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The History of the Future of Education Technology
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  • 09/29/17--05:50: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    President Trump Earmarks $200 Million in Federal Grants for STEM, Computer Science Programs,” says Edsurge, later swooning thatGoogle, Facebook, Amazon Among Tech Titans Committing $300 Million to K–12 Computer Science.” “Amazon, Facebook and others in tech will commit $300 million to the White House's new computer science push,” says Recode. Not so fast, says Doug Levin: “Scant Details, Fuzzy Math in $500 Million Public-Private Computer Science Education Push.” Trump has, of course, proposed some $9 billion in funding cuts to the Department of Education, so this is hardly “new money.”

    “Dear Mrs. Trump” by Liz Phipps Soeiro– why the librarian refused the books the First Lady sent to her school.

    Via The New Republic: “Betsy DeVos is headlining Harvard’s Koch-backed conference on school choice– with no critics of school choice.”

    Via The Washington Post: “DeVos speaks at Harvard– and guests were told they would be escorted out if disruptive.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “DeVos Says Obama-Era Consumer Rule Was Akin to ‘Free Money’.”

    Via Vice: “How DeVos’ New Rules on Campus Sexual Assault Discriminate Against Survivors.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What You Need to Know About the New Guidance on Title IX.”

    Via Education Week: “Betsy DeVos Viewed Unfavorably by 40 Percent of Voters, New Poll Says.” She has the highest “very unfavorable” rating of anyone in Trump’s cabinet.

    From the Department of Education press office: “U.S. Department of Education Awards $253 Million in Grants to Expand Charter Schools.”

    Also from the Department of Education press office: “Additional Senior Staff Appointments Announced by Secretary DeVos.”

    Via EdScoop: “Two edtech champions to join White House offices as fellows.” That’s Jake Steel, a TFA alum, and Crystal Moore, formerly at Fullbridge.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Justice Department Will Back Suit on ‘Free Speech’ Zone.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Jeff Sessions Adds to Trumpian Chorus on Campus Speech Limits.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “Jeff Sessions Defends Trump On NFL Criticism At Campus Free Speech Talk.”

    “What Sessions doesn’t know about free speech on campus” – an op-ed by Davidson College’s Issac Bailey.

    Inside Higher Ed on the “Return of the College Scoreboard”: “The Department of Education published updated information on the College Scorecard Thursday, including a new feature that allows students to compare data from up to 10 institutions at once.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A newly proposed bill in the U.S. House of Representatives would grant broad waivers to accreditors aimed at allowing them to bypass federal requirements in order to encourage innovation and to reduce ‘administrative burdens.’”

    Via Education Week: “FCC Seeks Comment on Access to WiFi for Schools and Libraries.”

    Via The Telegraph: “Saudi Arabia accidentally prints textbook showing Yoda sitting next to the king.” (Worth clicking on this link just to see the image.)

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via The Dallas Morning News: “1 in 4 Texas students affected by Harvey, education chief tells Dallas business leaders.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “Some Schools Are Banning Students From Kneeling During The National Anthem.”

    Via the ACLU’s website: “ACLU of Louisiana Condemns School Official’s Threats to Students’ First Amendment Rights.”

    Via The Intercept: “A Los Angeles School Board Scandal Could Upend Plans By Charter Backers to Take Over Public Schools.”

    Via the Associated Press: “The state says Ohio’s largest online charter school could owe another $20 million for failing to verify enrollment properly.” That’s the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, which is already having to repay Ohio some $60 million.

    Meanwhile, the state has given initial approval for ECOT to become a “dropout school.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “After years of attempts, Scott Walker, Wisconsin’s Republican governor, has successfully eliminated the state’s Education Approval Board as an independent agency tasked with overseeing for-profit colleges.”

    Via Ars Technica: “Proposed New Mexico science standards edit out basic facts.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “President Trump on Sunday evening issued new restrictions on travel to the U.S. to replace a 90-day ban on travel for citizens from six Muslim-majority countries. The 90-day ban, which expired Sunday, was widely opposed by colleges and universities concerned about the flow of international students and scholars to their campuses.”

    Education in the Courts


    Via The Baltimore Sun: “State Prosecutor investigating former Baltimore County School Supt. Dallas Dance.” The investigation has to do with Dance’s connection to SUPES Academy – the same thing that got Chicago Public Schools’ head Barbara Byrd-Bennett in hot water.

    Via the Future of Privacy Forum: “Law Enforcement Access to Student Records: What Is the Law?”

    Via The New York Times: “The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a case that could deal a crushing blow to organized labor. … [T]he court will consider whether public-sector unions may require workers who are not members to help pay for collective bargaining. If the court’s answer is no, unions would probably lose a substantial source of revenue.”

    The New York Times looks at“A Legal Industry Built on Private School Sex Abuse.”

    “Free College”


    Inside Higher Ed onBaltimore’s “free college” plans.

    Via The Tennessean: “Tennessee Promise students more likely to succeed in college, less likely to drop out, new data shows.”

    The Business of Student Loans


    Via The Detroit Free Press: “How freezing credit after Equifax will shut you out of some student loans.”

    Via Reuters: “After spate of suicides, China targets predatory student lending.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “National Default Rate for Student Loans Rises, Breaking Streak of Declines.” More via Buzzfeed.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “In Reversal, Former Globe U Campuses to Close.”

    Via The Phoenix New Times: “University of Phoenix Phasing Out Campuses; Current Students Not Affected, School Says.”

    More on the new for-profit higher ed – coding bootcamps – in the job training section below. And more on regulating for-profits (or not) in the state politics section above.

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    Responses to last week’s news about Western Governors University and the audit of its competency-based offerings: Via NPR: “Who Is A College Teacher, Anyway? Audit Of Online University Raises Questions.”

    Two responses from Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “WGU Audit Findings: Interpretations of ‘regular and substantive’ and self-paced’.” And “WGU Audit: Likely impacts for fragile movement of competency-based education.” (No disclosure on either of these that WGU has been a client of Hill’s.)

    Juilliard has joinededX.

    Via Open Culture: “Martin Scorsese to Teach His First Online Course on Filmmaking.” (This is via the celebrity teacher platform Masterclass.)

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    Via Citylab: “How America’s Most Integrated School Segregated Again.” That’s West Charlotte High School in Charlotte, North Carolina.

    Via The LA Times: “ Organizers call off far-right festival at UC Berkeley; some speakers plan rally on campus on Sunday.” More via Buzzfeed.

    Via The New York Times: “What Stunts Like Milo Yiannopoulos’s ‘Free Speech Week’ Cost.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “A Bronx student stabbed two classmates, killing a 15-year-old boy.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “Emails Show How An Ivy League Prof Tried To Do Damage Control For His Bogus Food Science.” That’s Brian Wansink of Cornell University and his research on “smart lunchrooms.”

    Bryan Alexander with the latest in his monitoring of campuses’ “queen sacrifices” – “Stony Brook launches a queen sacrifice by cutting humanities and humanists.”

    Via The LA Times: “UC Irvine aims to transform public health with record-breaking $200-million donation.” A follow-up from Cory Doctorow: “Deluded billionaire gives UC Irvine $200M to study homeopathy and ‘alternative’ therapies.”

    Via CBS San Francisco: “Monsanto Caught Ghostwriting Stanford University Hoover Institution Fellow’s Published Work.”

    “I Taught At The XQ Houston Super Schoolby Gary Rubenstein.

    Via The Pacific Standard: “For the First Time, a Female Officer Completed the Marines’ Grueling Infantry Officer Training Course.”

    Accreditation and Certification


    Via the Northeastern press office: “Northeastern University and IBM partnership first to turn digital badges into academic credentials for learners worldwide.”

    Via Hackernoon: “A Revolutionary Approach to Academic Validation Using Ethereum.” See how many factual errors you can find in this article!

    Edsurge profiles the latest from Degreed: “This Company Wants to Help You Hire for Skills, Not Credentials.” (No disclosure that Edsurge shares investors with the company.)

    There’s more on accreditation in the national politics section above.

    Testing, Testing…


    Inside Higher Ed on the latest SAT scores.

    Go, School Sports Team!


    Via ESPN: “NCAA basketball coaches among 10 charged with fraud, corruption.” More on the fraud investigation from The Chronicle of Higher Education and from NPR.

    Via The New York Times: “Rick Pitino Is Out at Louisville Amid F.B.I. Investigation.” His attorney says he will fight for the right to be paid the full value of his contract, which runs through 2026 – that’s over $40 million in salary and bonuses.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Rutgers University escaped the most serious punishments by the National Collegiate Athletic Association after its football players failed drug tests and were still allowed to compete and the team’s former head coach tried to persuade a professor to help improve an athlete's grades.”

    There’s more on how schools are responding to their athletes’ decision to protest during the national anthem in the politics section above. And there’s more on how schools and companies violate athletes’ privacy in the data and privacy section below.

    From the HR Department


    Equifax CEO Richard Smith says he will resign from his position after news broke that the company had suffered a massive data breach. He’ll collect $90 million on the way out the door.

    The Business of Job Training


    Via Edsurge: “As US Tech Companies Look to Mexico, Coding Bootcamps Follow.”

    “This Is What Coding Bootcamps Need To Do To Beat The Backlash” – according to Fast Company.

    From the Amazon blog: “Introducing Free Alexa Skills Courses by Codecademy.”

    There’s more “research” on the business of job training in the “research” section below.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Can machine learning unlock the keys to great teaching?asks Michael Petrilli.

    Can Technology-augmented Academic Advising Improve College Graduation Rates?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 Edsurge: “20 By 2020: Quizlet’s Big Revenue Ambitions From Third-Party Content Partners.”

    “Caution: Chromebooks,” writes Gary Stager.

    Y Combinator has posted a“Request for Education Startups.” (Here’s the list of education-related companies and people involved with YC.)

    Via Techcrunch: “Uber adds a new feature for riders that teaches basic sign language.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Microsoft Moves to Enable Streamlined Purchasing of Bundled Products for Education.”

    NCTM and the Math Forumby Tracy Zager.

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    Via Education Week: “How ‘Intelligent’ Tutors Could Transform Teaching.”

    Via Getting Smart: “Using Robots to Teach Elementary Students About Human Nature.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


    The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation have announced $2 million for “education-related recovery from recent hurricanes,” the AP reports.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    Gaosi Education has raised $83.52 million from AlphaX Partners Fund, China Media Capital, China International Capital Corporation, Loyal Valley Innovation Capital, Sinovation Ventures, and The Hina Group.

    Job recruitment platform EquitySim has raised $3.1 million in seed funding from 500 Startups, Peak Ventures, and University Ventures.

    Tutoring company Varsity Tutors has acquired tutoring company First Tutors.

    Testing company Taskstream-Tk20 has acquired testing company LiveText.

    Data company IO Education has acquired student information system company eSchoolData.

    Via Bloomberg: “Whitney Tilson to Shut Hedge Fund After ‘Sustained’ Poor Returns.”

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    New America’s Manuela Ekowo writing in Edsurge: “As the University of South Africa Considers Predictive Analytics, Ethical Hoops Emerge.”

    A new report from Data & Society: “Privacy, Security, and Digital Inequality– How Technology Experiences and Resources Vary by Socioeconomic Status, Race, and Ethnicity.”

    Via India Today: “In order to keep a track on efficiency and research skills, around 5,000 class 8 students of Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) are being given tablets as a part of a pilot project. They will especially be used for science and mathematics and will allow teachers to keep a track on whether students are actually studying at home.” (Kendriya Vidyalayas are central government-run schools in India.)

    Hacked Twitter Accounts a New Headache for Schools,” Education Week’s Ben Herold reports.

    Edsurge on“How to Protect Education Data When No Systems Are Secure.” The story features two companies who’ve experienced data breaches – Edmodo and Schoolzilla. No disclosure that Edsurge shares investors with both.

    Via The New York Times: “Technology Used to Track Players’ Steps Now Charts Their Sleep, Too.”

    What happens to all that data that these (unprofitable and likely to fail) startups collect in education? One answer: “Selling data to feed hedge fund computers is one of the hottest areas of finance right now,” says Quartz.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    From the World Bank blog: “A crisis in learning: 9 charts from the 2018 World Development Report.” More on the World Development report here.

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “District Officials Think They Know Open Ed. Resources, But Grasp Is Surface-Level, Survey Finds.”

    Via Education Week: “U.S. Adults Outperformed by Rest of Developed World in Numeracy, New Comparison Finds.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “The high school grads least likely in America to go to college? Rural ones.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “New Research on First Generation Students.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Survey: Faculty Getting More Confident in Tech Skills, but Students’ Skills Are Slipping.”

    Getting Smart’s Tom Vander Ark on a new report from Pearson: “The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030.”

    Via The Guardian: “ ‘Junk science’: experts cast doubt on widely cited college free speech survey.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “New data from the U.S. Federal Reserve on changes in family income show that Americans without a college degree, and African-Americans and Hispanic families, had the most rapid increase in wealth from 2013 to 2016. However, college degree holders are still far more wealthy, as are white families (with almost 10 times the wealth of African-American households).”

    There’s new data on student loan defaults in the business of student loans section above.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new federal report projects that enrollment in American postsecondary institutions will climb 15 percent from 2014 to 2025, with larger proportional increases among adult than traditional-age students, women than men, graduate students than undergraduates, and minority students than white students.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Enrollment in graduate school is up, continuing a trend in first-time graduate students researchers have seen for five years. But growth rates are starting to dip, according to numbers from a new report the Council of Graduate Schools co-published with the Graduate Record Examinations Board.”

    The non-profit Youth Truth is out with a survey on student bullying.

    Via Chalkbeat: “When charter schools unionize, students learn more, study finds.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Annual report from Scholars at Risk tracks threats to students, academics and their universities worldwide.”

    “Young people oppose Fitbits in schools,” according to research reported by The Conversation.

    Via General Assembly: “Data Science Education Lags Behind in Diversity.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Number of single moms in college doubled in 12 years, so why aren’t they graduating?”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Black and Hispanic students in New York City most likely to be arrested and handcuffed, data shows.”

    Education Isn’t the Key to a Good Income,” Rachel Cohen writes in The Atlantic.

    “Some Technology Leaders Worry about Children and Digital Devices: They Should,” says Stanford University’s Larry Cuban.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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  • 10/06/17--04:10: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    Ivanka Trump with an op-ed in The New York Post: “Why we need to start teaching tech in Kindergarten.” (Spoiler alert: because five-year-olds need coding skills so they can get jobs. Lazy, lazy, little children.)

    The Huffington Post filed Twitter’s response to Ivanka Trump’s announcement under “comedy.” Or maybe her announcement itself was comedy?

    Related, via Salon: “Silicon Valley’s $300M donation to STEM education is not what it seems.”

    Via Politico: “DeVos’ security detail could cost up to $6.54M over the next year.”

    Via The Washington Post: “DeVos rejects invitation to meet with former for-profit college students.”

    “The White House on Monday announced that it would nominate Mitchell “Mick” Zais as deputy secretary of education,” Inside Higher Ed reports. “Trump Taps Common-Core Foe Mick Zais for No. 2 Post at Ed. Dept.” is how Education Week describes the news.

    Via Buzzfeed: “The Justice Department Is Investigating Harvard’s Admissions Practices.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Inside the Free-Speech Case That Caught Jeff Sessions’ Eye.” It’s a case from Georgia Gwinnett College.

    Via The Seattle Times: “Glitch fixed, federal online student-aid application form is back online.”

    Andy Smarick worries that conservatives are divided over education reform.

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via Politico: “About 40 percent of Puerto Rico’s 1,113 public schools are accounted for, meaning the condition of most schools is unknown. Almost all of Puerto Rico’s schools remain without electricity or running water. Just 22 schools with running water and basic supplies will start holding informal classes today in an attempt to kickstart recovery.”

    Via The Washington Post: “D.C. says charter school board violated city law in vote on expanding charters.”

    Education in the Courts


    Via Politico: “The Kansas Supreme Court rejected the state’s school funding system in a ruling issued Monday that found it runs afoul of the state’s constitution by failing to adequately and equitably fund its school districts.”

    Via The Intercept: “Conservative Provocateur James O’Keefe’s Group Hit With Restraining Order, Blocking Latest Sting.” The case involves the Michigan affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).

    More on lawsuits in the student loan section below.

    “Free College”


    “How to Pay for Free Community College,” according to Inside Higher Ed.

    NPR on New York’s “free college” program: “‘Biggest-Ever Free College’ Program Reaches 6 Percent Of New York Students.”

    The Business of Student Loans


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Post-Recession Borrowers Struggle to Repay Loans.”

