sanford, whose company – checks notes – sells social emotional learning curriculum to schools.

    Via The 74: “Michael Bloomberg Pledges $375 Million to Help Prepare Students for College and Careers.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    PlayVS has raised $15 million to bring “esports infrastructure to high schools.” Investors in the round include New Enterprise Associates, Science, CrossCut Ventures, Coatue Management, Cross Culture Ventures, the San Francisco 49ers, Nas, Michael Dubin (Dollar Shave Club founder ), and Kevin Lin (co-founder of Twitch). The company has raised $15.7 million total.

    Microsoft has acquired GitHub. Here’s the NYT headline: “Microsoft Buys GitHub for $7.5 Billion, Moving to Grow in Coding’s New Era.”

    Curriculum maker Lincoln Learning Solutions has acquired curriculum maker Evan-Moor Corporation.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via The New York Times: “Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends.” I’m sure this is covered in that Facebook-created digital literacy curriculum folks are cooing about.

    Via Education Week: “‘Impenetrable’ World of Student Data Brokers a Major Concern, Study Says.” More on the report from Bill Fitzgerald.

    Via Connecticut Public Radio: “School Districts Struggle To Comply With New Student Data Privacy Law.”

    Via The Intercept: “Face Recognition Is Now Being Used in Schools, but It Won’t Stop Mass Shootings.”

    Via The Washington Post: “ Unproven facial-recognition companies target schools, promising an end to shootings.”

    Via Edsurge: “Apple’s New Digital Student IDs Raise Questions About Security.”

    An op-ed in The New York Times by Alvaro M. Bedoya, the former chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law, on data as “A License to Discriminate.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Lobbying group for independent colleges says it’s open to expanding federal data collection on student outcomes but remains opposed to student-level database favored by public colleges and many policy makers.” That’s the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    How Do We Know If Ed Tech Even Works?asks Education Week.

    This isn’t really new news, but I’ll put it here nonetheless as it’s something to pay attention to. “The Research Network On The Determinants Of Life Course Capabilities And Outcomes” from the Center for the Economics of Human Development. Genetics, psychology, and statistics working together to measure people. The genetics of “grit,” if you will.

    Via The Atlantic: “Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test.” More on the marshmallow test from Daniel Willingham.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What would Noam Chomsky, Deepak Chopra, a very friendly robot, plus a bevy of scientists, mystics, and wannabe scholars do at a fancy resort in Arizona? Perhaps real harm to the field of consciousness studies, for one thing.”

    “Global Demand for Mobile Computing Devices in K–12 Grows, Powered by U.S. Market” – or so predicts Futuresource Consulting, according to EdWeek’s Market Brief.

    More on the latest Pew study on teens and social media– I noted it in last week’s round-up – in Education Week and by Bryan Alexander.

    “What the Mary Meeker slides mean for the future of education,” according to Bryan Alexander. For those keeping track at home, here are the investments that her venture capital firm, KPCB, has made in the future of education.

    Via Pacific Standard: “Suicide Rates Have Increased Across the U.S. Since 1999.”


    I feel as though I’d be remiss to not include here a person who taught us so much about the world. I doubt he considered himself an educator. He was a storyteller and a provocateur. Dammit, I adored him. RIP Anthony Bourdain.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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    This is the transcript of the talk I gave at the Tech4Good event I'm at this weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The complete slide deck is here.

    I want to talk a little bit about a problem I see – or rather, a problem I see in the “solutions” that some scientists and technologists and engineers seem to gravitate towards. So I want to talk to you about pigeons, operant conditioning, and social control, which I recognize is a bit of a strange and academic title. I toyed with some others:

    I spent last week at the Harvard University archives, going through the papers of Professor B. F. Skinner, arguably one of the most important psychologists of the twentieth century. (The other, of course, being Sigmund Freud.)

    I don’t know how familiar this group is with Skinner – he’s certainly a name that those working in educational psychology have heard of. I’d make a joke here about software engineers having no background in the humanities or social sciences but I hear Mark Zuckerberg was actually a psych major at Harvard. (So that’s the joke.)

    I actually want to make the case this morning that Skinner’s work – behavioral psychology in particular – has had profound influence on the development of computer science, particularly when it comes to the ways in which “programming” has become a kind of social engineering. I’m not sure this lineage is always explicitly considered – like I said, there’s that limited background in or appreciation for history thing your field seems to have got going on.

    B. F. Skinner was a behaviorist. Indeed, almost all the American psychologists in the early twentieth century were. Unlike Freud, who was concerned with the subconscious mind, behaviorists like Skinner were interested in – well, as the name suggests – behaviors. Observable behaviors. Behaviors that could be conditioned or controlled.

    Skinner’s early work was with animals. As a graduate student at Harvard, he devised the operant conditioning chamber – better known as the Skinner box – that was used to study animal behavior. The chamber provided some sort of response mechanism that the animal would be trained to use, typically by rewarding the animal with food.

    During World War II, Skinner worked on a program called Project Pigeon – also known as Project Orcon, short for Organic Control – an experimental project to create pigeon-guided missiles.

    The pigeons were trained by Skinner to peck at a target, and they rewarded with food when they completed the task correctly. Skinner designed a missile that carried pigeons which could see the target through the windows. The pigeons would peck at the target; the pecking in turn would control the missile’s tail fins, keeping it on course, via a metal conductor connected to the birds’ beak, transmitting the force of the pecking to the missile’s guidance system. The pigeons’ accuracy, according to Skinner’s preliminary tests: nearly perfect.

    As part of their training, Skinner also tested the tenacity of the pigeons – testing their psychological fitness, if you will, for battle. He fired a pistol next to their heads to see if loud noise would disrupt their pecking. He put the pigeons in a pressure chamber, setting the altitude at 10,000 feet. The pigeons were whirled around in a centrifuge meant to simulate massive G forces; they were exposed to bright flashes meant to simulate shell bursts. The pigeons kept pecking. They had been trained, conditioned to do so.

    The military canceled and revived Project Pigeon a couple of times, but Skinner’s ideas were never used in combat. “Our problem,” Skinner admitted, “was no one would take us seriously.” And by 1953, the military had devised an electronic system for missile guidance, so animal-guided systems were no longer necessary (if they ever were).

    This research was all classified, and when the American public were introduced to Skinner’s well-trained pigeons in the 1950s, there was no reference to their proposed war-time duties. Rather, the media talked about his pigeons that could play ping-pong and piano.

    Admittedly, part of my interest in Skinner’s papers at Harvard involved finding more about his research on pigeons. I use the pigeons as a visual metaphor throughout my work. And I could talk to you for an hour, easily, about the birds – indeed, I have given a keynote like that before. But I’m writing a book on the history of education technology, and B. F. Skinner is probably the name best known with “teaching machines” – that is, programmed instruction (pre-computer).

    Skinner’s work on educational technology – on teaching and learning with machines – is connected directly, explicitly to his work with animals. Hence my usage of the pigeon imagery. Skinner believed that there was not enough (if any) of the right kind of behavior modification undertaken in schools. He pointed that that students are punished when they do something wrong – that’s the behavioral reinforcement that they receive: aversion. But students are rarely rewarded when they do something right. And again, this isn’t simply about “classroom behavior” – the kind of thing you get a grade for “good citizenship” on (not talking in class or cutting in the lunch line). Learning, to Skinner, was a behavior – and a behavior that needed what he called “contingencies of reinforcement.” These should be positive. They should minimize the chances of doing something wrong – getting the wrong answer, for example. (That’s why Skinner didn’t like multiple choice tests.) The reinforcement should be immediate.

    Skinner designed a teaching machine that he said would do all these things – allow the student to move at her own pace through the material. The student would know instantaneously if she had the answer right. (The reward was getting to move on to the next exciting question or concept.) And you can hear all this echoed in today’s education technology designers and developers and school reformers – from Sal Khan and Khan Academy to US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. It’s called “personalized learning.” But it’s essentially pigeon training with a snazzier interface.

    “Once we have arranged the particular type of consequence called a reinforcement,” Skinner wrote in 1954 in “The Science of Learning and the Art of Teaching,” "our techniques permit us to shape the behavior of an organism almost at will. It has become a routine exercise to demonstrate this in classes in elementary psychology by conditioning such an organism as a pigeon.”

    …Such an organism as a pigeon.” We often speak of “lab rats” as shorthand for the animals used in scientific experiments. We use the phrase too to describe people who work in labs, who are completely absorbed in performing their tasks again and again and again. In education and in education technology, students are also the subjects of experimentation and conditioning. In Skinner’s framework, they are not “lab rats”; they are pigeons. As he wrote,

    …Comparable results have been obtained with pigeons, rats, dogs, monkeys, human children… and psychotic subjects. In spite of great phylogenetic differences, all these organisms show amazingly similar properties of the learning process. It should be emphasized that this has been achieved by analyzing the effects of reinforcement and by designing techniques that manipulate reinforcement with considerable precision. Only in this way can the behavior of the individual be brought under such precise control.

    If we do not bring students’ behavior under control, Skinner cautioned, we will find ourselves “losing our pigeon.” The animal will be beyond our control.

    Like I said, I’m writing a book. So I can talk at great length about Skinner and teaching machines. But I want folks to consider how behaviorism hasn’t just found its way into education reform or education technology. Indeed, Skinner and many others envisioned that application of operant conditioning outside of the laboratory, outside of the classroom – the usage (past and present) of behavior modification for social engineering is at the heart of a lot of “fixes” that people think they’re doing “for the sake of the children,” or “for the good of the country,” or “to make the world a better place.”

    Among the discoveries I made – new to me, not new to the world, to be clear: in the mid–1960s, B. F. Skinner was contacted by the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation, a non-profit that funded various institutions and research projects that dealt with mental disabilities. Eunice Kennedy Shriver was apparently interested in his work on operant behavior and child-rearing, and her husband Sargent Shriver who’d been appointed by President Johnson to head the newly formed Office of Economic Opportunity was also keen to find ways to use operant conditioning as part of the War on Poverty.

    There was a meeting. Skinner filed a report. But as he wrote in his autobiography, nothing came of it. “A year later,” he added, “one of Shriver’s aides came to see me about motivating the peasants in Venezuela.”

    Motivating pigeons or poor people or peasants (or motivating peasants and poor people as pigeons) – it’s all offered, quite earnestly no doubt – as the ways in which science and scientific management will make the world better.

    But if nothing else, the application of behavior modification to poverty implies that this is a psychological problem and not a structural one. Focus on the individual and their “mindset” – to use the language that education technology and educational psychology folks invoke these days – not on the larger, societal problems.

    I recognize, of course, that you can say “it’s for their own good” – but it involves a great deal of hubris (and often historical and cultural ignorance, quite frankly) to assume that you know what “their own good” actually entails.

    You’ll sometimes hear that B. F. Skinner’s theories are no longer in fashion – the behaviorist elements of psychology have given way to the cognitive turn. And with or without developments in cognitive and neuroscience, Skinner’s star had certainly lost some of its luster towards the end of his career, particularly, as many like to tell the story, after Noam Chomsky penned a brutal review of his book Beyond Freedom and Dignity in the December 1971 issue of The New York Review of Books. In the book, Skinner argues that our ideas of freedom and free will and human dignity stand in the way of a behavioral science that can better organize and optimize society.

    “Skinner’s science of human behavior, being quite vacuous, is as congenial to the libertarian as to the fascist,” writes Chomsky, adding that “there is nothing in Skinner’s approach that is incompatible with a police state in which rigid laws are enforced by people who are themselves subject to them and the threat of dire punishment hangs over all.”

    Skinner argues in Beyond Freedom and Dignity that the goal of behavioral technologies should be to “design a world in which behavior likely to be punished seldom or never occurs” – a world of “automatic goodness.“ We should not be concerned with freedom, Skinner argues – that’s simply mysticism. We should pursue ”effectiveness of techniques of control“ which will ”make the world safer." Or make the world totalitarian, as Chomsky points out.

    Building behavioral technologies is, of course, what many computer scientists now do (perhaps what some of you do cough FitBit) – most, I’d say, firmly believing that they’re also building a world of “automatic goodness.” “Persuasive technologies,” as Stanford professor B. J. Fogg calls it. And in true Silicon Valley fashion, Fogg erases the long history of behavioral psychology in doing so: “the earliest signs of persuasive technology appeared in the 1970s and 1980s when a few computing systems were designed to promote health and increase workplace productivity,” he writes in his textbook. His students at his Behavioral Design Lab at Stanford have included Mike Krieger, the co-founder of Instagram, and Tristan Harris, a former Googler, founder of the Center for Humane Technology, and best known figure in what I call the “tech regrets industry” – he’s into “ethical” persuasive technologies now, you see.

    Behavior modification. Behavioral conditioning. Behavioral design. Gamification. Operant conditioning. All practices and products and machines that are perhaps so ubiquitous in technology that we don’t see them – we just feel the hook and the urge for the features that reward us for behaving like those Project Pigeon birds pecking away at their target – not really aware of why there’s a war or what’s at stake or that we’re going to suffer and die if this missile runs its course. But nobody asked the pigeons. And even with the best of intentions for pigeons – promising pigeons an end to poverty and illiteracy, nobody asked the pigeons. Folks just assumed that because the smart men at Harvard (or Stanford or Silicon Valley or the US government) were on it, that it was surely right “fix.”

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  • 06/16/18--04:40: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    Apologies that this week this article is a day late.

    (National) Education Politics

    At the G7 Summit, the countries pledged $3 billion for girls’ education. Except the US.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Under DeVos, a Smaller Department of Education.”

    There’s some accreditation news in the accreditation section below.

    From the Department of Education press release: “Office for Civil Rights Launches Investigation into University of Southern California’s Handling of Sexual Harassment Claims.”

    Via The New York Times: “Net Neutrality Has Officially Been Repealed. Here’s How That Could Affect You.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via The Atlantic: “What’s Going On With New York’s Elite Public High Schools?” Via Chalkbeat: “In a politically charged town hall, Carranza tackles segregation, testing, and charter schools.”

    Via The New York Times: “Cynthia Nixon’s Education Plan: Ambitious, Progressive, Expensive.”

    Via Capital & Main: “The Battle of Hastings: What’s Behind the Netflix CEO’s Fight to Charterize Public Schools?”

    Via The Chicago Sun Times: “Sex abuse scandal is latest CPS fiasco under Rahm Emanuel’s watch.”

    Immigration and Education

    Defense Contractors Cashing In On Immigrant Kids’ Detention,” writes The Daily Beast.

    Via The Verge: “Palmer Luckey’s border control tech has already caught dozens of people.” Palmer Luckey is the founder of Occulus Rift. So be sure to tout how VR is going to make people more empathetic. More on the shit-poster via Wired.

    Education in the Courts

    “Who’s Behind the Janus Lawsuit?” asks The American Prospect. Surprise, surprise. Betsy DeVos’s family.

    Via NPR: “Harvard Accused Of ‘Racial Balancing’: Lawsuit Says Asian-Americans Treated Unfairly.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “His Rap Song And Profile Photo Caused A School Lockdown. Now He Faces Years In Prison For It.”

    Not directly education-related (except for the number of education reformers who invested), but according to the AP, “Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes charged with criminal fraud.” (Related: “Theranos investor Tim Draper blames the company’s downfall on an investigative journalist,” Business Insider reports.)

    Graduate assistant Lindsay Shepherd is suing her university, Wilfrid Laurier University, because she was asked some tough questions or something. The word “inquisition” is in the headline on Inside Higher Ed.

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Where Grad Students Struggle With Loan Repayments.”

    Via Edsurge: “Beyond Tuition: How Innovations in College Affordability Are (Or Aren’t) Helping Students.”

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

    “Free MOOCs Face the Music,” writes Inside Higher Ed on edX’s decision to start charging fees.

    More “MOOC” news under the job training section below.

    Via Education Week: “A report released by Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank, indicates the nine schools in the Reflector readership area lost an average of nearly $482,633 over the last six years to ECOT.” ECOT is the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, an online charter school company.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of California and Texas A&M Win Bid to Run Birthplace of Atom Bomb.”

    Anya Kamenetz onAlexandra Lange’s new book The Design of Childhood (which I cannot wait to read): “Century-Old Decisions That Impact Children Every Day.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Michigan State Was ‘Deeply Sorry’ for Abuse. Then It Wasn’t.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Fraternity Members Suspended for Racist, Homophobic Video.” All this at Syracuse University.

    Via the Iowa City Press-Citizen: “University of Iowa responds after dozens accuse man of sexual harassment.”

    Via The New York Times: “How Universities Deal With Sexual Harassment Needs Sweeping Change, Panel Says.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How the University Became Neoliberal.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “DeVos Brought Back For-Profit Accreditor Her Own Department Faulted.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Education Dept. Report Says No to a For-Profit Accreditor– but It Might Not Matter.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Southern New Hampshire U Issues Blockchain Credentials to College for America Grads.”

    Inside Higher Ed on Guild Education: “Connecting Cashiers to College Degrees.”

    Via e-Literate: “UF Online’s New Corporate Partner: Discover Financial joins Walmart with Online Education benefit.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “First Watch Restaurants Inc., a Florida-based breakfast chain, has joined a growing number of companies offering employee education benefits.”

    From the press release: “Concentric Sky Announces BadgeRank – a New Search Engine for Digital Badges.”


    The New York Times: “For Survivors of a 9-Hour Chinese Exam, a Door Opens to America.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The Controversy Over Just How Much History AP World History Should Cover.”

    “An Ultra-Selective University Just Dropped the ACT/SAT. So What?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education. That’s the** University of Chicago**.

    A story in Edsurge, written by someone from an SEL company, on SEL – but totally not sponsored content: “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About SEL Assessment But Were Afraid to Ask.”

    Labor and Management

    Via Wired: “Google’s Diversity Stats Are Still Very Dismal.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After Investigation of Sexual Misconduct, a Dartmouth Professor Will Retire.” That’s psychology professor Todd F. Heatherton.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Women of Color in Academe Make 67 Cents for Every Dollar Paid to White Men.”

    The Business of Job Training

    Via NPR: “Despite A Revamped Focus On Real-Life Skills, ’Home Ec’ Classes Fade Away.”

    From the Coursera blog: “Coursera for Business Is Now Available to Small and Medium-Sized Businesses.”

    Via The Evolllution: “Bootcamps Go To College.”

    Contests and Competitions

    Via NPR: “Parkland Drama Teacher Who Helped Save 65 To Receive Tony Award For Education.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Is School a Waste of Time?asks Rachel Cohen.

    (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

    Via The Atlantic: “The Demise of Toys ‘R’ Us Is a Warning.”

    Via Education Week: “How (and Why) Ed-Tech Companies Are Tracking Students’ Feelings.”

    Ed-Tech That Makes Me Want to Scream,” writes John Warner. Yes.

    Via The Verge: “Fitbit’s $100 fitness tracker for kids is now available to buy.”

    Via Social Justice Books: “Scholastic Tells Children: Trump is Great.”

