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The History of the Future of Education Technology
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  • 07/07/17--03:15: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Silence From the Secretary, Despite Major Rules Changes.”

    Lots, lots more about Betsy DeVos’ policies in the student loan and for-profit higher ed sections below.

    Via Politico: “The American Action Forum, a right-leaning public policy group, is recommending that DeVos consider gutting the federal student aid pilot programs created under the Higher Education Act. A new policy paper from the group published on Thursday says that ‘experimental sites’ – which waive some federal requirements for colleges that want to test out different ways of delivering federal financial aid– have not proved effective.” Some of these experimental sites included MOOCs and coding bootcamps.

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Illinois House of Representatives voted Thursday to override a gubernatorial veto of a package of budget bills, ending a 736-day standoff that had left the state’s higher education institutions slashing expenses and scrambling to compensate for uncertain funding streams.”

    Via The Baltimore Sun: “Maryland becomes first state to outlaw scholarship displacement by public colleges.” Scholarship displacement is a practice of lowering financial aid when a student has a scholarship that boosts her aid over the cost of college.

    Via Chalkbeat: New York“Mayor de Blasio strikes a charter deal, making it easier for schools to expand, pay for space.”

    More on states’ legal actions against Betsy DeVos for her reversal of Obama-era regulations on for-profit universities in the for-profit higher ed section below.

    Immigration and Education


    Via The Verge: “US denies visas to Afghanistan’s all-girl robotics team.” The Gambian team, which was also initially denied entrance to the US, will be granted visas.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Assessing the Travel Ban: What New Data on Overseas Recruitment Does – and Doesn’t – Tell Us.”

    Education in the Courts


    The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow is appealing a lower court’s ruling that it must repay $60 million to the state of Ohio as it cannot document students “attended” its online charter school.

    “A Wave of Disability-Lawsuit Threats Against Colleges May Have Receded,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “In a lawsuit against Baylor University, 10 women who brought complaints of sexual assault against other Baylor students say the university’s strict alcohol policy was used to ‘shame, silence and expel’ a student, and they included emails from a former university regent as proof.”

    For more on lawsuits about for-profit higher ed, see the for-profit higher ed section below.

    The Business of Student Loans


    Via The USA Today: “Millions of student loans could be headed for a shakeup in coming months.”

    More on the legal actions taken by states over Betsy DeVos’ rollback of the borrower defense rule in the for-profit higher ed section below.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    From the US Department of Education press release: “DeVos Presses Pause on Burdensome Gainful Employment Regulations.” More from The Chronicle of Higher Education and from Inside Higher Ed.

    18 States Are Suing Betsy DeVos Over For-Profit College Rules,” Buzzfeed reports. More on the legal actions over the delay of the borrower defense rule from NPR and from The NYT.

    Via The Washington Post: “SEC settles fraud charges against defunct for-profit college company ITT.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Federal Trade Commission began mailing more than $49 million in refund checks to former DeVry University students Wednesday as part of a settlement between the for-profit institution and the agency. DeVry agreed to the $100 million settlement after the FTC sued the institution for its use of employment statistics in advertising.”

    “College made millions by tricking Indigenous people, court finds,” The Guardian reports. “Unique International College used a misleading and unlawful scheme to target vulnerable communities in 2014 and 2015, pushing individuals to enrol in courses in management, salon management and marketing.”

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    Via Class Central’s Dhawal Shah, writing in Edsurge: “MOOCs Find Their Audience: Professional Learners and Universities.” (Edsurge, for what it’s worth, shares investors with Class Central, Udacity, and Coursera (although there’s no disclosure on that article to that end) – funny how the narratives about the “revolutionary” potential of MOOCs get spread, eh?)

    Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill follows up on the Edsurge article with his own analysis: “MOOCs Now Focused on Paid Certificates and OPM Market.”

    Tecnológico de Monterrey has joined edX.

    More on the ongoing legal battles between the state of Ohio and the virtual charter school Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow in the courts section above.

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is denying allegations that he helped use his office to help secure a loan for the now defunct Burlington College, which at the time was led by his wife.

    Inside Higher Ed reports that the University of Missouri at Columbia will prevent students from using their ID credit cards to buy “nonacademic items” from campus stores.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “One Activist Has Hundreds of Colleges Under the Gun to Fix Their Websites.” (That is, to fix them because they are inaccessible to those with disabilities.)

    Via Chalkbeat: “Aurora Public Schools, CSU online degree program hammering out details of new partnership.” The partnership includes the former constructing a new building to hold CSU’s Global Campus.

    Claremont Theology might join Willamette University, Inside Higher Ed reports.

    Via Pacific Standard: “In Pakistan, These Schools Are Putting Morality Back Into the Curriculum.”

    More on AltSchool in the surveillance section below. Because honestly, where else would you put news about that private school company but in the surveillance section.

    Accreditation and Certification


    Via The Washington Post: “Chicago won’t allow high school students to graduate without a plan for the future.” That is, “They must show that they’ve secured a job or received a letter of acceptance to college, a trade apprenticeship, a gap year program or the military.” This seems like it’ll be a boon for for-profit higher ed, so good job, Rahm Emanuel.

    More on certifications in the MOOC section above.

    Testing, Testing…


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Irregularities Lead to AP Scores Being Canceled.” That is, canceled at Scripps Ranch High School in California.

    Predictions about the future of test prep from Campus Technology: “Top 3 Trends Affecting U.S. Test Preparation Market Through 2021.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “From CSAP to PARCC, here’s how Colorado’s standardized tests have changed (and what’s next).”

    Go, School Sports Team!


    “Colleges are spending more on their athletes because they can,” says USA Today.

    From the HR Department


    “Did Amway Create the Gig Economy?” asks The Awl. (“Betteridge’s Law of Headlines” aside, the question’s worth asking for a number of reasons, but worth noting of course because Amway was founded by Betsy DeVos’ father-in-law.)

    Via The New York Times: “Microsoft to Cut Up to 4,000 Sales and Marketing Jobs.”

    The NEA, the largest teachers’ union in the US, held its representative assembly where, according to NEAToday, “Educators Vow to Hold Strong, Defend Public Education.”

    Via The New York Times: “State Dept. Restores Job Offers to Students After Diplomat Outcry.”

    “Why Did a UCLA Instructor With a Popular Free-Speech Course Lose His Job?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    The Business of Job Training and Job Placement


    Via Edsurge: “Swedish Startup Hopes to Replace Resumes With ‘Gamified’ Job Matching System.” The company in question is called Sqore.

    Upgrades and Downgrades


    A series of stories in The New York Times about sexual harassment in the tech industry. “Women in Tech Speak Frankly on Culture of Harassment,” writes Katie Benner. Among those accused of harassment, Chris Sacca (perhaps best known as one of the investors on the TV show Shark Tank) and Dave McClure (the founder of 500 Startups, one of the most active ed-tech investors in recent years). Since The NYT story broke, McClure has stepped down from his firm. More via The NYT: “Harassment in the Tech Industry: Voices Grow on Social Media.”

    Via Bloomberg: “Twenty-five years ago, U.S. tech companies pledged to stop using chemicals that caused miscarriages and birth defects. They failed to ensure that their Asian suppliers did the same.”

    “In the knowledge economy, we need a Netflix of education,” say Karl Mehta and Rob Harles in an op-ed in Techcrunch. (No, we don’t.)

    “Tracking Attributes like Grit and Character – There’s an App for That,” writes Charlie Coglianese, the “Chief Data Wizard” at Schoolrunner in an op-ed in EdWeek’s Market Brief. (No, there’s not.)

    Two very different responses to Google’s “Be Internet Awesome” marketing. One by Donnie Piercey in Edsurge: “Trolls, Catfish, Cyberbullies – Oh My! How to Help Students Stay ‘Internet Kind’.” The other by Benjamin Doxtdator: “Frontier notes on metaphors: the digital as landscape and playground.”

    Inside Higher Ed profiles EAB, which has trademarked “student success management system.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Six months after acquisition, SoFi is shutting down Zenbanx.” SoFi is a student loan provider, trying to become a more mainstream banking and financial services company.

    “Why don’t teachers use Minecraft?” asks Dean Groom.

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    “PBS Show Will Teach Preschoolers How To Think Like Computers,” says Edsurge, which seems like a bad idea since computers don’t “think” and since humans need more empathy these days and less bullshit technofuturist ideology.

    Robotics and AI tech can revolutionize classroom ed,” says Education Dive.

    “Need jobs? Get robots, and education right,” says Techcrunch.

    Via Wired: “AI Is Making It Extremely Easy for Students to Cheat.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    I probably won’t include this in my calculations of ed-tech investments, but I’m noting it here nonetheless because it dovetails so nicely with “mindfulness” and “social emotional learning” hoopla. Headspace, has raised $36.7 million in Series B funding. The meditation app (which does market itself to schools) has raised $75 million total.

    Side has raised $5.7 million in Series A funding from Xavier Niel, Anglae Ventures, Antoine Martin, Connect Ventures, Fly Ventures, Jacques-Antoine Granjon, and TheFamily. The short-term job placement startup has raised $7.15 million total.

    Education publisher Nelson has acquired digital grade book company Edusight.

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    The BBC on AltSchool: “The futuristic school where you’re always on camera.”

    Not directly related to education, but certainly relevant to those who care about what Google does with data – via Techcrunch: “UK data regulator says DeepMind’s initial deal with the NHS broke privacy law.”

    Data and “Research”


    Inside Higher Ed covers controversy surrounding an article about net neutrality in the International Journal of Communication that did not disclose funding from an industry group, CALinnovates.

    Via Chalkbeat: “How much money does Aurora Public Schools spend and on what? New online tool has answers.”

    Education Week’s Sarah Sparks writes about research on how data changes the way schools make decisions (and not necessarily for the better).

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Colleges That Received the Highest Amounts in Pell Grants and Federal Student Loans for Undergraduates, by Sector, 2014–15.”

    Via MIT Technology Review: “The most popular people on Twitter are disproportionately white males, according to the first study of race and gender inequality in the Twitterverse.”

    According to anthropologist Lauren Herckis, professors hesitate to adopt “innovative teaching methods” because they fear looking stupid in front of students.

    UVA’s Dan Willingham“On fidget spinners& speeded math practice.”