    Via the AP: “A new federal lawsuit by Pennsylvania’s attorney general says the nation’s largest student loan company engaged in abusive practices that have cost borrowers billions of dollars.” The largest student loan company is Navient.

    More Navient news in “the business of ed-tech” section below. And there’s more on for-profits and student loans in the research section below.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Via ProPublica: “For-Profit Schools Get State Dollars For Dropouts Who Rarely Drop In.” This story looks at EdisonLearning, formerly Edison Schools.

    There’s more on for-profits and student loans in the research section below. And there’s more on for-profits and the Trump administration in the national politics section above.

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    Via Politico: Western Governors University, “the nation’s leading provider of competency-based education – which the Education Department’s independent watchdog last month said violated federal student aid rules – is expanding into North Carolina.”

    Academy Coinbitcoin for online education or something.

    In the future, you might want to look for most MOOC-related news in the “business of job training” section below.

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    “Alt-Right: How the Breitbart Machine Laundered Racist Hateby Joe Bernstein in Buzzfeed. Do keep this in mind, universities, when you insist that Milo deserves a platform to speak on your campus.

    “Death at a Penn State Fraternityby The Atlantic’s Caitlin Flanagan.

    White supremacist Richard Spencer will speak at the University of Florida, which says it will spend $500,000 on security for the event.

    Via Jezebel: “FBI Arrests White Man Who Threatened to Murder Howard University Students.”

    “According to my observations, the standard Seattle Nazi is a white male under 30 who either works in the tech industry or is going to school to work in the tech industry” – from David Lewis’ story in The Stranger about white nationalists in Seattle. Good thing Seattle isn’t the center of computer science or computer science education!

    Via NPR: “How Schools Are Dealing With Students’ Right To Protest.” More on student athletes protests in the sports section below.

    Via The Baltimore Sun: “Pumpkin spice scent prompts Baltimore school evacuation.”

    The Atlantic on the decision of the Las Vegas School District to keep schools open on Monday: “Returning to Class the Morning After a Massacre.”

    Grace University will close at the end of the school year.

    Via The LA Times: “At UCLA, a dorm floor dedicated to first-generation students.”

    Via EdScoop: “USC launches edtech research center focused on underrepresented youth.”

    University of Wisconsin System to Migrate From D2L Brightspace to Canvas LMS” by Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Ohio State University and Apple on Wednesday announced a collaboration that will start a digital learning effort at the university that Apple and university officials said may represent the company’s most ambitious program in higher education.”

    Via Education Week: “In hurricanes’ aftermath, technology eases return to school.” (The narrative structure of these sorts of articles is always the same: crisis occurs; tech will save the day. Let’s not worry that there are many people who do not have access to electricity, let alone Internet, let alone digital devices.)

    Accreditation and Certification


    Via Edsurge: “More Colleges Are Offering Microcredentials– And Developing Them The Way Businesses Make New Products.”

    Related? Via The New York Post: “CUNY professor allegedly sold fake medical certificates.”

    Testing, Testing…


    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “AIR Poised to Win Three State Testing Contracts Worth At Least $84 Million.”

    Via Education Week: “Vendor wins $43M contract for Indiana’s ISTEP replacement.” Again, this vendor is AIR.

    Washington University in St. Louis will accept the GRE (not just the LSAT) for law school admissions.

    More testing news is framed by Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, below.

    Go, School Sports Team!


    Via The Courier-Journal: “Rick Pitino raked in 98% of the cash from University of Louisville’s current Adidas deal.” That deal is worth $160 million. Pitino was suspended recently for his involvement in a corruption scandal. You do the math.

    Via The Washington Post: “Texas high school coach boots football players for anthem protest.”

    Via Raw Story: “Christian school boots black players off football team for protesting during anthem.”

    From the HR Department


    Albemarle County Public Schools’ superintendent Pam Moran– truly one of the great school administrators – has announced that she plans to retire in June.

    Via The Nation: “This University Suggested International Students Could Be Reported to ICE if They Unionized.” “This university” is Washington University in St. Louis.

    Another USC med school scandal. Via The LA Times: “ USC medical school dean out amid revelations of sexual harassment claim, $135,000 settlement with researcher.”

    Via the AP: “The superintendent of a suburban Cleveland school district who was caught on video at a high school football game pulling down the pants of the school board vice president has been suspended.”

    The Business of Job Training


    “Questioning the Unquestionable: Schools and the Economyby Larry Cuban.

    Via the edX blog: “Higher Education Needs a Re-think to Train Tomorrow’s Workforce.”

    “How can institutions build students’ 21st century workforce skills? Send them abroad,” says Education Dive.

    Via Techcrunch: “OpenClassrooms and Capgemini team up and launch an online apprenticeship program.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Salesforce, the world’s largest customer relationship management platform, has announced a new classroom-ready training scheme called Trailhead for Students.” The new software is supposed to get students ready for “the Salesforce economy,” whatever the hell that means.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    “‘Eton for all’: will robot teachers mean everyone gets an elite education?asks The New Statesman.

    Can a 20-Minute Test Tell Employers What a College Degree Cannot?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Is Homework Compatible With Personalized Learning?asks Edsurge.

    No State Will Measure Social-Emotional Learning Under ESSA. Will That Slow Its Momentum?asks Education Week.

    ​Can Online Teaching Work at Liberal-Arts Colleges?asks Edsurge.

    Do Medical Schools Still Need Books?asks Inside Higher Ed. Shrug. Guess not.

    Will education publications stop using this formulation in their headlines?

    Reminder: according to Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”

    Upgrades and Downgrades


    Google had a big media to-do this week. Were there any education updates? Not sure. This story probably fits better under the surveillance section below. Via Ars Technica: “Google unveils a $249 smart camera that decides what’s worth photographing.”

    This, from Edsurge, is pretty awful: “Why Edtech Executives Are Keeping a Close Eye on Preschool Demographics.” It ties in to Ivanka Trump’s interest in the PreK market, no doubt – see the top story above. (She’s an investor in a company that targets that group.) So follow that narrative and network of financial relationships… But this article also underscores how everyone’s a market to ed-tech and how responsiveness to demographic shifts do not involve structural change but rather product development.

    More potential markets! Via Curbed: “School buses: A massive mass transit system in need of a tech upgrade.”

    Via Techcrunch: “A list of everything Magic Leap has released so far.” Useful for when you hear ed-tech evangelists swoon about how this company is going to revolutionize education.

    “Why Flipped Learning Is Still Going Strong 10 Years Later,” according to Edsurge.

    Via Edsurge: “NYC Keeps Its Edtech Accelerator Revving With New Funders and Markets.” Although plenty of other ed-tech accelerators have failed, this one – the “NYU Steinhardt Edtech Accelerator powered by StartEd” – is being bankrolled in part with funding from Rethink Education and Southern New Hampshire University.

    Via Techcrunch: “Kahoot launches premium version aimed at corporate training market.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Publisher Elsevier has announced the launch of ScienceDirect Topics, an information platform that has been compared to Wikipedia.”

    Via FT: “The secret lives of children and their phones.”

    Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg will offer a scholarship“to ‘cut through’ unequal access to opportunity.” It’s only available to KIPP graduates so put a little asterisk next to this notion of equality.

    “Too Many People Dream of a Charmed Life in Academia,” says Bloomberg.

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    Mattel and Google: a double standard for AI toys?” by Nicholas Carr.

    There’s more about Mattel’s robots and privacy in the privacy section below.

    Via The Post and Courier: “Coming soon to some S.C. classrooms: An army of robots to help autistic students learn social skills.”

    Via Ed-Tech Magazine: “AI Is on the Upswing in Optimizing K–12 Education.”

    Via MIT Technology Review: “Colleges Are Marketing Drone Pilot Courses, but the Career Opportunities Are Murky.”

    Campus Technology with the latest robot predictions (a.k.a. market research press release): “AI, Merging of Digital and Physical Worlds Among Top 10 Tech Trends for 2018.”

    The latest Pew Research report addresses the future of automation. More in the research section below. And, of course, there are robot stories in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    The LMS Moodle has raised $6 million in its first ever round of venture funding. The investor was Education For The Many.

    Workbench Platform has raised $1.7 million in seed funding from Brown Advisory. The project-based learning startup has raised $2.95 million total.

    Biba has raised $1.3 million in seed funding – or rather, it did so back in September, but I’d miss the news. Investors in the company were Greg Zeschuk, Jason Kapalka, and Leonite Capital. The company makes AR games that supposedly encourage playground activities.

    Curiscope has raised $1 million in seed funding from LocalGlobe, Ascension Ventures, Force Over Mass, Richard Fearn, and ustwo Adventure. The company makes AR / VR education content (on t-shirts).

    Student loan provider Navient will acquire student loan provider Earnest for $155 million.

    Campus Management Corp has acquired the following tools from Hobsons: ApplyYourself, AppReview, Connect, Radius, and Retain CRM.

    The second education IPO of the year: RYB Education, a Chinese private preschool company. Wait, I sense a theme in this week’s stories about profiting from preschoolers, don’t you?

    My latest report on ed-tech and venture capital is in the research section below.

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Via The Washington Post: “Actually, every single Yahoo account got hacked in 2013.”

    Via The New York Times: “Mattel Pulls Aristotle Children’s Device After Privacy Concerns.”

    I’m not even sure how to describe this story, and the headline doesn’t really do justice to it: “‘Dark Overlord’ Hackers Text Death Threats to Students, Then Dump Voicemails From Victims.”

    Via Alternet: “How Hackers Held an Entire School District Hostage.”

    Via Motherboard: “Replacing Social Security Numbers Is Harder Than You Think.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Getting Faculty Members to Embrace Student Data.” Also via The Chronicle: “How 2 Professors Used Data to Improve Their Courses.” Keep playing that data drumbeat.

    There’s more about privacy and robots in the robots section above.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    My latest report on ed-tech and venture capital: “The Business of Ed-Tech: September 2017 Funding Data.”

    Via Edsurge: “Watch That Hand: Why Videos May Not Be the Best Medium for Knowledge Retention.” My favorite thing about this was that, just the day before, Edsurge had touted how “flipped learning” is still a big thing – story linked above – but neither piece recognize one another. It’s like the left hand has no clue what the right hand is up to.

    Via the AP: “Students who attended for-profit colleges were twice as likely or more to default on their loans than students who attended public schools, according to a federal study published Thursday.”

    Via Education Week: “RAND Researchers Make It Clear: Personalized Learning Is Difficult to Do.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Report: VR and AR Headsets to See 50% Growth Every Year Through 2021.”

    More predictions from Campus Technology: “IT Spending to Top $3.65 Trillion in 2018.”

    Via Education Week: “To Ban or Not to Ban? Technology, Education, and the Media.”

    Via The Guardian: “Growing social media backlash among young people, survey shows.”

    The latest Pew Research Center report: “Automation in Everyday Life.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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    Inside Higher Ed asked a group of “experts”“what should Ivanka Trump read in order to learn about education technology?” I submitted an answer but it was not what they were looking for. So I’m publishing my thoughts (or 500 words, at least) here.

    Perhaps the better question is: what should Ivanka Trump not read in order to learn about education technology. It’s clear from her op-ed in The New York Post that she is quite familiar with the slogans and statistics that organizations like Code.org promote. She seems familiar too with the kinds of arguments readily found in tech and ed-tech industry publications and press releases: that computing is inevitable, and progress demands it. We have all heard these stories about the future: new technologies will make education more efficient, more accessible, more scalable; students’ education will become more “personalized”; and/or it will be increasingly oriented towards the demands of the technology industry and a “new economy” – “training” as Trump repeats five times in her op-ed.

    “Learning” is only mentioned once. Lots of other words that might be used to describe the purpose of school – higher education or otherwise – are also missing from Trump’s essay. Curiosity. Civics. Citizenship. Scholarship. Research. The liberal arts. We can probably tell a lot already about her reading list by their absence, because again, this reflects the monomaniacal focus on framing education as about “skills” and jobs – a focus shared by the Trump administration and by the educational marketing and storytelling emanating from the tech industry.

    Trump contends the White House will push for computer science to alter “not just what we teach, but how we teach.” This would require a shift not only in the curriculum but in the process, the pedagogy. But other than the repeated invocation of “training,” there’s no real sense of what a new pedagogical direction might involve – unless, that is, you read her call for more “problem solving” as some sort of twenty-first century update to “project-based learning.” But I don’t think Ivanka Trump has read much John Dewey.

    Problem-solving, Trump suggests, is not being taught in schools today. Of course it is, but in her formulation – one that’s been repeated by former Obama administration officials recently as well– computer science is touted as “the universal language of problem solving.” This implies that all problems are technical problems; all problems are engineering problems. There are no problems of ethics, beauty, or justice – or rather, ethics, beauty, and justice are now subsumed under the realm of “code.” To see coding as a “universal language” also subsumes the needs to communities – scholarly and otherwise – to the needs of the tech industry, to the demands of global capital.

    Trump has clearly read enough and knows enough already to recognize education technology is a perfect vehicle for Silicon Valley ideology. And there’s not much about much of that ideology – steeped in individualism and libertarianism – that she or her father oppose.

    I’ve also written about Ivanka Trump’s ed-tech industry network– what we know about her ed-tech investments and the people who’ve also invested in the same (and same types of) companies. To claim that she’s uninformed about all this seems to be to be wildly naive.


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  • 10/13/17--03:30: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    “What Ivanka Trump Knows about Ed-Tech” by me. Thoughts from other “experts” in Inside Higher Ed. Also by me: “The Ivanka Trump Ed-Tech Industry Network.”

    “Even Pokémon Go used by extensive Russian-linked meddling effort,” says CNN. Congrats to everyone who argued that Pokémon Go was the future of education. You have really done your part to extend civic values.

    Via The New York Times: “U.S. Will Withdraw From Unesco, Citing Its ‘Anti-Israel Bias’.” UNESCO is the UN’s educational and cultural organization.

    Via the AP: “The Department of Veterans Affairs abruptly dropped plans Wednesday to suspend an ethics law barring employees from receiving benefits from for-profit colleges. The move comes after criticism from government watchdogs who warned of financial entanglements with private companies vying for millions in GI Bill tuition.”

    Via Edsurge: “Betsy DeVos Visits Bay Area Public School for a Lesson in Personalized Learning.”

    Via The Huffington Post: “Roy Moore Once Compared Preschool To Nazi-Style Indoctrination.” Roy Moore recently won the Republican primary in the race for one of Alabama's Senate seats.

    Inside Higher Ed on“The New, Improved IPEDS.” IPEDS is the government’s database tracking post-secondary education statistics, including enrollments and graduations.

    Via NPR: “After 3 Years Under ISIS, Mosul’s Children Go Back To School.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via NPR: “The Monumental Task Of Reopening Puerto Rico’s Schools.”

    Via Education Week: “One of the nation’s largest online charter schools said it will close within four months, in the middle of the school year, if Ohio’s efforts to recoup $60 million or more in disputed funding aren’t halted.”

    Via Education Week: “Florida Virtual School Will Accept 20,000 Puerto Rican Students.” Do Puerto Rican students have Internet and electricity back yet?

    Via EdSource: “Virtual charter academies in California must refund nearly $2 million to state.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “A 1998 agreement that put the New York City police in charge of school safety has never been revised – until now.”

    Via NPR: “What’s Changed In South Carolina Schools Since Violent Student Arrest.”

    Immigration and Education


    “Losing My Legal Status In This Country Feels Like A Cruel Joke” by Buzzfeed contributor and DACA recipient Jason Koh.

    Education in the Courts


    Via Education Week: “A Maine teacher who pleaded guilty to shoplifting a $14.99 blouse after winning the $1 million Global Teacher Prize is accused of violating her conditions of release by stealing a $28 dog leash.”

    Via Edsurge: “Major Publishers Dismiss Lawsuit Against Follett Corporation.” Publishers dropped the lawsuit, more accurately, which claimed that Follett was selling counterfeit copies of textbooks.

    The Business of Student Loans


    Via Bloomberg: “Black Americans Twice as Likely as Whites to Default on Student Debt.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Via The Washington Post: “A hiccup in Purdue’s acquisition of for-profit Kaplan University.” Via The Journal & Courier: “Purdue disputes claims Kaplan deal leaves taxpayers on hook.”

    Via Mother Jones: “Betsy DeVos Champions For-Profit Schools That Are Deceiving Taxpayers and Vulnerable Students.”

    Via ProPublica: “For-Profit Schools Reward Students for Referrals and Facebook Endorsements.”

    There’s more news on for-profits in the national politics section above.

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    MOOCs are dead, according to Udacity’s VP. The Economic Times of India reports that “Udacity to focus on individual student projects.” Never one to let a good MOOC story pass them by, Edsurge repeats the story. “MOOCs Are ”Dead.“ What’s Next? Uh-oh,” writes John Warner in IHE.