    Via The Atlantic: “Mr. Rogers Had a Simple Set of Rules for Talking to Children.” It would have never included saying “Trump is great,” no doubt.

    Via Edsurge: “Here Are the 9 Higher-Ed Startups Taking off From Michelson Runway.” (Michelson Runway is a startup accelerator program.)

    VR Helps Us Remember,” Techcrunch claims.

    Edsurge on replacing the Horizon Report: “Group Looks for New Ways to Peer Over the Edtech Horizon.”

    Via the press release: “Blackboard Bringing Contactless Student IDs to Apple Wallet for Campuses Nationwide.”

    D2L Bets on The Cloud and Advances in User Experience,” writes Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill.

    Via the Google blog: “Start your college search with Google.”

    “How Has the School Bus Evaded Revolution?” asks Pacific Standard.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Facebook Adds Community Colleges to Program.” More via Edsurge, which does not disclose its financial relationship to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    “The ethical dilemma of the robot teacherby Neil Selwyn.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via The Washington Post: “The Quest of Laurene Powell Jobs.”

    Sponsored content on Edsurge, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, includes this on screen time and this on grade levels.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Memrise has raised $15.5 million for its language learning app. Investors included Octopus Ventures, Korelya Capital, Balderton Capital, Avalon Ventures. The company has raised $21.8 million total.

    Open Learning has raised $8.5 million for its MOOC platform. Investors in the round include muru-D, Prestariang, Paramount Corporation Berhad, ICS Global, and Clive Mayhew. The company has raised $10.2 million total.

    Bibliotech has raised $5 million for a “Spotify for textbooks.” Investors were not disclosed. The company has raised $6.5 million total.

    Intersective has raised $3.75 million from Main Sequence Ventures. The “experiential learning” company has raised $3.8 million total.

    Gradescope has raised $2.75 million from Reach Capital, K9 Ventures, Ironfire Ventures, GSV Acceleration, Freestyle Capital, and Bloomberg Beta. The automated grading company has raised $5.3 million total.

    FaceMetrics has raised $2 million from Larnabel Ventures and VP Capital. Here’s the horrific headline: “FaceMetrics lands $2 million to gamify kids’ screen time and track immersion with AI.”

    Language learning company Squiggle Park has raised $1,025,000. Investors include Heather Reisman and John Montalbano.

    Civitas Learning has acquiredClearScholar.

    EducationDynamics has acquiredJMH Consulting.

    Lincoln Learning Solutions has acquiredEvan-Moor.

    Pitsco Education has sold its Star Academy program as well as its math and science curricula to NOLA Education.

    Via The New York Times: “AT&T Closes Acquisition of Time Warner.” (I haven’t done a complete job of tracking AT&T’s ed-tech investments, but here’s a start.)

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via The Verge: “Retailers will probably keep selling kids insecure smart toys until they’re forced to stop.”

    Via Mic: “Target and Walmart stop selling the superbackable kids’ toy CloudPets after pressure from Mozilla.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Why your student’s personal data could be freely bought and sold.”

    Via Futurism: “Security Companies Want To Use Facial Recognition To Stop School Shootings.”

    Published on Edsurge, written by someone from an admissions company but totally not “sponsored content”: “Rethinking the Metrics of College Admissions.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Inside Higher Ed on a new report from Pearson: “Higher Ed’s Next Reform Push: ‘Demand-Driven Education’.”

    “Fewer U.S. TeensSmoking, Doing Drugs, and Drinking Milk,” says Education Week.

    Via The Outline: “As overall teentobacco use declines, the proportion of vaping teens rises.”

    Be aware of the drumbeat from business of tech sites that want to convince you screen-time restrictions are damaging. Via Inc: “Kids Whose Parents Limit Screen Time Do Worse in College, New Study Shows.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What Do Online Students Want? 3 Findings From a New Survey Offer Some Clues.”

    “Don’t Buy The Arizona State Report On Digital Learning,” says Forbes.

    Via Edsurge: “The Number of Students Taking Online Courses Is Quickly Rising, But Perceptions Are Changing Slowly.”

    Maker Culture Has a ‘Deeply Unsettling’ Gender Problem,” says Edsurge.

    Via The New York Times: “Where Boys Outperform Girls in Math: Rich, White and Suburban Districts.” A response from Vanderbilt University professor Ilana Horn:

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Major Scientific Society Says Harassment Derails Women’s Careers. Critics Say the Group Hasn’t Done Enough.”

    “If This Is the End of Average, What Comes Next?” asks Dan Willingham.

    “The Four Questions I Always Ask About New Technology in Educationby Dan Meyer.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 06/22/18--03:20: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    Immigration and Education

    “The Trump administration is committing violence against children,” says UVA professor James Coan in The Washington Post– that is, of course, by separating them from their parents and placing them in jail.

    Via The Houston Chronicle: “Explainer: Must immigrant parents, children be separated at the border?”

    Via Vox’s Dara Lind: “What Obama did with migrant families vs. what Trump is doing.”

    Via ProPublica: “Listen to Children Who’ve Just Been Separated From Their Parents at the Border.”

    Via Reveal: “Immigrant children forcibly injected with drugs, lawsuit claims.”

    Via Wired: “How a Child Moves Through a Broken Immigration System.”

    Via The Washington Post: “ Inside Casa Padre, the converted Walmart where the U.S. is holding nearly 1,500 immigrant children.”

    Separating Kids From Their Families Can Permanently Damage Their Brains,” writes The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan.

    The Naples Daily News on a lawsuit by the SPLC over schools blocking immigrant students from attending: “This teen is one of about 200 immigrant students who have been excluded from Collier County high schools.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The Overlooked Children Working America’s Tobacco Fields.”

    After someone noticed that Microsoft had boasted that it was working with ICE, Nitasha Tiku says that“Microsoft’s Ethical Reckoning Is Here.”

    Via The Mercury News: “23andme donating DNA kits to help reunite migrant families.” Ah yes, trust Silicon Valley to make a terrible situation even worse.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Britain Makes It Easier for Chinese Students to Get Visas.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The number of universities contracting with corporate entities to recruit for and manage first-year programs for international students keeps growing. As competition increases, institutions report mixed results with the model.”

    (National) Education Politics

    White House to Propose Merging Education, Labor Departments,” The Wall Street Journal reports. Betsy DeVos’s statement. Via The Washington Post: “Merging the Labor and Education departments won’t accomplish much, say experts.” “Trump’s education department merger plan echoes Indiana priorities under Pence, Holcomb,” Chalkbeat notes. “The Dept. of Ed. Reorganization Plan is Out. Where Is the Office of EdTech?” asks Edsurge. Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Brief History of GOP Attempts to Kill the Education Dept.” Still more on the proposal from Inside Higher Ed, from The Chronicle of Higher Education, from Education Week, and from Edsurge.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Education Department announces a second yearlong delay of some gainful-employment disclosures as DeVos works on a do-over of the vocational education rule.”

    There’s more Department of Education news in the financial aid and accreditation sections below.

    Via ProPublica: “DeVos Has Scuttled More Than 1,200 Civil Rights Probes Inherited From Obama.”

    Via Reuters: “U.S. quits U.N. human rights body, citing bias vs. Israel, alarming critics.”

    Via The Verge: “Trump directs DOD to establish a Space Force in a surprise announcement today.” Really looking forward to Space Force Academy. (Ron Howard voiceover: she was not really looking forward to Space Force Academy.)

    From the Department of Education press release: “Federal Commission on School Safety Meeting to Focus on the Effects of Entertainment, Media, Cyberbullying and Social Media on Violence and Student Safety.” Notice anything missing from that list? Starts with a g? Ends with -uns?

    Via ProPublica: “HUD Is Failing to Protect Children From Lead Paint Poisoning, Audits Find.”

    Via The Guardian: “Algeria shuts internet to prevent students cheating during exams.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via Education Week: “This Is What Hundreds of School Closures in Puerto Rico Looks Like.”

    Via NPR: “Closures Of Schools In Puerto Rico Complicate Family Life.”

    Via the Journal Sentinel: “More than 300 Kettle Moraine parents sign petition against online learning platform.” That’s a school district in Wisconsin, and the learning software in question is the Summit Learning Platform, created by the Summit charter school chain and built by Facebook and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Colorado May Drop ‘Liberal’ From ‘Liberal Education’.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Summer learning programs are too expensive for many of Mississippi’s kids.”

    Education Week on an initiative in the San Francisco school district: “A Bold Effort to End Algebra Tracking Shows Promise.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Louisiana ends policy that held thousands of students back a grade or more.”

    Andre Perry on public transportation in DC: “The route school buses can take toward racial equity.”

    Via The New Yorker: “The Complex Disadvantages Underlying New York City’s Specialized-High-School Dilemma.”

    Via NPR: “NYC Mayor On Diversity Problems With City’s Elite Public High Schools.”

    Via The Casper Star Tribune: “ Remains of Northern Arapaho boy will be returned to Wyoming after a century in boarding school graveyard.” (So yeah. The US has a long history of separating children from their parents and sending them to violent institutions.)

    Education in the Courts

    Via Techdirt: “Court Says Probation Violations By Teen Don’t Justify On-Demand Warrantless Searches Of His Electronics.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Washington Settles Campus Republicans’ Free-Speech Lawsuit for $127,000.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Supreme Court of Canada says law society acted reasonably in denying approval to proposed Christian law school with a code of conduct prohibiting same-sex sexual activity.”

    There are more court cases in the immigration section above and in the financial aid section below.

    “Free College”

    “Long-shot gubernatorial challenger Cynthia Nixon takes aim at New York’s free tuition program, calling for a lower income limit, less stringent credit requirements and a first-dollar program,” says Inside Higher Ed.

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The Washington Post: “Judge rejects DeVos’s interpretation of order to halt partial student debt relief plan.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Crisis-level student loan default rates among black borrowers and those who attended for-profits cannot be explained fully by students’ backgrounds, study finds, including measures of income, employment and parental wealth.”

    Via The Washington Post: “Are Betsy DeVos’s policies exacerbating racial inequities in student debt? These lawmakers think so.”

    “An ambitious college affordability plan released by the Center for American Progress Wednesday would aim to guarantee that no student has to borrow to pay for their education,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Woolf University: the Airbnb of higher education or a sheep in wolf’s clothing?” asks Tony Bates.

    There’s more for-profit related news in the national politics and in the financial sections above.

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

    To borrow from Jello Biaffra, “MOOCs aren’t dead, they just deserve to die.”

    From Edsurge: “How Blockbuster MOOCs Could Shape the Future of Teaching.”

    Via Class Central: “Udacity Completes the Switch to Term-based Scheduling for Its Nanodegrees.”

    Also via Class Central: “Coursera Lets Instructors A/B Test Their Courses, Experiments With Automated Coaching.”

    There’s more MOOC-related news in the nanodegree section below.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via The Investigative Fund: “How Elite Charter Schools Exclude Minorities.” More in The Hechinger Report.

    “Has Your School Been Investigated for Civil Rights Violations?” asks ProPublica, and you can answer that question via the publication’s new database containing “status of all of the civil rights cases that have been resolved during the past three years, as well as pending investigations.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Ohio State Shuts Down Office That Helped Sexual-Assault Victims.”

    Via The New York Times: “New York’s Elite Girls’ Schools Are Starting to Admit Transgender Students.”

    Via the BBC: “University includes Rommel quote in email to students.” That’s the University of Exeter offering what it thought was a motivational message. (!!??)

    Via The Seattle Times: “Evergreen State College is updating after protests, decline in enrollment.”

    College Admissions Will Never Be Fair,” says “MathBabe” Cathy O’Neil.

    Via The Atlantic: “Harvard’s Impossible Personality Test.”

    Via CTV News: “Yukon College set to become Canada’s first northern university.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    “The U.S. Department of Education is preparing to take a "deep dive" into accreditation, Diane Auer Jones, a special adviser to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, said Tuesday,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    Via the Udacity blog: “Introducing the Udacity Blockchain Developer Nanodegree Program.” Also via that blog: “Udacity’s School of Artificial Intelligence Opens the New Deep Reinforcement Learning Nanodegree Program for Enrollment.” I’m curious what “deep reinforcement learning” is, but have zero interest in paying money for a nanodegree.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Accreditor Places Sweet Briar on Warning Status.”

    There’s an accreditation-related court case in the legal news section above.


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Eight private schools in Washington area – including St. Albans and Sidwell Friends – announce they will stop offering Advanced Placement courses.”

    Via The New York Times: “A.P. World History Tries to Trim Thousands of Years, and Educators Revolt.”

    Via The New York Times: “What Is the SHSAT Exam? And Why Does It Matter?”

    There’s more testing news in the national politics section above.

    Labor and Management

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Brown Agrees to Grad Union Election Terms.”

    Via The New York Times: “For First Time, New York City Teachers Will Get Paid Parental Leave.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “MIT Clears Junot Díaz to Teach.”

    There’s more labor news in the immigration section above. And, of course, there’s the proposal on merging the Departments of Education and Labor – that’s in the national politics section up top.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Techcrunch: “Patriot Boot Camp wants to turn soldiers into entrepreneurs.”

    Personalized learning” now includes working on a goat farm apparently.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Is AI disrupting higher education?asks Education Dive.

    Can an AR and VR Pilot Program From Google Prepare Kids for Future Careers?asks Edsurge.

    (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

    “Can You Put a Score On a Student’s ‘Agility’ or ‘Diligence’?” asks Edsurge. “A New Service Tries It.” That is, a new behavioral testing product from Cerego, which also announced it would launch a “skill” for the Amazon Alexa surveillance device.

    Speaking of pseudoscientific products, Education Week reports that “DeVos-Supported ‘Brain-Performance’ Company Loses Appeal Over Misleading Advertising.” That’s Neurocore which has claimed it can treat autism and ADD.

    All this pseudoscience is, of course, part of the “social emotional learning” hype. Case in point: “A Growth Mindset Isn’t Enough. It’s Time for a Benefit Mindset,” says commentary in Education Week. Or this one: “A Growth Mindset Can Reduce the Gender Gap in STEM,” claims Coursera’s blog.

    Via The MIT Technology Review: “School lockdowns are so prevalent that companies are making apps to help teachers manage them.” (Guess what’s going to be one of the "top ed-tech trends" this year?)

    Microsoft backpedals on VR promise,” says Techcrunch. Viva la VR revolución!

    Speaking of Microsoft… “GitHub’s New Education Bundle Equips Students With Industry-Standard Coding Tools,” says Edsurge.

    There’s more Microsoft news in the immigration section above and in the acquisition section below. I’d love to hear any folks involved with the company’s education-related products speak out about the ICE connection, eh?

    Via TorrentFreak: “YouTube’s Piracy Filter Blocks MIT Courses, Blender Videos, and More.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Sesame Workshop will produce children’s shows for Apple.”

    Via NPR’s Anya Kamenetz: “A Guide To Parental Controls For Kids’ Tech Use.”

    “The Dangers of Distracted Parenting” – according to The Atlantic.

    Via Edsurge: “Facebook Expands Digital Training Initiative with College Partnerships in Chicago.”

    Ben Williamson on Pearson: “Edu-business as usual – market-making in higher education.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via The Guardian: “‘This is awful’: robot can keep children occupied for hours without supervision.”

    There’s another robot story this week but since the headline was in the form of a question, it’s not in this section.

    (Venture) Philanthropy, Foundations, and the Business of Education Reform

    Via Chalkbeat: “The Gates Foundation bet big on teacher evaluation. The report it commissioned explains how those efforts fell short.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative hires to donate tech, not just money.” The new hires: Jonathan Goldman, formerly of Level Up Analytics and Intuit (and Khan Academy board member) and Phil Smoot, formerly of Microsoft.

    Via “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative partners with Philly DA’s office on tech, data.”

    Walton Family Foundation Unveils New $100M Effort to Support School Diversity, Inclusion, and Innovation,” says Walton-backed publication The 74.

    Via The New York Times: “How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country.” See also: How the Koch Brothers are killing public education and academic freedom around the country.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Motivated by 2017 violence in Charlottesville, Lumina Foundation adds racial justice to grant making, which has focused heavily on college completion.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    VIPKID has raised $500 million from Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, Tencent Holdings, Sinovation Ventures, Northern Light Venture Capital, Learn Capital, YF Capital, Coatue Management, and Bryant Stibel Investments. The tutoring company has raised $825 million total.

    Sphero has raised $12.1 million from Walt Disney and Mercato Partners. The educational toy-maker has raised $119.5 million total.

    TinyTap has raised $5 million in Series A funding from Reinvent VC, Radiant Venture Capital, Aleph, and Inimiti. The educational app-maker has raised $9.1 million total.

    Microsoft has acquiredFlipgrid.

    2U has acquiredCritiqueIt.

    Degreed has acquiredPathgather.

    Vista Higher Learning has acquiredSANTILLANA USA.

    Pharos Capital has acquiredCCME School.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via DML Central: “Scientists Seek Genetic Data to Personalize Education.” Honestly, I prefer the version of “personalized learning” that involves the goat farm (see the job training section above).

    Via the ACLU: “Facial Recognition Cameras Do Not Belong in Schools.”

    There’s more surveillance-related tech in the “upgrade/downgrade” section above.

    Via The Telegraph: “University students’ data to be shared with private companies.” Surprise, surprise, “private companies” here would include Pearson.

    Via Wrench in the Gears: “Childhood Captured: Pay for Success and SurveillancePre-K Play Tables.”

    Sponsored content on Edsurge, paid for by Newsela: “Building Social Connections for LGBTQ Students with Data and Tech-Enhanced Curriculum.”

    Some privacy and security tips from the K–12 Cybersecurity Resource Center: “Must-Have Technology Gear to Bring to ISTE 2018.”

    Via EdTech Strategies: “Scholastic Makes Misleading Privacy, Security Claims in Services Directed to Children.”

    I don’t really know which section is best for this story on Julia Kristeva, literary theorist and alleged collaborator and spy. So surveillance section it is.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    There’s more research on lead poisoning in the national politics section above. There’s more research on student loan debt in the business of financial aid section above. There’s more research on how the Gates Foundation throws its money around in the venture philanthropy section above.

    Via Education Week: “20% of Educators Say They’ve Been Sexually Harassed or Assaulted at Work.”

    Also via Education Week: “To Make Ends Meet, 1 in 5 Teachers Have Second Jobs.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “More bullying reported at New York City schools, study shows.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Employment and Debt of 2008 College Graduates.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Teaching more black or Hispanic students can hurt observation scores, study finds.”

    “Young people ‘see cannabis as safer than alcohol’,” says the BBC.

    Via Wired: “WHO Calls Gaming Disorder an Illness. Experts Say Not So Fast.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The College-Graduation Problem All States Have.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Survey: 7 in 10 People Don’t Believe Online Classes Can Provide a ‘True College Experience’.”

    Another survey written up by Campus Technology: “Two-Thirds of Online Students Do Some Coursework on a Mobile Device.”