    Via The Telegraph: “Smartphones blamed for dramatic rise in head lice as schoolchildren gather together to view screens.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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    Beth Holland, a doctoral student at JHU and “EdTech Researcher” at Education Week, sent an email asking some questions about the history of ed-tech. The gist of these: how did ed-tech get from the early, inquiry-based pioneers like Seymour Papert to the crap we see today. Once my response hit more than 500 words, I thought I’d better “blog” my thoughts rather than just answer via email…

    There’s a popular origin story about education technology: that, it was first developed and adopted by progressive educators, those interested in “learning by doing” and committed to schools as democratic institutions. Then, something changed in the 1980s (or so): computers became commonplace, and ed-tech became commodified – built and sold by corporations, not by professors or by universities. Thus the responsibility for acquiring classroom technology and for determining how it would be used shifted from a handful of innovative educators (often buying hardware and software with their own money) to school administration; once computers were networked, the responsibility shifted to IT. The purpose of ed-tech shifted as well – from creative computing to keyboarding, from projects to “productivity.” (And I’ll admit. I’m guilty of having repeated some form of this narrative myself.)

    But what if, to borrow from Ian Bogost, “progressive education technology” – the work of Seymour Papert, for example – was a historical aberration, an accident between broadcast models, not an ideal that was won then lost?

    There’s always a danger in nostalgia, when one invents a romanticized past – in this case, a once-upon-a-time when education technology was oriented towards justice and inquiry before it was re-oriented towards test scores and flash cards. But rather than think about “what went wrong,” it might be useful to think about what was wrong all along.

    Although Papert was no doubt a pioneer, he wasn’t the first person to recognize the potential for computers in education. And he was hardly alone in the 1960s and 1970s in theorizing or developing educational technologies. There was Patrick Suppes at Stanford, for example, who developed math instruction software for IBM mainframes and who popularized what became known as “computer-assisted instruction.” (Arguably, Papert refers to Suppes’ work in Mindstorms when he refers to “the computer being used to program the child” rather than his own vision of the child programming the computer.)

    Indeed, as I’ve argued repeatedly, the history of ed-tech dates at least as far back as the turn of the twentieth century and the foundation of the field of educational psychology. Much of we see in ed-tech today reflects those origins – the work of psychologist Sidney Pressey, the work of psychologist B. F. Skinner, the work of psychologist Edward Thorndike. It reflects those origins because, as historian Ellen Condliffe Lagemann has astutely observed, “One cannot understand the history of education in the United States during the twentieth century unless one realizes that Edward L. Thorndike won and John Dewey lost.”

    Ed-tech has always been more Thorndike than Dewey because education has been more Thorndike than Dewey. That means more instructivism than constructionism. That means more multiple choice tests than projects. That means more surveillance than justice.

    (How Thorndike's ed-tech is now being rebranded as “personalization” (and by extension, as progressive education) – now that's an interesting story...


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  • 07/14/17--04:30: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    After rolling back for-profit higher ed regulationslast week, Betsy DeVos turns her attention to dismantling civil rights as she holds a series of Title IXlistening sessions.”

    More on the Department of Education’s for-profit university machinations in the for-profit section below.

    Via Broadly: “Betsy DeVos to Meet with Men’s Rights Groups, Reports Say.”

    Via The New York Times: “Campus Rape Policies Get a New Look as the Accused Get DeVos’s Ear.” Here’s a choice quotation from the head of the Department of Education’s Civil Rights Office, Candace Jackson:

    Jackson later apologized.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After Meeting With DeVos, Title IX Activists Say They Still Have Many Questions.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “Betsy DeVos Wants To ‘Quickly’ Change The Way The Government Treats Campus Sexual Assault.”

    Via The New York Times: “DeVos Says She Will Revisit Obama-Era Sexual Assault Policies.”

    Who Does DeVos’s Department Really Represent?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Via The New York Times: “DeVos’s Hard Line on New Education Law Surprises States.”

    Via The Washington Post: “A brief history of DARE, the anti-drug program Jeff Sessions wants to revive.”

    Via ProPublica: “Trump Has Secretive Teams to Roll Back Regulations, Led by Hires With Deep Industry Ties.”

    Via Military Times: “Lawmakers reach initial deal to expand GI education bill.” The proposed bill would eliminate the 15-year time limit on accessing education benefits.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Bipartisan support builds for expanding Pell Grant eligibility to short-term certificates, although some experts worry about quality control and funding.” I guess you won’t be able to use Pell Grants at Dev Bootcamp tho (more on that below).

    On the US House of Representatives’ proposed budget: “$2 Billion for Teacher Training, Salaries Eliminated in House Budget Plan,” Education Week reports. Inside Higher Ed describes the budget plan as “(Largely) Shunning White House on Higher Ed Spending.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via Chalkbeat: “Report: Special education voucher program leaves some of New York City’s poorest families without services.”

    Via The Denver Post: “Outdated, sagging Colorado schools get $300 million boost from pot sales, other taxes.”

    Via NPR: “Reading, Writing And Fracking? What The Oil Industry Teaches Oklahoma Students.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “John Behling, the new president of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, said Friday that he wants institutions to recruit leaders from the private sector and otherwise ‘streamline’ the process for hiring chancellors and other top administrators. In so doing, he might have shed light on why a state budget proposal includes language – opposed by faculty members – that would ban the regents from ever considering only academics as top administrators.”

    Via Education Week: “Detroit District May Rethink Authorizing Charter Schools.”

    Immigration and Education


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “DHS Head Won’t Commit to Defending DACA.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Trump Administration Considers Measure to Make Staying in U.S. Harder for Foreign Students.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The Schools Transforming Immigrant Education.”

    Via The New York Times: “In Blow to Tech Industry, Trump Shelves Start-Up Immigrant Rule.”

    More on the Afghan robotics team in the contest section below.

    Education in the Courts


    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Federal Judge Dismisses Suit Against Texas Campus-Carry Law.”

    Via The Washington Post: “Columbia University settles Title IX lawsuit with former student involving ‘mattress girl’ case.”

    Via the AP: “The Ohio Supreme Court won’t stop the state from starting Thursday to recoup $60 million from one of the nation’s largest online charter schools amid a legal battle.”

    More legal cases in the testing section below.

    Testing, Testing…


    Via The New York Times: “California Supreme Court Moves to Make Bar Exam Easier to Pass.”

    Via The New York Times: “How Universal College Admission Tests Help Low-Income Students.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “When states pay for the SAT or ACT, more poor students go to college.”

    Financial Aid and the Business of Student Loans


    The Department of Education explains“how marriage impacts your student loans.”

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Number of Students Applying for Federal Aid Rises 6%, After Several Years of Decline.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Kaplan is closing Dev Bootcamp, a coding bootcamp it acquired in 2014. More from Inside Higher Ed, from Edsurge (disclosure alert!), and from Hacker News.

    Also via Edsurge: “How Boundaries Between Colleges and Companies Will Continue to Blur.”

    Also via Edsurge: “What a Reinvented College Looks Like: 4 Alternative Higher-Ed Models.” The models: Minerva, MissionU, “New Research University,” and “New Urban College.” No disclosure, no surprise, that Edsurge shares investors with at least one of these.

    The Chronicle of Higher Education asks if, with the rollback to Obama-era regulations, states can do more to hold for-profit colleges accountable.

    Via US News & World Report: “Trump Administration Begins Rewriting For-Profit Regulations.”

    Via NPR: “Back To The Starting Line On Regulating For-Profit Colleges.”

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    “The University of California, Los Angeles, is planning a major expansion in the online certificate and graduate degree markets that it hopes will reach as many as 15,000 students by early next decade,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    Via Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Enrollment Implications Regarding Directive for Online Community College in California.”

    Via Education Dive: “Coursera’s Tom Willerer talks personalization, access.” Willerer was previously at Netflix (just to give you an idea of the meaning of “personalization” in the headline).

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How a BYU Campus Is Reshaping Online Education – and the Mormon Faith.”

    Online courses will eventually replace traditional education,” The Daily Californian predicts. Sigh.

    Speaking of predictions about the future of online education, EdTech Strategies’ Doug Levin pens part 2 of his look at Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn’s prediction that “by 2019, half of all high school classes will be taught over the Internet.”

    More on court cases involve online charter schools in the legal section above.

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    Tampa Bay Times’ Cara Fitzpatrick revisits the schools she covered as part of her Pulitzer winning series on “failure factories”: “The Fight for Fairmount Park.”

    Via Pacific Standard: “The Dangers Lurking in California School Drinking Fountains.” Spoiler alert: it’s not just lead.

    Emily Kim, formerly a lawyer for charter chain Success Academy, is launching her own charter chain. It’ll be focused on integration, she promises.

    Via The New York Times: “Long After Protests, Students Shun the University of Missouri.”

    University of Michigan adds an automated text-analysis tool to a growing program intended to give more students a chance to learn through writing,” Inside Higher Ed reports. IHE blogger John Warner responds: “Algorithmic Assessment vs. Critical Reflection.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Despite Forged Signature, Bethune-Cookman U. Proceeds With $306-Million Dorm Contract.”

    NPR examines recovery schools– that is, schools geared towards students with addictions.

    Accreditation and Certification


    Congratulations to Malala Yousafzai who has finished high school.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Some New York charter schools could soon be allowed to certify their own teachers. What could that look like?”

    WBUR reports that“This New MIT Master’s Program Doesn’t Require A College Or High School Degree.”

    Go, School Sports Team!


    Via SB Nation: “What football will look like in the future.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Cornell University has announced that it is ending its contract with Nike, saying the athletic apparel company was unwilling to sign a ‘standard’ agreement pledging to follow a code of conduct for its workers, a code developed and endorsed by many colleges and universities.”

    From the HR Department


    “Mind-reading robo tutor in the sky” company Knewton has a new CEO, Brian Kibby, formerly with Pearson.

    The Business of Job Training


    Jobsolescence” is not a word but it’s used in this headline nonetheless.

    Larry Cuban on “Coding: The New Vocationalism” (Part 1 and Part 2)

    Contests and Awards


    Via the AP: “Denied Visas Twice, Afghan Girls Will Come to U.S. for Robotics Contest.”

    Google profiles Niji Collins, a winner in the latest Google Code-In contest.

    Upgrades and Downgrades


    Edsurge profiles “personalized learning” software used in a virtual school that has some 450 incarcerated students. The software in question, Odysseyware, is featured in a recent series of articles in Slate, chronicling the worst online classes, particularly those used for credit recovery programs. No mention of that or of any problems with this sort of ed-tech in the Edsurge piece, no surprise, which was sponsored by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, just to give you an idea of how these organizations see the future of “personalized learning.”