    Also via Edsurge: “MIT Moves Beyond the MOOC to Court Companies, Professional Learners.”

    More news about online education and virtual charter schools in California, Florida, and Ohio in the state news section above.

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    “How the School-to-Prison Pipeline Works” by Mariame Kaba in Teen Vogue.

    This story from Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy is… something: “Meet The ‘Young Saints’ Of Bethel Who Go To College To Perform Miracles.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Inside an ‘Unprecedented’ Increase in Campus White-Supremacist Recruiting.”

    Via The Wisconsin State Journal: “University of Wisconsin officials announce plan to merge Colleges with four-year campuses.”

    Via The Washington Post: “‘In the event of a nuclear attack’: U-Hawaii’s curious email to students and staff.”

    Via The New York Times: “Yale Endowment, Often a Pacesetter, Is a Laggard This Time.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Drexel Puts Professor on Leave After Tweet About Las Vegas Draws Conservative Ire.” It’s so important to watch how the whole “free speech” thing on campus plays out – that is, whose“free speech” gets defended.

    Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Purdue’s President Says Free-Speech Policy Forces Him to Defend Faculty Critic.”

    Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What Berkeley‘s $800,000 Did – and Didn’t – Buy During ’Free Speech Week’.”

    Via The Journal Sentinel: “The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents on Friday passed a policy pushed by Republican state lawmakers to punish students on UW campuses who repeatedly disrupt campus speakers with opposing views.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “An assistant professor of history at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas has apologized for blaming President Trump for the recent shooting massacre in the city after a student secretly recorded her comments and shared them with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.” The White House wants an investigation.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Campus Carry in Spotlight After Police Officer’s Death.”

    Via The Hollywood Reporter: “USC Rejects Harvey Weinstein’s $5M Women’s Program Donation.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How the CIA secretly exploits higher education.”

    Boston University and Wheelock College have reached a deal on their merger.

    Via Edsurge: “​Inside the Incubators: The Anatomy of a University Innovation Team.”

    “The History of School Lunchesby Malcolm Harris.

    Accreditation and Certification


    Via The New York Times: “Some Charter Schools Can Certify Their Own Teachers, Board Says.” I look forward to this logic being applied to doctors.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher & Postsecondary Education is a new group that is exploring alternative approaches to accreditation in higher education. With funding from the Lumina Foundation and through the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, the QA Commons last week announced a pilot project to assess higher education programs at 14 institutions around the country.”

    Via Forbes: “How Blockchain Can Stamp Out China’s Fake Diplomas.”

    Testing, Testing…


    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Pearson is fighting to halt a decision by the state of Iowa to award a $31 million testing contract to the American Institutes for Research, arguing that the scoring of bids was riddled with ‘preferential treatment and bias.’”

    Via The Fayette Tribune: “All West Virginia high school juniors will begin taking the SAT as the statewide summative assessment in spring 2018, the West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) announced earlier this month. The College Board was selected as the successful bidder following a competitive review process for the high school assessment.”

    Go, School Sports Team!


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The National Collegiate Athletic Association will not punish the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after it created fake courses in which students were given credit despite never attending classes, and no faculty members ever taught them.” Sham courses. Sham oversight from the NCAA.

    Via Deadspin: “How UNH Turned A Quiet Benefactor Into A Football-Marketing Prop.”

    Via MS News Now: “O’Bannon football players suspended from team for taking a knee during national anthem.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Albright College Athlete Is Dismissed From Team for Kneeling During National Anthem.”

    Via The New York Times: “An N.C.A.A. for Esports? Rivals Angle to Govern Campus Video Gaming.”

    Via The Atlantic: “Towns are weighing the practicality of artificial fields against the potential health risks for the kids who play on them.”

    From the HR Department


    I missed this news earlier this year. Coddy Johnson, hired last year as the COO of AltSchool, is back at the video game company Activision. “He was granted $15 million in stock options and performance-linked restricted shares that vest over four years, as well as a $2.2 million ‘contract inducement’ to come back,” Bloomberg reports.

    The Business of Job Training


    Via The New York Times: “Google Unveils Job Training Initiative With $1 Billion Pledge.”

    Contests and Awards


    The MacArthur Foundationannounced its new “geniuses.” Among the recipients of the fellowship: education writer Nikole Hannah-Jones.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Can VR be a tool for inspiring empathy in higher ed?asks Education Dive.

    (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


    Amazon is donating $10 million to Code.org. (You can see a list of all Code.org’s investors here.)

    Via Education Week: “Questions Linger Over Companies’ $300 Million Computer Science Pledge.”

    It’s 2017 and many critics agree that social media is full of trolls and harassers, that it helps subvert democracies here and abroad, but hey: “To Teach Digital Citizenship Effectively, Educators Say It’s Time to Unblock Social Media,” says Edsurge.

    And of course, there’s an app for that. Via Techcrunch: “Kudos wants to be a gentle introduction to social media sharing for kids.”

    Via Spectrum News: “Despite dearth of data, firms sell brain training as autism antidote.” US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is an investor in one of these companies: Neurocore.

    Edsurge on the Injini ed-tech accelerator in South Africa: “Why the World’s Youngest Continent Got an Edtech Accelerator.” The accelerator was founded by former State Secretary for Education Michael Gove’s policy advisor Jamie Martin.

    Via Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Unizin Membership Now Set As Annual Fee Of Up To $427.5k.”

    Via LinkedIn: “Instructure is Utah’s newest $Billion Company.”

    Via the Microsoft press release: “Introducing Education Resources, a source of Open Educational Resources within Office 365.”

    Elsewhere in proprietary OER, via Inside Higher Ed: “Cengage will offer open educational resources, curated and adapted to include proprietary assessment tools, from $25 per student for general education courses.”

    Also via Inside Higher Ed: “ResearchGate, a popular tool used by scholars to share their work, is taking down many researchers’ work, apparently in response to demands from publishers.”

    TNW claims that “Socratic is morphing into a distraction-free ‘Snapchat for homework’.”

    Baruch College’s video-based feedback tool Vocat is now open source.

    “Why Do the Boy Scouts Want to Include Girls?” asks The Atlantic.

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    Via Techcrunch: “Mattel releases biologically inspired foldable robot bugs.”

    “New AI tool helps teachers tackle math,” eSchool News claims. The tool in question: IBM’s Teacher Advisor with Watson 1.0.

    10 Disruptions That Will Revolutionize Education,” according to Education Week. The list includes AI, of course.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


    Via The New York Times: “Eli Broad, Patron of Los Angeles, to Step Down From His Philanthropy.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    Andela has raised $40 million in Series C funding from GV (Google Ventures), Spark Capital, Salesforce Ventures, CRE Venture Capital, TLcom Capital Partners, VentureSouq, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, DBL Partners, and Amplo. The African coding bootcamp has raised $81 million total.

    Knowbox has raised $30 million in Series B funding from Bertelsmann Asia Investment Fund, TAL Education Group, Baidu Ventures, and New World Strategic Investment. The Chinese “homework help” company has raised $55.7 million total.

    Neverware has raised $6.5 million in Series B funding from Google Ventures. The company, which helps schools refurbish old computers by installing the Chrome OS, has raised $14 million total.

    Shaw Academy has raised $1.46 million in crowdfunding for its MOOC platform. Someone should inform them that MOOCs are dead.

    Qualified and Upswing have raised $75,000 from Village Capital, “which runs peer-selected startup competitions across the globe.”

    Venture capital firm Educapital has closed a $53 million fund to invest in education companies. Investors include Bpifrance, Hachette Livre, and Education for the Many.

    Apollo Global Management has acquiredWest Corporation, maker of SchoolMessenger, for $5.2 billion.

    Volaris Group has acquiredEdumate.

    I won’t include this in my calculations of ed-tech funding – despite all the proclamations that AR and VR are the future of education. Magic Leap– a wealthy vaporware company that claims it’s building something amazing with AR– is trying to raise $1 billion in funding. The company has raised $2.88 billion total – and has nothing to show for it.

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Filter Bubbles and Privacy, and the Myth of the Privacy Settingby Bill Fitzgerald.

    Via The Verge: “Google’s Home Mini needed a software patch to stop some of them from recording everything.”

    Similar news about Microsoft products. Via MakeUseOf: “Cortana Is Listening Into Your Skype Conversations.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Historians Blame Lack of Support for Slow Technology Uptake.”

    Via The New York Times Magazine: “Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?”

    “Do You Know the Edtech Adoption Rules in Your State? SETDA’s New Guide May Help,” says Edsurge.

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Demands From K–12 Schools for Contracts Surging at State, Local Level.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Small increases in course loads can increase the odds that students will stick with college and eventually graduate, particularly part-time students. That’s the central finding of a new report from Civitas Learning, a student success company with a focus on predictive analytics.”

    Via Bloomberg: “The Fraternity Paradox: Lower GPA, Higher Incomes.”

    Via the Pew Research Center: “Online Harassment 2017.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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  • 10/20/17--04:50: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    From the White House Press Office: “President Donald J. Trump Proclaims October 15 through October 21, 2017, as National Character Counts Week.” The irony.

    “The U.S. Senate’s education committee on a party-line vote Wednesday advanced the nomination of Carlos Muñiz for general counsel at the Department of Education,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday announced a proposed settlement with a website whose ‘military-friendly’ rankings of colleges and universities allegedly promoted institutions that paid to be included.” The website: Victory Media.

    Also via Inside Higher Ed: “The Federal Trade Commission and a group of states last week announced a coordinated law-enforcement action against deceptive student loan debt-relief scams. The crackdown so far has featured new cases and a judgment against scammers who allegedly used deception and false promises to reel in more than $95 million in illegal fees in recent years.”

    Via the BBC: “Tuition fee rise to £9,295 in Wales is scrapped.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “India tries coding camps, craft centers and all-girls schools to fight illiteracy.”

    Via The New York Times: “To Inspire Young Communists, China Turns to ‘Red Army’ Schools.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via WBEZ: “CPS Secretly Overhauled Special Education At Students’ Expense.” CPS, for those not up on their edu acronyms, is the Chicago Public Schools.

    Via The Los Angeles Times: “New law puts California on path to offering first year free at community colleges.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Eva Moskowitz looks back at her turn away from district schools, as she plans for 100 schools of her own.” Moskowitz is the founder of the Success Academy charter school chain.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Bill Would Bar U. of Wisconsin Employees From Working at Planned Parenthood.”

    Calling him an “unexpected ally” of Betsy DeVos, The Atlantic reports that “Jerry Brown, California’s Democratic governor, has vetoed a bill that would’ve codified into law Obama-era guidance on Title IX.”

    Via The LA Times: “ What Ref Rodriguez’s latest legal problems mean for the charter school movement.” The story notes that the LAUSD school board member does have support from Netflix’s Reed Hastings who has contributed $75,000 to his legal defense fund.

    New York City libraries have announced they plan to forgive the late fees of all children aged 17 and under in a one-time amnesty event,” The AP reports.

    Via CBS Minnesota: “Philando Fundraising Campaign Clears All St. Paul School Lunch Debt.”

    Via Edsurge: “The Makings (and Misgivings) of a Statewide Effort to Personalize Learning in Massachusetts.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The Decline of the Midwest’s Public Universities Threatens to Wreck Its Most Vibrant Economies.”

    Bryan Alexander posits“One path forward for public higher education: ending in-state tuition discounts.”

    Immigration and Education


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A federal judge in Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday blocking the implementation of a new iteration of the Trump administration’s travel ban. The ban, which was scheduled to fully go into effect today, would block all would-be travelers from North Korea and Syria, in addition to prohibiting all immigrant travel and imposing various restrictions on certain types of nonimmigrant travel for nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Venezuela and Yemen.”

    Education in the Courts


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Attorneys general in 18 states have sued the U.S. Department of Education over the Trump administration’s move to pause enforcement of the so-called gainful-employment rule, which applies to vocational programs at nonprofit colleges and to all programs at for-profit institutions.” More via Buzzfeed.

    Via CNET: “Verizon to pay $17M to resolve FCC, Justice E-Rate probes.”

    “Free College”


    There’s more about free college plans in the state politics section above.

    The Business of Student Loans


    Via Reuters: “SoFi withdraws U.S. banking application, citing leadership change.” “Leadership change” is really a nice way of putting a series of sexual harassment scandals. Anyway, looks like we’re back to referring to SoFi as a “student loan provider” and not some other new-fangled fin-tech darling. (SoFi is the ed-tech company that has raised the most venture capital. Pay attention.)

    More research on student loans in the research section below. And more on crackdowns on those who try to scam students into repayment plans in the politics section above. And more on who’s buying student loan companies in the “business of ed-tech” section below.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Via Edsurge: “Woz U? Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak Launches Online School to Teach Software Development.” I suppose I could put this in “the business of job training” section, but as Woz U has partnered with the for-profit Southern Careers Institute, it probably should remain here in this section despite the glowing press it received from tech publications about how this venture is going to unlock tech careers. The school is listed in this 2015 story by Inside Higher Ed on for-profits “where more than half of federal student loan borrowers had not made a single dollar of progress in paying down their loans seven years after they became due.” Good job, Woz. And good job, tech journalists, on checking into the background of this for-profit and not just rewriting the press release. Oh wait… LOL.

    Via The NY Daily News: “Flatiron coding school to pay $375G for operating without a license, making false claims about its graduates.” More from Ars Technica and MarketWatch.

    “Who’s Holding Coding Bootcamp Accountability Accountable?” asks Edsurge. (I believe the answer is “New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.”)

    Via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “EDMC completes sale of schools to Dream Center.”

    More on legal actions surrounding for-profits in the courts section above.

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    Via The GW Hatchet: “Oversight of online learning programs lacking in some schools, report finds.” The report was undertaken by the George Washington University Faculty Senate.

    Via the edX blog: “edX le da la bienvenida a la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba.”

    There’s more edX news in the HR section below.

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    Via NPR: “White Nationalist Richard Spencer Met By Protesters At University Of Florida.” More on the event via Inside Higher Ed.

    Penn grad student says she’s under fire on campus and off for using a teaching technique that involves specifically calling on students from underrepresented groups,” Inside Higher Ed reports. More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Pro-Trump Protesters Shout Down Democrat’s Speech at Whittier College.”

    Via The New York Times: “‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Removed From School in Mississippi.”

    Via The Washington Post: “ N.J. students walk out of high school to protest teacher’s ‘speak American’ comments.”

    “The Lure of the Lazy River” – The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Jack Stripling on LSU’s new recreation center.

    Via The Clarion-Ledger: “A predominately black public school in Mississippi named after Confederate President Jefferson Davis will be stripped of that moniker next year and replaced with that of another president whose character students, parents and teachers have said is more fitting – Barack Obama.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “When Colleges Use Their Own Students to Catch Drug Dealers.”

    Accreditation and Certification


    “A Kayak for Credentials” – Inside Higher Ed onCredential Engine’s plans for a big database on post-secondary credentials.

    WGU Is Not Off the Hook,” says Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein, referring to the recent Department of Education report on the school’s status as a correspondence school (rather than a distance education provider).

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is offering some students the option to be awarded tamper-free digital degree certificates when they graduate, in partnership with Learning Machine. Selected students can now choose to download a digital version of their degree certificate to their smartphones when they graduate, in addition to receiving a paper diploma.” Because I can’t tell you how many times I have needed to prove I have a college degree but I didn’t have a digital copy of my diploma on my iPhone. So glad someone has solved this problem.

    Testing, Testing…


    More testing problems in Tennessee. Via The Tennessean: “Thousands of TNReady tests scored incorrectly.”

    Go, School Sports Team!


    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “In UNC Case, No Watchdog for Major Academic Fraud.” Also via The Chronicle: “Where the Buck Stopped in the UNC Fraud Scandal (Hint: Not at the Top).”

    From the HR Department


    EdX has a new COO and president: Adam Medros, formerly of TripAdvisor.

    More MOOC job changes: Techcrunch reports that “Coursera’s chief product officer just left to become a VC.” That’s Tom Willerer, who will join Venrock.

    Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Launches New Leadership Team,” according to EdWeek’s Market Brief.

    Changes too at another textbook company as David Levin, the CEO of McGraw Hill Educationannounced he’s stepping down.

    Leonard Medlock, formerly the head of Edsurge’s Concierge product, has moved onto another startup. It’s one of a number of departures from Edsurge recently: Mary Jo Madda is now at Google. And Allison Dulin Salisbury has become president of Entangled Studios.

    Grad students at the University of Chicago have voted to unionize.