    Via The 74: “New Research: Despite Great Enthusiasm for Personalized Learning, Teachers Say Attempts to Innovate Are Often Stymied by School District Bureaucracy.” This research, for what it’s worth, is from the Center on Reinventing Public Education, which is happy to find any excuse to talk about public school bureaucracy, no doubt.

    “Some new data on learning stylesfrom UVA professor Daniel Willingham.

    “Study shows VR increases learning,” says Donald Clark.

    Via NPR: “It’s Easier To Call A Fact A Fact When It’s One You Like, Study Finds.”

    Via Vox: “The Stanford Prison Experiment was massively influential. We just learned it was a fraud.” Perhaps we should put a moratorium on all invocations of famous psych studies. I propose we start with Bloom’s 2 Sigma claims.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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    It’s official. I signed the book contract late last night: the MIT University Press has agreed to publish Teaching Machines.

    I’m over-the-moon thrilled (particularly as I’ll have a great editor), although to be honest, I’m also feeling quite overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do.

    I have been talking about this book idea for a very long time now, and within the last six months it has finally become a lot more “real” – something that probably would not have happened without the Spencer Fellowship (and without Sam Freedman’s book writing class). I’m so grateful for that opportunity.

    I’m not sure how the book writing will affect the rest of my work on Hack Education (at the very least, I’m not sure what my annual year-end review of ed-tech will look like this December). But a book! This book! That’s so much more exciting!

    (This article is cross-posted to the Teaching Machines website, where you can – should you choose – stay up-to-date with my research and writing.)

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  • 06/29/18--07:00: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via NPR: “A History Of The Department Of Education.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via The New York Times: “California Passes Sweeping Law to Protect Online Privacy.” The law forestalled a proposed ballot initiative with much stricter language. “Google, Facebook, Verizon, Comcast and AT&T each contributed $200,000 to a committee opposing the proposed ballot measure, and lobbyists had estimated that businesses would spend $100 million to campaign against it before the November election.”

    “Here’s what you need to know about CPS’ new $3 million ‘Student Protections’ office,” according to Chalkbeat. (CPS is the Chicago Public Schools, for those not up on their acronyms.)

    Via Chalkbeat: “What the primary results in Colorado’s governor’s race mean for education.”

    Via Education Week: “A bill shielding what is now Ohio’s largest online school and its sponsor from the negative consequences of accepting thousands of former Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow students is headed to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.” The school in question: Ohio Virtual Academy, owned by K12 Inc.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Leadership shake-up at Newark schools as officials are forced to resign or be fired.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “When Denver stopped lunch-shaming, debt from unpaid meals skyrocketed.”

    Via Wired: “How the Startup Mentality Failed Kids in San Francisco.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via ProPublica: “The Immigrant Children’s Shelters Near You.”

    Also via ProPublica: “Here’s What It’s Like to Work at a Shelter for Immigrant Kids.”

    Via The Dallas News (one of many publications I cannot access from here in Europe, incidentally, so I think this is the headline): “Charter School Founded by Southwest Key Wants to Educate Immigrant Kids Housed in Its Shelters.”

    Torn Apart / Separados” – “A rapidly deployed critical data & visualization intervention in the USA’s 2018 ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’ for asylum seekers at the US Ports of Entry and the humanitarian crisis that has followed.” Wired on the project: “‘ICE Is Everywhere’: Using Library Science to Map the Separation Crisis.”

    There’s more immigration news in the courts section and in the “labor and management” section below.

    As the Republican party backs the separation of migrant children from their parents and the indefinite detention of migrant families, this “appreciation” sure seems tone-deaf.

    Education in the Courts

    The New York Times onJanus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, No. 16–1466: “Supreme Court Ruling Delivers a Sharp Blow to Labor Unions.” More from Inside Higher Ed and from Edsurge and from Education Week.

    (I suppose this could go in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section, but I’ll keep all the Janus related news here, I guess.) “Is This Supreme Court Decision The End Of Teachers Unions?” asks NPR’s Anya Kamenetz.

    Teachers’ activism will survive the Janus Supreme Court ruling,” says historian Sherman Dorn in The Conversation.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Supreme Court Upholds Trump’s Travel Ban.”

    I don’t know about you but when I got the push notice on my phone about this news, I almost barfed: Justice Kennedy is retiring. Inside Higher Ed on“The Impact of Justice Kennedy”: “He wrote key decisions on affirmative action and other topics that matter to colleges. Kennedy’s departure could erase the Supreme Court majority backing the right of colleges to consider race in admissions.” More on Kennedy’s education-related decisions from Education Week.

    Via The New York Times: “Inside the White House’s Quiet Campaign to Create a Supreme Court Opening.” Apparently the Trump family business is quite close to Justice Kennedy’s son:

    During Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Penn State’s former president Graham Spanier loses appeal of his misdemeanor conviction for endangering the welfare of a child. He could spend up to 12 months in prison.” This is all related to Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse scandal.

    There’s more sports related legal news in the sports section below.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Harvard Asks Court to Keep Information on Individual Applicants and ‘Granular’ Admissions Details Under Seal.”

    Via The New York Post: “Student, 13, charged with felony after recording talk with principal.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    “What Happens When a Public University Buys a For-Profit Online One?” asks Edsurge. The former: Purdue University; the latter: Kaplan University.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “U.S. Department of Education officials sent a letter to DeVry University’s parent company, Adtalem Global Education Inc., saying they don’t foresee any impediment to the proposed ownership transfer of the for-profit university to Cogswell Capital LLC. Cogswell is the owner of Cogswell College, a private California-based for-profit institution.”

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

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Lessons Learned From a Consortium That Fizzled.” A MOOC consortium, that is, with member institutions Davidson College, Colgate University, Hamilton College, and Wellesley College.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Excellent reporting from The Oregonian’s Bethany Barnes: “Targeted: A Family and the Quest to Stop the Next School Shooter.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “After five years, federal investigators have found that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill mishandled complaints of campus sexual assaults and thus violated a key gender-discrimination law.”

    Via The Detroit Free Press: “How a down-and-out broker got University of Michigan to invest $95M.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Audit Raises Money-Management Issues at Stevens Point.”

    Ars Technica attempts to profileAd Astra, the private school founded by Elon Musk: “First space, then auto – now Elon Musk quietly tinkers with education.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Racist messages among fraternity brothers at Texas Tech, including head of fraternity council, anger many.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    The accrediting body the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has placed the following universities on probation: Bethune-Cookman University, Fisk University, Louisiana Delta Community College, and Salem College.

    Via The Moscow Times: “A state education watchdog has revoked the accreditation of a prestigious Russian private university in what critics fear could further erode independent education in the country.” The school: the Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences.

    Via the Google blog: “Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate enrolls in community college.”


    Via The New York Times: “Educators Turn to Programs for Top Students to Narrow the ‘Excellence Gap’.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “‘There was no cyber attack,’ investigator says of Tennessee’s online testing shutdown.”

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Inside Higher Ed reports on a settlement just 3 days into a concussion-related trial: “The aggrieved widow of a former college football player had sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association for allegedly ignoring the signs – repeated head trauma – that potentially led to her husband’s death.”

    Labor and Management

    For more details an important (and pretty devastating) Supreme Court decision regarding organized labor, see the courts section above.

    Via The Washington Post: “Boston schools chief resigning after lawsuit says district shared student data with immigration officials.” More on Tommy Chang’s departure via The Boston Globe.

    Via Axios: “Toys ‘R’ Us employees seek severance from private equity.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Vermont Law School plans to cut professors’ tenure to deal with budgetary concerns. Skeptics wonder if it will hurt the institution more than it helps.”

    Faculty at Oregon State University have unionized.

    Inside Higher Ed reports there’ll be 55 layoffs at Meharry Medical College and 24 layoffs at Western Illinois University.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Second Dartmouth Professor Departs Following Misconduct Inquiry.” That’s Paul J. Whalen from the school’s brain sciences department.

    The Business of Job Training

    Another coding bootcamp shuts down. This time, it’s Learners Guild (whose business model included income sharing agreements). More details in Edsurge.

    Via The New York Times: “The Snake Oil of the Second-Act Industry.”

    VR Pilot Training Now Comes With a Sense of Touch,” says Wired, which I guess doesn’t know that flight simulators always have?

    From the Google blog: “How Google Digital Workshop prepares you for new job opportunities.”

    Via The New York Times: “Robots or Job Training: Manufacturers Grapple With How to Improve Their Economic Fortunes.”

    Via MIT Technology Review: “Rebuilding Germany’s centuries-old vocational program.”

    Contests and Conferences

    Via Education Week: “ISTE 2018 Kicks Off in Chicago For Educators and Ed-Tech Vendors.”

    Via Education Week: “Making Better Ed-Tech Choices: Q&A With Richard Culatta of ISTE.”

    Via Edsurge: “ISTE Wants to Be More Than Just a Conference. Learn How They Are Expanding.”

    Edsurge summarizes all the press releases timed with ISTE: “All the Upgrades and Updates From Apple, Google and More at ISTE 2018.”

    Via Education Week: “Educators Share Hopes, Concerns About Virtual Reality at ISTE.”

    Edsurge interviewsISTE keynote speaker, neuroscientist David Eagleman on “Why Today’s Kids Have Different Brains.”

    Education Week on accessibility at ISTE: “For Students With Disabilities, Ed Tech Can Empower. But It Often Doesn’t.”

    There’s more about ISTE and IOT badge-stalking in the surveillance section below.

    Meanwhile, at another awful event, it looks like the Aspen Ideas Festivalhosted University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson.

    Via The Guardian: “Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name removed from book award over racism concerns.” The ALA has changed the name of the award to the Children’s Literature Legacy Award.

    Upgrades and Downgrades

    I’ve signed a book deal with MIT University Press, which will publish Teaching Machines.

    Via Buzzfeed: “ Is Dropping The ‘Hotness’ Rating After Professors Called It Sexist.” Pretty sure professors have been calling it sexist for a very, very long time, but anyway.

    Also via Buzzfeed: “Yelp, The Red Hen, And How All Tech Platforms Are Now Pawns In The Culture War.”

    From the Facebook blog: “Messenger Kids Introduces New Features and Expands to Canada and Peru.” “We’re working on new features rooted in principles of social and emotional learning,” says Facebook, which should chill you to the bone.

    Speaking of SEL, here’s some social-emotional learning sponsored content on Edsurge– sponsored by Newsela– includes this and this. Newsela is funded in part by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (as is Edsurge, which publishes CZI-sponsored content). Small world.

    Via Edsurge: “In Tynker’s Partnership With Mattel, Kids Can Undertake Maker Careers With Barbie.”

    Via Gizmodo: “Flying Saucer Toy Recalled For Teaching Kids That Nazis Achieved Space Travel.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Papa is ‘grandkids on-demand’ for seniors who need some extra help.” More “gig” work for college students.

    From the Google blog: “Optimizing Google Classroom for the way you work.” Churnalism. More churnalism.

    From the Apple website: “Apple’s free Schoolwork app now available for teachers.”

    Instagram may soon let college students list their schools,” says The Verge.

    Via Techcrunch: “Amazon adds a 10-inch tablet to its line of kids products.”

    There’s more “upgrade” news in the conference section above.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via Big Data Made Simple Dot Com: “9 ways to use Artificial Intelligence in education.”

    Via Fast Company: “The case against teaching kids to be polite to Alexa.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “IBM’s Watson Education, an artificial intelligence platform that uses data trends to provide insights to teachers and students, is partnering with Edmodo and Scholastic in an effort meant to personalize learning.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Hands on with the Echo Dots Kids Edition.”

    AI and Assessmentby Donald Clark.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Rachel Cohen looks at the New America Foundation and how “A scandal over the encroachment of big business triggered a debate over the identity of a prestigious Washington think tank.”

    “Here’s How Not to Improve Public Schools” – “Mathbabe” Cathy O’Neil on the Gates Foundation’s failed initiative, the Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching.

    The Daily Beast on the latest tax filing by the pro-Trump college campus group Turning Point: “The filing, which covers the period from July 2016 through June 2017, shows Trump’s ascendancy has been a bonanza for the group. Turning Point brought in more than $8.2 million, up from $4.3 million in the previous fiscal year. Its expenditures more than doubled, to more than $8.3 million.”

    Among the highlights of the 2017 Annual Report from Khan Academy: it’s received some $53 million in funding.

    Google announced“$2 million for CS& STEM education for aspiring women and student technologists.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Three groups of colleges – 10 total – have received funding from the ECMC Foundation to work together to increase student persistence and graduation rates among low-income, first-generation students and students of color.” That’s the foundation of the student loan collection company Educational Credit Management Corporation.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    JoyTunes has raised $10 million from Jeremy Stoppelman, Insight Venture Partners, and Genesis Partners. The music education company has raised $17 million total.

    Winnie has raised $4 million from Reach Capital. Other investors include Rethink Impact, Homebrew, Ludlow Ventures, Afore Capital, BBG Ventures, and Kairos. The parenting app has raised $6.5 million total.

    I won’t include this in my calculations of ed-tech funding, but I’ll note it here nonetheless: “VR blockchain startup founded by Second Life co-creator raises $35m.”

    Also not directly education related, but hey: “Jay-Z has a new venture fund and a Silicon Valley partner,” says Techcrunch.

    Boxlight has acquiredQwizdom for $2.5 million.

    Sphero has acquiredSpecdrums.

    Education Networks of America has acquiredCatchOn.

    SecureSet Academy has acquired the cybersecurity training company HackEd.

    Watermark, the company formed out of the merger of Taskstream, TK20 and LiveText, has acquiredDigital Measures.

    AdvancED and Measured Progress will merge.

    More on the sale of DeVry University in the for-profit college section above.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    ISTE calls this “personalized learning.” I call it surveillance pedagogy and an act of violence against women just waiting to happen:

    This is important work by Doug Levin: and “Hacking the ISTE18 Smart Badge” and “Hacking the ISTE18 Smart Badge, Part II.”

    Related, this on “smart” devices from The New York Times: “Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse.”

    Via Education Week: “Teacher’s Aide or Surveillance Nightmare? Alexa Hits the Classroom.”

    Via USA Today: “Alexa, when’s my next class? This university is giving out Amazon Echo Dots.” This university is Northeastern.

    Via Education Week: “State Treasurer Denise Nappier announced Wednesday that 21 Connecticut Higher Education Trust college savings accounts were recently breached, resulting in more than $1.4 million in unauthorized withdrawals.”

    “How Transparent Is School Data When Parents Can’t Find or Understand It?” asks Edsurge.

    School facial recognition system sparks privacy concerns,” says Naked Security.

    Via Techcrunch: “Yet another massive Facebook fail: Quiz app leaked data on ~120 million users for years.”

    Via The Verge: “Qualcomm’s first new smartwatch chip in two years is for kids’ watches.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new report from the Anti-Defamation League documents that there were 292 cases of white supremacist propaganda reported on campuses during the 2017–18 academic year, compared to 165 in 2016–17.”

    Edsurge on research from the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program: “Elite Colleges’ ‘Blind Spot’: Low-Income and High-Achieving Community College Students.”

    “Why Is There a ‘Gaming Disorder’ But No ‘Smartphone Disorder?’” asks The Atlantic’s Ian Bogost.

    “Most teachers say tech tools improve teaching and learning” says eSchool News– at least according to a survey of 1000 teachers.


    I didn’t note her passing last week, and I know some folks say it’s not nice to speak ill of the recently dead. But hey, The Chronicle of Higher Education went there (sorta): “Koko Is Dead, but the Myth of Her Linguistic Skills Lives On.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 07/06/18--03:30: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Trump Administration Will Rescind Obama-Era Guidelines on Race-Conscious Admissions.” “The Trump Administration Just Rescinded Obama-Era Guidance on Race-Conscious Admissions Policies. So What?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education in turn. More via NPR and via Pacific Standard.

    Via Chalkbeat: “DeVos presses pause on special education rule, highlighting ongoing discrimination debate.”

    From the Department of Education press office: “U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced that the Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE) will be the first to pilot new flexibility under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to create a student-centered funding system. The model is designed to equitably allocate local, state and federal resources based on student needs.”

    Teacher Kristin Mink took EPA head Scott Pruitt to task, confront him while he was eating lunch. A video went viral; Pruitt has since resigned.

    More on Ohio Representative Jim Jordan in the sports section below. And there’s more on accreditation in the accreditation section and in the for-profit higher ed sections below.

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via The Chicago Sun Times: “1 in 4 Chicago schools fails in new inspections spurred by dirty schools reports.”

    Via NPR: “New Virginia Law Mandates Mental Health Education In Public Schools.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via The New York Times: “In Denmark, Harsh New Laws for Immigrant ‘Ghettos’” – including “re-education trips.” JFC.

    The New York Times on kindergarten classes at one school in Toronto: “1 Neighborhood. 24 Kindergarten Classes. 40 Languages. (Some Miming Helps.)”

    Education in the Courts

    Via NPR: “‘Access to Literacy’ Is Not a Constitutional Right, Judge in Detroit Rules.”

    The Chronicle of Higher Education on McAdams v. Marquette University: “A Professor Called Out a Student by Name on His Blog. Should That Cost Him His Job?”

    Another court case in the financial aid section below.

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “California plans to sue one of the nation’s largest student loan companies.” That would be Navient.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Grand Canyon Succeeds in Second Nonprofit Bid,” reports Inside Higher Ed. “In Move Towards Nonprofit, Grand Canyon University Sells for $875M,” writes Edsurge.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Eighty-five colleges overseen by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools would likely have lost access to federal student aid – and most of their revenue – if Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had not opted to temporarily reinstate the accreditor earlier this year.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The nonprofit organization that took over scores of colleges from the Education Management Corp. chain of for-profit colleges has decided to end enrollments at 30 of those campuses, according to an email circulated Monday to employees of the Dream Center Education Holdings.”

    Via Edsurge: “Why Purdue Professors Continue to Protest Purdue’s Purchase of a For-Profit U.” That’s Kaplan, in case you can’t keep all these for-profit disasters straight.

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

    Via Chalkbeat: “Facing state scrutiny, Indiana charter school steps back from virtual plan.” That’s the Indiana Agriculture and Technology School, which Chalkbeat investigated earlier this year.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Deadly Shooting by Portland State U. Police Rekindles Protests Over Its Newly Armed Officers.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A Race Against Time to Preserve University Media Collections.”

    Via Wired: “New University Rules Encourage Scientists to Avoid Air Travel.”

    Yet another story promoting “student success technology” at Georgia State University. Helluva budget for marketing that initiative has.

    Via Pacific Standard: “How Universities Facilitate Far-Right Groups’ Harassment of Students and Faculty.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Essex County College, a two-year institution located in Newark, N.J., has exited probationary status with its accreditor, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General last week released the results of an audit on the department’s recognition processes for accrediting agencies, which serve as the gatekeepers for federal financial aid. The audit found several weaknesses, with concerns that revolved around inadequate supporting documents accreditors present to the department – a process the inspector general said is subject to ‘cherry-picking’ by the agencies.”