    Africa is a Country profilesBridge International Academies: “No education crisis wasted: On Bridge’s ‘business model’ in Africa.”

    More on Bridge from Business Insider: “Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are backing a controversial education program in East Africa.”

    For the second time in as many weeks, Edsurge wants to know if educators’ job titles should be changed. First it was “professor.”Now it’s the word “teacher” that should be scrapped. Sensing a trend here?

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “OpenStax Launches Learning Platform.”

    Adaptive software is not the same as personalized learning, says eSchool News. Fortunately for pundits and PR, personalized learning can be anything you want it to be.

    Via MIT Technology Review: “Another Price Slash Suggests the Oculus Rift Is Dead in the Water.” But I’m sure VR is still the future of education for many marketers.

    Speaking of the future of education, via Complex: “How Pokemon Go Went From Viral Sensation To Wasteland in Just One Year.”


    Via The New York Times: “To Close Digital Divide, Microsoft to Harness Unused Television Channels.”

    Via Edsurge: “Genius, Crowdsourced Annotation Service, Discontinues Education Offerings.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Kids app maker Toca Boca debuts its first consumer product collection at Target.”

    Axios reports that “Another VC resigns after accusations of ‘misconduct’.” This time, it’s Frank Artale, co-founder of Ignition Partners. (To my knowledge, this firm has not made any ed-tech investments. So yay?)

    But never fear women in tech! “Ashton Kutcher plans to host an open dialogue on gender equality,” Techcrunch reports.

    Edsurge reports that 100Kin10, an organization that promises to train 100,000 STEM educators in the next decade, has received some $28 million in corporate pledges.

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    The Getting Smart blog predicts that “By 2025, Swarms of Self-Driving Vehicles Will Transport Students to Learning Sites.” And it opts to go full Orwell with this prediction: “You can remind the troublemakers that with facial recognition you can run, but you can’t hide.”

    The Getting Smart blog also highlights a recent PwC report: “AI Boosts Value of Thinking, Creativity and Problem-Solving.”

    Via MIT Technology Review: “U.S. to Fund Advanced Brain-Computer Interfaces.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


    It’s not (necessarily) venture philanthropy, but The Chronicle of Higher Education tracks the “Major Private Gifts to Higher Education.”

    Recode profiles Priscilla Chan, co-founder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

    Via The New York Times: “Award-Winning Philanthropists Explain the Roots of Their Giving.”

    Charity is no substitute for justice withheld – St. Augustine

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    It’s not an ed-tech investment, but let’s note it nonetheless. “Betsy DeVos Invested In Military Tech Contractor Run By Son-In-Law, While Brother Shaped Afghan War Policy,” International Business Times reports. DeVos’ brother is Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater. DeVos’ investment is in LexTM3, which she’s funded three times since Trump became POTUS.

    Tutoring company Clark has raised $2.2 million in seed funding from Lightspeed Ventures, Rethink Education, Flatworld Partners, and Winkelvoss Capital.

    Vidcode has raised $1.5 million in seed funding from BrainPOP, Cherry Ventures, CoVenture, Rethink Education, Stephano Kim, and ZhenFund. The learn-to-code company has raised $1.62 million total.

    NetDragon has acquiredJumpStart, currently the developer of a game inspired by the ed-tech classic Math Blaster.

    BYJU’s has acquired tutoring company Edurite from Pearson.

    Pearson sells off a 22% stake in Penguin Random House to majority owner Bertelsmann.

    Industry analysis: Bloomberg looks atSilicon Valley’s Overstuffed Startups,” noting that IPOs and acquisitions have stalled. But Techcrunch reports that “US venture investment ticks up in Q2 2017,” so who knows.

    CB Insights lists“15 Early-Stage Ed Tech Companies To Watch.”

    Data and “Research”


    The RAND Corporation is out with a study on personalized learning– “Modest Gains, Big Challenges,” reads the Education Week headline. Doug Levin looks at this recent Gates Foundation-sponsored research and asks“Why Do Students in Personalized Learning Programs Feel Less Positive About School?”

    The Wall Street Journal looks atPaying Professors: Inside Google’s Academic Influence Campaign.” Google responds. (And there’s been quite a bit of pushback on the research and the reporting.)

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Federal obligations to universities for science and engineering declined by 2 percent in the 2015 fiscal year, new federal data show.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Do school vouchers‘work’? As the debate heats up, here’s what research really says.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Students are more likely to graduate from colleges that are more expensive and have larger budgets, a new study out of Oregon State University shows.”

    Oh look. This story about laptops. Again.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new study from the Urban Institute found limited interest among prospective college students about graduates’ labor market outcomes, despite the data’s appeal to policy makers and researchers.”

    Press releases as predictions. Via The Telegraph (and based on “market research”): “E-books sales to drop as bookshelf resurgence sparks ‘shelfie’ craze.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Online PD Pays Dividends for Teachers’ Tech Learning, Survey Suggests.” The survey was from Project Tomorrow.

    The Atlantic looks at research on “The Diminishing Role of Art in Children’s Lives.”

    Via Education Week’s Inside School Research blog: “Reading ‘on Grade Level’ May Depend on Your School’s Test, Study Finds.”

    Pew Research Center has released the results of its latest survey on how Americans view institutions. One of the big headline grabbers: the sharp decline in Republicans’ favorable view of higher education. 58% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents “now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country.” More thoughts on the survey from Alex Reid, from the ANOVA, from Bryan Alexander, from The Chronicle of Higher Education, and from Inside Higher Ed.

    Pew Research Center releases its most recent report on online harassment– “Roughly four-in-ten Americans have personally experienced online harassment, and 62% consider it a major problem.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “Many Women Of Color Feel Unsafe Working In Science, New Study Finds.”

    Via The Atlantic: “Most Scientific Research Data From the 1990s Is Lost Forever.” Oops.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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    In early June, I gave a keynote at the OEB MidSummit on the history of "personalization.“ I only had 20 minutes, so it’s a partial history at best. But as ”personalized learning" has become one of the most prominent buzzwords in education technology, I think it’s worth investigating its origins and its trajectory at length.

    ”Personalized learning" is often tied to the progressive educators of the early twentieth century – to John Dewey and Maria Montessori, for example – even though much of the educational software that’s marketed by Silicon Valley and education reformers as “personalized learning” has very little to do with progressive educational theory, except perhaps at the most superficial level. Sure, there’s an invocation of “choice” and “moving-at-your-own-pace,” but the progenitor for much of today’s “personalized learning” seems to be ad-tech rather than ed-tech.

    As part of my Spencer Fellowship, I’m investigating the networks of investors and entrepreneurs who are shaping education technology policies and products, and I’ve decided to focus on how “personalized learning” has come to dominate the narratives surrounding technology-based education reform.

    There are two obvious sources of funding and PR for “personalized learning” – the Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The former has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on “personalized learning” products and projects; the latter promises it will spend billions.

    The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative does not list on its website where its money goes. (It’s a for-profit company, not a charitable foundation so it does not fall under the same reporting requirements as the Gates Foundation does.) As such, it’s going to take me some work to piece together exactly what CZI is funding. (Organizations we know have received CZI money: Chiefs for Change, the College Board, Edsurge (to promote personalized learning projects), and tutoring company BYJU’s, for starters.)

    The Gates Foundation’s investments in “personalized learning” are much easier to track. And to that end I have a couple of projects of my own to unveil:

    The amount of money that the Gates Foundation has awarded in education grants is simply staggering: some $15 billion across some 3000+ grants since the organization was founded in 1998.

    The Gates Foundation first started funding grants “to support personalized learning environments where all students achieve” in 2000, and it has backed the development, adoption, and marketing of “personalized learning” every year since then. (It’s not clear when a school gets a grant for “personalized learning” what software it purchases – is that software also funded by the Gates Foundation? I am assuming here that “personalized learning” necessarily means buying software.)

    With billions of dollars spent on shaping policies and narratives, the Gates Foundation remains one of the most influential (and anti-democratic) forces in education. As such, it gets to define what “personalized learning” is – what it looks like.

    (Still want to insist that “personalized learning” is progressive? Never forget: Bill Gates once called constructionism, progressive educator Seymour Papert’s theory of learning, “bullshit.” Or at least, I’ll never forget…)


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  • 07/21/17--05:00: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    US Secretary of Education spoke to ALEC this week. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a right-wing organization that pens model legislation, including the “Stand Your Ground” gun laws, anti-union legislation, and laws that expand virtual schools. (Here’s a list of education organizations that are members or sponsors.) Betsy DeVos has previously invested in K–12 Inc, a prominent ALEC member. Education Week reminds us“Why Betsy DeVos and ALEC Are Natural Allies on School Choice.”

    The Department of Educationreleased DeVos’s remarks to ALEC, which include an invocation of Margaret Thatcher’s famous quotation “There is no such thing as society.”

    Via The Washington Post: “DeVos tells conservative lawmakers what they like to hear: More local control, school choice.” Protestors were outside the meeting in force.

    “Local control,” sure. But as Education Week reports, “States Bristle as DeVos Ed. Dept. Critiques Their ESSA Plans.”

    Elsewhere in irony, WaPo’s Valerie Strauss writes about“The deep irony in Betsy DeVos’s first speech on special education.”

    President Trump Made a Promise to Black Colleges. It Hasn’t Happened,” writes The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Adam Harris.

    Via Politico: “DeVos: Civil rights office will return to being a ‘neutral’ agency.” I do not know what it means to be “neutral” on civil rights unless you just replace “neutral” with “whiteness.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “More than 50 groups have signed a letter demanding that Candice E. Jackson, acting assistant secretary for civil rights at the U.S. Department of Education, reject a statement she made this month in a New York Times interview. Ms. Jackson told the newspaper that ‘90 percent’ of campus sexual-assault accusations resulted from an accuser’s regret over a sexual encounter.” Also from CHE: “Key Democrat Calls for DeVos to Remove Top Civil-Rights Official.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “White House Touts FCC Chair’s Plan to Scale Back Net Neutrality.”

    Inside Higher Ed reports that “The Republican budget resolution envisions more than $236 billion in cuts to mandatory spending for education programs over 10 years.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The House veterans affairs committee on Wednesday unanimously approved an update to the Post–9/11 GI Bill, an ambitious package of legislation that would lift the lifetime time limit on use of benefits and restore aid for veterans affected by closures of for-profit colleges, among other provisions.”