    The Business of Job Training


    Once upon a time, Coursera updates went in the MOOC section. Most MOOC news these days more accurately fits here under “job training.” From the Coursera blog: “New on Coursera: start-to-finish learning paths for starting a new career.”

    Via Education Week: “CSforAll Announces Computer Science Pledges from Over 170 Organizations.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Is blockchain the answer to higher ed’s cybersecurity problems?asks eCampus News.

    “​Ohio State Will Give Incoming Students iPads. But Do Tablet Programs Work?asks Edsurge.

    Is the Five-Paragraph Essay Dead?asks Edsurge.

    Should College Professors Give ‘Tech Breaks’ In Class?asks NPR.

    (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


    Two different opinions on WIkipedia: “How Social Media Endangers Knowledge” by Hossein Derakhshan in Wired. And “Once Reviled in Education, Wikipedia Now Embraced By Many Professors” by Jeffrey Young in Edsurge.

    Internet Archive Hopes to Help Libraries Make Available Books Once Thought Trapped By Copyright,” writes Jen Howard.

    Sprint Rolls Out Effort to Boost Student Connectivity, Tech Access,” says EdWeek’s Market Brief.

    Edsurge has two stories on the Network for Public Education’s conference: “Public Educators Share Fallout on Personalized Learning, Privatization and Edtech” by Sydney Johnson and “Why Our Obsession With Edtech and Workforce Prep Concerns Parents and Public Educators” by Tina Nazerian.

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    Via MIT Technology Review: “Andrew Ng Has a Chatbot That Can Help with Depression.” After fixing education, I guess these folks are on to now automating mental health care. Whee.

    “Teachers Are Finding Innovative Ways to Use Robots in Class,” claims Education Week.

    AI-driven tool produces high quality online learning for global company in days not months,” claims Donald Clark.

    George Veletsianos asks us to “Imagine a future in which technologies teach humans.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


    “Our Education Efforts Are Evolving,” says Bill Gates. He told the Council of the Great City Schools that the Gates Foundation would spend some $1.7 billion in U.S. public education in the next five years. Some of the details of this spending:

    First, although we will no longer invest directly in new initiatives based on teacher evaluations and ratings, we will continue to gather data on the impact of these systems and encourage the use of these systems to improve instruction at the local level.


    Second, we will focus on locally-driven solutions identified by networks of schools, and support their efforts to use data-driven continuous learning and evidence-based interventions to improve student achievement.


    Third, we are increasing our commitment to develop curricula and professional development aligned to state standards.


    Fourth, we will continue to support the development of high-quality charter schools.

    Coverage of Gates’ announcements via Chalkbeat and WaPo’s Valerie Strauss. (It’s noteworthy, I think, that “personalized learning” is not mentioned in Gates’ remarks.)

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    The venture capital firm Owl Ventures has raised a $185 million fund to invest in ed-tech. No details on who its investors are. Here’s what we know about what Owl Ventures’ network (including investments and people involved) looks like.

    Coding bootcamp Galvanize has raised $7 million in Series C funding from University Ventures and ABS Capital Partners. The company, which laid off 11% of its workforce this summer, has raised over $102.4 million total.

    BridgeU has raised $5.3 million in Series A funding from Octopus Ventures, Downing Ventures, and Fresco Capital. The career guidance company has raised $8.2 million total.

    Fluent City has raised $3 million “to revolutionize language learning,” says Techcrunch. Participating in the funding round: New Ground Ventures, WorldQuant Ventures, ZG Ventures, John Katzman, Nick Hammerschlag, Matthew Hanson, and Lerner Investments. The company has raised $8 million total.

    Student loan servicing Nelnet has acquiredGreat Lakes Educational Loan Services for $150 million.

    It’s not ed-tech, but I’ll make note of it anyway. Facebook has acquired tbh, a 2-month-old app that’s purportedly popular with teens. Facebook paid “under $100 million” for it, says Business Insider. (Wonder how Facebook knew that the app was so popular? It tracks the usage of rivals’ apps through its VPN project.)

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Via the BBC: “Child safety smartwatches‘easy’ to hack, watchdog says.”

    Via The Kansas City Star: “Easy-to-get hacking device puts KU professors’ information in student’s hands.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Institute for Higher Education Policy on Wednesday issued a set of recommendations on the nuts and bolts of creating a federal postsecondary student-level data system.” Does the Gates Foundation have another $100 million to invest in education data infrastructure?

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Who is keeping student data safe in the era of digital learning?” Trick question.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    Via Chalkbeat: “The $100 million question: Did Newark’s school reforms work? New study finds big declines, then progress.” That $100 million is, of course, the money Mark Zuckerberg gave to help distract folks from an unflattering biopic.

    Via WCET: “New Survey Tracks Online and Distance Education in Canada.”

    Young Children Are Spending Much More Time In Front Of Small Screens,” says NPR’s Anya Kamenetz (who’s also written a book on the topic).

    According to this press release, Technavio says that the global competency-based education spending market will grow by 18% between 2017 and 2021. This fortune-teller will charge you about $1000 to read its “market research.”

    Professors’ Productivity Declines With Age, Right? Maybe Not,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education on a study out of UC Boulder.

    The latest Pew Research Center report asks“experts” about “The Future of Truth and Misinformation Online.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: "Half of all black students who took out federal student loansdefaulted in 12 years, according to two analyses of new federal data on student borrowers. More via Buzzfeed.

    Parent Notifications Have Become the Norm in K–12 Market,” EdWeek’s Market Brief claims.

    The New York Times on psychology’s “replicability crisis: “When the Revolution Came for Amy Cuddy.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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  • 10/27/17--03:50: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    “Assessing Betsy DeVosRollback on Disability Rightsby Pacific Standard’s David Perry.

    “The 72 OSERS Documents Rescinded by Betsy deVos” – by Liz Ditz.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The White House announced Thursday that President Trump would nominate Kenneth L. Marcus, president and general counsel of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, as the next head of civil rights at the Department of Education.”

    Via Education Week: “The Polarizing Pick to Be Betsy DeVos’ Right-Hand Man.” (That’s Mick Zais.)

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Candice Jackson on Campus Sex Assault: ‘We’re Not Asking Schools to Step In as Courts of Law’.”

    Via The New York Times: “Melania Trump, in Michigan, Urges Middle Schoolers to ‘Choose Kindness’.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Rand Paul’s New Target: Peer Review.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Sessions’ Justice Dept. Is Wading Into Another Campus Free-Speech Case.” This one involves Pierce College.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “IRS Seeks to Tax Disabled Vet’s Forgiven Loans.”

    Via The New York Times: “Consumer Bureau Loses Fight to Allow More Class-Action Suits.” Challenging forced arbitration clauses has been one way the CFPB has taken on the student loan industry.

    More on the Trump administration’s approach to student loans in the student loan section below.

    Via Education Week: “FCC Delays, Denials Foil Rural Schools’ Broadband Plans.”

    Via Techcrunch: “FTC relaxes COPPA rule so kids can issue voice searches and commands.”

    The Black Alliance for Educational Options, a charter school advocacy group, announced it will cease operations at the end of the year. (Related, I think: “The Rift Among Charter Schools” by Rachel Cohen.)

    Via The Guardian: “Universities deplore ‘McCarthyism’ as MP demands list of tutors lecturing on Brexit.”

    Via Reuters: “Japan’s Abe vows to put education spending before budget balance.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via WBEZ: “Chicago Charter Schools Hired 163 Public School Staffers Banned For Misconduct, Including Sexual Abuse.”

    Via The LA Times: “L.A. schools Supt. Michelle King on medical leave through the end of the year.”

    Via The LA Times: “ His three allies on the L.A. school board want Rodriguez to take a leave. He says no.”

    Via KPCC: “Charter school law is murky when it comes to the Ref Rodriguez story.”

    Immigration and Education


    Via The Washington Post: “As DACA winds down, 20,000 educators are in limbo.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A professor at the University of Otago, in New Zealand, said she was initially denied entry to the U.S. after the academic honorarium she was to receive from a U.S. university came under scrutiny.”

    Education in the Courts


    Via Current: “Former Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton no longer licenses the show’s brand from the public TV station that created the program, a result of two lawsuits that concluded Friday.”

    Via the Sacramento Bee: “Suicide, investigation and a lawsuit follow booze-fueled UC Davis ag school retreat.”

    The Business of Student Loans


    Via Buzzfeed: “A Close Ally Of Mike Pence Is Helping The Shady Student Debt Relief Industry.” (That’s Marty Obst.)

    Via MarketWatch: “John Grisham’s new novel grapples with the $1.4 trillion student debt crisis.”

    Via TPM: “DeVos Delays Obama-Era Student Loan Protections Amid Writing New Rules.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “U.S. Considers Partial Relief for Defrauded Student Borrowers.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Department of Education Wednesday released the names of 17 panelists and alternates who will be charged with overhauling an Obama administration regulation for protection of student borrowers through a process known as negotiated rule making.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Via Techcrunch: “Holberton gets backing from more industry executives as it looks to scale its software engineering school.”

    There is some bootcamp acquisition news in the venture capital section below.

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    MOOCs. They’re back?

    “Learning Creative Learning: It’s not a MOOC, it’s a community,” says the MIT Media Lab.

    “A Proposal to Put the ‘M’ Back in MOOCs” – an op-ed by Class Central’s Dhawal Shah in Edsurge.

    “Rethinking MOOCs” – an op-ed in Duke University’s newspaper The Chronicle.

    “Reviving the MOOC” – an op-ed by Stephen Downes.

    Edsurge profilesDr. Chuck about his work on MOOCs with Coursera. (No disclosure in this or its Class Central article that it shares investors with these MOOC companies.)

    This will be featured in “The Week in Predictions,” but I’ll note it here too. From the Coursera blog: “Building India’s Workforce for 2020.” (Like I’ve said previously, these corporate stories really do belong in “the business of job training” section below.)

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Controversy at George Washington U. Highlights Challenges of Diving Deeply Into Online Education.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Drexel Lets Controversial Professor Teach Online.” (That’s George Ciccariello-Maher.)

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    Via The LA Times: “White nationalist shot at protesters after Richard Spencer speech in Florida, police say.”

    Via The Richmond Times-Dispatch: “ Police seeking Facebook release of Virginia Tech instructor’s activity.” The instructor is a regular poster on white supremacist websites.

    The College of the Ozarks will require students take a class aimed at encouraging patriotism.

    Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich tries to argue thatLeft-wing education cheats children.”

    Via The New York Times: “High School Students Explain Why They Protest Anthems and Pledges.”

    A misguided op-ed by the president of the University of Oregon: “The Misguided Student Crusade Against ‘Fascism’.”

    “There is no 1st Amendment right to speak on a college campus,” says Vox.

    “How Campus Racism Could Affect Black Students’ College Enrollment” by The Atlantic’s Melinda D. Anderson.

    “The Chinese University of Hong Kong put in the winning bid to purchase the campus of the now-defunct Daniel Webster College,” says Inside Higher Ed.

    The Memphis College of Art will close.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “2 Are Shot and Killed on Grambling State’s Campus After Fight That Began in Dorm Room.”

    Harvard’s The Crimson on discrimination against women in the school’s math department.

    “‘I chose abuse, because it seemed safer.’” – “Dean Dad” Matt Reed on the #RealCollege conference on food insecurity on college campuses.

    Via the BBC: “Stephen Hawking PhD readers crash Cambridge University website.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Alabama will issue manufacturing industry certifications across its two-year college system in an effort to create a better educational pipeline to jobs in manufacturing and transportation.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Southern New Hampshire U to launch Competency-Based Master’s in Online Ed.”

    Testing, Testing…


    Via Sixth Tone: “China Announces Radical Overhaul of College Entrance Exam.”

    Via The New York Times: “Asian Test-Prep Centers Offer Parents Exactly What They Want: ‘Results’.”

    Go, School Sports Team!


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Donor Revokes $6 Million Pledge to Louisville Athletics.”

    There’s a sports-related headline better suited for the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines in that section.

    From the HR Department


    Duke University’s Kieran Healy posts his cover letter to a rather wild job announcement from MIT Media Lab.

    Via Politico: “Kevin Chavous is joining K12 Inc., the nation’s largest virtual charter school management company, as president of academics, policy, and schools. Chavous is a founding board member of the American Federation for Children, the school choice advocacy group formerly chaired by Betsy DeVos.”

    Chris Minnich, the executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, announced he’d be stepping down from the position in January.

    The Business of Job Training


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The growing number of jobs in the computing field far outpaces how many students are earning bachelor’s degrees in computer science and similar fields, according to a lengthy new report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.”

    Contests and Awards


    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “A virtual reality platform that allows students to simulate hands-on orthopedic surgical training won the top prize in the EdSim Challenge, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Is The NCAA Equipped To Handle Scandals?asks 1A.

    Is Free Speech In A ‘State Of Emergency’?asks 1A.

    Has Strunk and White Struck Out of Writing Instruction?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


    “Top Charter Networks Turning Attention to Curriculum,” says Michael Petrilli. And in Edsurge, Amber Oliver and Michael Horn write, “Without the Right Curriculum, Personalized Learning Is Just Another Fad.” (Note: the focus on curriculum is something that the Gates Foundation says that, with its latest pivot, it plans to fund.)

    More on the Gates Foundation changes [in Education Week](With Latest Education Investments, Gates Pivots Again) and in Chalkbeat and on my personal blog.

    Via Mic: “On Thursday, Pearson, an education publishing company, apologized for publishing a nursing textbook section that contained racist material about treating patients from different cultural backgrounds who have acute and chronic pain.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Unizin Partners with edX, Cengage.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “African Ed-Tech Incubator’s First Class of Companies Step Into Market.”

    Via the AP: “Fisher-Price recalls 65,000 baby seats due to fire hazard.”

    Via Techcrunch: “HelloFresh co-founder is working on a prepared meal service for kids.”

    Also via Techcrunch: “Pair Eyewear, the Warby Parker for kids, launches today.”

    (No. These last two stories aren’t about “ed-tech” per se. But do watch how ed-tech is consumer tech and as such expects a certain amount of parental affluence.)

    Neuroeducation Will Lead to Big Breakthroughs in Learning,” says Singularity Hub.

    And here’s a “big breakthrough,” featured in Edsurge: BrainCo. “This Company Wants to Gather Student Brainwave Data to Measure ‘Engagement’,” Edsurge writes. Edsurge seems skeptical that this is “a thing,” but that doesn’t stop it from taking the company’s money to advertise a job opening. Ed-tech ethics.

    Speaking of ed-tech ethics, here’s a Techcrunch headline: “GitHub’s scandalized ex-CEO returns with Chatterbug.” That’s Tom Preston-Werner who resigned from GitHub after an investigation into sexual harassment claims at the company. Now he’s launching a new company – and of course it’s ed-tech. Chatterbug is a language learning startup. Wheee.

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    Via Disruptor Daily: “AI in Education: 10 Companies to Watch in 2018.”

    Via Getting Smart: “Artificial Intelligence in Education: Where It’s At, Where It’s Headed.”

    “Chirons will lead us out of the AI Technopanic,” says Pearson, “and you can be a chiron.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


    Via Politico: “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Ford Foundation are investing $1.5 million to bolster ‘student-centered learning’ through a competitive grant program that will award up to $150,000 to 10 school districts or communities of schools.”

    Via Vice: “Mark Zuckerberg has bigger plans than the White House.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Zuckerberg’s CZI donates to struggling towns near Facebook.”

    There's more on the Gates Foundation in the upgrades section above.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    Brainly has raised $14 million in Series B funding from General Catalyst, Point Nine Capital, Runa Capital, Naspers, and Kulczyk Investments. The company, which Techcrunch calls “Quora for kids,” has raised $38.5 million total.

    Again, the next two investments aren’t ed-tech per se, but as I note in the upgrades section above, it’s important to track on the ways in which kids are seen as a target market for tech companies:

    Reserve has raised $12 million in Series C funding from Accel Partners, Aspect Ventures, and Mission Holdings. The company, which markets credit cards to college students, has raised $26.35 million total. (Deserve does not use FICO scores to determine “credit worthiness.” It uses “machine learning.”)

    Current has raised $5 million in Series A funding from QED Capital and Cota Capital. The debit card (for teens) company has raised $8.6 million total.

    Sex education startup O.School has raised $800,000 in funding from Cyan Banister, The House Fund, and XFactor Ventures.

    Fuel Education, a subsidiary of K12 Inc, has acquired the literacy platform Big Universe.

    WeWork has acquired the coding bootcamp Flatiron School (on the heels of the latter’s run-in with the NY Attorney General.)

    Chegg has acquiredCogeon for $15 million.