    Sound the disruptive innovation klaxon, as Michael Horn writes about “Stealing a Page From Disruption to Transform Accreditation.”

    There’s more accreditation news in the for-profit higher ed section above.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Republican U.S. Representative Jim Jordan has been drawn into Ohio State University’s investigation of a former team doctor who allegedly molested college athletes decades ago, with some ex-wrestlers accusing the congressman, a leader of archconservatives, of failing to stop the ongoing abuse.”

    Labor and Management

    What can you do with a history degree? Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t make bucket-loads of money. Look at former Harvard President Drew Faust, for example! “Days After Exiting Presidency, Faust Joins Goldman Sachs Board of Directors,” The Harvard Crimson reports.

    The Business of Job Training

    The Atlantic promotes coding bootcamps and income sharing agreements: “Code Now. Pay Tuition Later.”

    Via Education Week: “Texas educators training to shoot back at school shooters.”

    Contests and Awards

    Via Sports Illustrated: “Colin Kaepernick Honored With National Education Association’s President’s Award.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Can France Create Its Own MIT?asks Inside Higher Ed.

    (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

    Via Techcrunch: “Facebook is shutting down Hello, Moves and the anonymous teen app tbh due to ‘low usage’.”

    The Have You Heard podcast on Theranos: “What the Sordid Saga of a Silicon Valley Start-Up Tells Us About #EdReform.”

    Edsurge wants you to “Meet Two Leaders Trying to Reinvent College.” That would be the founders of Minerva and Wayfinding.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    I call bullshit on this story from NPR: “More States Opting To ‘Robo-Grade’ Student Essays By Computer.” John Warner didn’t just call bullshit. He wrote a very good response.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Pearson today signaled an increased focus on artificial intelligence and personalized learning with the appointment of former Intel executive Milena Marinova.”

    Though a goal of AI is automation, Marinova stressed that Pearson’s intent is not to replace instructors, but to help them. “AI-assisted decision making is better than human alone,” she said.

    Speaking of terrible ideas taken up by terrible people and terrible companies, Andrew Ng– yes, of MOOC fame – says that we should be less concerned with making self-driving cars safe and more committed to training bystanders (pedestrians? other drivers? cyclists?) to change their behavior to make way for autonomous vehicles. Good fucking grief. Well, at least the guy isn’t involved in education any longer… Oh.


    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Rick Hess on“How Education Philanthropy Can Accidentally Promote Groupthink and Bandwagonism.” I’m not sure it’s accidental at all, to be honest.

    “The Gates Foundation Spent $200M+ Trying to Improve Teacher Performance, and All It Got Was This Report,” says Edsurge. But that’s not true, of course. The Gates Foundation got a ton of press. “Groupthink” even. It shaped policy. It paid for publications to repeat certain narratives about teacher effectiveness and “value added” models.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    ApplyBoard has raised $13 million in Series A funding from Shahin Hedayat, Plug and Play, Green Century Investment, Artiman Ventures, Akhil Saklech, and 500 Startups. The “AI-enabled marketplace” for international college applications has raised $13.5 million total.

    Illuminate Education and Key Data Systems and IO Education and SchoolCity and Alpine Achievement are all merging.

    Chegg has acquired the flashcard app StudyBlue for $20.8 million in cash.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Tech’s ‘Dirty Secret’: The App Developers Sifting Through Your Gmail.”

    The imagery in The Wall Street Journal article on“The New Tech Avengers” speaks volumes.

    Via The Fresno Bee: “Schools collect a massive amount of student data. But advocates want to see more.”

    Via the Microsoft AI blog: “Microsoft improves facial recognition technology to perform well across all skin tones, genders.” Don’t. Please.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via The Conversation: “Schools are buying ‘growth mindset’ interventions despite scant evidence that they work well.” (Of course, there’s questionable science and corporate content and sponsored content all over the place that tries to convince schools that “social emotional learning” is necessary and good.

    This article on personalized learning has graphs so it must be true.

    Via The Hechinger Report: “More high school grads than ever are going to college, but 1 in 5 will quit.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Newly obtained records raise additional concerns about the research and oversight of Dr. Mani Pavuluri, a star pediatric psychiatrist at the University of Illinois at Chicago whose clinical trial studying the effects of the powerful drug lithium on children was shuttered for misconduct.”

    Via Gizmodo: “These Academics Spent the Last Year Testing Whether Your Phone Is Secretly Listening to You.”

    Forbes 30 under 30 in education: Manufacturing ‘edu-preneur’ networks to promote and reinforce privatization/marketization in education” by T. Jameson Brewer, Nicholas D. Hartlep, Ian M. Scott.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 07/13/18--02:10: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    President Trump has announced his pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy – more about that in the legal news section below.

    “Assertions that the U.S. Department of Education missed a deadline to delay state authorization rules are incorrect, a department spokeswoman said Thursday,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    There’s more Department of Education news – relating to student loans in particular – in “the business of financial aid” section below.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “China’s Ministry of Education recently approved the termination of more than 200 Sino-foreign cooperative education programs and jointly managed institutions in what the ministry framed as a move to improve quality and regulatory control.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Not sure why one would want to associate oneself with Elon Musk or his billionaire-bro fantasies of tech-enabled heroism, but hey. Perhaps we can learn a little about the folks who still do. Speaking of which, here’s the headline from the LA School Report: “How a Los Angeles school board member teamed up with SpaceX & Elon Musk to test a mini-sub for the Thailand soccer team’s rescue.” The LAUSD board member in question: Nick Melvoin. (Melvoin was recently elected to the board in the most expensive school board race in US history.)

    The school-to-prison pipeline looks like this – from “California County Law Enforcement Puts Kids On Probation for Bad Grades.”

    Via The Post and Courier: “Charleston-area police protest ‘The Hate U Give’ school assignment.” Ah yes. Letting the police decide what students should and should not read – totally a sign of a healthy democracy.

    Via The Hechinger Report: “In 6 states, school districts with the neediest students get less money than the wealthiest.” Spoiler alert: Alaska, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, and South Dakota.

    Via AZ Central: “Arizona charter school founder makes millions building his own schools.”

    “Do you think it’s appropriate to develop charter schools and make money? Absolutely,” [Glenn] Way said. “It’s no different than building a Walmart, CVS or Walgreens.”

    News from the new Tory government in Ontario: “Ford government cancels $100M school repair fund.”

    Still more news from the new Tory government in Ontario: “Ford government scraps controversial Ontario sex-ed curriculum.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via the AP: “Kids as young as 1 in US court, awaiting reunion with family.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “DACA teacher staves off his own fears while helping Chicago’s anxious undocumented students.”

    “The Trump Administration Deems Dozens of Migrant Children‘Ineligible’ for Reunification,” Pacific Standard reports.

    Education in the Courts

    D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh is Trump’s pick to replace Justice Kennedy. Politico has a breakdown of his education record.

    There is more legal news in the “for-profit higher ed” section below.

    Via Politico: “Tribunal de Primera Instancia Judge Iris Cancio González ruled that privately run charter schools and publicly funded vouchers used in private schools run afoul of the Puerto Rican constitution.”

    Via the Star Tribune: “St. Cloud State professor alleges forced union representation violates her rights.”

    Via The Salt Lake Tribune: “She was raped at a Utah State University fraternity. Now the school will pay her $250K and she’ll help improve its response to campus sexual assault.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A Virginia circuit court on Thursday ruled against a George Mason University student group seeking access to donor agreements between a university foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation.” The judge ruled that the university foundation is not a public body and therefore not governed by public records laws.

    Via The Atlantic: “Students in Detroit Are Suing the State Because They Weren’t Taught to Read.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Divided Wisconsin Supreme Court Backs Marquette Faculty Blogger.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via NPR: “This Game Show Gives Contestants A Chance To Have Their Student Debt Paid Off.” It says all you need to know about the US that folks go on game shows to pay off student loan and medical debt.

    Via Politico: “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said on Wednesday that the Education Department is stonewalling its attempts to gather information about Navient as part of the CFPB’s lawsuit against the student loan giant.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “An Education Department plan to begin cutting large debt collection firms out of the student loan system is on hold after Congress warned against move.”

    Via The New York Times: “The New Toll of American Student Debt in 3 Charts.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Edsurge and Getting Smart promote venture capitalist Ryan Craig’s new book A New U and the idea that “faster + cheaper alternatives will replace most of higher ed.” “Lower ed,” I believe Tressie McMillan Cottom calls this. Here’s a list of the investments that Craig’s VC firm have made in this narrative.

    The Strayer and Capella merger has been approved by its accreditor.

    Via The Washington Post: “Former executives of defunct for-profit college firm ITT settle fraud charges with SEC.”

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

    “The fallout from the mid-year closure of Ohio’s largest full-time online charter school continues,” writes Education Week, “with other e-schools struggling to navigate a massive influx of displaced students, thousands of students unaccounted for, and fights over money and liability dragging into the summer.” The virtual charter school in question: ECOT.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Federal Bureau of Investigation this week released details of a fraud scheme that bilked more than $24 million in Post–9/11 GI Bill funds, affecting more than 2,500 student veterans.” The scheme involved Ed4Mil, “an online correspondence course provider,” and a former dean of Caldwell University.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via ProPublica: “How the Fight Against Affirmative Action at Harvard Could Threaten Rich Whites.”

    Related: “How Much Does Being a Legacy Help Your College Admissions Odds?” asks The Wall Street Journal.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Dartmouth’s competitive business school announces new criteria for admission.” Apparently the criteria is “niceness,” which I’m guessing is actually code for “whiteness” and/or political centrism.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “For Georgetown Alumni, a Fellow Graduate’s Defense of Child Separation Touches a Nerve.” That graduate would be Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Temple University revealed Monday that its business school lied for years on a range of statistics about its online M.B.A. program. The university gave false information to U.S. News & World Report about standardized testing, student debt, grade point averages of admitted students, student-faculty ratios and more. The dean of the Fox School of Business was ousted amid reports that he encouraged a culture that focused on rankings.” (I’ve got this story in this section because the IHE headline reads “Accreditors Eye Temple.”)

    There’s more accreditation news in the “for-profit higher ed” section above.

    Labor and Management

    Via ProPublica: “A Day After Report, Violent White Supremacist Loses Job With Defense Contractor.” So very reassuring that you can fail a background check for a government job in the US if you’re a communist but not if you’re a Nazi.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    “School shooters leave clues. Could AI spot the next one before it’s too late?asks WBRC.

    Can We Design Online Learning Platforms That Feel More Intimate Than Massive?asks Edsurge.

    (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

    Via Wired: “How Silicon Valley Fuels an Informal Caste System.”

    Khan Academy introduces something big for little learners,” says the Khan Academy blog. “Lifelong learning” and multiple choice quizzes for two to five year olds. Sounds like fun.

    E-Literate claimed this week thatCanvas Surpasses Blackboard Learn in US Market Share” – with some additional analysis about “What’s Important about the Blackboard Market Share News.” Markets responded. But wait wait wait. Wait wait wait wait wait wait. All this over a difference of two? Canvas has two more installations than Blackboard in the E-Literate calculations? Doesn’t that seem small? Doesn’t that number seem so small that it might actually be an error in reporting or sampling? Indeed, Edutechnica, which also tracks LMS data, responds with their own numbers and says that Blackboard still has about two hundred more installations than Canvas and about a million more students using the software. Shrug.

    Microsoft Hopes to Revive Its Education Tablet Efforts With the New $399 Surface Go,” says Edsurge.

    Via The Atlantic: “The Rise and Fall of the Family-Vacation Road Trip.”

    Via Edsurge: “Britannica CEO Talks Google, Wikipedia and What Lil Pump Can Teach Us About Credibility.” From the press release (which explains why there’d be an article on the company this week): “YouTube joins forces with Britannica to provide easier access to credible and authoritative information.”

    “‘Find Your Passion’ Is Awful Advice,” says The Atlantic. Content warning: contains hype about “mindsets.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    I’m not tracking on these sorts of predictions right now – because of the book-writing – but let’s all circle back around in 2024 to see how this panned out. Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “K–12 Artificial Intelligence Market Set to Explode in U.S. and Worldwide by 2024.”

    High-Skilled White-Collar Work? Machines Can Do That, Too,” says The New York Times.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Edsurge reports thatJim Shelton to Leave Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.” (This is a good example of how ed-tech advocacy-posing-as-journalism operates – you get funded by an organization and then you get to “break the news” about that organization. Then you reprint a blog post from the organization so you get all the clicks.) More on the departure of Shelton from his role leading the venture firm’s education efforts in Education Week.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Pi-top, the maker of a Raspberry Pi-compatible laptop, has raised $16 million from Hambro Perks and Committed Capital. The company has raised $20.4 million total.

    Swing Education has raised $15 million from GV (Google Ventures), Kapor Capital, Ulu Ventures, Moment Ventures, Edovate Capital, Red House Education, Owl Ventures, and Social Capital. The vendor, which wants schools to outsource the process of hiring substitute teachers, has raised $22.8 million total.

    Goodwall has raised $10.8 million from investiere, Zürcher Kantonal Bank, Randstad Innovation Fund, and Verve Capital. The company, which claims it’s like “LinkedIn for students,” has raised $14.1 million.

    Cell-Ed has raised $1.5 million from Lumina Impact Ventures. Strada Education Innovation Fund, Partners Group Impact and Impact Fund. The company provides “interactive lessons and content on a mobile platform to low-skilled workers.”

    “Social emotional learning” content provider Move This World has raised $1 million from AT&T, The Global Good Fund, Prairie Capital, and New Media Investment Group.

    National University has acquiredUniversityNow– or some of its technology platform and curriculum, at least. The company had raised some $40.5 million in venture funding (including from the “cheaper and faster” folks at University Ventures). UniversityNow had previously sold off some of its technology to Penn Foster a couple of years ago. It will now join that other University Ventures “cheaper and faster” investment MissionU in the ed-tech dead-pool. Good work, everyone.

    Follett has acquired“adaptive” content company Fishtree.

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Short-Selling Investment Group Issues Warning About China’s TAL Education.” (Here’s a look at who TAL Education has invested in in turn.)

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    “Education Websites Face Pending ‘Mark of Shame’” writes Doug Levin, listing many high-profile “future of education” websites that do not support HTTPS.

    Edsurge reports on“Secret ‘Fusion Centers’ and the Search for the Next School Shooter,” asking “Do Fusion Centers Violate Students’ Legal Right to Privacy?”

    “Do Voice Assistant Devices Have a Place in the Classroom?” asks Edsurge. I mean, I’d go with the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines here, but Edsurge delivers its readers another strong dose of “gotta hear all sides.”

    Not directly ed-tech related, except for the part where many ed-tech evangelists really really really seem to want to put listening devices in classrooms. Via Buzzfeed: “Walmart’s Newly Patented Technology For Eavesdropping On Workers Presents Privacy Concerns.”

    Via The New York Times: “Facebook’s Push for Facial Recognition Prompts Privacy Alarms.” (See, I find it so telling that folks can write about CZI– see a couple of the stories above in the “venture philanthropy” section and gush about its plans for “personalized learning” and not ever really talk about what a shit-show for democracy Facebook is.)

    “All EFF’d Up” – Yasha Levine on“Silicon Valley’s astroturf privacy shakedown.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via Edsurge: “New Survey: Students See Anxiety and Time Management Among Top Challenges to Finishing Degrees.” The survey was conducted by learning analytics company Civitas Learning.

    Via Edsurge: “YouTube Searches Favor Videos That Attack Public Education, Scholar Finds.”

    Related perhaps – although ed-tech cheerleaders rarely seem to want to talk about any sort of bias in Google, do they – via Education Next: “According to American Teacher Panel Data, More than 90 Percent of Teachers Reported Using Google to Find Lessons.”

    The Pew Research Center onActivism in the Social Media Age.”

    Related to a recent story in The Hechinger Report about charter schools with policies that favor enrolling white students, you can now“Search the data on white charters.”

    “How do children of color learn to draw themselves?” asks The Outline with a look at how white teachers damage kids’ self-esteem.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 07/20/18--04:40: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    From the US Department of Education’s Press Office: “U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today congratulated both Scott Stump and James Blew on being confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education and Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, respectively.”

    There’s more news from the White House in the job training section below. And the immigration section below is full of monstrosity from this administration.

    “The FCC Is Threatening to Gut a Program That Provides Internet Access to Minorities,” Pacific Standard reports.

    Via Wired: “Juul’s Lobbying Could Send Its Public Image Up in Smoke.” At least the e-cigarette company (which targets teens) offers a social-emotional learning curriculum, right? I mean, clearly that’s what all the responsible corporations do.

    Via The Washington Post: “‘They are shooting at a church’: Inside the 15-hour siege by Nicaraguan paramilitaries on university students.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via The Boston Globe: “Four decades after court-ordered busing, Boston’s education gap remains.”

    Via the AP: “District of Columbia Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has issued her first-ever veto, rejecting legislation that would allow high school seniors absent for more than six weeks of class to graduate.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Denver superintendent Tom Boasberg is stepping down after nearly 10 years.”

    Via Poynter: “As local newsrooms shrink, college journalists fill in the gaps.”

    Education in the Courts (Education and the Cops)

    Via the AP: “Black students wrongly accused of leaving without paying.” Leaving an IHOP, that is. Incoming freshmen at Washington University, that is.

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Curriculum Provider Loses Court Fight With FedEx Over Copying ‘Open’ Materials.” (Not sure why the quotation marks around “open” here.)

    Via The New York Times: “E.U. Fines Google $5.1 Billion in Android Antitrust Case.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via Buzzfeed: “‘I Feel Like I Am Trash’: Immigrant Children Describe Squalid Conditions In Detention Centers Along The US Border.”

    Via ProPublica: “Immigrant Shelters Drug Traumatized Teenagers Without Consent.”

    Via Wired: “Nonprofit for Migrants Declines a Donation from Salesforce.” That would be Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), which refused the money after Salesforce declined to stop working with the CPB. It would be great to see education technology organizations also turn away this money, knowing that – if nothing else – children and families are harmed by anti-immigration policies and practices. (Those who’ve taken money from Salesforce this year include Edsurge and

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A Russian national who was charged Monday with conspiracy to act as an agent of Russia without registering as a foreign agent entered the U.S. in 2016 on a student visa.”

    “Free College”

    “Why Are Free College Programs So Successful?” asks Pacific Standard.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The nonprofit National University System announced today that it plans to acquire the for-profit Northcentral University, which specializes in online education in graduate and doctoral-level programs.” (Related: George Veletsianos makes a keen observation about an acquisition National University announced last week – one that relates to the new buzzword “precision education.”)

    Via AZ Central: “Grand Canyon University non-profit status will cost K–12 schools, Phoenix millions in tax revenue.”

    “For-Profit Bridgepoint Says Its Colleges Will Become Non-Profit (But It Won’t),” says David Halperin.

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

    “The cost of maintaining an online course for several years can eventually outstrip the launch cost – but the investment might just pay off,” says Inside Higher Ed.