    The Kenyan Ministry of Education says that the Bridge International Academies are not complying with the country’s laws, and the company, which runs chains of schools across the developing world, has not received approval for its curriculum.

    Africa is a Country continues its coverage of Bridge, “Why is Liberia’s Government rushing to sell its public schools to U.S. for-profits?”

    Of course none of this – not Africa is a Country’s excellent reporting nor Peg Tyre’s recent story in the NYT– stops Nicholas Kristof from touting Bridge as a “solution.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via Education Week: “Minecraft Party to Raise Money for Technology in Philly Schools.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “New York City continues to lose track of thousands of school computers, audit finds.”

    Immigration and Education


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Twelve higher education associations this week registered ‘serious concern’ about a proposal under consideration at the Department of Homeland Security that would require international students to reapply annually for permission to stay in the U.S.”

    Education in the Courts


    Via NBC: “Arizona: Lawsuit Alleging Discrimination In Mexican American Studies Ban Back in Court.”

    The curriculum company Great Minds is appealing a lawsuit in which it claimed that FedEx had violated the “open” in its open educational resources by making copies.

    Via The Washington Post: “Iran sentences Princeton graduate student to 10 years for espionage, report says.”

    Testing, Testing…


    Via Education Week: “Thousands of English-Learners Fall Short on Test of Language Skills.” The test in question in ACCESS 2.0, which recently changed how it was scored.

    More colleges are going “test optional” for applicants: Dominican College, High Point University, the University of Evansville, and Hanover College.

    The Business of Student Loans


    Via The New York Times: “As Paperwork Goes Missing, Private Student Loan Debts May Be Wiped Away.”

    Via NPR: “Private Student Loans: The Rise And Fall (And Rise Again?)” (Sallie Mae says that student borrowing is rising.)

    Via NPR: “Teachers With Student Debt: The Struggle, The Causes And What Comes Next.”

    There’s more research on student debt in the research section below.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Via Edsurge: “Dev Bootcamp Community Reacts to Closure Decision.” (Disclosure alert.)

    Via The San Francisco Chronicle: “Dev Bootcamp couldn’t tough out industry shakeout.”

    The Iron Yard announced this week that it will also be closing. This coding bootcamp was acquired by the University of Phoenix’s parent company, Apollo Education Group, in 2015.

    “Troubled Colleges Rebrand Under Faux-Latin Names,” Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy reports. The for-profit Everest College is now “Altierus,” and DeVry is “Adtalem.”

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    The LA Times asks, “ In this digital self-help age, just how effective are MasterClass’s A-list celebrity workshops?”

    Campus Technology rewrites the press release that Examity will be used for identify verification and proctoring in edX classes.

    Coursera has a new partner, the insurance company AXA, which will offer some 300 Coursera classes to its employees.

    “What if the US had an OU?” the Open University’s Martin Weller asks.

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    This LA Times story is something else: “An overdose, a young companion, drug-fueled parties: The secret life of USC med school dean.”

    Anya Kamenetz interviewsPurdue’s president Mitch Daniels about the future of higher ed.

    Campus Reform continues to make accusations against professors and stir up hate mobs against them. From The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Case of Mistaken Identity Spurs Hateful Messages for a Sikh Professor.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Central Florida Student Says He Was Suspended for Viral Tweet of Ex’s Apology.”

    “My high school told me to apply to 100 colleges– and I almost lost myself in the process,” writes Anisah Karim. This is a good example of why we should be more critical when we hear about schools that boast everyone was admitted to college – at what cost?

    “Students who can’t afford uniforms in New Orleans all-charter-system are routinely barred from attending school. And their parents can end up in jail,” AlterNet reports.

    Via NPR: “When Black Hair Violates The Dress Code.”

    “My Black Stepson Is Proof That Our Schools Put White Culture First” by Andre Perry. Important thoughts here on social emotional learning and structural racism.

    Via The Washington Post: “Some D.C. high schools are reporting only a fraction of suspensions.”

    Via Education Week: “For Principals, Student Sexting a Speeding ‘Freight Train,’ Full of Peril.”

    Accreditation and Certification


    Credly Receives Open Badges Certification,” Campus Technology reports.

    Go, School Sports Team!


    Hugh Freeze resigns as Ole Miss’ football coach,” The Clarion-Ledger reports. The move comes after it was revealed he made a call to an escort service.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Former National Football League player and current Fox NFL analyst Chris Spielman has filed a federal lawsuit against his alma mater, Ohio State University, claiming his image and those of other athletes were used without permission.”

    Via Deadspin: “Teens Discover The Boston Garden Has Ignored Law For Decades, May Owe State Millions.”

    From the HR Department


    Rebecca Schuman is back with her annual “Rate My JIL,” where she skewers the higher ed job market. She takes on a job posting at the University of Illinois Chicago that pays just $28K, for starters. IHE writes about the “outcry,” and “Dean Dad” Matt Reed responds with his own “speculative postmortem.”

    Former Under Secretary of Education and former NewSchools Venture Fund CEO Ted Mitchell is the new head of the lobbying group American Council on Education (ACE).

    Via Patheos: “BYU-Idaho Professor Fired After Defending LGBT Rights in Private Facebook Post.”

    Personalized learningequals cutting the teacher workforce in Oklahoma.

    Via NPR: “Number Of Teens Working Summer Jobs Declines.”

    The Business of Job Training


    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Ads Spell Out What Career and Technical Education Really Is – and Who It’s For.”

    Stanford University’s Larry Cuban publishes part 3 of his series “Coding: The New Vocationalism.”

    Edsurge investigates the validity of a claim it published that “people will change careers 15 times over their lifetimes.” Perhaps fact-check these sorts of things before publishing them?

    Via the Google blog: “Google introduces Hire, a new recruiting app that integrates with G Suite.”

    Google boasts about teaching skills” using VR.

    Sound the “factory model of education klaxon”! Edsurge on“Bridging the School-to-Business Gap: What Public Schools Can Learn From Industry.”

    Contests and Competitions


    Via NPR: “Students Compete In First-Ever International High School Robotics Competition.”

    The New York Times reports that “Burundi Robotics Team Vanishes After U.S. Competition.” Authorities do not believe foul play is involved – two of the students were seen crossing into Canada.

    Via Techcrunch: “Literacy XPRIZE starts field tests of semifinalist apps in LA, Philadelphia and Dallas.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Will Virtual Reality Drive Deeper Learning?” asks Edutopia.

    Is gender inequality in technology a good thing?” asks Donald Clark, using “neurodiversity” as an excuse to justify the ongoing exclusion of women from the field.

    Can predictive analytics help higher ed save $1M a year?” 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


    Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla insists that “Venture capital has less sexual harassment than other industries.” (Khosla’s education portfolio includes Kiddom, Affirm, Bridge International Academies, littleBit, and Piazza. His wife is the co-founder of OER organization CK–12.)

    Via Wired’s Nitasha Tiku: “VC Firms Promise to Stamp Out Sexual Harassment. Sounds Familiar.” That is, it sounds a lot like the industry’s promises to address diversity.

    The Teaching Channel, a video-based professional development organization heavily backed by the Gates Foundation, is becoming a for-profit company.

    Via KQED’s Mindshift: “MIT’s Scratch Program Is Evolving For Greater, More Mobile Creativity.”

    Via Edsurge: “Amazon Inspire Goes Live (But Without Controversial Share Feature).”

    The Verge profiles the SocialStar Creator Camp, a summer camp for teens wanting to become viral Internet stars.

    “Together, technology and teachers can revamp schools,” says The Economist, touting Skinner’s work – it’s like the author read my work but didn’t really read my work.

    Via Education Week: “Personalized Learning: ‘A Cautionary Tale’.”

    eCampus News offers“9 online learning predictions for the upcoming term.” The list includes cloud computing, ffs.

    It’s 2017, and ed-tech is so “disruptive” that we’re still debating the LMS, a technology that is at least 30 years old (and that’s just if you date it to the founding of Blackboard. It’s about 50 years old if you recognize some of PLATO’s functionality is LMS-like.) From WCET: “In Defense of the LMS.” Via Bryan Alexander: “Moodle and the next LMS: reflections and more questions.” Brian Lamb and Jim Groom offers some challenges to the next generation digital learning environment (NGDLE) – because if all else fails, go with a new acronym. More on the LMS in the research section below.

    Speaking of a very strange sense of history: most of these items touted by Edsurge as “90s ed-tech” were not invented in the 1990s.

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    Let Robots Teach American Schoolkids,” says George Mason University economics professor Tyler Cowen. Hell, why not let robots teach economics at George Mason University?!

    Via Edsurge: “At Louisville Summer Camps, Robots Meet Literacy to Support Vulnerable Students.” (Disclosure alert.)

    More on robots in the contest section above.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


    Who’s received Gates Foundation grant money since 1998? I’ve published descriptions of the 3000+ grants here.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    University World News reports that the private equity firm has invested $275 million to build a platform for African universities – Honoris United Universities.

    Kahoot has raised $10 million in Series A funding from Creandum, Northzone, and Microsoft Ventures. The gaming company has raised $26.5 million total. Edsurge reports it’s also joined the Disney Accelerator program.

    Ironhack has raised $3 million in Series A funding form JME Venture Capital. It’s another coding bootcamp. Good luck, guys.

    Career development company Learnerbly has raised $2.09 million in seed funding from Frontline Ventures, Claire Davenport, Future Planet Capital, Jason Stockwood, London Co-Investment Fund, Playfair Capital, Renaud Visage, R Ventures, and Stephan Thomas.

    PeopleGrove has raised $1.8 million in seed funding from Reach Capital, Bisk Ventures, Collaborative Fund, FLOODGATE, GSV Acceleration, Karl Ulrich, LaunchCapital, RiverPark Ventures, and University Ventures. The mentorship platform has raised $2.53 million total.

    KickUp has raised $730,000 in seed funding from Red House Education. The professional development company has raised $2.27 million total.

    Escape Technology has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Alpine Investors.

    Advertising company AcademixDirect has acquired“career exploration app” PathSource.

    Silverback Learning has acquired testing company EdifyAssess.

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Schools collect more data, but how is it used?” asks The Hechinger Report’s Nichole Dobo.

    From the Ed-Fi Alliance’s blog: “The Ed-Fi Alliance Releases Evolutionary Data Standard v2.1.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Average Cost Per Record of US Data Breach in Ed: $245.”

