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The History of the Future of Education Technology
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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