    Via The New York Post: “Education department investigating high school’s online courses.” That’s Westchester Square Academy in the Bronx.

    There’s more MOOC news in the credential section below.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of California is on the brink of eliminating an 11-year-old $60 tuition surcharge in what would be the system’s first year-over-year decrease in almost 20 years.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of Illinois at Chicago is poised to acquire the nearby John Marshall Law School after the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved a plan Thursday that puts the transaction on track to close by next fall.”

    As part of his new show, Sacha Baron Cohen posed as a Reed College professor to dupe conservatives. Because of course.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Class Central: “Analysis of 450 MOOC-Based Microcredentials Reveals Many Options But Little Consistency.”


    The New York Times onNYC’s Specialized High Schools Admissions Test: “Does Admissions Exam for Elite High Schools Measure Up? No One Knows.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “College Board backtracks on plan to begin the AP World History exam in the year 1450, saying it will now begin in 1200.”

    “After a wild testing year, Tennessee student scores mostly dip – but there are a few bright spots,” says Chalkbeat.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Louisville Will Change Stadium Name After Papa John’s Founder Used a Racial Slur.” Racist. It was racist.

    Via The Atlantic: “The Downsides of America’s Hyper-Competitive Youth-Soccer Industry.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s football coach, Larry Fedora, on Wednesday said the sport is ‘under attack’ from safety advocates, with long-term stakes moving far beyond the playing field.”

    “I fear the game will be pushed so far from what we know that we won’t recognize it in 10 years. And if it does, our country will go down, too.”

    Labor and Management

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The President Who Helped Plot to Divide His Campuses Will Step Down.” That would be Randy J. Dunn, president of Southern Illinois University.

    More hiring and retiring news in the national and state/local politics sections above.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers calls for an emphasis on the ‘reskilling’ of adults in their prime working years, such as through apprenticeships or by opening up federal Pell Grants to shorter-term education programs.”

    I’m including this news here because 1) WeWork is making a number of education plays (acquiring bootcamps, launching a private K–12 school, for example) and 2) WeWork’s founder is Gwenyth Paltrow’s cousin (small world!), which makes these sorts of policy moves chuckle-worthy (to me, at least). Anyway, Techcrunch reports that “WeWork takes meat off the menu as part of environmental policy drive.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Schools Can Now Get Facial Recognition Tech for Free. Should They?asks Wired.

    Is Blackboard dying?asks Tony Bates.

    Colleges Can’t – or Won’t – Track Where Ph.D.s Land Jobs. Should Disciplinary Associations?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Does Online Education Help Low-income Students Succeed?asks Edsurge.

    Schools and Colleges Try Virtual Reality Science Labs. But Can VR Replace a Cadaver?asks Edsurge.

    Can AR/VR Improve Learning?asks Edsurge.

    (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

    The big ed-tech downgrade news this week makes an appearance in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section. That is, the announcement from RealNetworks that they’re offering facial recognition software to schools for free. I’ve put most of the links in the surveillance section, because obviously that’s where it fits best.

    Despite Magic Leap being vaporware (backed by some $2.3 billioin in venture capital), Edsurge is certain it’s going to “transform learning.” Because of course! Here’s the prediction: “Mixed Reality Will Transform Learning (and Magic Leap Joins Act One).” And do note all the hype out of Edsurge this week about VR. It’s almost as if someone is paying for the marketing. (Narrator voice: someone is.)

    Bless this headline (from The 74) ’s heart: “Educators & Experts Say Personalized Learning Is Not About Technology or Money but Leadership and Relationships.”

    Just grand that Facebook is running a bunch of media literacy and digital training courses for community colleges. I mean, clearly the company has a strong grasp on the politics of information. Not. From The Verge: “Mark Zuckerberg says Holocaust deniers are making an honest mistake.” From The Atlantic: “Mark Zuckerberg Is Doubly Wrong About Holocaust Denial.” More about this in my newsletter tomorrow…

    Via Techcrunch: “Messenger Kids launches in Mexico.”

    Compare/contrast that headline with this one, also in Techcrunch: “Facebook and Instragram change to crack down on underage children.”

    The Google blog post announcingCourse Kit,” a tool that will integrate Google Drive with the LMS. And the subsequent churnalism.

    Roblox responds to the hack that allowed a child’s avatar to be raped in its game,” Techcrunch reports. JFC.

    Unizin is partnering with TurnItIn. “Unizin Adds Student Writing Data to its Data Platform for a Clearer Portrait of Learner Success,” says the Campus Technology headline. (Unizin, for those who keep forgetting, is a consortium of schools who are using the Instructure learning management system to build out some sort of "learning ecosystem" or something like that.)

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via The New York Post: “Doctors slam sex robot ‘family mode’.”

    “Where Are The Robot Teachers?” asks Peter Greene.

    Robots in the classroom? Preparing for the automation of teaching” by Neil Selwyn.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Sponsored content on Edsurge this week, paid for by the Gates Foundation, includes this.

    Abl School has received a $3.2 million grant (?) from the Gates Foundation to a new scheduling program, says fellow Gates Foundation grant recipient Edsurge.

    Speaking of Gates, the AP writes about “The Billionaires Pushing Charter School Expansion in States.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Dismissed by KIPP over sexual harassment allegations, co-founder Mike Feinberg starts new organization.” The new organization is called the Texas School Venture Fund, and it will help fund charter schools.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Chinese tutoring company Zuoyebang has raised $350 million from New Enterprise Associates, Goldman Sachs, GGV Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Coatue Management, Tiantu Capital, Primavera Capital Group, and Taihe Capital. It’s raised a total of $585 million.

    Galvanize has raised $25 million from ABS Capital Partners, University Ventures, New Markets Venture Partners, Catalyst Investors, and The Colorado Impact Fund. The coding bootcamp (a.k.a. job training company) has raised $117.2 million total. The company also announced that it has acquired the coding bootcamp (a.k.a. job training company) Hack Reactor.

    Unacademy has raised $21 million from Sequoia Capital, SAIF Partners, Blume Ventures, and Nexus Ventures. The Indian online education company has raised $38.5 million total.

    Kenzie Academy has raised $4.2 million from Rethink Education, Learn Capital, Kelly Services, Gratitude Railroad, and Butler University. The coding bootcamp (a.k.a. job training company) has raised $5.8 million total.

    Alma Campus, a social network for college students, has raised $1 million from Norwest Venture Partners, Felicis Ventures, and Marissa Mayer.

    Volley has raised an undisclosed amount of money from JPMorgan Chase. Up til now, the “AI” textbook company has raised $7.3 million.

    Showbie has acquiredSocrative from MasteryConnect. (MasteryConnect acquired Socrative in 2014.)

    Golden Gate Capital has acquiredThe Learning Experience.

    GEMS Education may not go public after all, says Reuters.

    Research data from Edsurge on VC investment in the US is in the “research” section below.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via Education Week: “Facial-Recognition Systems Pitched as School-Safety Solutions, Raising Alarms.” More on this terrible idea from RealNetworksvia CNET and from Wired.

    The reports are starting to come back from those surveilled by ISTE at its conference last month. “My Flawed ISTE 2018 Journey Report,” writes Tim Stahmer. That people were asked to surrender their privacy and security for incorrect data claiming to offer "personalized learning" is just perfect. Really.

    The Wall Street Journal profiles EAB, examining how college surveil and market to prospective students.

    Via The Register: “Capita strikes again: Bug in UK-wide school info management system risks huge data breach.” Capita, to be clear, is the name of the student information system used by some 21,000 schools in the UK.

    Another invocation of Google Maps as a metaphor for student learning data in Edsurge. One note: Google Maps is not an “an open ecosystem for accurate, real-time geospatial and navigation data.” It’s a proprietary ecosystem, one that’s subsidized by advertising dollars, one that charges businesses to use its APIs, one that sucks data from municipalities but does not feel it has a civic responsibility to give data back to the public in return, and one that is increasingly shaping how we understand geographic space. The Google Empire. But sure sure, great metaphor for the future of education, guys.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via Education Week: “There’s No Single Profile of a Violent Student, Secret Service Says in New Report.” But fuck it. Let’s profile the hell out of students anyway, right?

    “Researchers find that filters don’t prevent porn,” says Techcrunch.

    “Many caregivers and policy makers consider Internet filters a useful technology for keeping young people safe online. Although this position might make intuitive sense, there is little empirical evidence that Internet filters provide an effective means to limit children’s and adolescents’ exposure to online sexual material.”

    “Why are the financial rewards from higher education falling?” asks Bryan Alexander. It’s almost as though we cannot talk about wealth and income and higher ed without looking more broadly at trends and institutions outside of higher ed.

    Via Edsurge: “2018 Halftime Ka’Ching Report: U.S. Edtech Raises $739M in Venture Funding.”

    Mindset Marketing, Behaviorism, and Deficit Ideology” by Ryan Boren.

    Research from Luci Pangrazio and Neil Selwyn: “‘It’s Not Like It’s Life or Death or Whatever’: Young People’s Understandings of Social Media Data.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Do suspensions lead to higher dropout rates and other academic problems? In New York City, the answer could be yes.”

    Via Education Week: “One-Third of Parents Fear for Their Child’s Safety at School.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Council for Advancement and Support of Education has acquired the Voluntary Support of Education survey from the Council for Aid to Education and is using the annual survey to help build a clearinghouse for global advancement data.”

    Via The New York Times: “Women Making Science Videos on YouTube Face Hostile Comments.”

    “Who Lives in Education Deserts?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education. “More People Than You Think.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 07/27/18--04:00: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The Hill: “Betsy DeVos’s $40 million yacht set adrift by vandals.” Don’t worry. Her nine other yachts were unharmed.

    More on the Trump Administration’s plans to eliminate the “gainful employment” rules for for-profit higher ed in the for-profit higher ed section below.

    More on the Trump Administration’s plans to make it harder for students defrauded by for-profit colleges to get their loans forgiven in the financial aid section below.

    Conservative High Schoolers Want to ‘Own the Libs’,” The Atlantic’s Adam Harris reports from the Turning Point USA’s conference. Among the speakers: Betsy DeVos and Peter Thiel.

    Via Wired: “Congress Has a $65 Million Proposal to Study Tech’s Effect on Kids.”

    Via The Guardian: “The great academy schools scandal.” (Academy schools in England are somewhat similar to charter schools in the US – publicly funded by not locally controlled.)

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    More about Florida’s plans to prevent school shootings – which, surprise surprise have nothing to do with gun control – down in the surveillance section below.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Just like their parents, Chicago students will soon have to learn cursive.”

    Via The Oregonian: “With toxic lead out, Portland Public Schools plans to turn on drinking fountains.”

    News out of LAUSD is in the courts section below.

    There’s a profile of NYC schools head Richard Carranza down in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section below.

    Immigration and Education

    Via ProPublica: “Why Russian Spies Really Like American Universities.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via The LA Times: “L.A. school board’s Ref Rodriguez pleads guilty to conspiracy and resigns.”

    Via The New York Post: “The founder and president of a for-profit Brooklyn college tasked his employees with steering attractive young women to his office – ‘so he could proposition them for sex,’ according to a new sexual harassment lawsuit.” The school in question: ASA College.

    Via them: “Trans Students in Bathrooms Don’t Violate Anyone’s Privacy, A Federal Court Says.” More via the AP.

    Via “Former PA Cyber CEO Nick Trombetta gets 20 months in prison for tax fraud.” That is the former CEO of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.

    Via The New York Times: “Brock Turner Wanted Only ‘Outercourse,’ Lawyer Argues in Appeal.” My god, that guy.

    Via Wired: “Users Sue Juul for Addicting Them to Nicotine.” (Juul is an e-cigarette that markets its product to teens and peddles social emotional learning content.)

    An update on Mark Janus of Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 fame in the “labor and management” section below.

    “Free College”

    Via MarketWatch: “20,000 preschool teachers just got offered a free education.” That is, the daycare company Bright Horizons will pay for its employees to get their degrees at four institutions – three of which are for-profits (including Ashford University and Walden University, which have been targets of lawsuits claiming they misled students).

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday unveiled a proposed overhaul of a federal rule on student loan forgiveness, with a plan to possibly make the process more restrictive for defrauded borrowers.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via The New York Times: “DeVos to Eliminate Rules Aimed at Abuses by For-Profit Colleges.”

    More on the Trump Administration’s plans to make it harder for students defrauded by for-profit colleges to get their loans forgiven in the financial aid section above.

    There’s more for-profit related news in the “free college” section above and in the “courts” section above.

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

    Via Edsurge: “Coursera’s First Ivy League Degree: An Online Master’s From the University of Pennsylvania.” (Not mentioned: Penn was one of the very first investors in Coursera.)

    There’s more MOOC news from Edsurge in the “job training” section below.

    Via The Economist: “Universities withstood MOOCs but risk being outwitted by OPMs.”

    Via “National e-school figure to test new approach to online learning here in Ohio.” That figure is K12 Inc founder Ron Packard.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via The Guardian: “The free speech panic: how the right concocted a crisis.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What Is Academic Freedom? Statement That Alarmed Professors at U. of Texas Sets Off Debate.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “There’s a New Scholarly Take on Mizzou’s Race Crisis, and Its Former Leaders Don’t Fare Well.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Columbia U Opens Research Center Devoted to Blockchain Tech.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Paul Quinn, Lauded for Its Work-College Model, Will Open a Second Campus.”

    Coleman University will close, IHE reports.


    Two testing-related stories appear in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section below.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “More Than 100 Ohio State Alumni Allege Abuse by Former University Sports Doctor.”

    Labor and Management

    An update, via The Chicago Sun-Times, on Mark Janus, who just won his anti-union court case before the Supreme Court: “Mark Janus quits state job for conservative think tank gig after landmark ruling.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “New documents show what KIPP told Mike Feinberg leading up to his firing.”

    Via Bloomberg: “Inside Google’s Shadow Workforce.” Just make a note of this for the next time you hear someone tout how great the hiring process and work environment are at Google.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Edsurge: “How Udacity Decides What Subjects To Offer Courses In (And Why It Isn’t Doing New University Partnerships).”

    The New York Times Magazine has an incredible profile of Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Goop” empire. Why is this in the job training section of the Hack Education Weekly News, you ask? Because her cousin is the founder of WeWork, and I’m keeping track of how all this “wellness” and mindset snake oil is shaping the future of education and work, kids.

    Contests and Awards

    Village Capital’s ongoing social entrepreneurship programs is like a friendlier – and perhaps more impactful – version of Survivor,” says Edsurge. So, it’s like some sort of imperialist fantasy that provides a feeding ground for a culture of “fake news”? Sounds amazing.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Can We Make Non-Racist Face Recognition?asks Gizmodo.

    Can Richard Carranza Integrate the Most Segregated School System in the Country?asks The Atlantic.

    Can a $49 English Test Pass Muster?asks Inside Higher Ed.

    Can We Save AP World History?asks Pacific Standard.

    Are Universities Training Socially Minded Programmers?asks The Atlantic.

    Was It Ethical for Dropbox to Share Customer Data with Scientists?asks Wired.

    (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

    “An open letter to Mark Zuckerberg: our child died at** Sandy Hook** – why let Facebook lies hurt us even more?” – this, in The Guardian– was written by the parents of Noah Pozner.

    Via The Atlantic: “Teens Are Debating the News on Instagram.”

    IBM Watson Reportedly Recommended Cancer Treatments That Were ‘Unsafe and Incorrect’,” says Gizmodo. Good thing IBM Watson isn’t making any claims about “personalized learning” or partnering with beloved shows like Sesame Street. Oh. Wait. Shiiiiit.

    Via the CBC: “Sesame Street to enter U.S. classrooms in new deal with McGraw-Hill Education.” More via the AP.

    “The RISE Package for R: Reducing Time Through the OER Continuous Improvement Cycle” by Lumen Learning’s David Wiley.

    Blackboard’s Debt Grows While Canvas Gains Contracts,” says ELearning Inside News.

    Via Edscoop: “YouTube’s latest initiative aims to foster educational content.”

    Via Techcrunch: “SuperAwesome now offers kids brands an alternative to YouTube.” Or, SuperAwesome has launched an app that features kid-friendly video content with a ton of advertising.

    Via the Google blog: “What’s happening next for G Suite Enterprise for Education.” Among the updates: “Now, institutions with data location requirements can choose where to store primary data for select G Suite apps.” It’s not clear what counts as “primary data” from the marketing copy.

    Via The Verge: “Kano tries to make learning code magical with its new Harry Potter Coding kit.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Forbes has pulled an essay by a professor that advocated that Amazon stores replace public libraries and thus save the taxpayers money. Librarians and library supporters responded by saying that the article was ill informed and didn’t reflect the many roles libraries play.” I can’t believe we have to repeatedly engage with these unworthy ideas. It’s one of the terrible things about the Internet, quite frankly. It’s a dumb idea. Don’t link to it. Ignore it. Talking about it expands that overton window, if nothing else. And it feeds the clickbait machine at Forbes.

    Via Motherboard: “This VR Founder Wants to Gamify Empathy to Reduce Racial Bias.” You cannot hear me screaming as I type this bullshit up. But know that I am screaming.

    From the Oculus Rift marketplace: “Teacher’s Lens Beta is an Oculus Launch Pad winning project that strives to mitigate unconscious bias in classroom education.” S.c.r.e.a.m.i.n.g.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via Quartz: “How AI could transform the way we measure kids’ intelligence.”

    IHE blogger Joshua Kim predicts there is “1 technology, 2 futures” as he writes aboutRobot Burger Makers and Adaptive Learning Platforms.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Charles Koch Foundation to Publish Future University Grant Agreements.”

    Edsurge says it’s received $1.45 million in grant funding from the Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to write about personalized learning and other specific topics but also claims it has “sole editorial control over all the content” which seems pretty contradictory to me.

    Among the sponsored content on Edsurge this week paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is this on data science and gym class and this on the “science of learning.”

    (Related, from CJR: "We need a new model for tech journalism.)

    Via Education Week: “Gates Foundation Gives $2.2M to For-Profit Company Tackling School Schedules.” The company: Abl Schools.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Guild Education has raised $40 million from Bessemer Venture Partners, Redpoint, Silicon Valley Bank, Felicis Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Harrison Metal, Cowboy Ventures, Rethink Education, and Workday Ventures. The company, which helps other companies offer employee education benefits, has raised $71.5 million total.

    Skillshare has raised $28 million from Union Square Ventures, Burda Principal Investments, Amasia, and Spero Ventures. The online education company has raised $50.8 million.

    RaiseMe has raised $15 million from Teamworthy Ventures, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Salesforce Ventures, and Strada Education Network. The financial aid company has raised $31.5 million total.

    Preply has raised $4 million from Point Nine Capital, RTAventures VC, Diligent Capital Partners, SMRK, Mariusz Gralewski, Arthur Kosten, and Przemyslaw Gacek. The tutoring company has raised $5.6 million total.

    ACT has acquired the National Research Center for College and University Admissions.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via Education Week: “To Stop School Shootings, Fla. Will Merge Government Data, Social Media Posts.”