    Via Education Week: “University, middle school partner on cybersecurity education.”

    Data and “Research”


    According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of colleges and universities eligible to award financial aid has fallen precipitously in the last year. “The Culling of Higher Ed Begins,” says Inside Higher Ed. “Numerous schools shut down programs due to the threat of the Obama administration’s ‘gainful employment’ rules, which yank financial aid eligibility from for-profit college programs where students take on too much debt and earn little in return,” Buzzfeed points out.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new report from Third Way, a centrist think tank, attempts to measure higher education’s performance across sectors and types of institutions. The group used federal data on completion, students’ earnings six years after enrollment and loan repayment rates. The report features aggregate figures for four-year institutions, community colleges and certificate-granting institutions, with breakouts by sector.”

    “Research for Action has released the results of a two-year examination of three states’ performance-based funding formulas for public colleges,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    Via Edsurge: “How Much Do Educators Care About Edtech Efficacy? Less Than You Might Think.”

    Via Edsurge: “‘Precision Education’ Hopes to Apply Big Data to Lift Diverse Student Groups.” (This headline pairs nicely with the one above and one below, don’t you think?)

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Adaptive Learning Products Gain Ground in K–12, Market Survey Finds.”

    Code.org boasts that “Girls set AP Computer Science record…skyrocketing growth outpaces boys.” The industry-backed group is taking credit for the increase in the number of AP CS test-takers. There’s a nifty infographic, which Melinda Gates shared on Twitter. (No disclosurein the Edsurge coverage that the College Board, Code.org, and Edsurge itself are all backed by Gates Foundation money.) Like Tim Stahmer, I have some questions about that graph. I mean, the number of AP exams in CS recently doubled too. Is it that surprising that, in turn, the number of exams taken grew as well? How well are these students doing in the AP courses (and not just on the exam)? And “why are underrepresented minorities and poor over-represented in Code.org courses?” Mark Guzdial asks.

    Well, I suppose Senator John McCain’s brain cancer diagnosis was bound to elicit these sorts of stories. From The Atlantic: “Do Cellphones Cause Brain Cancer or Not?”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “An overwhelming majority of colleges and universities did not change priority aid deadlines in response to an earlier financial aid cycle last year, according to a survey of member institutions by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.”

    “A new research paper finds that excess credit hour policies don’t lead to completion, just more student debt,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that rising student debt levels are a substantial contributor to the decline in home ownership among young Americans.”

    Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill provides data on the “Academic LMS Market Share By Enrollments” – part 1 and part 2.

    “Why Americans Think So Poorly of the Country’s Schools” – Jack Schneider on polls and surveys about public education.

    The Chronicle of Higher Education notes that the Campaign for Accountability has had to update its list of scholars who’ve been funded by Google, due to a number of criticisms and flaws in the data. Worth noting: the group is funded by Google’s arch-nemesis, Oracle.

    RIP


    Maryan Mirzakhani, the first woman to with math’s Field Medal, has died from cancer. A professor at Stanford, she was 40. What a loss.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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    Within the past week, two well-known and well-established coding bootcamps have announced they’ll be closing their doors: Dev Bootcamp, owned by Kaplan Inc., and The Iron Yard, owned by the Apollo Education Group (parent company of the University of Phoenix). Two closures might not make a trend… yet. But some industry observers have suggested we might see more “consolidation” in the coming months.

    It appears that there are simply more coding bootcamps – almost 100 across the US and Canada– than there are students looking to learn to code. (That is to say, there are more coding bootcamps than there are people looking to pay, on average, $11,000 for 12 weeks of intensive training in a programming language or framework).

    All this runs counter, of course, to the pervasive belief in a “skills gap” – that there aren’t enough qualified programmers to fill all the programming jobs out there, and that as such, folks looking for work should jump at the chance to pay for tuition at a bootcamp. Code.org and other industry groups have suggested that there are currently some 500,000 unfilled computing jobs, for example. But that number is more invention than reality, a statistic used to further a particular narrative about the failure of schools to offer adequate technical training. That 500,000 figure, incidentally, comes from a Bureau of Labor Statistics projection about the number of computing and IT jobs that will added to the US economy by 2024, not the number of jobs that are available – filled or unfilled – today.

    Perhaps instead of “everyone should learn to code,” we should push for everyone to learn how to read the BLS jobs report.

    There isn’t really much evidence of a “skills gap”– there’s been no substantive growth in wages, for example, that one would expect if there was a shortage in the supply of qualified workers. And while we can talk about jobs that will be added to the overall economy in the coming years, it’s important to remember that the job market isn’t national; it’s local. A Haskell programmer in Silicon Valley might earn $250,000 a year, for example; a Haskell programmer in Des Moines probably won’t. Hell, there might not be any Haskell jobs in all of Iowa.

    For its part, Dev Bootcamp had coding bootcamps in Austin, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. The Iron Yard had coding bootcamps in Atlanta, Austin, Charleston, Dallas, Durham, Greenville, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Nashville, Orlando, Raleigh, Tampa Bay, and Washington DC. (An Iron Yard location in Detroit had already closed its doors.) In all these locations, the bootcamps boasted that they were working with high profile local employers. But the question remains: did local employers really want or need bootcamp grads? Or rather, there are (at least) two questions: were there a sufficient number of tech jobs in these cities to make the bootcamp tuition and time spent worthwhile; and was the training at a bootcamp sufficient to get hired?

    In December of last year, Bloomberg published a warning to prospective students: “Want a Job in Silicon Valley? Keep Away From Coding Schools.” The article contended that many companies have found coding bootcamp grads unprepared for technical work: “These tech bootcamps are a freaking joke,” one tech recruiter told the publication. “My clients are looking for a solid CS degree from a reputable university or relevant work experience.” Google’s director of education echoed this sentiment: “Our experience has found that most graduates from these programs are not quite prepared for software engineering roles at Google without additional training or previous programming roles in the industry.”

    Of course, with all these regional schools, the bootcamps aren’t really training employees for work in the Bay Area (although I think that is part of their marketing – get a certificate, and you can land a job with a famous tech company). And despite the poor reputation bootcamps might have among some tech firms, Course Report, a review site for bootcamps, touts these schools’ successful job placement rates. Course Report claims that among those graduates it surveyed, 73% had found full-time employment using the skills they’d learned, and those had seen an average salary increase of $26,000. No doubt, it’s worth pointing out that there is very little independent research to validate these sorts of claims – much of the research is industry-sponsored, and much of the data, self-reported.

    Also worth noting: that of those surveyed by Course Report, 60% already had bachelor’s degrees. Arguably, this makes the bootcamp certification more of an addition to the college degree than a substitute for one. And this complicates any discussion of credentialing and hiring – does someone land a programming job because she or he has a college degree or because she or he has a coding bootcamp certificate? How might gender and race play into this?

    How might the school itself play into this? I don’t just mean coding bootcamps in general, but specific bootcamp brands. Brands like Dev Bootcamp and The Iron Yard, obviously, have taken a hit to their “legitimacy” by closing (and their students will feel this in turn) – I’m borrowing this term from sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom– but arguably these schools were also associated with what McMillan Cottom calls “lower ed” in the first place. That is, they’d become subsidiaries of the for-profit colleges Kaplan and the University of Phoenix respectively – coding bootcamps as “the new for-profit higher ed.” Does that association matter to bootcamp students, and just as importantly, does that association matter to employers? Again, there's not much research.

    For-profit higher ed has been in the news a lot in the last couple of years, and the news hasn’t been so good: stories about the high rate of student loan debt, charges of fraudulent marketing, and the closures of chains like Corinthian Colleges and ITT (a technical college, to boot). According to one study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, the average student at a for-profit college is actually worse off after attending. That is, these students are less likely to be employed; and if they do have jobs, they are more likely to earn less.

    But of course the “average student” at a for-profit college is not the same as the “average student” at a coding bootcamp. As McMillan Cottom documents in her book Lower Ed, “the typical for-profit college student is a woman and a parent. For-profit colleges dominate in producing black bachelor’s degree holders.” According to the latest survey (again, survey) from Course Report, 55% of bootcamp students are male; 70% are white. 39% paid for their bootcamp tuition themselves; and 17% took out loans. 96% of those enrolled for-profit colleges, by comparison, take out loans.

    Much of the latter is federal loan money. Bootcamps, on the other hand, are not eligible for federal financial aid. The Obama Administration did launch a pilot program – the Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) initiative– to evaluate the possibility of “non-traditional providers” like bootcamps becoming aid-eligible. But there’s been no word from the Trump Administration if this will be continued or expanded. (Among those bootcamps participating: The Flatiron School in partnership with SUNY Empire State College, MakerSquare in partnership with the University of Texas Austin, HackerRank in partnership with Wilmington University, and Epicodus in partnership with Marylhurst University.) Perhaps bootcamps (and their investors) were hoping that federal financial aid would subsidize their operations like it has done the rest of for-profit higher ed; but that money hasn’t materialized.

    Nevertheless, coding bootcamps – and “learn-to-code” startups more generally– remain one of the most active areas for ed-tech investment. Over $70 million in venture capital has been funneled in coding bootcamps so far in 2017. But unlike in the recent past, there have yet to be any big acquisitions in the industry this year. In 2016, Capella Education, another for-profit college chain, acquired the bootcamps Hackbright Academy and Dev Mountain; and fellow for-profit Strayer Education acquired the New York Code and Design Academy. (Other 2016 bootcamp buys: General Assembly acquired Bitmaker, Bloc acquired DevBridge, and Full Stack Academy acquired Starter League.) There’s been some criticism of those bootcamp founders who sold their companies to for-profits and subsequently “checked out,” allowing the quality of their offerings to suffer. But that’s likely what happens if your company raises venture capital: a bigger company buys you (and crushes you).

    When Dev Bootcamp announced it was closing, the company admitted that it had been “unable to find a sustainable model” that didn't compromise its vision for “high-quality, immersive coding training that is broadly accessible to a diverse population.” Indeed, despite the tech industry’s disdain for the education system and particularly for the politics of its (unionized) labor force, “high-quality, immersive coding training” is going to be an expensive, labor-intensive proposition. For its part, the for-profit higher education industry has not been known to invest heavily in instruction (faculty or curriculum); its dollars – primarily federal financial aid dollars at that – have gone instead to marketing and recruitment.