    Another education IPO– the second of the year. This time it’s English language learning site RISE Education Cayman.

    Venture capitalist firm Reach Capital is trying to raise a new $75 million fund. Here’s a list of its investments and the people involved in the investment company (which was spun out of NewSchools Venture Fund).

    The Financial Times reports that Charles Schwab was in talks to buy student loan provider SoFi.

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Hackers Target Nation’s Schools,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

    Via The Times of India: “The education department has decided to take student attendance online in Gurgaon schools to deal with the growing menace of proxy attendance where students represent their friends when they are absent.”

    The Atlantic asks“How Much Does the Government Really Need to Know About College Students in America?”

    Via The Washington Post: “Education Department warns of new hacker threat as ’Dark Overlord’ claims credit for attacks on school districts.”

    Via The Independent: “Professor shames entire class by publishing students’ browsing history.”

    Online Trackers Help Promote Better Sleep in Indiana U Staff Study,” says Campus Technology.

    Via Business Insider: “Sweep of educational apps finds some fall short on privacy.”

    From Doug Levin: “A research project – in six parts – designed to shed light on select state and school district website security and privacy practices.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    Liberia’s Experiment with Privatizing Education” – a working paper by the University of Maryland’s Steven Klees.

    Seed funding slows in Silicon Valley,” says Reuters.

    Via NPR: “Majority Of White Americans Say They Believe Whites Face Discrimination.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Tuition and fees increased by a few percentage points across the board, and aid failed to keep pace, annual College Board report shows.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “State-Funded Student Aid Holds Steady.”

    Via NPR: “Teachers Report Stressed, Anxious Students In The ‘Age Of Trump’.”

    Technology overuse may be the new digital divide,” says The Hechinger Report’s Jill Barshay.

    “Higher Education, Digital Divides, and a Balkanized Internet” by Bryan Alexander.

    Via Politico: “ The One Simple Way to Help Poor Kids Stay in School.” Spoiler alert: one-on-one instruction.

    Via Reveal News: “Hidden figures: How Silicon Valley keeps diversity data secret.”

    Via Edsurge: “How to Improve Brain Function and Reverse Poverty’s Impact on Student Learning.” Spoiler alert: it’s not by addressing poverty. Oh no. It’s with some “mindset” bullshit. (And probably some product that measures brain function too.)

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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    The fourth book in my “Monsters of Education Technology” series is out. As with the other books in the series, it’s a collection of talks I’ve given through the course of the year.

    E-book versions are available for purchase via the usual online retailers: Amazon and Smashwords. Even better (as far as my royalties go, at least): you can buy from me directly via Gumroad. You can purchase the e-book there (a ZIP file that contains the MOBI, EPUB, and PDF versions) for $4.99. You can, of course, just read most of the content here on Hack Education for free.

    The Monsters of Technology 4 is likely the last book in the “Monsters” series, and as I’m switching my focus to finally finishing Teaching Machines, it’ll be my last book for a while. (I will try, however, to get print books and audio books of all four books in the series finalized – probably some time in mid–2018.)


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  • 11/03/17--07:20: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    “The Education of Betsy DeVos” – a profile of the Secretary of Education in Politico Magazine.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “DeVosFalsely Suggests That Student Loans Were Federalized to Pay for Obamacare.”

    An op-ed in The New York Times by Gail Collins: “No Profit in Betsy DeVos.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “Betsy DeVos May Only Partially Forgive Loans Of Students Ripped Off By Fraudulent Colleges.”

    Via The New York Times: “Betsy DeVos’s Schedule Shows Focus on Religious and Nontraditional Schools.”

    Via The LA Times: “Betsy DeVos’ Halloween costume is not going over well.” She was Ms. Frizzle, the teacher in “The Magic School Bus.”

    Via Education Week: “Trump Moves to Fill Key Civil Rights Post.” That’s Kenneth Marcus, the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, who if confirmed would become the assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education. (Politico runs the number on the steps Trump has taken to fill openings at the Department of Education.)

    Via The Washington Post: “DeVos offers buyouts to shrink Education Department workforce.”

    Via The Detroit News: “Husband’s donations cloud Betsy DeVos’ pledge.” That is, Betsy DeVos said during her confirmation hearings that she and her husband would suspend their political contributions while she worked for Trump. Of course, Dick DeVos also works for Trump in a way – or at least, he’s now on an FAA civilian panel. Swampy.

    The Department of Educationrescinds more regulations and subregulatory guidance.

    Via The Intercept: “Steve Bannon Tried to Recruit Teachers Union to Trump’s Agenda While in the White House.” I mean, one in five AFT members did vote for Trump after all.

    The Republicans in Congress unveiled their tax plan this week, with big cuts in corporate taxes. Education-related changes include the end to the student loan interest deduction and the imposition of a 1.4% tax on some college endowments at private universities. Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Republican Tax Proposal Gets Failing Grade From Higher-Ed Groups.”

    From ACE, one the largest higher ed lobbying organizations: “Statement by ACE President Ted Mitchell on the House Tax Reform Proposal.” tl;dr: He doesn’t like it. (Mitchell was the Under Secretary of Education under Obama and the head of NewSchools Venture Fund before taking on this role at ACE.)

    The Department of Education announced some $95 million in grants for “education innovation and research.” It’s always interesting to see which stories like this get picked up by the tech press. Via Techcrunch: “Palo Alto nonprofit Benetech wins a $42.5M Dept. of Education grant, a nod to founder Jim Fruchterman’s quest to help the blind.”

    Via The New York Times: “Navy Orders New Training After Deadly Ship Collisions.” Apparently watching CD-ROMs isn’t sufficient training for driving Navy destroyers. Who’d have guessed?!

    Lots of details this week as tech executives testified in front of Congress about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Meanwhile, as The New York Times reports: “Facebook, Under Fire in Russia Inquiry, Posts 79% Rise in Profit.”

    “Shadowy ‘Professor’ Is at the Center of the Latest Revelation in the Trump-Russia Probe,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education with the higher ed angle on this week’s indictments.

    Via Alternet: “Gavin Grimm Wants To Fix The Education System That Failed Him.”

    “Who’s Afraid of Title IX?” asks Anne McClintock in The Jacobin.

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via The 74: “Amid Hurricane’s Devastation, Puerto Rico’s Education Secretary Sees an Opportunity for Reform.” When you hear someone invoke New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina as a model, do remember what happened to all the Black teachers

    Via the AP: “Philadelphia moves to retake control of city school system.”

    Via The Oregonian: “Attorney who served as top Portland Public Schools lawyer during troubled year out.” That’s Stephanie Harper, who as the story notes, who “made high-profile legal calls that came under fire. They included a failed bid to keep secret investigation records about gym teacher Mitch Whitehurst, who was the subject of many sexual misconduct complaints; the choice to sue a parent and a journalist who filed another open records request; and the district lost a $1 million jury verdict on her watch.”

    Immigration and Education


    Via Pacific Standard: “Trump Calls for End of Immigration Lottery Program After Terror Attack.”

    Education in the Courts


    Via The New York Times: “Hartford Student Charged After Boasting About Contaminating Roommate’s Belongings.” White student. Black roommate. Racism kills.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “3 Dartmouth Professors Are Target of State Attorney General’s ‘Sexual Misconduct’ Investigation.”

    Juvenile Justice (Or Lack Thereof)


    Via Teen Vogue: “Youth Incarceration in the United States, Explained.”

    Via ProPublica: “Concern Grows Over Youths at Juvenile Correctional Facility Being Sent to Adult Prison.”

    “Free College”


    Free Community College Picks Up Steam,” says Inside Higher Ed.

    The Business of Student Loans


    Via the CFPB press office: “CFPB Report Finds Consumer Complaints Spurred Actions That Brought More Than $750 Million in Relief for Student Loan Borrowers.”

    Via The New York Times: “A Student Loan Nightmare: The Teacher in the Wrong Payment Plan.”

    There’s lots more student loan news in the politics section above.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Strayer and Capella, two for-profit colleges, will merge in a $2 billion deal. More via The Chronicle of Higher Education, Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein, and The Wall Street Journal.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “DeVry Parent Company Makes Pledges to Students.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “John Grisham’s Latest Villain? For-Profit Colleges.”

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    Chalkbeat investigates the Indiana Virtual School: “As students signed up, online school hired barely any teachers – but founder’s company charged it millions.”

    Online Schooling: Who Is Harmed and Who Is Helped?” asks Susan Dynarksi in Education Next.

    “Clarity into the successful transition of UF Onlinefrom Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill.

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    Inside Higher Ed profilesLiberty University’s Jerry Falwell Jr.

    Liberty U. President Says Trump Could Be ‘Greatest President Since Abraham Lincoln’,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Adam Harris. What sort of history does Liberty teach!? (Don’t answer that.)

    Via Buzzfeed: “Here’s How A Picture Of Protesters Became A Misleading Far-Right Story.” The picture is from a speech at Columbia University by conspiracy theorist and Trump promoter Mike Cernovich.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Columbia University on Tuesday dropped its disciplinary investigation into 16 students who disrupted a campus speaker last month.”

    The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Steve Kolowich examines the student protests at Evergreen College.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “7 Are Arrested Outside Milo Yiannopoulos Speech at Cal State-Fullerton.”

    Via In These Times: “The Breitbart-Fueled War on Leftist Academics.”

    Speaking of Breitbart, “The Mercers Wash Their Hands of Milo,” says The Atlantic. Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Billionaire Says Supporting Milo Yiannopoulos’s Campus Tours Was a Mistake.” Via NPR: “Billionaire Investor Robert Mercer To Step Down From Firm, Selling Stake In Breitbart.” (Selling it to his daughters, that is.)

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “University of Oregon officials offer to pardon students who drowned out the president’s speech last month if they meet with administrators.”

    “Colleges Should Protect Speech– or Lose Fundsby Frederick Hess and Grant Addison in The Wall Street Journal. Whose speech?

    Via The East Bay Times: “Amid backlash, National Park Service yanks $98,000 grant for Black Panther Party legacy project.” The grant was to UC Berkeley professor Ula Taylor. Free speech, or something.

    Do keep an eye on how education reformers talk about (speech, academic freedom, and) the curriculum now that it, apparently, is the newkey to fixing things. e.g. “Social justice miseducation in our schools” by J. Martin Rochester in The Fordham Institute’s Flypaper.

    Speaking of controlling the curriculum, via WDIO: “The University of Wisconsin-Superior is suspending nine academic majors, 15 minors, and one graduate program in what university leaders call an effort to ”remain responsive to regional needs." The majors include sociology, media studies, and political science.

    Via NPR: “Italy Takes Aim At Fake News With New Curriculum For High School Students.”

    The Columbian and NPR both cover the work that Mike Caulfield is doing on digital polarization and fact-checking online with students at Washington State University - Vancouver (and beyond).

    Via Chalkbeat: “‘Act of terror’ unfolds steps from New York City high school, injuring two students.”

    Via The New York Times: “Opioids on the Quad.”

    Via The West Australian: “Navitas to close several colleges.” This includes its affiliation with Western Kentucky University. The Australian company provides courses for schools that decide to outsource their educational services.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After Opposition, U. of Tennessee Campuses Opt Not to Privatize Facilities Services.”

    Via the South Bend Tribune: “Notre Dame to end no-cost contraceptive coverage for employees.”

    Via Education Week: “Schools Take a Page From Silicon Valley.” That is, some schools are having “scrum meetings,” or something.

    Via WKBN: “Youngstown charter school shuts down after running out of funds.” That’s the Mahoning Valley Opportunity Center.

    Details about the closure of AltSchool campuses in the “upgrades and downgrades” section below.

    Accreditations, Certifications, and Competencies


    “In the Era of Microcredentials, Institutions Look to Blockchain to Verify Learning,” says Edsurge. But let’s note this via Vice please, before we get too excited about moving education certification to the blockchain: “One Bitcoin Transaction Now Uses as Much Energy as Your House in a Week.” And elsewhere in blockchain land, “Alex Tapscott’s Crypto VC Firm Going Public With $100M CAD Falsely Touted 4 Blockchain Stars As Advisors,” says Forbes. (Perhaps you’ve heard of his father, Don?) But oh yes. Tell me more about how the blockchain is going to “verify learning.” LOL.

    Via Getting Smart: “Digital Promise and Facebook Developing New Micro-Credentials Program.” Because the way to teach people about Facebook according to Facebook is always more Facebook.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Green Light for Competency-Based Teacher Ed.”

    Testing, Testing…


    Via Edsurge: “How to Overcome Apathy and Disillusionment When Standardized Tests Fail Kids.” Spoiler alert: find new things to measure.

    A testing story uses a question in the headline, so you know where the link to that one is. (Below, in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section.)

    Go, School Sports Team!


    “When School Spirit Is a Slur” – photographs on Native American mascots by Daniella Zalcman.

    Via Deadspin: “High School Ref Who Walked Out Over Anthem Protests Worries About Babies Disrespecting Flag, Had Racist Facebook Posts.” Of course he did.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “NCAA president says after two recent scandals in college athletics, the public is losing faith and major reforms are needed.”

    From the HR Department


    Via Recode: “Coursera has ousted several senior executives along with many rank-and-file staffers.” (See also: Altschool, and just remember: venture capital and education do not mix.)

    The Digital Public Library of America has a new head: John S. Bracken.

    The Business of Job Training


    Via Reuters: “Awaiting Trump’s coal comeback, miners reject retraining.”

    The tech industry is still bullish on the business of tech training nonetheless. This, via Techcrunch: “Kenzie Academy is an ambitious project to bring tech jobs to Middle America.”

    Via The New York Times: “Where the STEM Jobs Are (and Where They Aren’t).” My favorite part of the graph is how it excludes health care from life sciences jobs, making it appear as though the latter is grossly overproducing graduates when, in fact, that’s where most of the jobs of the future may well be – in health services.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Demand for Pilots Sparks Instructor Shortage at Colleges’ Flight Programs.”

    “Education is not where it’s all at in the learning market. We spend only a fraction of our lives in school, less in college and most of it in work. The corporate training and apprenticeship markets have more headroom, offer more room for innovation and have sustainable budgets and revenues,” says Donald Clark.

    “​Filling the Other Skills Gapby Trace Urdan writing in Edsurge.

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Without changes in education, the future of work will leave more people behind.”

    Ed-Tech Events


    Educause is holding its annual conference this week. Reports from the field from The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Ed-Tech Professionals Share What Keeps Them Up at Night.” Also via The Chronicle: “At Educause Meeting, IT Professionals Discuss Misconceptions on Campuses.” From Edsurge: “​Invasive or Informative? Educators Discuss Pros and Cons of Learning Analytics.” Inside Higher Ed also looks at how data is being talked about at the higher ed ed-tech event.

    Edsurge is also holding an event this week. Reports from Edsurge Fusion: “The Future Is Always Uncertain. So How Should Educators Prepare Today’s Learners?”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    2 Years After ‘Opt Out,’ Are Students Taking Fewer Tests?asks NPR.

    Alexa, Are You Safe For My Kids?asks NPR.

    (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 Mother Jones: “Inside Silicon Valley’s Big-Money Push to Remake American Education.” This looks primarily at Summit Public Schools, which works with Facebook to build a learning management system that folks will try to convince you is “personalized learning.”

    Via Bloomberg: “Silicon Valley Tried to Reinvent Schools. Now It’s Rebooting.” AltSchool is shutting a school in Palo Alto, Bloomberg reports, so that the company can focus on “strategy, path to growth and finances.” Sucks to be a student at that school, eh? And at this other one too: Business Insider reports that a school in Manhattan’s East Village will also close at the end of the school year. Altschool is one of the best funded education startups – it’s raised some $172 million in venture capital. Its investors include the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Omidyar Network, the Emerson Collective, Learn Capital, Andreessen-Horowitz, Founders’ Fund (that’s one of Peter Thiel’s investment firms), John Doerr – you know, the luminaries. Education Week’s Ben Herold has a story that touches on the education, not just the business angle (and, hey, it cites me).

    “Why the Best Personalized Learning Programs Start Way Before High School,” according to Edsurge. Not sure what “the best” means here, to be honest. Perhaps not AltSchool though, eh?

    “ It’s Time to Take Back Personalized Learning,” says Phyllis Lockett in Edsurge. Take it back from whom? From tech companies, I guess? Although the op-ed was written by the head of a tech company. So I dunno.

    Via Techcrunch: “YouTube Kids update gives kids their own profiles, expands controls.” Start ’em young, I guess.

    Via Vice: “Google Docs Is Randomly Flagging Files for Violating Its Terms of Service.”

    “How Social Media Can Help Teach Good Writing,” according to Edsurge. Nice timing considering all we saw in DC this week about persuasion and Facebook.