    Via The Outline: “Tracking devices are required in this French high school.” The BBC writes that “French school in row over tracking pupils electronically.” The tracking device comes from a French startup called NewSchool.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Temple U. Says Several Programs Submitted False Data to ‘U.S. News’.”

    “Who Gets Access to Data About D.C.’s Public Schools?” asks Rachel Cohen in the Washington City Paper.

    Wired on the surveillance product that just won’t die: “Google Glass Is Back – Now with Artificial Intelligence.”

    Via Ars Technica: “Amazon’s Rekognition messes up, matches 28 lawmakers to mugshots.” More on the facial recognition fail via The New York Times.

    “Internal Review Finds Portland State University Researchers Broke Federal Law,” Willamette Week reports. “The university now concedes the project did not have proper authorization to use the data from public school classrooms.”

    Venmo Is the Best Place to Stalk Your Children” is a completely fucked up headline – thanks Bloomberg.

    Also stalking you and your children, retail stores. That’s according to Chain Store Age which claims that “Location data could improve back-to-school campaigns.”

    Via Medianama: “Personal and academic data of millions of Indian students is up for sale online.”

    What Happens in the Classroom No Longer Stays in the Classroom. What Does That Mean for Teaching?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    “Your Tweets Are Somehow Worthy Of Scientific Study,” FiveThirtyEight marvels. (See also: the story in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section above about a study based on Dropbox usage.)

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “New study shows that splitting attention between lecture and cellphone or laptop use hinders long-term retention, and those in class suffer from others’ use of devices.” Prepare for many “takes” on why this study is right and/or wrong and justifies the authors’ tech policies in their classrooms.

    Via Motherboard: “Two Researchers Challenged a Scientific Study About Violent Video Games– and Took a Hit for Being Right.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new study by Morning Consult for Cengage, an educational technology and services company, asked 1,651 current and former college students how purchasing textbooks figures into their financial picture. Forty-one percent of those students said that textbooks and other course materials had ‘somewhat of an impact’ on their financial situation, and 46 percent said that it had ‘a big impact.’”

    According to the World Bank (as written up by EdWeek’s Market Brief), “The Cost of Not Educating Girls: $30 Trillion.”

    Via Education Week: “Pearson Studies Seek to Shine Light on Cyber Charter Student Mobility.”

    Private Schools Are Becoming More Elite,” says The Atlantic, with a look at the decline in enrollment in Catholic schools.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Private college closures have risen to a rate of about 11 per year, and the rate at which campuses are shut down is expected to increase in the future, according to a new report published by Moody’s Investors Service Tuesday.”

    Ed Yong on“An Enormous Study of the Genes Related to Staying in School.” (I could link to lots more coverage of this, most of it pretty bad. When in doubt about a major scientific study, read Ed.)

    Genetics, big data science, and postgenomic education researchby Ben Williamson. “Why We Shouldn’t Embrace the Genetics of Educationby John Warner. And the obligatory NYT op-ed: “Why Progressives Should Embrace the Genetics of Education.” Of course, let’s remember that education progressives have long been supporters of eugenics.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 08/04/18--08:50: Hack Education Weekly News
  • My apologies that this is a day late. Yesterday was the first day in over a year that I didn’t make a commit to GitHub (which I use to manage all my websites). I wish I could say I was on vacation; rather, I’m moving. Or rather, yesterday I moved. And thanks to the shining brilliance of American digital infrastructure there is no Internet yet in my new place.

    Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    I thought for a brief moment this morning “what if I never do another ‘Friday news roundup’ ever again?” – that day is coming soon enough, my friends.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The Verge: “France bans smartphone use in schools.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “President Trump on Tuesday signed into law an update to the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which will give states more authority to determine their own goals for the $1.2 billion federal grant program.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Trump to Nominate U. of Oklahoma Weather Expert to Top Science and Tech Post.” That’s Kelvin Droegemeier.

    There’s more for-profit higher ed news – and how the Trump Administration has deep, deep ties to this industry – in the for-profit higher ed section below.

    DeVos Seeks To Rewrite The Rules On Higher Ed,” says NPR.

    There’s more DeVos news in the “philanthropy” section below.

    Via NPR: “Department Of Education Plans To Change Rules For Regulating Colleges.” – “This includes how long-distance learning programs are defined.”

    There’s more accreditation news out of the Department of Education in the accreditation section below.

    “To Focus On Students’ Emotional Well-Being, India Tries ‘Happiness Classes’,” says NPR.

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via the New Haven Independent: “The school board [in New Haven, Connecticut] will allow Yale University continue with a study on students struggling to read, but tighter rules will be in place for any future research.” The study includes DNA testing.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Tennessee approves first-ever computer science standards for K–8 schools.”

    Via The Oregonian: “Oregon allows educators to be punished in secret.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Can in-house child care keep young teachers in the classroom? These districts want to find out.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via ProPublica: “Immigrant Youth Shelters: ‘If You’re a Predator, It’s a Gold Mine’.”

    Via The Nation: “A 6-Year-Old Girl Was Sexually Abused in an Immigrant-Detention Center.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via The New York Times: “Alex Jones, Pursued Over Infowars Falsehoods, Faces a Legal Crossroads.” This asshole is trying to get the parents whose children died at Sandy Hook Elementary to pay for his court costs. (They’re suing him for defamation as he peddles the lie that there was, in fact, no shooting that day.)

    Via “Kyle Sandler, former Round House owner, arrested in Texas on Lee County warrants.” Sandler is also the founder of the ed-tech company Nibletz.

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The New York Times: “Sex Scandal Toppled a Silicon Valley Chief. Investors Say, So What?” I’m putting this story here as it discusses VCs’ willingness to continue to invest in Mike Cagney, the former head of the student loan company SoFi.

    Via The Guardian: “Student Loans Company‘spied on vulnerable students’ social media’.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via The Atlantic: “Emails From Trump Education Official Reveal Ties to For-Profit Colleges.” Not sure we needed emails to know this, but hey.

    Via Inside Higher Ed (who got the news from Politico): “A repeal of the Obama administration’s gainful-employment rule would cost $4.7 billion over 10 years, according to an Education Department cost analysis, Politico reported this week.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Strayer and Capella Merger Finalized.”

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

    Via The Washington Post: “ A South Carolina school district just abolished snow days– and will make students learn online.” JFC. Let kids have a friggin’ snow day. Or just have them read a book. It’s probably better for them than stupid worksheets on their Chromebooks.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    LeBron James opened a school. Well, LeBron James and the Akron public school district, that is. Via NPR: “Principal Of LeBron James’ I Promise School Talks About Mission.” Via Education Week: “LeBron James joins other celebrities who launched schools.”

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “More Schools Are Buying ‘Active-Shooter’ Insurance Policies.”

    Via The New York Times: “‘All I Did Was Be Black’: Police Are Called on College Student Eating Lunch.” That’s at Smith College.

    Via The Atlantic: “How History Classes Helped Create a ‘Post-Truth’ America.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As Colleges Distance Themselves From Papa John’s Founder, Ball State U. Sticks With Him.”

    Via Edsurge: “With a Year of Crisis Text Line Data, California Community Colleges Launch Mental Health Program.”

    Via The LA Times: “Donation from prominent L.A. politician roils USC, which referred case to federal prosecutors.”

    Via The Huffington Post: “Tokyo Medical School Allegedly Gave Women Lower Scores To Give More Spots To Men.” That would be Tokyo Medical University.

    “What Happens When a College Flip-Flops on Using Race in Admissions?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    “How can small colleges survive the 21st century?” asks Bryan Alexander.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “DeVos Delays Decision on Troubled AccreditorACICS.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Credential Registry is several months into its mission to document all U.S. credentials, but the finish line is further than ever.”


    There’s some testing-related news in the “research” section below.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Here’s another headline that’s probably better-suited for the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section, via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Ohio State Suspended Its Head Football Coach. Does That Show Universities Are Taking a Stronger Stand on Domestic Abuse?”

    Via The Detroit Free Press: “University of Michigan alumnus Donald C. Graham helped pay for the university’s football team trip to France. His contribution came after U-M invested $102 million in his son’s private equity funds.”

    Labor and Management

    Via Buzzfeed: “Lawrence Krauss, Celebrity Scientist, Is Replaced At Top University Job Amid Harassment Allegations.” That job: head of the Origins Project at ASU.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Texas System Picks Former CUNY Leader as Its Next Chancellor.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Virginia Center Defends Hiring of Former Trump Official, Over Faculty Resistance.” That would be Marc Short. Later in the week, also via CHE: “2 Scholars Quit UVa Center Over Appointment of Former Trump Administration Official.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Georgia Tech’s Finance Chief Is Out After Campus Gave ‘Boat Load of Money’ to Company That Paid Him.” The official: Steven G. Swant, executive vice president for administration and finance. The company: RIB Software SE. More via AJC.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Teaching Tech-Based Farming: Microsoft Backs Program for Ag Group’s 650,000 Students.”

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Employers Eager to Hire Try a New Policy: ‘No Experience Necessary’.”

    Contests and Awards

    Via The New York Times: “Fields Medals Awarded to 4 Mathematicians.” Nope, no women. Again.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Are Diplomas in Your DNA?asks Wired.

    Hey, Alexa, Should We Bring Virtual Assistants to Campus?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    (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

    Apple is now a $1 trillion company,” says The Verge. “Apple Reaches $1 Trillion Valuation. Does the Profitable Glow Extend to Education?” asks EdWeek’s Market Brief. (Perhaps a headline better suited for the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section below.)

    Another headline in the form of a question: “Makerspaces Nationwide Face the Question: Can Users 3D Print a Gun?” asks Edsurge. I wish some of these stories about this would reference the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 signed by one Ronald Reagan. But I wish a lot of things about tech journalism, I guess.

    As a lover of pens and moleskin notebooks, I get the impulse behind this story in The Outline– “An ode to back to school shopping” – but when families are spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars buying school supplies for their children, I’m not sure we should be celebrating.

    Blackboard’s Defense of its Finances is not Persuasive,” writes Michael Feldstein.

    Also from Feldstein: “Moodle and Blackboard Cut Ties.”

    Via Edsurge: “When School Districts Buy From Amazon, Are They Getting the Best Deal? Maybe Not.” EdWeek’s Market Brief also wrote about Amazon this week. Coincidence? Or press release?

    Perhaps this story fits better in the “human resources” section below, but I’ll stick it here. Why not. This is where all the press releases and press release rewrites go. Via Techcrunch: “Duolingo hires its first chief marketing officer as active user numbers stagnate but revenue grows.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Facebook launches a digital literacy library aimed at educators.”

    Campuswire launches to redesign classroom communications,” writes Techcrunch.

    Via Techcrunch: “LittleBits enlists the Avengers for its latest kit.”

    Via Edsurge: “Behind Closed Doors: Edtech Entrepreneurs’ Biggest Challenges in 2018.” The words “privacy,” “security,” and “equity” appear nowhere in this article.

    Via Edsurge: “Pearson’s Former Product Chief Reflects on the 4 Megatrends Shaping Global Education.” Shocking, I know, but apparently “technology” is a “megatrend.”

    Twitter is funding college professors to audit its platform for toxicity,” writes The Verge. Something about algorithms to track when folks are being “uncivil.” Great. What could possibly go wrong with that?

    I hope all your neurobollocks warning bells go off when you read this interview Edsurge conducted with former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on “student brains.”

    Oooh, I am sensing a trend here. “Whole Brain Teaching Is Weird – and Weirdly Viral,” Edsurge wants us to know.

    I also hope that folks approach “precision education” with a lot more skepticism too. (See the story above about DNA testing struggling students in New Haven.) Here’s Laura Gogia with two articles on how this might work: 1 and 2.

    Via Edsurge: “As College Innovation Efforts Grow, So Do Warnings of a ‘McDonaldization’ of Higher Ed.” Perhaps this headline demonstrates why “innovation” in education is a so often a meaningless (at best) term.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via The Hechinger Report: “How artificial intelligence could help teachers do a better job.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via NPR: “DeVos Family Money Is All Over The News Right Now.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “With big names and $200 million, a new group is forming to push for the ‘portfolio model’.”

    Here’s a great example of how corporate philanthropy works (and works in very self-serving ways), via the Google blog: “Five new grants to support CS education research.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    DreamBox Learning has raised $130 million from The Rise Fund. The adaptive learning company has raised $175.6 million total. (And Arne Duncan has joined its board of directors – that makes it, I believe, the second ed-tech company’s board he sits on. EDITED TO ADD: Actually, it is the third. He also sits on the board of TurnItIn.)

    Reach Capital has closed an $82 million round. Investors in the VC firm include Sesame Workshop, TAL Education, the Los Angeles Police and Fire Pensions fund, and Hall Capital Partners.

    Perhaps this isn’t directly education-related, but I think it’s worth considering how talk of the “gig economy” is seeping into education-adjacent work. WeeCare has raised $4.2 million in funding from Wavemaker Partners, Social Capital, Amplify.LA, Fuel Capital, and Fika Ventures. The company offers a platform for people to turn their home into childcare facilities; it also offers training and licensing.

    Weld North Education has acquiredReasoning Mind.

    Class Central writes thatY Combinator’s Startup School MOOC To Give Out $10,000 to 100 Companies.” “Give out” here means “equity-free venture funding.”

    From the Pearson website: “Pearson 2018 half-year results.” Related, this from EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Investors Pressure Pearson CEO for Details on Sale of U.S. K–12 Curriculum.”

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    The NYT’s E. K. Moore on some of the research Doug Levin has been conducting about ad trackers (and the like): “The Information on School Websites Is Not as Safe as You Think.”

    Via The New York Times' Natasha Singer: “For Sale: Survey Data on Millions of High School Students.” The story prompted the College Boardto respond and re-examine its data-for-sale policies, so that’s a win.

    Big Data Is Getting Bigger. So Are the Privacy and Ethical Questions,” Goldie Blumenstyk writes. This includes a company called Degree Analytics that tracks students’ location data using their cellphones – “Some colleges are using [the data] to improve the kind of advice they might send to students, like a text-message reminder to go to class if they’ve been absent.”

    There’s more news about spying on students in the financial aid section above.

    “Will Majoring in Psychology Make You Better Off? The Government Wants to Know,” writes The Wall Street Journal.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    I ran the numbers on the amount of venture capital in education for the month of July. (But I ran them before DreamBox Learning announced its $130 million round.)

    From Pew: “Most Americans say higher ed is heading in wrong direction, but partisans disagree on why.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “More students are taking AP exams, but researchers don’t know if that helps them.”

    Questionable survey data is questionable.

    Via Wired: “How Technology Shapes the Way We Read.”

    Via The Atlantic: “What Rereading Childhood Books Teaches Adults About Themselves.”

    “Mea culpa: there isa crisis in the humanities,” writes Ben Schmidt.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 08/10/18--15:00: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is making the rounds to promote his new book. Via CBS News: “Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan says U.S. education system ‘not top 10 in anything’.” Via The Atlantic: “Arne Duncan: ’Everyone Says They Value Education, but Their Actions Don’t Follow’.”

    In other Secretaries of Education News, Newsweek asks“Why Does Betsy DeVos’s Family Yacht Fly a Foreign Flag?” Spoiler alert: so she doesn’t have to pay taxes.

    Updates on the Department of Education’s plans to scrap the “gainful employment rules” are down in the for-profit higher ed section.

    Updates on the Trump Administration’s plans for accreditation in the accreditation section below.

    Via Edsurge: “Why the FCC’s E-rate Makes Funding High-Speed Internet a Slow Crawl.”

    Via Education Week: “Cyberattacks During FCC‘s ’Net Neutrality’ Fight? Didn’t Happen, Agency Now Says.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via Chalkbeat: “State investigation: Denver violated federal rules, delayed services to students with disabilities.”

    The Huffington Post on vouchers in Florida: “A new program in Florida is supposed to help victims of bullying switch to private schools. But many of these private schools don’t accept LGBTQ kids, and use historically inaccurate, bigoted curricula.”

    Via The Boston Globe: “Boston’s schools are becoming resegregated.”

    The Atlantic’s Melinda D. Anderson interviewsVanessa Siddle Walker about her new book, The Lost Education of Horace Tate: Uncovering the Hidden Heroes Who Fought for Justice in Schools.

    Via NPR: Illinois“Lawmakers Looking At How Public Schools Handle Private Data.”

    Via The Dallas Morning News: “Dwaine Caraway resigns from Dallas City Council, pleads guilty to federal corruption charges.” More details: “The 66-year-old Caraway, who has also served as the city’s interim mayor, admitted to accepting $450,000 in bribes and kickbacks from two key figures in the scandal that last year brought down the school bus agency Dallas County Schools; Bob Leonard, who owned the stop-arm camera company that took millions from DCS; and Slater Swartwood Sr., an associate of Leonard’s.”

    “The Wisconsin Governor’s Race Might Be Decided by Education,” says The Atlantic.

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “To Bolster K–3 Literacy, North Carolina Provides 24,000 iPads for Reading Teachers.”

    There’s some Ohio and Indiana news in the online education section below.

    Immigration and Education

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Judge Orders DACA Be Restored.” More via Slate.

    Via Buzzfeed: “In A State That Voted For Trump, The Teachers Rallied When ICE Raided A Rural Nebraska Town.”

    Inside Higher Ed writes about the claim, made by Politico, that “President Trump characterized the vast majority of Chinese students in the U.S. as spies during a dinner Tuesday night with CEOs at his private golf club in New Jersey.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via Education Week: “Students With Disabilities Sue ACT Over Release of Personal Information.”

    Via Reuters: “EU’s top court backs copyright holder in landmark ruling.” The details: “The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruling came after a secondary school student in Germany downloaded a photograph of Cordoba from a travel website to illustrate a presentation which was then published on the school website.”

    Via SFGate: “Brock Turner loses appeal of his conviction in Stanford sexual assault case.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The Third Way: “Want More Students To Pay Down Their Loans? Help Them Graduate.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Education Dept. Proposes Tossing Gainful-Employment Rule, Which Took Aim at For-Profit Colleges.” More via Inside Higher Ed.

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

    “The Saga of Ohio’s Embattled E-School Is Coming to an End,” writes Education Week’s Ben Herold.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Hoosiers paid $1 million for a rural district to oversee online charter schools. Is it too much?”

    IBM has joinededX.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via The Outline: “Racism and the battle of free speech at Evergreen State College.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “BYU Is Under Fire, Again, for Punishing Sex-Assault Victims.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Panicked universities in search of students are adding thousands of new majors.”

    Yes, Guns Are Ed-Tech (and It’s So F*cked Up that I Had to Make This a Category)

    Via The Atlantic: “School-Security Companies Are Thriving in the Era of Mass Shootings.”

    Via The New York Times: “Secret Service Issues Guide to Help Prevent School Shootings.”