    So it may just be that the business of teaching everyone to code (and to code well and to do so without federal money) isn’t a very good business at all, particularly at the sort of scale that for-profit higher ed chains – career colleges and coding bootcamps alike – and their investors have sought.


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  • 07/28/17--05:20: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    “Who Is Betsy DeVos?” asks New York Magazine. “And how did she get to be head of our schools.”

    “Not An Advocate for Students or the Public Interest” – historian Sherman Dorn onBetsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.”

    Via Politico: “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has increased her financial stake in a ‘neurofeedback’ company that says its technology treats attention deficit disorder and the symptoms of autism. DeVos reported a new investment of between $250,001 and $500,000 in the Michigan-based Neurocore, according to a financial disclosure form that was certified by government ethics officials on Wednesday.”

    From the Department of Education press release: “Secretary DeVos Accepts President Trump’s Q2 Salary as a Donation for STEM-Focused Camp.” $100,000. Trump’s budget, of course, cuts $9.2 billion from the Department of Education.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Department of Education has placed restrictions on access to federal student aid for West Virginia public universities after the state was late submitting required annual financial statements for the third year in a row. The restrictions, known as heightened cash monitoring, mean that for five years higher ed institutions in the state must disburse aid to students first and then ask the feds for reimbursement.”

    More on the politics of student loans in the business of student loan section below.

    President Trump spoke to the Boys Scouts’ annual Jamboree, and his talk was, to put it nicely, “rambling.” “The president of the Boy Scouts needs the Trump administration to approve his mega-merger,” Quartz reports– that’s Randall Stephenson, also the CEO of AT&T. The Boy Scouts have apologized for Trump’s speech – sorta. It was one of those “I’m sorry you were offended” sorts of fauxpologies.

    Poor Pickle.

    Via CNN: “Cabinet members beware: What Trump is doing to Sessions can happen to you.” The story contains some machinations at the Department of Education in which the White House tried to fire a Jeb Bush-supporting staffer.

    Bloomberg reports that “Trump Administration Tapping Tech CEOs for STEM Policy Approach.” Those involved: investor Laurene Powell Jobs, Apple’s Tim Cook, and representatives from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative– so all the country’s best experts on STEM education clearly.

    Via The Washington Post: “ NAACP: School choice not the answer to improving education for black students.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via The Salt Lake Tribune: “Lawmaker: Utah‘s veteran educators may need to ’die off’ before technology fills classrooms.” The lawmaker in question: Republican State Senator Howard Stephenson.

    Education in the Courts


    Via Education Week: “Supreme Court sets Sept. 5 hearing on charter school funding.”

    Apple has been ordered to pay the University of Wisconsin $506 million for patent infringement.

    Via The New York Times: “Foster Care as Punishment: The New Reality of ‘Jane Crow’.”

    More legal cases in the for-profit higher ed section below.

    “Free College”


    “Dean Dad” Matt Reed on“Promises, Promises” – the free college programs in Oregon and New York.

    The Business of Student Loans


    Via the AP: “Records: Student-loan forgiveness has halted under Trump.”

    Via The Student Loan Report: “Halfway Through 2017, Here Are the Best & Worst Student Loan Servicers.” Congrats, Navient. You’re the worst.

    Via Bryan Alexander: “Student loans are cramping the American economy: what this could mean.”

    More on student loans and for-profits in the for-profit higher ed section below.

    OK, OK. It’s not necessarily student loan debt, but the story features swordsmen loan collectors, so I’m sharing it nonetheless. Via The Wall Street Journal: “Spain Has a Debt Problem, and So Now It Has a Zorro Problem.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    “The Lower Ed Ecosystem: Bootcamps Edition” by sociologist Tressie McMillan Cottom.

    “Why Are Coding Bootcamps Going Out of Business?” by me.

    One thing I didn’t talk about in that story: what’s going to happen about the venture capital wing of The Iron Yard. I’m also curious how this news – again, I’m not sure two closures are really a “trend” – will affect student loan startups.

    The Flatiron School has released its latest “outcomes report.”

    On Tuesday a court dismissed a petition by Ashford University (owned by Bridgepoint Education) to allow its online programs to be eligible for GI Bill benefits. But as Inside Higher Ed reports later in the week: “In the latest development in an eventful saga, Ashford University on Wednesday announced that it is closer to preserving access to Post–9/11 GI Bill benefits.”

    Via the Twin Cities Pioneer Press: The Minnesota“Supreme Court says Globe U and MN School of Business made illegal loans.”

    National American University Holdings has acquiredHenley-Putnam University.

    “Graduate student enrollment is declining at for-profit institutions, but the sector continues to resonate with one particular demographic – black women,” according to Inside Higher Ed, drawing on a report from the Urban Institute.

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    Lots of MOOC PR appeared in the news this week. Not sure where you plot this on the “hype cycle.”

    “What if MOOCs Revolutionize Education After All?” asks Edsurge.

    “Now that MOOCs are mainstream, where does online learning go next?” asks The Next Web.

    More questions about MOOCs in the Betteridge’s Headlines section below. And more on MOOCs in the credentialing section below as well.

    Via The Daily Times: “Blount County Schools building new options to personalize learning.” Boy, it seems as though “personalized learning” is really just code for “virtual charter schools.”

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    There are currently over 100 HBCUs in the US, but an article in HBCU Digest predicts“About 50 HBCUs Will Survive the Next Decade. It’s Time to Start Investing in Them.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Warning, a Crusade, and a Public Reckoning at the U. of Florida.”

    The Wall Street Journal looks at the free textbook initiative at CUNY.

    Via The WSJ: “How a Catholic School Turned $15,000 Into $34 Million Thanks to Snapchat.” How Saint Francis High School plans to spend the money it earned from the Snap IPO – provided Snap shares are still worth anything.

    STAT on telemedicine in schools: “At a growing number of schools, sick kids can take a virtual trip to the doctor.”

    Accreditation and Certification


    Via The New York Times: “Proposal Would Let Charter Schools Certify Their Own Teachers.” This proposal is for some New York charters.

    Analysis from Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein: “‘Alternative Pathways:’ How to Rethink Vocational Education.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “MIT Deems MicroMasters a Success.”

    Research from Ithaka S+R on “non-college credentials,” as reported by Inside Higher Ed.

    Go, School Sports Team!


    Via The New York Times: “110 NFL Brains.” “A neuropathologist has examined the brains of 111 N.F.L. players – and 110 were found to have C.T.E., the degenerative disease linked to repeated blows to the head.” In addition to looking at NFL players’ brains, the researchers also look at those of high school players and found evidence of CTE there too.

    Via ESPN: “Ravens OL John Urschel, 26, retires abruptly, two days after CTE study.” Urschel is getting his PhD in math at MIT.

    Are folks in Texas paying attention to the danger they’re exposing their kids to? Probably not. Via The LA Times: “After Texas high school builds $60-million stadium, rival district plans one for nearly $70 million.”

    Meanwhile in that other big football state, Nebraska, the World Herald reports that “Sherwood Foundation buys data-tracking helmets for every OPS high school football player.” OPS = the Omaha Public Schools

    From the HR Department


    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Steven Salaita, Whose Revoked Job Offer Inflamed Higher Ed, Says He’s Leaving Academe.”

    USC says it will fireCarmen Puliafito, the former dean of its medical school and the center of a LA Times investigation into his drug use and partying.

    Ed-Tech Magazine asks“How Diverse Is the Higher Ed IT Workforce?” Spoiler alert: not very.

    Every once in a while – well actually, pretty often – someone has to trot out a Steve Jobs quote in order to justify their vision for the future of education. So this, from the American Enterprise Institute, is completely unsurprising: “School-choice advocate Steve Jobs in 1995: ‘The unions are the worst thing that ever happened to education’.”

    The Business of Job Training


    “Big Venture Investments in HR Startups& What it Means for Education” by Learn Capital’s Tom Vander Ark.

    Contests and Awards


    Via Techcrunch: “Microsoft’s Imagine Cup crowns its 15th winner, the X.GLU smart glucose meter for kids.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Are MOOCs, Bootcamps and Other Alternative Education Options Effective?asks US News & World Report.

    Should big data be used to discourage poor students from university?asks ZDNet.

    Are iPads and laptops improving students’ test scores?asks the Pioneer Press.

    Can personalized learning prevail?asks Chester E. Finn, Jr.

    Is higher ed creating the next dropout factories?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


    Via Ed Week’s Market Brief: “African Ed-Tech Incubator Aims to Set Companies, and Students, on Winning Path.” The incubator, which claims to be the first on the continent, is led by Jamie Martin, an advisor to former UK education secretary Michael Gove so this all sounds awful.

    Speaking of imperialism, The Guardian covers a report from Global Media which describes Facebook’s Free Basics program as “digital colonialism.” “Facebook is not introducing people to open internet where you can learn, create and build things. It’s building this little web that turns the user into a mostly passive consumer of mostly western corporate content,” says Ellery Biddle, Global Voices’ advocacy director.

    As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg travels around the US to “learn about people’s challenges,” one of his employees, living out a a garage, suggests maybe Zuck pay attention to inequalities in his own backyard.

    The New York Times profilesthe Horowitz family: son Ben is part of the famous venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, father David is a right-wing activist.

    The New York Times continues its coverage of the awfulness of tech companies’ employee policies: “Abuses Hide in the Silence of Nondisparagement Agreements.”

    Inc lists“5 Entrepreneurs That Are Shaking Up Education” and includes the CEO of Blackboard. Oh Inc. Never change.

    “A Tech Bubble Killed Computer Science Once, Can It Do So Again?” asks IEEE.

    Microsoftplans to axeMicrosoft Paint.

    Adobeplans to axeFlash.

    As schools move to digital-only, encouraged of course by the ideology of “innovation,” it’s important to remember how fragile this makes resources. The Harvard Library Innovation Lab on link rot: “A Million Squandered: The ‘Million Dollar Homepage’ as a Decaying Digital Artifact.”

    Related: Michael Caulfield makes“A Call to Info-Environmentalism.”

    Elsewhere in media literacy, the AP reports thatTexas educators work to use technology to fight fake news.”

    Via Edsurge: “Google and Digital Promise Reimagine Teacher Tech Training with New National Program.”

    Via Education Week: “Google Launches $50 Million Effort on the Future of Work.”

    Virtual Reality and education: some thoughts” from Tony Bates.

    Via Campus Technology: “2017 Ed Tech Trends: The Halfway Point.” VR, AI, etc.