    Via Education Week: “Fundraising Effort Launches to Help Teachers Forge Connections With Families.” It’s a fundraising effort run through DonorsChoose.org which will fund “family engagement nights.”

    Open, Value-Added Services, Interaction, and Learning” by Lumen Learning’s David Wiley.

    Math education startup Desmos has updated its “Challenge Creator” to that students can create challenges for one another.

    The Boston Globe profilesEdmit, a new startup that promises help finding out what you should pay for college. The company is co-founded by Nick Ducoff, formerly of the OER textbook startup Boundless.

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    The IBM Watson PR machine hums along. Via Education Dive: “IBM’s Watson is helping educators choose relevant math lessons.”

    “Who’s Ready to Put Their Kid on a Self-Driving School Bus?” asks Wired.

    Via Techcrunch: “Sony reboots Aibo with AI and extra kawaii.” The $1700 robot dog also requires a subscription plan. I look forward to hearing people boast about how this puppy will revolutionize education.

    Robot stories are also Betteridge’s Law of Headlines stories, wouldn’t you know it?

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


    Although there’s been no public announcement, I noticed this in Edsurge’s disclosure on its rewrite of the AltSchool news: apparently the venture philanthopy firm Emerson Collective is now an investor. I’ve updated my Web page tracking Edsurge’s financial ties accordingly.

    Via The Dallas Morning News: “Steve Ballmer isn’t trying to re-engineer education, but to support local projects that are already working.”

    Via The Non Profit Quarterly: “Gates Foundation Takes Another Hair-Raising Stab at Fixing America’s Schools.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    Tutoring company Changingedu has raised $55 million in Series D funding from Trustbridge Partners, TAL Education Group, Sequoia Capital, IDG Capital Partners, FREES FUND, and ClearVue Partners.

    Wonder Workshop has raised $41 million in Series C funding from CRV, Madrona Venture Group, Tencent Holdings, Sinovation Ventures, WI Harper Group, Softbank Ventures Korea, MindWorks Ventures, TAL Education Group, TCL Capital, and Bright Success Capital. The robotics company, formerly known as play-i, has raised $78.34 million total.

    Kano Computing has raised $28 million for its learn-to-code robotics kits. Investors in this Series B round include: Index Ventures, LocalGlobe, Collaborative Fund, Marc Benioff, TriplePoint Capital, Breyer Capital, Barclays PLC, Stanford University Venture Fund, John Makinson, and Thames Trust. The company has raised $44.5 million total.

    Fire Tech Camp has raised $863,525 in venture funding from Emerge Education and Cass Entrepreneurship Fund for its afterschool coding classes.

    Sunlight has raised $653,900 in seed funding from Seedcamp, Speedinvest, and Annection. The British company, which is building a corporate learning platform, has raised $832,700 total.

    Language learning company Blue Canoe Learning has raised $1.4 million in seed funding from Kernal Labs.

    Discovery Communications reported “mixed results” in its third quarter, in part because of the “dismal show of the Education and Other division.”

    Coding non-profits Code/Interactive and Mouse have merged.

    There’s more merger news in the for-profit higher ed section above.

    Behavior management company HeroK12 has acquired enrollment management company SchoolMint. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    The venture capital firm Brighteye Ventures has raised $58 million in its first fund, which it plans to invest in ed-tech. Investors were not disclosed.

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Part 3 of EdTech Strategies’ Doug Levin’s look at schools’ data collection and data security: “Ad Tracking & Surveillance.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Purdue App Puts Learning Data into Students’ Hands.” It’s not really “learning data”; it’s data that purports to be about productivity.

    Via The Vancouver Sun: “Student information hacked at University of the Fraser Valley.”

    “Cheap devices, known as keyloggers, are being used by students to steal professors’ passwords on campus and to change grades,” says Inside Higher Ed.

    Via Education Dive: “GreatSchools adds more indicators of school quality in new rating system.”

    Via Education Week: “Researchers Push Congress for Better Data Sharing in Education Partnerships.” Researchers from the Data Quality Campaign, that is.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    My latest calculations on VC funding in education: “The Business of Ed-Tech: October 2017 Funding Data.”

    From the Mozilla blog: “ 10 Fascinating Things We Learned When We Asked The World ‘How Connected Are You?’”

    Campus Technology summarizes a report from Gartner: “Most Higher Ed CIOs Expect Digital Transformation to Cause Significant Change to The Business Model.” ORLY. Compare with the story below…

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Many campus investments in information technology aren’t necessarily paying off, according to the National Survey of Computing, eLearning and Information Technology.”

    Inside Higher Ed has posted the results of its latest “Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology.” Autumm Caines and Maha Bali respond in ProfHacker.

    Via Chalkbeat: “When teachers are better at raising test scores, their students are less happy, study finds.”

    Via Education Week: “Students Fare Better When Teachers Have a Say, Study Finds.”

    “More Districts Getting What They Pay For From Ed-Tech,” says EdWeek’s Market Brief– according to a study by a company of the districts using its product. Seems legit.

    A new report from NMC: “2017 Digital Literacy Impact Study: An NMC Horizon Project Strategic Brief.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “A Snapshot of Students’ Online Coursetaking: Foreign Languages On the Rise.”

    From Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “State of Higher Ed LMS Market for US and Canada: Fall 2017 Edition.”

    “Revised Data Shows Community Colleges Have Been Underappreciated,” says Kevin Carey in The NYT. More on community college graduation datain Inside Higher Ed.

    The Edtech Edifice Complexby The World Bank’s Michael Trucano.

    “From Good Intentions to Real Outcomes: Equity By Design in Learning Technologiesby Justin Reich and Mimi Ito.

    Virtual reality headsets could put children’s health at risk,” according to The Guardian. Let’s count up all the things in this week’s “Weekly News” that Mark Zuckerberg has invested in that have really screwed things and could screw things up still for people. Good job, Mark. Good job.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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  • 11/10/17--07:00: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    Listen, folks (particularly educators). If you’re going to decry “fake news,” then you best not be sharing it. If you’re going to talk about the importance of digital literacy or information literacy or media literacy or what have you, then you best practice it. Did you share this Raw Story story– “Education officials expect ‘ineffective’ Betsy DeVos to step down as her agenda collapses: report” – or this Salon story– “Expert: Expect DeVos to resign from Trump administration”? Why? Did you read the Politico profile of Betsy DeVos that these (and many other) pieces of clickbait were based on? Did you see evidence in that well-reported story that a resignation was imminent? Or did you just want a story to confirm your gut feelings that she should hit the road? Because, see, that’s part of the whole problem. It’s not just that these stories get written. It’s that folks share them so quickly and uncritically. Anyway, as Matt Barnum writes, “No, there’s no reason to think DeVos is planning to resign, contrary to viral news stories.”

    The American Oversight notes that “DeVos Calendars Show Frequent Days Off.” (In fairness, I’m not sure what the typical work-week looks like for a Secretary of Education.)

    Via The Washington Post: "Betsy DeVos lauds innovative teaching practices at awards ceremony.“ From the article that ”innovative teaching practice" appears to be project-based learning.

    Via Education Week: “Trump Nominee for Career-Tech Position Being Pulled Due to Offensive Blog Posts.” That’s Tim Kelly, a Michigan state representative who Trump had nominated head the office of career, technical, and adult education at the Department of Education. More via Politico.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Frank Brogan, the chancellor of the Pennsylvania State University System from 2013 until retiring this year, has joined the Department of Education in the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development– likely ahead of a nomination to a separate position.”

    Reactions to the Congressional tax cut proposalVia Education Week: “Five Things to Know About the $250 Tax Break That Teachers Could Lose.” The CATO Institute doesn’t like 529 plansfor K–12. “Graduate students and higher education experts warn** GOP plan to tax tuition waivers** would be disastrous to both students’ finances and institutions’ teaching and research missions,” says Inside Higher Ed.

    The Senate Republications introduced their tax cut bill. The Washington Post reports that “Senate Republicans would leave student loan interest tax deduction untouched.” More on the tax reform proposal in IHE.

    The Trump Administration says it will reinstate some of the sanctions on Cuba that Obama rolled back. Inside Higher Ed says that “Experts expect new regulations on travel to Cuba published in the Federal Register to have limited effect on educational travel to the nation.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Representative Ron DeSantis introduced a bill Tuesday that would allow states to set up a parallel accrediting system to direct federal student aid money to a range of career training programs.”

    Via Wired: “Al Franken Just Gave the Speech Big Tech Has Been Dreading.”

    “Behind Randi Weingarten’s secret meeting with Steve Bannonby Mike Klonsky.

    The George W. Bush Presidential Center calls “accountability“a dirty word in education.”

    Via The New York Times: “A toxic cloud has descended on India’s capital, delaying flights and trains, causing coughs, headaches and even highway pileups, and prompting Indian officials on Wednesday to take the unprecedented step of closing 4,000 schools for nearly a week.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “E.U. Data-Protection Law Looms.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via Mother Jones: “Voters in This Colorado County Just Sent Betsy DeVos a Helluva Message.” The message: “The election of seven anti-voucher candidates to Douglas County’s school board means a likely end to its controversial school choice program.”

    Chalkbeat has a round-up of all education-related results in Colorado. The 74 has results from Colorado and beyond, calling Tuesday“a blow to Republicans.”

    Via The Intercept: “Puerto Ricans Fear Schools Will Be Privatized in the Wake of Hurricane Maria.”

    Via NOLA.com: “Florida school lets parents buy bulletproof panels for students to put in backpacks.”

    Via The News & Observer: “New charter school for more than 2,000 students is coming to Cary.” It would be one of the largest in North Carolina.

    Via KPCC: “Charter schools, LAUSD reach deal to end ‘game of chicken’ that jeopardized schools’ futures.” Also via KPCC: “How LAUSD oversees charter schools just changed in a big way.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “As a major provider of Head Start exits the program, hundreds of vulnerable Detroit families brace for change.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A student loan bill of rights will be going into effect in Illinois after the state’s House of Representatives voted Tuesday night to override a veto by Governor Bruce Rauner.”

    Via Education Week: “The New York City Council is considering a requirement that all city agencies publish the source code behind algorithms they use to target services to city residents, raising the specter of significant changes in how the country’s largest school district assigns students to high school, evaluates teachers, and buys instructional software.”

    Via The 74: “Illinois Lawmakers Override Their Governor on Cursive, Say All Students Will Benefit From Handwriting Instruction.”

    Via The Voice of San Diego: “‘A Tax on Poor People’: San Diego Unified Sends Parents Who Can’t Pay for School Bus Rides to a Collections Agency.”

    Via the AP: “Iowa City schools to stop using padded seclusion rooms.”

    Via The Chicago Tribune: “Aldermen vote 48–1 for new police academy despite Chance the Rapper’s speech.” A $95 million police academy in a city that keeps closing down K–12 schools and firing teachers.

    Via the AP: “The Homeless Defy Stereotypes in Wealthy Silicon Valley.”

    Via The Post Gazette: “New Pittsburgh teachers contract could phase out performance pay.”

    Via In These Times: “When Unions Lead Education Reform.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Battling closure, Harlem charter school enlisted a high-profile PR firm that once repped Ivanka Trump.” Networks. They matter.

    The Nation’s Megan Erickson onSuccess Academy’s Eva Moskowitz.

    Immigration and Education


    Via Feministing: “Two Months After Trump Withdrew DACA, This Is Where the Program Stands.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Princeton University and Microsoft have joined together to file a lawsuit against President Trump’s rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. A DACA-protected student at Princeton, Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez, is also listed as a plaintiff.”

    The New York Times with some fearmongering aboutThe Disappearing American Grad Student.” The article is accompanied by a photo of a classroom full of Asian students – as if Asian is not American.

    Education in the Courts


    Via the BBC: “Police investigate 17 child sexting cases a day.”

    More legal wrangling about DACA in the immigration section above.

    The Paradise Papers


    The Paradise Papers– “The new files come from two offshore services firms as well as from 19 corporate registries maintained by governments in jurisdictions that serve as waystations in the global shadow economy.”

    Via The New York Times: “Kremlin Cash Behind Billionaire’s Twitter and Facebook Investments.”

    Via The Guardian: “Russia funded Facebook and Twitter investments through Kushner associate.”

    For those keeping track of how ed-tech is intertwined in all this, here’s a list of Yuri Milner’s education investments: 17zuoye, Remind, Coursera, Clever, Codecademy, ClassDojo, and General Assembly. And more generally, via Crunchbase: “These Are The US Startups That Russian Investors Are Backing.”

    Via The New York Times: “After a Tax Crackdown, Apple Found a New Shelter for Its Profits.”

    Via The New York Times: “Endowments Boom as Colleges Bury Earnings Overseas.” As I noted on Twitter, this is what happens when you tell schools they should be run like a business.

    Via The Guardian: “Paradise Papers: Oxford and Cambridge invested tens of millions offshore.”

    “Free College”


    Via The Tennessean: “Most Tennessee high school students apply for Tennessee Promise program.”

    Via Bklyner.com: “Brooklyn Public Library and Bard College to Offer Free College Degree Programs in 2018.”

    The Business of Student Loans


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Trump administration will ask negotiators of borrower-defense rule to reconsider institutions’ liability for claims of misrepresentation – a request that has some worried DeVos plans to let bad programs off the hook.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The long wind-down of Corinthian Colleges continued Wednesday with the planned closure of all but three of the remaining campuses that the defunct for-profit chain formerly owned.” More via Buzzfeed.

    “In a move that wouldn’t have been allowed a generation ago, a for-profit medical school is relocating from Dominica to Tennessee as its campus undergoes repairs from damage caused by Hurricane Maria,” says Inside Higher Ed. “Other for-profit medical schools are already operating in the U.S.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Which Colleges Do Students Say Defraud Them Most Often? For-Profit Colleges.”

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    “How Much Hollywood Glitz Should Colleges Use in Their Online Courses?” asks Edsurge.

    Speaking of Hollywood Glitz, Variety reports that “Kevin Spacey’s Online Acting Course Pulled by MasterClass.” MasterClass has raised some $56 million for celebrity-led classes. Awkward.

    Via The 74: “Inside the $1 Million Fight to Hold South Carolina’s For-Profit Virtual Charter Schools Accountable.”

    Via Education Week: “For Online Schools, Unique Challenges in Serving Transgender Students.”

    “Whatever happened to the promise of online learning?” asks WonkHE.

    “How can online learning help Canadian colleges meet the challenges ahead?” asks Tony Bates.

    More on online education research in the research section below. And there’s some human resources news in the HR section below too.

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “2 Flagship Universities Surveyed the Campus Climate. Here’s What They Found.” Via The Cap: “Survey: Politically conservative students feel safe, respected and at home at UW-Madison.” But keep writing those op-eds about how ostracized conservative students are.

    Amy Silverman writes in The Phoenix New Times about ASU’s decision not to approve a disability studies major.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Oxford Professor Is on Leave Amid Allegations of Sexual Assault.” That’s Tariq Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies.

    “A Refuge for Jae-in Doe: Fugues in the Key of English Major” by Seo-Young Chu. In the essay, Chu accuses Jay Fliegelman, a Stanford literature professor, of rape and harassment.

    And another, different Stanford literature professor too has been accused of sexual assault: Franco Moretti.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Signs Naming Students Accused of Sexual Assault Reopen Wounds at Atlanta Colleges.”

    Purdue president “Mitch Daniels is shaking up higher education,” says Education Dive.

    Via NPR: “Air Force Academy Cadet Wrote Slur Outside His Own Door, School Says.”

    In a response to protests at Reed College, The Atlantic argues“Why Everyone Should Learn About Western Civilization.”

    Related I predict the canon wars are going to be revived, particularly as education reformers turn to “curriculum” as their new focus. See also, this via The New York Times: “Why Arthur Schlesinger’s ‘Disuniting of America’ Lives On.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Florida State University has banned fraternities and sororities following the death of a student, its president announced Monday.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “In Reversal, Notre Dame Will Continue to Cover Contraception for Employees.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Syllabus at Duke barred staffers of campus paper from class on hedge funds.”

    Another Duke story – The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at the school’s Technology Scholars Project: “Steering More Women to Silicon Valley.”

    And news from a well-known former Duke student:

    What does college look like in prison?” asks The Hechinger Report.

    Via The Washington Post: “ Students’ grades determine where they may eat lunch at Florida schools.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “To Help Combat Racism, Kansas State U. Will Cancel Classes (for 2 Hours).”

    “Activists leading protests at UNC-Chapel Hill about Silent Sam have identified and outed a campus police officer who went undercover in an apparent effort to keep tabs on what they were up to,” The Herald Sun reports.