    Via The AP: “Man at New Mexico Compound Accused of Training Kids for School Attacks.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Office led by President Trump’s son-in-law holds a series of meetings on higher education policy, signaling high-level attention from the administration.” His son-in-law is Jared Kushner, of course. (Related: the education investment portfolio of Kushner’s brother; the ed-tech connections of Kushner’s wife.)


    There’s more testing-related news in the legal section above.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via The News & Observer: “‘Like you just have no brain after the game.’ Inside a UNC lineman’s concussion ordeal.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The NCAA plans new rules for the sport it says will minimize corruption – among them, allowing agents the association certifies to represent college players.”

    Labor and Management

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Southern Cal President Steps Down, Immediately.” The university announced he would do so in May.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Edsurge: “Amazon Pumps More Than a Half Million Dollars into Coding Education in Canada.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Facebook launches Mentorships, matching people within Groups to help them guide each other.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Does the Magic Leap One, and the Promise AR, Matter to Higher Ed?asks IHE’s Joshua Kim.

    Do Pre-Packaged Kits Belong in Makerspaces?asks Edsurge.

    (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

    Via Buzzfeed: “Internal Facebook Note: Here Is A ‘Psychological Trick’ To Target Teens.”

    “The Common App Will Stop Asking About Students’ Criminal Histories,” writes The Atlantic.

    Google has updated its pseudo-LMS, Classroom. Google blogs; tech publications help market the news.

    More Google PR, this time from The Verge: “Google is adding ARCore support to the Chromebook Tab 10 with Classroom updates.”

    More Google PR, this time from Edsurge: “What It’s Like to Be a Teacher Vlogger Star on YouTube.”

    Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill onSchoology, NEO, Claroline, Chamilo: The beginning of the LMS long tail.”

    And via Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein: “Instructure Enters those Awkward Teenage Years.” (Instructure is, in fact, 8.)

    NPR on the latest show from Sesame Workshop.

    Commentary via Education Week fights cliche with cliche: “No, Fortnite Isn’t Rotting Kids’ Brains. It May Even Be Good for Them.” This line though: “From purely a safety standpoint, playing digital laser tag is probably safer than having crabapple battles with garbage can lids as shields like we did.” I mean, I guess you’re safer if you never play outside.

    Arguably, a much more interesting look at gaming and education is this, from Phil McAndrew, on D&D: “Critical Hits in the Classroom.”

    Campus Technology makes the case for “Why Higher Ed Should Do More with Blockchain Tech” – that is, according to a conference held at (wait for it…) Oral Roberts University.

    “Whatever Happened to Channel One?” asks Larry Cuban.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    “What if Your Favorite Teacher was a Robot?” asks the Kauffman Foundation.

    Via Techcrunch: “Ibuki is the 10-year-old robot child that will haunt your dreams.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via The New York Times: “How Tech Billionaires Hack Their Taxes With a Philanthropic Loophole.” Related: “Why did Elon Musk stash a quarter-billion dollars of Tesla stock in a non-profit back in 2016?” asks The Outline.

    The Clayton Christensen Institute’s Julia Freeland Fisher on how “LeBron James Is Schooling Us on What Education Reform Got Wrong.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    I am sensing a trend here… preschool management companies. Wonderschool has raised $20 million from Omidyar Network, Gary Community Investments, Round Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Jeff Jordan, and Abstract Ventures. The company has raised $24.1 million total.

    Edmit has raised $1.4 million in seed funding from Founder Collective. The college search engine has raised $2.3 million total.

    “Career accelerator” Pathrise has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Western Technology Investment, Quero Education, Long Venture Partners, LetsVenture, Kutlu Kazanci, and GoAhead Ventures.

    Procare Software has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Warburg Pincus. The childcare management tech provider also acquired Cirrus Group, which also makes similar software.

    Daekyo, a Korean tutoring center, has acquired the adaptive math company KnowRe.

    Elsevier has acquiredAries Systems.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    There’s a data-related court case in the legal section above.

    Via “Unixiz Agrees to Shutter ’i-Dressup’ Site and Pay Penalty to Settle Charges Under COPPA and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via Chalkbeat: “Eight years ago, the L.A. Times published teachers’ ratings. New research tells us what happened next.”

    There are more research/reports on student loans in “the business of financial aid” section above.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Students’ math scores drop for years after using a private school voucher in country’s largest program.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Growth in several higher education revenue streams has been better than expected for 2018, Moody’s Investors Service says in a new report – but the ratings agency nonetheless maintained a negative outlook for the sector due to flat enrollment and limited expected growth in tuition and fees.”

    Via The New York Times: “Workplace Wellness Programs Don’t Work Well. Why Some Studies Show Otherwise.” Good thing ed-tech isn’t promoting a whole “wellness” thing.

    Via e-Literate: “Welcome Change: OpenStax using more accurate data on student textbook expenditures.”

    Via Time: “How Your Brain Tricks You Into Believing Fake News.”

    Via The Atlantic: “Student Journalism in the Age of Media Distrust.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 08/17/18--09:20: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Education Dept. Wants to Hold Colleges Accountable by Reporting Graduates’ Earnings. One Problem: The Data Aren’t All There.”

    News about the update to FAFSA is in “the business of financial aid” section below.

    Via Education Week: “Congress Considering $95 Million for Study of Technology’s Effects on Children.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via Chalkbeat: “Carranza aims to speed up anti-bias training for educators, calling it a ‘cornerstone’ of school improvement.” (Richard Carranza is the new head of the NYC school system.)

    Via The New York Times: “Three years after the city launched an investigation into whether certain ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools were providing an adequate education in secular subjects, it revealed on Thursday that it had made little progress. In a letter to the state’s Education Department seeking guidance, Richard A. Carranza, New York City schools chancellor, acknowledged that investigators had managed to visit only half the schools involved.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via NPR: “Lunch Lady Larceny? Cafeteria Workers Allegedly Stole Half A Million Dollars.”

    Via the AP: “Mississippi’s Supreme Court says a state lawsuit against Google alleging violations of student privacy should stay in a northeast Mississippi court.”

    While not directly education-related, it is worth keeping an eye – both eyes, honestly – on the FCC’s attempts to roll back consumer protections and Internet subsidies for low-income families communities. Via The Verge: “Court halts FCC plan to revoke low-income internet subsidies on tribal lands.”

    “Free College”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “New York U.’s School of Medicine Goes Tuition-Free.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The Washington Post: “Going mobile: The government’s most crucial financial aid form.” One huge problem with the new mobile version of the FAFSA: you can’t use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on it. And that makes the mobile app pretty useless, IMHO.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    “The Future Of For-Profit Colleges” – Tressie McMillan Cottom (and others) on 1A.

    The future, in part, seems to involve renaming for-profits so they’re no longer as closely associated with a tainted brand, as we can see in this story about the “rechristened Altierus Career Collegein The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    “Education Department’s decision to drop gainful-employment rule will mean lowest-performing programs keep $5.3 billion over next decade,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

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

    OPMs are a Subset of a Bigger Market,” says Michael Feldstein.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via The Atlantic: “The Fate of Black Colleges Post-Omarosa.” Related, I guess: “In her new book, controversial former aide to President Trump offers views on education secretary and support for black colleges,” Inside Higher Ed tells us. That would be Omarosa Manigault Newman, of course. We are in the worst reality TV show ever when (if) we find ourselves rooting for her villainy and treachery.

    Via The New York Times: “Transgender Girl, 12, Is Violently Threatened After Facebook Post by Classmate’s Parent.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Akron Will Phase Out 80 Degree Programs and Open New Esports Facilities.”

    Yes, Guns Are Ed-Tech (and It’s So F*cked Up that I Had to Make This a Category)

    Via The New York Times: “Back-to-School Shopping for Districts: Armed Guards, Cameras and Metal Detectors.”

    Via The New York Times: “U.S. Wants Students to Learn Bleeding-Control Methods to Prepare for School Shootings.”

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via The Washington Post: “Maryland places DJ Durkin on administrative leave amid reports of football program’s toxic culture.”

    There’s more sports-related news in the “meanwhile on campus” section above.

    The Business of Job Training

    Facebook is going back to college,” writes venture capitalist Ryan Craig. The story is actually a plug for Pathstream (not currently in his investment portfolio), which “supports the delivery of career-critical software skill training in VR/AR and digital marketing at colleges and universities.”

    “Richard Russell Stole a Plane in Seattle and Crashed It. How’d He Learn to Fly?” asks The New York Times. (Spoiler alert: video games.)

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Can Competency-Based Education Demonstrate Mastery Across a Lifetime?asks Edsurge.

    Is The LMS A Distraction In EdTech Futurology?asks Moodle News.

    (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

    Shocking, I know, but back-to-school means a lot of seasonal downloads for various education apps. So I’m not sure why this is news, via Edsurge: “More Popular Than Gmail, Facebook and Instagram: The Education App That Hit #1 on the iOS Chart.” (The app in question: Remind.)

    More important than the popularity of the ed-tech above is the scarcity of the ed-tech in this story, via The Washington Post: “EpiPen shortage raises alarm for parents as kids head back to school.”

    Via Edsurge: “Behind the Scenes of TED-Ed’s Wildly Popular YouTube Channel for Students.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Messenger Kids rolls out passphrases so kids can initiate friend requests themselves.”

    Do not tell the connectivists, but apparently – according to Edsurge at least– “Education’s Latest Secret Trend” is “Networking.” (Actually the article is just a promotion for three books penned by people close to Edsurge.)

    Mike Caulfield wrote this week that “QAnon and Pinterest Is Just the Beginning,” and I can’t help but think about how popular Pinterest is among teachers and what conspiracy theories they might be pinning as they look for ideas to decorate their bulletin boards.

    Via The New York Times: “This Company Keeps Lies About Sandy Hook on the Web.” “This company” is

    Speaking of blogs, Harvard announced it will no longer host Here’s Dave Winer’s take. Mike Caulfield responds with “A Provocation for the Open Pedagogy Community,” asking if institutional or corporate hosting has more longevity.

    Blockchain Gains Currency in Higher Ed,” according to Inside Higher Ed. (I’d love to know if any of these initiatives address cryptocurrency’s connection to anti-Semitism and the alt-right.)

    Via Phil Hill and O’Neil Spicer: “D2L Fusion 2018: Product improvements and potential signs of addressing challenges.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via the IBM press release: “How Watson Education, Scholastic and Edmodo are using AI to close the learning gap.” I seem to recall a story just the other week in which someone called Watson "a piece of shit." But hey. PR gonna PR.

    “Children are susceptible to peer pressure from robots,” says The Verge. (So are adults, to be fair.)

    Via Techcrunch: “This happy robot helps kids with autism.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Teaching.”

    (Venture) “Philanthropy” and the Business of Education Reform

    Sponsored content on Edsurge, sponsored by Macmillan Learning and by First Lego League.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Quiz maker Quizizz has raised $3 million from Prime Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, and GSF.

    Concourse Global has raised $2 million from Third Kind Venture Capital, LearnStart, Colle Capital Partners, A-Star-Education Holdings, and Jay Varkey for its college counseling service.

    Nuada has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Luna Ventures for its “adaptive” worksheet software.

    LittleBits has

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    “Here’s What Happens When We Allow Facial Recognition Technology in Our Schools,” says the ACLU.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Educause has published the 2018 Horizon Report for Higher Education. (And I’ve updated my Horizon Report History project with this new data.)

    “Digital Devices in the Classroom Can Hinder Long-Term Retention,” says Edsurge.

    Via Chalkbeat: “New data show how few black and Hispanic students benefit from New York City’s specialized high school diversity program.”

    Twitter Is Funding Research Into Online Civility. Here’s How One Project Will Work” – as described by Edsurge.

    Well this is depressing, via the AirBnB press release: “Teacher Hosts Earned $160 Million Last Year on Airbnb.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 08/24/18--09:30: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    The big ed-tech news this week is, of course, that Betsy DeVos is considering allowing schools to use federal funds to arm teachers and staff. I’ve put all the stories in the “yes, guns are ed-tech” section below.

    There are more stories about some of DeVos’s other policies in the for-profit higher ed section below.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The White House announced Tuesday that President Trump will nominate Robert L. King to be the assistant secretary of postsecondary education.”

    Via Edsurge: “As the Higher Ed Opportunity Act Turns 10, Here's How the Landscape Has Changed.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via Pacific Standard: “It’s Back-to-School Season, and Schools Are Still Underfunded.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “How Newark’s former schools chief used a ‘victory lap’ and privately paid consultants to cement his legacy.” That would be Chris Cerf.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Secret CPS report spotlights big vacancies, lopsided options for students.” CPS is, of course, the Chicago Public Schools.

    Via NPR: “In A Segregated County, A New Charter School Offers An Alternative.” This is in Alabama.

    Via Chalkbeat: “After a spike in unpaid school lunches last year, Denver takes steps to prevent a reprise.”

    Immigration and Education

    ICE hunted me down; my teachers and classmates fought back” by Dennis Rivera in The Houston Chronicle.

    Education in the Courts

    Via The New York Times: “How Do You Get Better Schools? Take the State to Court, More Advocates Say.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The U.S. Department of Education is being sued for ‘illegally’ delaying state authorization rules designed to help college students determine in which online university to enroll.”

    Via Education Week: “Ohio Sues Cyber Charter Founder, Pursuing Millions in Disputed Funds.”

    Via The Washington Post: “ Former George Mason professor accused of sexual harassment is now facing embezzlement charges.” That would be Peter Pober, former communications professor.

    There are more legal stories in the “sports team” section below.

    I honestly don’t know where this story should go, and I’m really only including it here because of the flimsiest of connections to education – Jerry Alter, one of the characters in the story, was a teacher. Via The Washington Post: “ A small-town couple left behind a stolen painting worth over $100 million – and a big mystery.”

    “Free College”

    The Chronicle of Higher Education asks“5 Key Questions About NYU’s Tuition-Free Policy for Medical School.”

    Via WBRC: “FedEx to offer tuition-free online University of Memphis degrees to Memphis hub employees.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The Hechinger Report: “For students teetering on the edge financially, micro-grants help them finish college.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Student-Loan Borrowers, by Age Group, Amount Owed, and Repayment Status, 2017.”

    There was some income-sharing agreement news this week but the headline was in the form of a question so it’s not in this section, is it.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A higher ed researcher cited by Betsy DeVos to justify dropping gainful-employment rule says her work actually backed more stringent standards.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “For-Profit Companies With the Highest Enrollments at Their Colleges, Fall 2016.”

    There are more stories about Purdue University Global, formerly the for-profit Kaplan University, in the “labor and management” section below.

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

    Gotta keep hyping that MOOC thing. Via Edsurge: “MOOCs Are No Longer Massive. And They Serve Different Audiences Than First Imagined.”

    Via Class Central: “Class Central’s Top 50 MOOCs of All Time (2018 edition).”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Cumulative Growth in Number of MOOCs, 2011–18.”

    Not surprisingly, there is more MOOC news in the surveillance section below. There is some (ongoing) online education news from Ohio in the legal section above.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Students at UNC Chapel Hill tore down the Confederate memorial Silent Sam this week. “UNC’s Moment to Lead – or Not,” writes Angus Johnston. More via WaPo and via The Daily Tar Heel.

    Via the BBC: “US school faces backlash after black student’s ‘unnatural hair’ criticised.” That is the Christ the King Parish School in Terrytown, Louisiana.

    Via Inside Inside Higher: “Ohio State University has launched a new centralized office designed to handle complaints of sexual harassment and violence after the old iteration of the unit shut down in June.” The timing of all of this is rich. Rich! (See the “sports team” section for more OSU news.)

    World Magazine on how Liberty University handles its student newspaper: “Papered over.” Bookmark this one for the next time some conservative tries to tell you that left-leaning students are the biggest threat to free speech on campus.

    Inside Higher Ed on“The End of a Blogging Era at Harvard.”

    Susan Crawrford argues“Why Universities Need ‘Public Interest Technology’ Courses.”

    Via the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette: “More than $300,000 spent on high-tech parking management system at UA.” UA, as the newspaper name should probably tell you, is the University of Arkansas.

    “How a Faculty Trip to Silicon Valley Changed the Classroom Experience,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Something something innovation something something blockchain.

    Via The Atlantic: “Black Colleges Have to Pay More for Loans Than Other Schools.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Seeking advantage, colleges are increasingly admitting students as sophomores.”

    There are more stories about Purdue University Global, formerly the for-profit Kaplan University, in the “labor and management” section below. And there are more stories about various sports-related scandals in the sports section below. There’s also a very good story about Success Academy’s high school but the headline is in the form of a question, so you know where you’ll find it…

    Yes, Guns Are Ed-Tech (and It’s So F*cked Up that I Had to Make This a Category)

    Via The New York Times: “Education Secretary Considers Using Federal Funds to Arm Schools.” Via The Washington Post: “Betsy DeVos considers allowing schools to use federal funds to buy guns.” Via The Atlantic: “A Loophole That Could Let States Buy Teachers Guns With Federal Funds.”

    Via NPR: “Virginia County Approves Plan To Arm Teachers.”

    Not guns per se, but certainly part of this new ed-tech security theater we’re seeing play out. Via Education Week: “Latest in Back-to-School Tech: Panic Buttons for Teachers.”

    Also via Education Week: “What Counts as a School Shooting? The Answer to That Question Shapes Safety Debates.”

    Credentialing and Competencies

    Via CNBC: “Google, Apple and 13 other companies that no longer require employees to have a college degree.”

    Via the AP: “A requirement that teachers obtain master’s degrees has been removed by Kentucky officials.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “South Carolina technical colleges received formal permission on Wednesday to offer bachelor’s degrees in advanced manufacturing technology.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Program at Kean U. Is Losing Its Accreditation. Many Faculty and Students Have No Idea.”

    “An update on Badges and Backpack” from Mark Surman.

    There’s some other badging news but the headline was in the form of a question so it’s not in this section.


    “A Story about District Test Scores,” by Larry Cuban.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Ohio State head football coach had been investigated for his handling of domestic abuse allegations against one of his former assistant coaches,” says Inside Higher Ed. That’s Urban Meyer. The suspension: three games. Gee. Taking this pretty seriously, I see.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As Football Scandal Unfolds at Maryland, Professors Fear Lack of Athletics Oversight.” Via NPR: “University Of Maryland Football Abuse Scandal And The Rights Of College Athletes.”

    Via The New Yorker: “How Charles Koch Turned Wichita State into a College-Basketball Powerhouse.”

    Commentary in CHE: “Sports Scandals Soil the Land-Grant Legacy.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Authorities in Michigan have charged a onetime Michigan State University gymnastics coach with lying to police about what she knew about sexual misconduct allegations against Larry Nassar, the doctor who pleaded guilty to assaulting hundreds of women.” The authority in question: Kathie Klages.

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Wealthy Parents Help Child Athletes Go Pro in Their Own Backyards.”

    Labor and Management

    Teachers at LAUSD are weighing whether to authorize a strike.

    The ed-tech company Gaggle is peddling a “solution” to teachers’ strikes, apparently.