    Via the press release: “Canvas Announces Skill for Amazon Alexa.” Because everyone’s just dying to interact with the LMS through their home surveillance device.

    Bloomberg interviews the CEO of SnapAsk: “Bringing the Uber Model to Online Tutoring.” At this stage, any company that compares themselves to Uber is out of their mind.

    “These Kids Are Learning CRISPR At Summer Camp,” Motherboard reports. What could possibly go wrong?

    Via Edsurge: “Global STEM Alliance is Encouraging Students to be a New Kind of Billionaire.” “A new kind of billionaire” is this bullshit: “The new definition of a billionaire is a person or group of people, that can touch, teach or influence a billion people.”

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    Artificial intelligence holds great potential for both students and teachers – but only if used wisely,” say Simon Knight and Simon Buckingham Shum writing in The Conversation.

    From the Raspberry Pi blog: “IoT Sleepbuddy, the robotic babysitter.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Carnegie Mellon Debuts Initiative to Combine Disparate AI Research.”

    Also via Campus Technology: “Stanford Launches Platform Lab for Centralized Control of Autonomous Cars, Drones.”

    Also via Campus Technology: “2 Cornell U Teams Land up to $15 Million to Study AI, Autonomous Systems.”

    More details on the funding news below by here’s the headline from the press release: “Liulishuo raises approximately $100M in Series C funding to extend its lead in building smart AI English teachers.”

    Tutorbots are here,” says Donald Clark, listing “7 ways they could change the learning landscape.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


    Non Profit Quarterly looks at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s plans for education. (Or what we can glean about the plans, considering the investment company’s lack of transparency.)

    Laurene Powell Jobs (widow of Steve Jobs) has bought a majority stake in The Atlantic, so I guess there’ll be a lot more stories there about how awesome ed-tech is.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    BYJU’s has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Tencent. The test prep company has raised at least $204 million in funding.

    Liulishuo has raised $100 million in Series C funding from China Media Capital, Wu Capital, Cherubic Ventures, GGV Capital, Hearst Ventures, IDG Capital Partners, and Trustbridge Partners. It’s not known how much the English language-learning company has previously raised.

    Duolingo has raised $25 million in Series E funding from Drive Capital. The language learning app has raised $108.3 million total.

    Signal Vine has raised $2 million in Series A funding from New Markets Venture Partners. The messaging company has raised $2.25 million total.

    PlayAblo has raised $600,000 from ABI-Showatech for its “gamified learning experience.”

    Frontline Education has acquired the School Improvement Network. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Not an ed-tech update, but it’s a business of tech update so I’ll include it here. Via The New York Times: “Facebook’s Profit and Revenue Surge, Despite Company Predictions of a Slowdown.”

    Also not an ed-tech update, but also a story that’s relevant to the business of tech and the business of ed reform: “Move Over, Bill Gates. Jeff Bezos Gets a Turn as World’s Richest Person,” The New York Times reports. Briefly. Just briefly. As Amazon’s stock price fell below $1063 a share, Gates took the top spot back.

    More details on Betsy DeVos’s investment in Neurocore in the politics section above.

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Measuring Clicks, Emotions, and Brain Waves: Student Recruitment Keeps Evolving.” So, it’s like advertising but with even more privacy invasion.

    Via Ed Week’s Market Brief: “Predictive Analytics in Ed-Tech Create New Questions in K–12, Higher Ed” – a dispatch from an Education Technology Industry Network event.

    Speaking of predictive analytics, this by The Atlantic’s Adrienne LaFrance raises a lot of questions about kids (and advertising) and algorithms: “The Algorithm That Makes Preschoolers Obsessed With YouTube.”

    From the press release: “Big Data Analysis Helps Students Choose College Majors.”

    Proctoring company Proctorio says it now integrates with Google Classroom– something in the press release about “complimentary exam integrity.”

    Speaking of Google and surveillance, "Google Glass 2.0 Is a Startling Second Act, says Wired’s Steven Levy. The spyware will be used in factories. I guess that means it’ll be used in schools since they rely on a factory model of education?

    Via Honi Soit: “University abandons Cadmus anti-cheating software.” The university in question: University of Sydney. The software would have registered students’ locations when using the app to write essays.

    Via PC Mag: “FBI: Your Kid’s Internet-Connected Toys Might Be Spying on Them.”

    There’s another Internet-connected spy story in the upgrade/downgrade section above – something about the LMS Canvas and Alexa.

    Data and “Research”


    Edsurge looks at the “Board of Directors for 20 Best Funded Private US Edtech Companies.” Shocking: there are very few women on these boards.

    The investment analysts at CB Insights report that “Kid-Friendly: Baby And Children’s Tech Startups On Track To Reach Five-Year Deal High.” (It’s challenging, I think, to separate “kid tech” from “ed-tech,” in part because the latter is increasingly consumer-focused and is often not about “learning” in the first place.)

    Edsurge reports that“Fueled by Big Rounds, US Edtech Funding Surges to $887M in First Half of 2017.” By my calculations, the number is higher: $1.4 billion. But I insist on including student loan startups.

    Via The Chronicle of Philanthropy: “Nonprofits with large endowments are collecting more than twice as much money as they are spending on grants, facilities, and administrative and other costs, a new data analysis of 1,600 organizations by The Chronicle shows.” Among the big endowments: Liberty University and the NCAA.

    Via WaPo’s Valerie Strauss: “ Neil deGrasse Tyson blames U.S. schools for flat-Earthers– and teachers aren’t amused.”

    Pro tip: do not include fMRIs in your slides in order to justify whatever you want to say about education reform and education technology by what you think these images say about attention, engagement, cognition, brain activity, etc.

    Via Education Week: “Social-Emotional-Learning Researchers Gather Input From Educators.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “New Guidance on Conducting Research Unveiled for Ed-Tech Companies.” The guidance comes from the Education Technology Industry Network, a division of the Software & Information Industry Association.

    Like the “What Works Clearinghouse,” except not – USC’s Morgan Polikoff on“The Don’t Do It Depository.”

    For $500 you can buy the report from the Serious Play Conference that outlines the future of game-based learning and predicts these products will have $8.1 billion in revenue by 2022.

    Campus Technology says that that famous predictor Gartner predicts that IT spending is going to hit $3.5 trillion in 2017.

    Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill offers some data on Google Classroom adoption in higher ed.

    Via WalletHub: “2017’s Most & Least Educated Cities in America.”

    Via Education Week: “U.S. Children Gain Ground in Home Supports, Federal Data Show.”

    Inside Higher Ed on a new study on the connection between tuition and state funding: “For every $1,000 cut from per-student state and local appropriations, the average student can be expected to pay $257 more per year in tuition and fees – and the rate is rising.”

    Via NPR: “College Tuition Grows At Slowest Pace In Decades.”

    The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson invokes T. S. Eliot. “This is the Way the College ‘Bubble’ Ends. Not with a pop, but a hiss.”

    “The Online College Students 2017: Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences” – a survey from The Learning House Inc and Aslanian Market Research.

    More data on for-profit higher ed enrollment in the for-profit higher ed section above.

    Some interesting statistics about education from The Economist’s recent article on China and Africa:

    …in 2014 the number of African students in China surpassed the number studying in either Britain or America, the traditional destinations for English-speakers (France still beats all three, however). Much of the growth is because China has given tens of thousands of scholarships to African students, the academics say.

    Bridge International Academies touts research by Bridge International Academies that Bridge International Academies improves student outcomes in Liberia.

    “Why the Myth of Meritocracy Hurts Kids of Color” by Melinda D. Anderson in The Atlantic.

    Ravens can plan for future as well as 4-year-old children can,” says New Scientist.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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  • 08/04/17--05:00: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    The New York Times broke the story this week that “Justice Dept. to Take On Affirmative Action in College Admissions.” And by “take on,” that means “investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.”

    (It would be pretty great if the DOJ would investigate how legacy admissions and big donations let mediocre white applicants like Donald Trump and Jared Kushner get into Ivy League schools.)

    As the week went on the story changed slightly…

    Via NPR: “DOJ Looks Into Whether Harvard Discriminates Against Asian-Americans.” More via Buzzfeed and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What You Need to Know About Race-Conscious Admissions in 2017.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “On Affirmative Action, Candice Jackson Said Civil-Rights Office Would Not ‘Push a Social Agenda’.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Arne Duncan criticizes Betsy DeVos on civil rights, says she hasn’t asked for his advice.” I mean…

    In other Arne news, Chalkbeat also reports that “‘I think that’s blood money’: Arne Duncan pushed charters to reject funds from Trump admin if budget cuts approved.”

    Politico reports that the Department of Education has reached a deal with the US Marshals Service to continue providing protection for Betsy DeVos. The cost for the services from her appointment through September 30: $7.78 million. In the past, Secretaries of Education have just used the department’s own force.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Federal Sex-Assault Investigations Are Being Resolved More Often. These 11 Cases Show How.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Senate Passes GI Bill Update.”

    “Republicans try to take cheap phones and broadband away from poor people,” Ars Technica reports. “The legislation filed on Friday targets Lifeline, which is a Universal Service Fund program paid for by surcharges on phone bills. If the bill passes, low-income Americans would no longer be able to use $9.25 monthly subsidies toward cellular phone service or mobile broadband. The subsidies would still be available for landline phone service.”

    More on Trump’s proposed immigration policies in the immigration section below. More on the Department of Education’s student loan forgiveness (or lack thereof) in the student loan section below.

    Japan Might Be What Equality in Education Looks Like,” says The Atlantic’s Alana Semuels.

    Via the BBC: “How Canada became an education superpower.”

    From the press release: “174 organisations worldwide call investors to cease support to American chain of schools Bridge International Academies.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    “The Campus-Speech Debate Spends Summer Break in Statehouses,” according to The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf.

    Via NPR: “New Florida Law Lets Residents Challenge School Textbooks.” What could possibly go wrong?

    Via EdSource: “Cal State drops intermediate algebra as requirement to take some college-level math courses.”

    The Hechinger Report reports on the HOPE Scholarship program in Georgia and asks why a huge surplus in funds isn’t being spent to help more students with financial aid.

    Via NPR: “Illinois Governor Vetoes Education Funding Plan.”

    Immigration and Education


    Via The Washington Post: “ He went to ICE to tell agents he had gotten into college. Now he and his brother have been deported.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A bill backed by President Trump and announced Wednesday aims to reduce overall legal immigration by half while putting in place a new points-based system for applicants for employment-based green cards that would privilege graduates of American universities.”