    Via The NYT: “N.Y.U. Will Waive Tuition for Displaced Puerto Rican Students.”

    More NYU news – via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “NYU Faculty Members Shun Abu Dhabi Campus Over Academic-Freedom Issues.”

    St. Gregory’s University says it will close its doors.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies


    Via Getting Smart: “Competency-Based Micro-credentials are Transforming Professional Learning.” Are they?

    Rasmussen College is expanding its CBE program, Campus Technology reports.

    Testing, Testing…


    Via The Hechinger Report: “Known for its intense testing pressure, top-performing South Korea dials it back.”

    Go, School Sports Team!


    The Ringer profiles Brenda Tracy and her work to end college football’s rape culture.

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Coming Soon to Campus: The $100,000 Hotel Room.” To the Texas A&M campus, to be precise – just 96 feet away from the football stadium.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The proportion of athletes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s top competitive division who graduated within six years of enrolling rose to 87 percent (by the NCAA’s count) this year, continuing what has been a consistent increase since the association altered its approach to academic performance 15 years ago.”

    From the HR Department


    Shernaz Daver, Udacity’s chief marketing officer, is leaving the company.

    The Business of Job Training


    Via Edsurge: “​How Apple, Salesforce and Other ‘Platform’ Companies Can Help Close the Skills Gap.”

    Salesforce will start selling its online learning platform, which has helped its own employees change roles and get promotions,” says MIT Technology Review, going with the wonderful lie in the headline “Making Job-Training Software People Actually Want to Use.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Are Big Tech Companies Doing Right by America’s Students?asks MIT Technology Review.

    Does ‘The Mooch’ Belong on Tufts Advisory Board?asks Inside Higher Ed.

    Can a Mathematical Model Detect Fake News?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


    “How Silicon Valley Plans to Conquer the Classroom” by The New York Times’ Natasha Singer– through some pretty shady practices, no doubt.

    (Education Next suggests, as part of its “behind the headlines” takes, an article by Curriculum Associates’ Rob Waldron," How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off by Ed-Tech Vendors.” Waldron’s company is featured in Singer’s story and not in a very good light. More Curriculum Associates news in the VC section below, incidentally.)

    “Something is wrong on the internet,” says James Bridle. Via The New York Times: “On YouTube Kids, Startling Videos Slip Past Filters.” YouTube now says it has a “new policy” to flag this content. (Nice timing to promote “picting” in the classroom.)

    Maybe social media is broken, Cathy O’Neil suggests. And maybe educators will rationalize using it anyway…

    Google’s Mass-Shooting Misinformation Problem” by The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal.

    Media Literacy When the Platforms Are Complicitby Bill Fitzgerald.

    Teaching Tolerance is out with its own “Digital Literacy Framework.”

    Facebook will teach the unemployed digital/social media skills in 30 cities,” says Techcrunch. Facebook breaks democracy and then turns around and sells you the fix. Clever.

    In other Facebook news, “Facebook’s testing a new method to prevent revenge porn that requires uploading your nudes,” says Techcrunch.

    Via the BBC: “Facebook’s fake news experiment backfires.”

    Via Newsweek: “Meet Naomi Wu, Target of an American Tech Bro Witchhunt.” Maker CEO Dale Dougherty is accused of harassing Wu online “alleging that she’s only a model who serves as the face of engineering projects completed by a team of men.”

    Via Techcrunch: “How littleBits grew from side project to Star Wars.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Follett to Start Selling LEGO Education Materials for Hands-On Lessons.”

    Inside Higher Ed looks atinclusive access,” which is a very misleading way of saying you’re forcing everyone to buy the course materials or digital textbooks thru a fee tacked on to tuition. Publishers love this, of course.

    “It’s Time For A Deeper Conversation About How Schools Use Technology,” says KQED Mindshift.

    Via Edsurge: “Educators Question AltSchool’s Pivot: Where Does Silicon Valley’s Philanthropy End and Profits Begin?” Two educators, at least, had questions for Edsurge.

    One tech industry CEO’s vision of revolutionizing schools withers, and another is there to take its place. This week, it’s WeWork, which recently acquired the troubled coding bootcamp Flatiron School. Bloomberg reports that “WeWork Is Launching a Grade School for Budding Entrepreneurs.” “In my book, there’s no reason why children in elementary schools can’t be launching their own businesses,” [says founder] Rebekah Neumann. Except maybe child labor laws. IP concerns. Ethics. A commercial-free childhood. Never one to shy away from promoting the techno-dystopia, Fast Company weighs in: “WeWork Founder Hopes Her New School Will Help 5-Year-Olds Pursue Their Life’s Purpose.” (This seems closely related to Ivanka Trump’s notion that 5 year olds need to learn to code so they can get a job. Good thing no one in the current administration actually advocates child labor. OH WAIT.)

    Via Business Insider: “An MIT psychologist explains why so many tech moguls send their kids to anti-tech schools.” That’s Sherry Turkle.

    “Why Moodle Supporters Should be Concerned,” according to Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein. And from Phil Hill: “A Note on Data Used for LMS Market Analysis.” Also by Feldstein: “How and Why the IMS Failed with LTI 2.0.”

    Via Times Higher Education: “Scholars launch non-profit rival to ResearchGate and Academia.edu.” It’s called ScholarlyHub, and I’d tell you more about it but like ResearchGate and Academia.edu, there’s a paywall that prevents me from reading the Times Higher Education article.

    “Inventor creates device to help fidgety kids learn better,” the AP reports. The device is called “Bouncy Bands.” It’s been featured on Dr. Oz so it must work.

    Tech is making ed more inclusive, accessible to students with special needs,” says Education Dive. I’m not quire sure this is true, as I’m working on my year-in-review series and see a lot of stories about how tech exacerbates inequalities and excludes those with disabilities.

    As I’m working on that series, I can see how certain “trends” in ed-tech are being carefully cultivated by ed-tech companies and the ed-tech press. One of those “trends” is surely “character development” (a.k.a. “grit” a.k.a. “mindsets” a.k.a. “social and emotional learning.”) The CEO of Schoolrunner writes in Education Week’s Market Brief, for example, that “Science of Character Development Initiative to Help Students Achieve Goals.” The 74 says that“There’s Lots of Social-Emotional Support for Students, but Not for Teachers. Here Are Some Programs Looking to Change That.” Getting Smart reviews The Flexible SEL Classroom. Via Education Dive: “Principals support SEL efforts, but want more teacher training.” Oh and there’s fundraising news on this topic too via Edsurge – that’s in the VC section below.

    It’s not “social emotional learning,” but it’s… something. “What is Agentic Learning and Why is it Important?” asks Getting Smart. Via The 74: “25 Years, 1 Million Kids. How Expeditionary Deeper Learning Engages Students Through Inquiry, Discovery & Creativity.”

    Education Week has published a new report on personalized learning. Among the articles, “The Case(s) Against Personalized Learning.” (Warning: I’m cited.)

    “The path to personalized learning is not straight,” says The Hechinger Report.

    The latest Have You Heard podcast episode: “What We Talk About When We Talk About the Corporate Education Agenda.”

    “As Corporate World Moves Toward Curated ‘Microlearning,’ Higher Ed Must Adapt,” says Edsurge.

    Via Techcrunch: “Apple’s ‘Everyone Can Code’ initiative expands to colleges and universities outside of the US.”

    Via Education Dive: “Tech for ELL students can bridge content and digital learning gaps.”

    Networked U.’s: This Is What Will Save Higher Ed,” says Jeff Selingo.

    “Mapping the open education landscapeby Martin Weller, Viv Rolfe, and Katy Jordan. See also: “Openness & Education– a Beginner’s Guide.”

    Edsurge talks withformer LAUSD superintendentJohn Deasy, who’s now the editor-in-chief for a new publication run by Frontline Education, a K–12 software company.

    I’m just including this because I think the headline underscores how some in technology think that technology adoption is simply a matter of tech and not of other social, cultural, economic forces: “A Mind-Bending Cryptographic Trick Promises to Take Blockchains Mainstream.”

    The idea that Sean Parker is a “conscientious objector” to social media is fucking hilarious. But anyway…

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    The Next Web says “This smartphone app is like an AI chastity belt for teens.” No. Just. No.

    Via the Observatory of Educational Innovation: “Can you predict your students’ final grade at the start of the course? Yes, you can with Artificial Intelligence.” Sigh.

    Via MIT Technology Review: “Andrew Ng Wants a New ‘New Deal’ to Combat Job Automation.” That is, he wants the federal government to invest in retraining workers.

    What will universities look like in 2030?asks Times Higher Education. Something something robots something something.

    Via Edsurge: “Who Controls AI in Higher Ed, And Why It Matters (Part 1).”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


    NewSchools Venture Fund has announced the startups in its “early learning cohort”: AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation, Brightwheel, CodeSpark, Cognitive ToyBox, Family Engagement Lab, Kaymbu, Learning Genie, Mawi Learning, MIND Research Institute, Sparkler, Peekapak, Reasoning Mind, Teachley, Waterford Institute, and WriteReader. These companies get $1.5 million in grant funding.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    Panorama Education has raised $16 million from the Emerson Collective, Spark Capital, Owl Ventures, SoftTechVC, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Once upon a time, this was a school survey company but it now marketsitself as a social emotional learning company. That seems to have worked with investors – it’s raised $32 million total.

    Tutoring company Acadsoc has raised $15 million from Shenzhen Capital Group and IDG Capital Partners.

    Ink has raised $7 million from VTF Capital, Invest Nebraska, SQN Venture Partners, and NE Angels. The printing station company markets itself to colleges and has raised $13.65 million total.

    Language learning tutoring startup PandaTree has raised $1.5 million from Michael Dearing and Randy Ching.

    Montessorium has raised $1 million from Bluestem Capital, SD Angel Funds, Falls Angel Fund, Two Bridges Capital, Kampeska Capital, and SDSU/Brookings Angel Fund. The app maker has raised $2 million total.

    Once upon a time, Musical.ly was an ed-tech startup. Then it opted to become a “viral sensation.” Now it “is being sold for between $800 million and $1 billion to Bytedance, the company that controls the Chinese news aggregator Toutiao,” The New York Times reports.

    Curriculum Associates has acquiredMotion Math.

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “New Venture Capital Firm Bullish on Future of Europe’s Ed-Tech Market.” I mean, I guess you’d have to be to start a new ed-tech venture capital firm, right?

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Jade E. Davis writes in DML Central on “The Importance of Student Privacy in Big Data.”

    “High School Safety Includes Protecting Teens’ Datasays US News & World Report.

    Via The Hans India: “District Education Officers asked to ensure 100% biometric attendance in schools.”

    Via KSN.com: “Derby schools computer software could track cyber bullying, suicide threats.” What could possibly go wrong in Kansas.

    Via NBC Connecticut: “Newtown Among 800 School Sites Attacked By Hackers.”

    Via Naked Security: “Student charged by FBI for hacking his grades more than 90 times.” 90. Times.

    Via The Guardian: “Big Brother isn’t just watching: workplace surveillance can track your every move.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    Via The Hechinger Report: “How preschool teachers feel about science matters, new research finds.”

    Via The Washington Post: “Hate at school: 90-plus ‘poisonous’ incidents reported on K–12 campuses in October.”

    “A Nation of Snowflakes” – Inside Higher Ed on a new survey on campus free speech.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “President of higher ed research group documents white dominance in the academy and urges scholars to use their work to help disenfranchised people.” That’s Shaun Harper, a professor at USC and executive director of the university’s Race and Equity Center

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study finds male Ph.D. candidates submit and publish papers at much higher rates than women, even at the same institution. One factor is that women teach more during their Ph.D. programs and men serve more often as research assistants.”

    A report from the Shanker Institute: “Public and Private School Segregation in the District of Columbia.”

    The 74 on a research brief from the American Institutes for Research: “The Hidden Mental Health Crisis in America’s Schools: Millions of Kids Not Receiving Services They Need.”

    Poverty Is Largely Invisible Among College Students,” writes Sara Goldrick-Rab.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Private colleges and universities are expected to grow tuition revenue faster than public institutions in 2018, breaking from recent trends, according to an annual survey of colleges rated by Moody’s Investors Service.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Federal data shows 3.9 million students dropped out of college with debt in 2015 and 2016.”

    Via UNESCO’s World Education Blog: “The Partnership Schools for Liberia: A critical analysis.”

    The Chronicle of Higher Education on“Why Faculty Members Still Aren’t Sure What to Make of Education Technology.” Bonus points for the Educause researcher who described this stance on ed-tech as “some very weird doublethink.” Perhaps the dangers actually lie with those who believe that nuanced views of technology are somehow problematic.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Oregon State University Ecampus has created a database compiling research on the efficacy of online learning. The Online Learning Efficacy Research Database, which launched this week, is a searchable resource of academic studies that was created in response to skepticism about online education.”

    Campus Technology writes up the results of a poll from McGraw-Hill that claims “More Than Half of Students Want Their Classes to Go Digital.”

    Via NPR: “Free Books Boost Early Literacy.”

    It’s not directly related to ed-tech, sure, but damn ed-tech sure does love this stuff so I’m including it here anyway. Via The New York Times: “Don’t Nudge Me: The Limits of Behavioral Economics in Medicine.”

    From Harvard’s Shorenstein Center: “Information Disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policymaking.”

    Here’s Forbes with some “fake news”: “Millennials And Their Kids: Why They’re Choosing DIY Education.” (n=2)

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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  • 11/17/17--06:15: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    “15 Ways Taylor Swift’s Lyrics Solve Education Policy’s Most Pressing Issues” is, no doubt, the most godawful white lady thing I’ve seen this week in education news. And that is saying a lot.

    “The House Just Voted to Bankrupt Graduate Students,” says Erin Rousseau in The New York Times. “House Republicans on Thursday pushed through tax reform legislation widely opposed by higher education leaders who say many of its provisions will make a college degree less attainable and hurt the financial strength of institutions,” says Inside Higher Ed.

    More on the Republicans’ tax plansVia Education Week: “New Senate Tax Plan Doubles Teachers’ Deduction for Buying Classroom Supplies.” Via CNN: “House tax plan allows unborn children to have college savings accounts.”

    This is terrible and will hurt poor people. Via the press release: “Congressmen Francis Rooney (FL–19) and Ralph Norman (SC–05) introduced the Pell for Performance Act. This legislation seeks to motivate students to graduate within six years. If students are not able to complete their degree within six years, this act would compel them to repay the grant in the form of an unsubsidized Stafford Loan.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Trump education nominee pleads ignorance about high-profile voucher studies showing negative results.”

    Via Politico: “The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights could lose 45 employees because of early separation offers – a big hit to an office that many argue is understaffed to handle the number of complaints it receives each year. In fiscal 2017, the office was funded to employ 569 staff members, according to the department’s budget request from earlier this year.”

    From the Bloomberg Editorial Board: “A Raw Deal From Betsy DeVos” – “Rolling back regulations on the for-profit college industry will cause the public pain.”

    Education Week reports that, in front of a room full of CEOs, Secretary of Education Betsy "DeVos argued that 65 percent of today’s kindergartners will end up in jobs that haven’t even been created yet." That’s fake news, Betsy– a completely made-up statistic. But weirdly there’s a ton of that in edu.

    “Schools across the country are about to be held accountable for student attendance– attaching stakes to a measure that previously had much less significance and increasing the risk that schools will try to manipulate that data,” according to Chalkbeat’s Matt Barnum.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Department of Education on Monday released the names of 16 negotiators and their alternates who will look to reach agreement on a new gainful-employment regulation.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Breaking with longstanding tradition – through Democratic and Republican administrations – President Trump will not host a meeting with this year’s American Nobel laureates.”

    Via The Washington Post: “ Trump personally asked Xi Jinping to help resolve case of UCLA basketball players arrested in China.”

    For those keeping track of how great social media is for the future of education and knowledge and civics and such: “Last Year, Social Media Was Used to Influence Elections in at Least 18 Countries,” says the MIT Technology Review.

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Mueller Probes Flynn’s Role in Alleged Plan to Deliver Cleric to Turkey.” I’m including this in this weekly round-up of education news because the cleric in question, Fethullah Gulen, runs a chain of charter schools in the US.

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via The Mercury News: “Working homeless forced to move in East Palo Alto.”

    The housing crisis has shown acute symptoms in East Palo Alto schools. Ravenswood City School District Superintendent Gloria Hernandez-Goff said the homeless student population in the district has swelled from 25 percent at the start of last school year to 58 percent today. The district has stepped up efforts to feed children at school and distribute groceries to families in need.

    Homeless families are being forced to move in order to make way for The Primary School, a new school founded and funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. How’s that “whole child” thing working for you, Zuck?