    “Who Owns Faculty Work at Purdue Global?” asks Inside Higher Ed. “‘Gag Clause’ at Purdue Global Raises Alarms About Faculty Rights,” writes The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Princeton Review Has Laid Off Many Employees. But Revenue Might Not Be Its Only Problem.”

    OPB on “The Strange Case of Susie Strangfield,” Parts 1 and 2.

    Via AZ Central: “Primavera charter CEO gets $8.8M despite having Arizona’s third-highest dropout rate.”

    Fast Company profiles Fusion Academy: “This DeVos-Style School Turned Teachers Into Gig Economy Workers.”

    Joe Holland will become the new CEO of Teachers Pay Teachers.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via The Atlantic: “Teaching Kids to Code During the Summer – for $1,000 a Week.”

    Good grief. I hope none of these programs are teaching “data science,” because this is just a silly claim based on bad data.

    Even worse? This idea from another bootcamp founder.

    “Posting Instagram Sponsored Content Is the New Summer Job” by The Atlantic’s Taylor Lorenz.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Can an Online Tool Depolarize Campus Discussions?asks Edsurge.

    Are Teachers About To Be Replaced By Bots?asks Forbes.

    Can a billionaire’s private school become a model for public education in Florida?asks The Tampa Bay Times.

    Income-Share Agreement Providers Want to Woo Higher Ed. But Will It Work?asks Edsurge.

    With Employers in the Mix, Can Badges Become More Than a Fad?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Behind the scenes, Success Academy's first high school spent last year in chaos. Can Eva Moskowitz turn it around?asks Chalkbeat.

    (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

    “The Humanities Are in Crisis,” Ben Schmidt argues in The Atlantic.

    Via Buzzfeed: “Toys ‘R’ Us’ Demise Means Toys Will Probably Cost Less This Holiday Season.”

    Minecraft: Education Edition is coming to iPad,” says Techcrunch.

    Via The Verge: “Tinder is rolling out a college-only service, Tinder U.”

    “Student marketplace Spitball has launched a token-based ‘blockchain economy’ that aims to switch up the e-learning industry and create a decentralised landscape for students,” says IBS Intelligence. Sounds legit.

    “Dean Dad” Matt Reed on“‘Netflix for Books.’”

    Via Edsurge: “School’s Out for the Latest Y Combinator Batch, and Here’s What Its Edtech Graduates Are Up to.”

    Via the Google blog: “VR Labs open doors of opportunity for STEM students.”

    Gotta keep hyping that VR thing. Via Edsurge: “Everything You Need to Know to Get Started With AR/VR in the Classroom.”

    e-Literate on the latest debates about LMS markets: “Response to MoodleNews: Some considerations for critical reading of market sizing claims.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    “Kids connect with robot reading partners,” says the PR office of the University of Wisconsin Madison.

    Via Engadget: “Japan trials AI and robots to boost English skills in schools.”

    Via Education Dive: “Artificial intelligence put to use teaching students Mandarin.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Sponsored content on Edsurge this week, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, includes this.

    Sponsored content on Edsurge this week, paid for by the Gates Foundation, includes this.

    “What Role Do Teachers Play in Education?” asks Cathy Davidson in her review of the new book from Andrea Gabor, After the Education Wars: How Smart Schools Upend the Business of Reform.

    Via Chalkbeat: “40 cities in 10 years: Leaked presentation offers more details on new group’s goals to spread charter (and charter-like) schools.” The group: The City Fund.

    There’s another philanthropist who likes to use his money to shape colleges how he wants them featured in the sports section above.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Mind-reading robot tutor in the sky” company Knewton has raised $25 million from these suckers: Triple Point Capital, Accel, Atomico, Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, First Round Capital, Founders Fund, and Sofina. The company has raised $182.3 million.

    HQ Education has raised $7.3 million from Zero2IPO-Chenguang Education Fund and Shunwei Capital for its online education software.

    Writing assessment company Writable has raised $3.2 million from Omidyar Technology Ventures and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

    EdWeek’s Market Brief looks at a new fund by the VC firm Reach Capital: “New Venture Capital Flowing Into Education, With Parent-Focused Products In Mind.”

    Also via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “New Oriental Education & Technology Group, which describes itself as the biggest provider of private educational services in China, has announced it will make a $220 million investment in ed-tech companies there.”

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via Wired: “Schools Are Mining Students’ Social Media Posts for Signs of Trouble.” “Trouble” – like school dress code violations and such.

    Via QZ: “Schools are using AI to track what students write on their computers.”

    The headline on the press release from Saint Louis University: “SLU Installing Amazon Alexa-Enabled Devices in Every Student Living Space on Campus.” Here’s the churnalism. Here’s more churnalism.

    Amazon updates Alexa with kid-friendly version,” the Long Island Business News claims. Only if you think surveillance is kid-friendly.

    Speaking of surveillance and paying people to talk about this stuff, the Amazon press release heralds that “Alexa Fund Invests in Student Scientists and Entrepreneurs with Expanded Alexa Fellowship.”

    Remember that story in The NYT just a couple of weeks ago about how wellness programs don’t work and how they’re actually just vehicles for more workplace surveillance? I do. So yeah, this story – sponsored content alert! – in Edsurge gives me pause: “Elementary School Wellness Program Helps Young Males of Color Cultivate Their Identities.”

    New York Magazine on the history of COPPA: “ Inside the Decades-Long Fight to Protect Your Children’s Data From Advertisers.”

    SuperProf private tutor site massively fails password test, makes accounts super easy to hack” by Graham Cluley.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    There’s more about research – and the politicization of research – in the for-profit higher ed section above.

    Research from Pew: “How Teens and Parents Navigate Screen Time and Device Distractions.” More via The Atlantic.

    I’m not sure why Crunchbase keeps repeating this story, but here we are again: “Top Universities And Business Schools For Funded Founders.” You will never ever guess what those top schools are, I’m sure.

    I’ve linked some of the statistics in various section above, but here’s the whole report from The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Almanac of Higher Education 2018–19.”

    The Atlantic on the latest Education Next poll: “Public Opinion Shifts in Favor of School Choice.”

    One of the worst things about education reporting is that people still write about the Benoit Mindset List every goddamn year. I’m not even linking to it. Next year, you shouldn’t either.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 08/31/18--10:55: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the massive review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The New York Times: “New U.S. Sexual Misconduct Rules Bolster Rights of Accused and Protect Colleges.”

    Via The Atlantic: “A Step-by-Step Guide to Trump’s New College Sexual Assault Policy.” Shocking, I know, that the “grab ’em by the pussy” guy is not a friend to survivors of assault.

    Via Chalkbeat: “How Trump’s tax law may have just gotten in the way of Betsy DeVos’ favorite policy.” The latter: vouchers.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Disaster-Stricken Colleges Will Get $63 Million in Aid From the Education Dept.” That is, three campuses in the University of Puerto Rico system.

    There’s more US federal government news in the guns section below. Because of course. There’s also more US federal government news in the for-profit higher ed section below. Also to be expected.


    Via The Atlantic: “How the Dutch Do Sex Ed.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via Blavity: “The Water’s Been Turned Off In All Of Detroit’s Public Schools After Tests Found High Levels Of Lead And Copper Contamination.” More via NPR.

    I don’t have a complete list of all the education-related results from Tuesday’s elections. One note: Donna Shalala, who served as the Secretary of HHS under President Clinton and who’s been the president of several colleges, won her primary for a Congressional seat in Florida. This story, via NPR, was written before the primary: “3 Ways Education Is Influencing Arizona’s Midterms.” And via CNN: “Oklahoma legislators who opposed teacher pay bill are voted out.”

    Via NC Policy Watch: “Ethics questions raised on DPI’s $6 million iPad purchase.” Let’s unpack some of those abbreviations: NC is North Carolina and DPI is Department of Public Instruction. Prior to the department spending $6 million on iPads, Apple spent more than $5300 on meals and lodging for state Superintendent Mark Johnson and five other education officials to visit the company’s HQ.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “West Virginia Commission Seeks Equity for Colleges. But Behind the Scenes, Gordon Gee Pulls Strings.”

    There’s more news about teachers on strike in the “labor and management” section below.

    Immigration and Education

    Via NPR: “Texas School District To Send Teachers To Shelters For Migrant Children.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Purdue Global Demands Students Waive Right to Sue.” Ah yes, the ol’ “forced arbitration” trick that for-profit colleges love to play.

    Via Edsurge: “General Assembly’s $1M Lawsuit Settlement Asks: Are Instructors Employees or Contractors?”

    Via The Washington Post: “Justice Department criticizes Harvard admissions in case alleging bias against Asian Americans.” More via NPR.

    “Every Generation Gets the Beach Villain It Deserves” – The NYT’s Nellie Bowles on tech billionaire Vinod Khosla’s attempts to restrict access to the California coastline near his mansion. (Some of Khosla’s education investments are listed here. His wife is also the founder of the OER organization CK12. Because “open.”)

    Via The New York Times: “Judge Rules Against Alex Jones and Infowars in Sandy Hook Lawsuit.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via NPR: “Student Loan Watchdog Quits, Says Trump Administration ‘Turned Its Back’ On Borrowers.” That’s the CFPB’s Seth Frotman.

    Via The New York Times: “The Student Debt Problem Is Worse Than We Imagined.”

    Inside Higher Ed takes a closer look at a game called Givling, a mobile trivia app “that promises winners a payout of up to $50,000 on their student loan debt.”

    “One year into an experiment allowing colleges to award Pell Grants to incarcerated students, Trump administration officials look to be even more invested in the program,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    “Billions in federal financial aid is going to students who aren’t graduating,” says The Hechinger Report.

    Via Eater: “Future parents are getting a chance at an $11,000 jumpstart on their future baby’s college education this September. The only catch: They have to brand their kid with the name of KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders. In a truly cynical sort of ‘race,’ the fried chicken chain has announced that it will award $11,000 in tuition to the first baby born on Sanders’s birthday – September 9 – that also has the first name Harland.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    “The Lifelong Cost of Getting a For-Profit Educationby The Atlantic’s Adam Harris.

    There’s more news about that “new for-profit” Purdue Global in the legal section above. (And before you sic your PR team on me, yes, I realize that Purdue Global is not a for-profit, even though it’s mostly a rebranded Kaplan. But we need to pay attention to how the for-profit sector is continuing its exploitative practices – such as forced arbitration in the story above. Restricting a discussion of for-profits to the tax status of institutions isn’t terribly helpful right now, particularly as many for-profits are trying to say they’re not-for-profit.)

    “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos this week delayed for the second time a final decision on the federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, an oversight body the Obama administration had sought to eliminate,” Inside Higher Ed reports. ACICS oversees accreditation for many for-profit colleges and universities.

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

    SDG Academy has joinededX.

    Via the Coursera blog: “Announcing the Global MBA from Macquarie University.”

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Read this by Andrea Long Chu: “I Worked With Avital Ronell. I Believe Her Accuser.”

    Via PR Week: “Baylor used ‘mole’ to aid comms during sexual assault crisis.” The university faces lawsuits from former students alleging that the school mishandled sexual assault cases, and “Baylor football players have been accused of committing 52 rapes over four years,” Deadspin points out. So Baylor thought it would manage the message by infiltrating support groups rather than dealing with the actual problem.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As UNC Issues 3 Arrest Warrants Over Confederate Statue’s Toppling, Board Member Says It Will Be Restored.” More via The Washington Post.

    Via The New York Times: “Feeling Suicidal, Students Turned to Their College. They Were Told to Go Home.”

    Beloit College will no longer be affiliated with the embarrassingly ageist “Mindset List.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Board of U. of Iowa’s Turning Point USA Chapter Criticizes National Leaders, Then Backtracks.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Facing an ‘urgent’ area housing shortage, officials at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have issued a plea to professors and staffers: please rent out rooms to students.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Bucking a Boastful Trend, Stanford Will No Longer Brag About Its Application Numbers.”

    There’s more campus-related news in the sports section below.

    Yes, Guns Are Ed-Tech (and It’s So F*cked Up that I Had to Make This a Category)

    Really great investigative work on Department of Education data on school shootingsby NPR’s Anya Kamenetz, Alexis Arnold, and Emily Cardinali: “The School Shootings That Weren’t.”

    Via The 74: “1 Killed, 2 Injured in FloridaShooting, One of Three Recent Incidents of HS Football Violence; At Least 43 Killed and 81 Injured at Schools in 2018.”

    Via NPR: “Federal Commission On School Safety Holds Its Final Listening Session.”

    Not gun-related, but putting this story here as it is about “school safety”: “Officer pepper-sprays fighting high school students in Las Vegas,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

    Wow. Wow. Wow. I cannot believe that this is the argument that ed-tech envangelists are gonna run with. (Yes, I can.) Via Edsurge: “Does It Make More Sense to Invest in School Security or SEL?” SEL is “social emotional learning,” of course. Both school security and SEL are deeply intertwined with surveillance and white supremacy. Good job, everyone.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    There’s more accreditation news in the for-profit higher ed section above.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Michigan State University has been cleared in the National Collegiate Athletic Association investigation into whether it properly handled reports of sexual assaults committed by former university doctor Larry Nassar, according to the institution.” Infuriating.

    Speaking of Michigan State and Nassar, via The State News: “Original MSU alumni magazine leaked.” “This version, solely focused on ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse and issues surrounding it, was not distributed to alumni.” It was apparently scrapped by someone in the university administration.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Southern Illinois U. Says It Won’t Tolerate Activism by Athletes in Uniform, Then Backs Off.”

    Gaming’s Not Just for Kids: What Educators Need to Know About Esports,” according to Edsurge. I’d say you should probably know a little about violent, toxic masculinity associated with gaming too. Ian Bogost writes in The Atlantic on “The Irony of the Jacksonville Mass Shooting,” where “two former athletes were killed playing a supposedly safer, video-game alternative to football.”

    Labor and Management

    Via NPR: “Teachers Strike in Washington State.”

    There’s more on the legalities of who is an employee (and who is an independent contractor) in the “courts” section above.

    The Business of Job Training (and Education as an Employment Benefit)

    Deliveroo offers free OpenClassrooms courses to riders,” says Techcrunch.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Will big brands disrupt higher education?Daniel Pianko and Carol D’Amico ask in Techcrunch.

    "Is Growth Mindset the Missing Piece in the Equity Discussion?" asks Edsurge.

    An Investor Argues for ‘Faster + Cheaper’ Education. Does His Formula Add Up?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    (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

    Kevin Carey argues in Washington Monthly “Why More Colleges Should Treat Students Like Numbers”:

    Students who log on to the LMS, download materials, click on lectures, and contribute to discussions are much less likely to drop out than students who don’t. Student engagement can now be measured in real time.

    This is Reich’s Law: students who do stuff do better than student’s who don’t do stuff. Thank you, big data, for giving people this insight.

    Here’s another example of the terrible potential (and the terribly obvious potential) of predictive analytics. Edsurge writes aboutapplication essays, asking if these could predict students’ success. It seems likely, however, if schools think that there’s something in an application essay that predicts a student won’t be successful or that they’re likely to drop out that schools will be unlikely to admit them in the first place.

    Via 9 to 5 Mac: “Digital textbooks for iPad never took off, and here’s why.”

    ProfHacker writes aboutGenius as an Alternative Social Media,” but if you’re looking for bro-free social media, I’d recommend looking elsewhere.

    Speaking of bro culture company tech, “Oculus is bringing its Rift and Go VR headsets to classrooms around the world,” says The Verge.

    And speaking of social media, The New York Times writes aboutBig Tobacco’s Global Reach on Social Media” and in particular how young people are being targeted. There’s a lot to think about here, as Natasha Singer rightly pointed out on Twitter, as this might related to Big Ed-Tech. But I think it’s worth noting too that Juul, one of the vaping companies marketing itself to teens, has a whole “mindfulness” curriculum. (So a real special shout-out to everyone in this week’s news who is trying to convince y’all that social emotional learning and mindfulness are some sort of progressive path forward.)

    Via Techcrunch: “Amazon’s children’s book subscription ‘Prime Book Box’ opens to all in the US.”

    Mindwire Consulting’s Michael Feldstein wrote a couple of times this week on the OPM market (that is, on the outsourcing of core technical and instructional infrastructure to third-party vendors): “The Boundaries OPM and What Lies Beyond: The SUNY Example” and “Noodle Partners and the Boundary of the OPM Product Category.”

    The New York Times reviews the new documentary America to Me– “a searing lesson in school inequality.”

    “Fiddling with Time in Classrooms: Whatever Happened to Block Scheduling?” asks Larry Cuban.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via Chalkbeat: “Gates Foundation gives $92 million to networks of schools in latest reform effort.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Learn-to-code company Codeverse has raised $10 million in seed funding from Listen Ventures.

    Flatiron School (or WeWork, rather) has acquired the design school Designation.

    Barnes & Noble Education has

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via Motherboard: “Spyware Company Leaves ‘Terabytes’ of Selfies, Text Messages, and Location Data Exposed Online.” The company in question: Spyfone.

    Also via Motherboard: “Spyware Company Exposed ‘281 Gigabytes’ of Children’s Photos Online.” The company in question Family Orbit. Hello parents and schools: if you use spyware on the children in your care, you might actually be exposing them to more risk rather than preventing risk.

    More on surveilling your children in the Evening Standard: “This child-friendly smartwatch keeps you connected to your child without screens.”

    Via The Age: “‘It was creepy’: the parents opting out of technology in the classroom.”

    Via Digiday: “A Japanese coffee shop will give you free coffee in exchange for your data.” The coffee shop is located on the campus of Brown University.

    Via Adweek: “Google Is Collecting Your Data – Even When Your Phone Isn’t in Use.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A University Took an Uncommonly Close Look at Its Student-Conduct Data. Here’s What It Found.” The university: Rutgers. Among the findings: “Business majors represented nearly 25 percent of all alcohol transports in the fall of 2016, despite constituting less than 12 percent of the student body.”

    No, a Teen Did Not Hack a State Election,” writes ProPublica.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    From the Department of Education’s blog: “Back to School by the Numbers: 2018.”

    Edsurge on a Gallup poll of superintendents: “The Biggest Challenge for District Leaders? Finding and Keeping Good Teachers.”

    Edsurge on a YouGov/Microsoft poll of parents: “Survey Says: Parents Think Tech Companies Should Help Build Kids’ Digital Skills.”

    The 74 on the latest PDK International Poll: “or First Time Ever, a Majority of American Parents Do Not Want Their Children to Become Public School Teachers.”

    Inside Higher Ed on an Association of American Colleges & Universities poll: “Public May Not Trust Higher Ed, but Employers Do.”

    Education Week on a Pearson poll: “Generation Z Prefers Learning From YouTube, Not Books.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “New York spends more per student than any other state. A new study suggests it should spend more.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “What Works Clearinghouse Looking at Costs of Implementing Interventions.”

    “Why Kids Want Things” – The Atlantic’s Joe Pinsker has“a conversation with a researcher who has studied materialism for almost 30 years.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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