    Via Education Week: “Baltimore County School Officials in Hot Water Over Ed-Tech Contracts.”

    Google Is Being Investigated By Missouri Attorney General,” Fortune reports. Oh and look at this: “Google Critic [Peter] Thiel Gave Money to Official Probing Search Giant,” Bloomberg reports.

    More shadiness from Thiel in the campus news section below.

    Via Education Week: “Even When States Revise Standards, the Core of the Common Core Remains.”

    Via Maine Public Radio: “What Proficiency-Based Education Looks Like Inside One Maine District.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Parent files complaint saying New York City improperly shared student information to aid with charter recruitment.”

    Immigration and Education


    Post Office Fails to Deliver on Time, and DACA Applications Get Rejected,” The New York Times reported last Friday. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services initially said that there was nothing they could do, but the agency appears to have changed its mind and will review the applications.

    Via NPR: “As DACA Winds Down, DREAMers Turn Toward Different Futures.”

    Education in the Courts


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Frustrated with the slow resolution of loan forgiveness claims at the Department of Education, two borrowers have filed a lawsuit against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and loan servicing company Navient in federal court.”

    The Business of Student Loans


    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Student-Loan Borrowers Await Debt Relief on Nearly 100,000 Claims That They Were Defrauded.”

    Via The New York Times: “Behind the Lucrative Assembly Line of Student Debt Lawsuits.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Recently released federal data show that 17 percent of federal student debt holders are over the age of 50. This group of older borrowers collectively hold $247 billion in student debt, an amount that has roughly tripled since 2003.”

    Via the BBC: “BBC Panorama spent 10 months investigating dishonest education agents and bogus students who are committing frauds that target private colleges – also known as alternative providers – which offer courses approved for student loans.”

    Still more student loan news in the legal section above.

    I’m not including these in my calculations of ed-tech funding, but it is worth noting how much attention (and money) the private loan industry is attracting at the moment. Here are a couple of headlines from the week from Techcrunch – This one boasts no human decision-making on applications: “Kabbage gets $200M from Credit Suisse to expand its AI-based business loans.” And this one is really something: “Kinder, gentler debt collector TrueAccord raises $22 million.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    The Chronicle of Higher Education with a look“Inside the Scramble to Save Ashford U.” And following that investigation, “Ashford University announced this week that it has temporarily suspended new enrollment of veteran students who receive the Post–9/11 GI Bill, ” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    Via The Economist: “For-profit colleges in America relaunch themselves as non-profits.”

    From the press release: “William Hansen Joins Career Education Corporation Board of Directors.” Hansen is one of those figures that really demonstrates the political and financial networks that govern education. He was Deputy Secretary of Education under George W. Bush. He was the chairman of Scantron. He has been the president of the student loan org Strada Education Network (formerly known as USA Funds) since 2013.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Legal education observers say accreditation issues at Florida Coastal School of Law– whose graduates have struggled to pay off loans – should lead to tougher look at its parent company, InfiLaw.”

    All the fraud and all the deceptive practices and all the people that are hurt by for-profit higher ed and you still get headlines like this: “4 For-Profit Education Stocks to Enrich Your Portfolio.”

    More on debt relief for students defrauded by for-profits in the student loan section below. And there’s more on regulating the industry (or ya know, not) in the national politics section above.

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    Via Edsurge: “Are You Getting a Pay Bump For Student Completion? Virtual Schools Dish Out the Dough.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Former Indiana schools chief Glenda Ritz: Virtual schools ‘prey’ on vulnerable students.”

    “Whatever Happened To MOOCs?” asks Stanford’s Larry Cuban.

    Coursera announces on its blog that it’s expanding to Brazil.

    It’s good to shake up your “everyone should learn to code” messaging sometimes, I guess. Here’s Coursera arguing “Why Everyone Should Learn Sales.”

    The Chronicle of Higher Education examines faculty objections to online education at Eastern Michigan University.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “California community colleges look to create a new statewide​, online-only college that will focus on helping adult students earn credentials.”

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    “Harvard Business School professor: Half of American colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years,” says CNBC. Clayton Christensen made the same prediction – “half of colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years” – five years ago.

    Perhaps I need to start a new section in this article where I look at these sorts of bullshit predictions and proclamations and cliches. “The industrial model of education is failing” and whatnot.

    Inside Higher Ed calls recent school closures“Days of Reckoning.” If you repeat these stories enough, it’s almost as if you can convince people to make it a trend.

    Via Ars Technica: “University could lose millions from ‘unethical’ research backed by Peter Thiel.” The details: “Questionable herpes vaccine research backed by tech heavyweight Peter Thiel may have jeopardized $15 million in federal research funding to Southern Illinois University School of Medicine.”

    Via Business Insider: “Elon Musk launched a secretive LA private school for his kids 4 years ago and there are still almost no details available.”

    “Film company behind Love Actually to open school in London,” The Guardian reports.

    Via the NEA: “Follow the Money: The School-to-(Privatized)-Prison Pipeline.”

    CNN, following another school shooting this week: “How active shooters are changing school security in the US.” Many of these measures, I’d argue, do fall under the umbrella of “ed-tech,” but let’s see if it gets positioned that way by Silicon Valley-backed journalism.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Sexual Harassment and Assault in Higher Ed: What’s Happened Since Weinstein.”

    Via The Huffington Post: “Grad Student Says Princeton Prof Who Sexually Harassed Her Was Given Slap On The Wrist.”

    Inside Higher Ed looks at how Notre Dame is changing its policies and practices regarding campus sexual assault.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Dozens of Spelman Professors Support Student Campaign That Has Named Harassers.”

    “Professors from around the world say they won’t advise students to study or work at Rochester in light of institution’s alleged attempts to downplay serious harassment case. Is this next tactic in battle against discrimination?” Inside Higher Ed asks.

    Via The Columbus Dispatch: “Ohio State accuses 83 students of cheating in a business class.” The students allegedly used the group messaging app GroupMe to collaborate. Sounds scandalous.

    Via Education Dive: “Gordon Gee: For higher ed to survive, we’ve got to ‘blow up the box’.” Gee is the president of West Virginia University. “The box,” I guess, is what Gee believes universities fail to think outside of.

    Valparaiso University says it will no longer admit new students to its law school (but insists that the law school isn’t closing).

    The Wall Street Journal criticizes student protesters at Williams College. (They were protesting frequently WSJ contributor and anti-feminist Christina Hoff Sommers.)

    Williams College President Adam Falk in WaPo: “Don’t ignore the real threats in the debate over free speech.”

    Inside Higher Ed onRichard Spencer’s speech at Stanford.

    Via The 74: “Educators Report Being Surprised by a Homecoming Surge in Hate Speech at Their Schools.”

    Inside Higher Ed has Judith Butler’s reaction to having an effigy of her burned outside a talk she gave in Brazil.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A University’s Free-Speech Committee Pledges Transparency – Then Closes Its Meetings to the Public.” The university in question: Ohio.

    Via Radio Free Asia: “University in China’s Guizhou Cancels Outspoken Economics Professor’s Classes.”

    In other news about academic freedom – via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of Memphis is reportedly investigating Judy Cole, a professor of nursing, for comments she made on Twitter about Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary.”

    Via The Columbus Dispatch: “Activities suspended at all Ohio State fraternities governed by IFC.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How a Defense Dept. Program Equips Campus Police Forces.”

    “Willing, able and forgotten” – a series on high school students with disabilities in The Hechinger Report.

    “The Ivory Tower Can’t Keep Ignoring Tech,” says Cathy O’Neil in a NYT op-ed, arguing that no one in academia is paying attention to algorithms. “Yeah, pretty sure we don’t, but thanks for minimizing our contributions and perpetuating ‘ivory tower’ stereotypes,” scholars responded.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies


    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Accreditor Apologizes for Suggestion That UNC Might Be Investigated Again.”

    Questions about the accreditation of for-profits in the for-profit higher ed section above.

    Testing, Testing…


    Via Chalkbeat: “Fired testing company seeks $25.3 million for work on TNReady’s bumpy rollout.”

    Go, School Sports Team!


    More about the UCLA basketball players arrested in China in the national politics section… because Trump.

    From the HR Department


    More sexual harassment accusations in venture capitalism. Via Techcrunch: “VC Steve Jurvetson is leaving Draper Fisher Jurvetson.”

    Via Essense: “Being Black In Tech: A Black Female Engineer Says Google CEO Mistook Her For An Assistant.” Eric Schmidt told her to put a sign on her door explaining her role at the company. WTF.

    The Business of Job Training


    There’s often a pattern to the education news – or at least, to the stories that get shouted the loudest and spread the widest in any given week.

    Via The 74: “Report: 30 Million Well-Paying Jobs, Mostly in the West and South, Exist for Workers Without Bachelor’s Degrees.”

    You Can Get a Good Job Without a Bachelor’s Degree,” Bloomberg insists. You just need the right training apparently.

    Via Education Week: “Betsy DeVos: Stop ‘Forcing’ Four-Year Degrees as Only Pathway to Success.”

    Tech Illiteracy Will Get You Fired Long Before Automation Does” – that’s the headline from the MIT Technology Review on a new report from the Brookings Institution: “Digitalization and the American workforce.” Via Education Week: “Jobs of All Types Now Require More Digital Skills, Brookings Report Finds.” This is a particularly hilarious sentence: “It is probably fair to say that the social good of having every high school student in America learn Salesforce might outstrip other trendier agendas in tech.” I think many historians of ed-tech would note that this has long been the argument for teaching Microsoft productivity tools in lieu of computer science. (Related: last week, Edsurge touted Salesforce as helping close the "skills gap.")

    Via CNBC: “Trade school, not 4-year college, is a better bet to solve the US income gap, researchers say.”

    “Why the U.S. Fails at Worker Training” – according to The Atlantic at least.

    “Nearly Everyone Supports Career Education. But What Would Make It Work?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Do Professors Need Automated Help Grading Online Comments?asks Inside Higher Ed.

    As devices replace textbooks, should students be charged fees?asks Education Dive.

    Can These New Colleges Help Solve Higher Education’s Equity Problem?asks Edsurge.

    Does Academia Need Another Alternative to For-Profit Scholarly Platforms?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


    Edsurge with the second story on brain-wave monitoring startups in almost as many weeks: “Brainwave Headsets Are Making Their Way Into Classrooms – For Meditation and Discipline.” They’re not really making their way into classrooms, incidentally. This is a story about one experiment conducted with a Muse headset by a Kansas State University researcher. Did you know Ashton Kutcher is an investor in Muse? Must be legit then.

    The New York Times lists mind control as one of the “Five Technologies That Will Rock Your World.”

    Mindset marketing from Pearson: “3 steps to upgrade your GRIT in education.” GRIT is one of Pearson’s “mindset”-oriented career success programs.

    More wishful thinking via Getting Smart: “How Virtual Reality and Embodied Learning Could Disrupt Education.”

    Speaking of predictions about the coming disruption, I sure do seem to remember a lot of that hype about Second Life. Wonder what’s going on in that virtual world these days? Oh.

    Via Boing Boing: “Dupes gather at sold-out Flat Earth International Conference.”

    Digital Polarization on Pinterest Is Scary Aggressive,” says WSU’s Mike Caulfield.

    Via The Guardian: “ Tim Berners-Lee on the future of the web: ‘The system is failing’.”

    It is not entirely clear to me what, per this Edsurge op-ed, higher ed can learn from precision medicine.

    Via Techcrunch: “Facebook, Google and others join The Trust Project, an effort to increase transparency around online news.”

    Via Poynter: “Do Facebook and Google have control of their algorithms anymore? A sobering assessment and a warning.”

    Edsurge rewrites the news, which is of course the point – it’s clickbait: “Forbes’ 2018 ‘30 Under 30’ Came Early This Year. Here’s Who Made the Education List.” WaPo’s Valerie Strauss is shocked no teachers made the list. No teachers ever make the list, I don’t think, unless they’re affiliated with TFA. TFA’s Wendy Kopp was one of the judges this year, as were venture capitalist Arne Duncan and venture capitalist Stacey Childress and venture capitalist Marcus Noel.

    Stephen Downes and David Wiley debate OER: “The Cost Trap, Part 3” by David Wiley. “The Real Goal of Open Educational Resources” by Stephen Downes. “More on the Cost Trap and Inclusive Access” by David Wiley. “If We Talked About the Internet Like We Talk About OER” by Stephen Downes. “If We Talked About the Internet Like We Talk About OER: The Cost Trap and Inclusive Access” by David Wiley. I might have missed some in this back-and-forth.

    Pearson Closes DRM-Free eBookstore, Will Delete All eBooks From Customers’ Account,” The Digital Reader reports.

    Microsoft is building a new version of Skype for tutors and consultants,” says The Next Web.

    Via Techcrunch: “SnapType makes it easy for kids with learning disabilities to do their homework.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Pip is a retro games console for kids to learn coding.”

    “Why do so few schools try LiveCode? We let industry dictate our tools,” says Georgia Tech’s Mark Guzdial.

    Via Boing Boing: “For sale: surplus nightmare fuel vintage manikins from a defunct dental school.”

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    Via Edsurge: “Help! This Edtech Company Says It Uses AI. (What Does That Mean? What Should I Ask?)”

    Via University Business: “The drone zone in higher education.” “Unmanned aerial vehicles see an increased role in campus safety and security,” the publication claims.

    Via Edsurge: “Learning From Algorithms: Who Controls AI in Higher Ed, And Why It Matters (Part 2).”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


    Chan Zuckerberg Backs Personalized Learning R&D Agenda,” says fellow investor Tom Vander Ark.

    More on CZI and homelessness in East Palo Alto in the local politics section above.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Where do the nation’s big charter boosters send their cash? More and more to charter networks.”

    Via Naked Capitalism: “The Super Wealthy Oxycontin Family Supports School Privatization With Tactics Similar to Those That Fueled the Opioid Epidemic.” That’s the Sackler family.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    Chinese online education company Yixue Education has raised $41 million from NGP Capital, SIG China, CASH Capital, New Oriental Education & Technology, and Greenwood Management.

    Lessonly has raised $8 million in Series B funding from Rethink Education, Allos Ventures, High Alpha, and OpenView. The corporate training company has raised $14.1 million total.

    SAM Labs has raised $6.75 million in Series A funding from Touchstone Innovations and E15 Ventures. The learn-to-code company has raised $11.2 million total.

    Night Zookeeper has raised $793,000 in funding from Newable. The storytelling company has raised about $1.5 million total.

    School-Pass has raised an undisclosed amount of money from A3 Education.

    Tech Shop has closed its doors and filed for bankruptcy. The workshop space for “makers” had raised $4.7 million in venture capital.

    ExploreLearning has acquiredIS3D.

    The Chinese tutoring company Four Seasons Education has gone public.

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    “The Internet of Shit is so manifestly insecure that people are staying away from it in droves,” says Boing Boing. Except in education, of course, where we hear all the time about how IOT will revolutionize school.

    Via Techcrunch: “Call to ban sale of IoT toys with proven security flaws.”

    Via The Stanford Daily: “Privacy breaches in University file system affect 200 people.”

    Via EWA.org: “When Cyber-Hackers Attack, School Districts Are Paying the Ransom.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    Via The Huffington Post: “Prominent Scholar Calls Growth Mindset A ‘Cancerous’ Idea, In Isolation.” The scholar: San Diego State University’s Luke Wood.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Gutting Wisconsin teachers unions hurt students, study finds.”

    Via USA Today: “The charter school breakthrough doesn’t work for boys.”

    Via The Atlantic: “A new paper argues that using behavioral economics to ease families’ fear of change could help convince them to switch up their children’s routines.”

    Via Edscoop: “Report: Rural schools outpace urban, suburban peers in access to technology.” The report is from based on BrightBytes’ customers and data, so caveat emptor.

    Via Mindshift: “Increased Hours Online Correlate With Uptick In Teen Depression, Suicidal Thoughts.”

    EdWeek’s Market Brief on a report from the National Association of State Budget Officers: “State Spending on K–12 Rises Slightly in 2017, Despite Headwinds.”

    From UVA’s Daniel Willingham: “Three versions of personalized learning, three challenges.”

    Via Education Week: “Boys Read Better When There Are More Girls in Class, Study Finds.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Open Doors survey shows declines in new international students starting in fall 2016, after years of growth. This fall universities report an average 7 percent decline in new international students.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Better tests don’t lead to better teaching, study finds.”

    Via NPR: “New Study Finds That 4.2 Million Kids Experience Homelessness Each Year.” But onward with those corporate tax cuts, Republicans.

    More reports, research, and data in the student loan and job training sections above.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project