    Education in the Courts


    Via Buzzfeed: “This 8-Year-Old Transgender Girl Is Suing Her Private School For Discrimination.”

    Via The New York Times: “Harassment Suit Against a Stanford Dean Is Rejected.”

    A ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union raises interesting questions about the ownership of student data: “Exam scripts and examiner’s corrections are personal data of the exam candidate.”

    Testing, Testing…


    From the Khan Academy blog: “Khan Academy is the Official Practice Partner for AP.” This is the second major partnership the organization has made with the College Board, as Khan Academy is also its test prep site of choice for the SAT.

    Via Mindshift: “AP Computer Science Principles Attract Diverse Students With Real-World Problems.”

    “Free College”


    Rhode Island’s new state budget makes community college tuition-free for new high school graduates who enroll full-time and maintain a 2.5 or higher grade point average,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    The Business of Student Loans


    Via NPR: “New Fears For Public Service Loan Forgiveness.”

    Via The New York Times: “DeVos Abandons Plan to Allow One Company to Service Federal Student Loans.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Coding Bootcamps Won’t Save Us All,” Edsurge informs us.

    Edsurge also wants you to know that “​More Bootcamps Are Quietly Coming to a University Near You.”

    The Next Web reports that coding bootcamp Coding Dojo will no longer teach Ruby on Rails. It will teach Java instead.

    Buzzfeed’s Molly Hensley-Clancy looks at the acquisition of EDMC– the parent company of the Art Institutes chain – by The Dream Center Foundation, a network of Christian missionary centers.

    The for-profit Charlotte School of Lawsays it might get its access to federal financial aid restored.

    Via the Indianapolis Business Journal: “Legal skirmishes break out over ITT documents, data.”

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    Via Edsurge: “As In-Person Bootcamps Falter, Codecademy Introduces Paid Online Options.” Codecademy, Edsurge contends, is now a competitor to Coursera and Udacity.

    Pretty sure this is the best MOOC story of the week: “Russian Underground Launches Online Courses in Card Fraud,” Infosecurity Group reports.

    Via Business Insider: “Online learning may be the future of education – we compared 4 platforms that are leading the way.” Not sure why these are the four, but there you go: Udemy, Lynda, Coursera, and Skillshare.

    Via Edsurge: “‘Not Everyone Is Built for It’: Students Offer Their Take on Virtual Schooling.”

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    As part of its back-to-school series, The New York Times looks atdeath threats and protests as professors’ statements about race and politics go viral.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “In Charlottesville, UVa Grapples With Its History and the Alt-Right.”

    “For the first time in Harvard University’s history, the majority of students accepted into the incoming freshman class are not white,” The Boston Globe reports.

    Inside Higher Ed reports thatNational University is working to create a personalized education platform that combines three of the buzziest innovations in higher education – adaptive learning, competency-based learning and predictive analytics for student retention.”

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Urban Colleges Move Into K–12 Schools to Help Kids and Themselves.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of California, Irvine, announced Wednesday that most of those whose admissions offers were revoked last month will in fact be admitted. The announcement follows anger at the news that about 500 acceptances were revoked last month, leaving students scrambling to find college options. The university said that the unusually high number of revoked acceptances had no relationship to the news that about 800 more freshmen were planning to enroll in the fall than Irvine had expected.”

    School mergers are hard.

    Via KPCC: “Vaccination rates in California schools reached an all-time high last school year, but one subset of public schools still appears to be lagging behind: charter schools.”

    Accreditation and Certification


    The Michigan Department of Education is phasing out teaching endorsements in 12 subjects, including computer science.

    From the HR Department


    “A Caltech Professor Who Harassed Two Female Students Has Resigned,” Buzzfeed’s Azeen Ghorayshi reports. (And it is thanks, in no small part, to her reporting on Christian Ott in the first place.)

    Barbara Means and Jeremy Roschelle have left **SRI International **and joined Digital Promise, where they’ll create a new research center, Edsurge reports.

    Renaissance has a new CEO: Daniel Hamburger, formerly CEO of the for-profit college chain DeVry.

    Peter Oppenheim has been confirmed as the Assistant Secretary of Education for Legislation and Congressional Affairs, the first appointment confirmed to the Department of Education since DeVos became Secretary.

    Via The Seattle Times: “UW researcher Michael Katze fired after sexual-harassment investigation.” UW here is the University of Washington.

    Zuckerberg hires former Clinton pollster Joel Benenson,” Politico reports. Totally not running for President, is he.

    The Business of Job Training


    Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) has an op-ed in The NYT lamenting the lack of child labor or something: “What to Do With the Kids This Summer? Put ’Em to Work.”

    Via Techcrunch: “LinkedIn is rolling out a free service to pair users with mentors.”

    Via Edsurge: “Not All Career and Technical Education Programs Are Created Equal.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?asks Jean Twenge in The Atlantic.

    Will ‘Publish or Perish’ Become ‘Clicks or Canned’?asks Edsurge.

    Has the Game Really Changed?asks Edsurge, with “Notes From the 2017 Games for Change Festival.”

    (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: “Apple iPad Sales to Schools Jump 32%, Selling 1M Tablets in Fiscal Q3 2017.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Mystery Science partners with Google to bring eclipse glasses to elementary school students.”

    From the Pearson blog: “The future of language learning: Augmented reality vs virtual reality.”

    “A New Way for Therapists to Get Inside Heads: Virtual Reality,” says The New York Times. Great.

    The Global Times reporting from China: “Schools adopt VR, among other technologies, to instill correct ideology in students.”

    VR company AltSpaceVR is shutting down.

    “The Spotify of the textbook world takes off as Bibliotech is go,” says Jisc. (Pro tip: do not compare your education product or idea with commercial tech, particularly companies with exploitative practices and/or shoddy businesses.)

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Barnes & Noble Education has joined an alliance of publishers and distributors taking steps to stop the sale of illegally copied textbooks.”

    Stephen Downes gives an update ongRSShopper in a Box.”

    “For Code.org, Training Computer Science Teachers Isn’t Really About Computer Science,” says Education Week. (Spoiler alert: it’s about learning how to teach differently.)

    Personalized learning is anything you want it to be.

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    Via ELearning Inside: “Amazon’s Alexa: Your Next Teacher.”

    The New York Times offers advice on “How to Prepare Preschoolers for an Automated Economy.” Make them learn to code, of course.

    Edsurge has“Real Questions About Artificial Intelligence in Education.” As opposed to fake questions, I guess.

    Via Pacific Standard: “How Artificial Intelligence Could Benefit Those in Empathy-Centric Professions.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


    NewSchools Venture Fund says it has $8 million in “new funding opportunities” for “creating innovative district and charter schools,” “building technology tools to better support student learning,” and “cultivating pipelines of diverse leaders in educaiton.”

    Via The Cut: “Rihanna Is Sponsoring a Bike-Share Program So Girls in Malawi Can Go to School.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    Hustle has raised $8 million in Series A funding from Social Capital, Canvas Ventures, Designer Fund, Foundation Capital, GSV Acceleration, Higher Ground Labs, Index Ventures, Kapor Capital, Matrix Partners, New Media Ventures, Omidyar Network, Salesforce Ventures, and Twilio. The messaging app has raised $11 million total. (It’s not clear to me that this is ed-tech, even though Edsurge covers the investment – failing to disclose, of course, that it shares two investors with Hustle: GSV and the Omidyar Network.)

    Sawyer has raised $6 million from Advance Venture Partners, 3311 Ventures, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Collaborative Fund, and Female Founders Fund. The company, which helps parents find classes for their children, has raised $8 million total.

    Course recommendation app Chalkboard Education has raised $235,440 in seed funding from the Jacobs FOundation.

    Elsevier has acquiredbepress. As The Scholarly Kitchen’s Roger Schonfeld writes, “Elsevier is now a major if not the foremost single player in the institutional repository landscape. If successful, and there are some risks, this acquisition will position Elsevier as an increasingly dominant player in preprints, continuing its march to adopt and coopt open access.”

    ACT has invested $10.5 million in the venture firm New Markets Venture Partners.

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    Disney’s Next Movie Could Be Watching You, Too,” says Fast Company. Facial recognition to gauge audience reaction. Oh think of the ed-tech possibilities.

    Lots of ed-tech possibilities in this one too, via Bloomberg: “This app tells you when you’re depressed. Who else does it tell?”

    Via Education Week: “COPPA and Schools: The (Other) Federal Student Privacy Law, Explained.”

    Via School Transportation News: “How Predictive Analytics Can Help the School Bus Industry.”

    Via Campus Technology: “A team of researchers from New York University (NYU), University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and Google estimates that victims of ransomware have paid out more than $25 million over the last two years.”

    Via The San Francisco Examiner: “Possible Russian hackers may have targeted SFSU student data.”

    More on an online class, offered by Russian hackers, on credit card fraud in the MOOC section above.

    Data and “Research”


    “The Business of Ed-Tech: July 2017 Funding Data” – my latest calculations of the amount of venture funding in ed-tech.

    Via Education Dive: “Report: Ed tech innovation a growing field for private contracting.” Oh good grief.

    “What role does research play in EdTech decision-making?” asks the WCET blog.

    Via the BBC: “Playing brain games‘of little benefit’, say experts.”

    Via Mindshift: “What Works For Getting Kids to Enjoy Reading?” (An excerpt from Daniel Willingham’s new book.)

    Via Mindshift: “Autism Symptoms are Less Obvious in Girls and May Lead to Underdiagnosis.”

    Via The 74: “Reports of bullying and violence in America’s public schools are on the decline, according to a report published Thursday by the U.S. Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.”

    Also from the NCES, a report on “Change in Number and Types of Postsecondary Institutions: 2000 to 2014.”

    Chalkbeat’s Matt Barnum with more research on vouchers and “choice.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Do charter schools hurt their neighboring schools? A new study of New York City schools says no – they help.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Universities With the Highest Research-and-Development Spending Financed by Business, FY 2015.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “New study finds 13 percent of community college students lack the food and nutrition they need.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Survey of voting bloc that favored Trump finds skepticism about value of higher education.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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  • 08/11/17--07:00: Hack Education Weekly News
  • (National) Education Politics


    The AP interviews US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who laments “she didn’t decry racism enough.”

    Via Politico: “New marching orders from Betsy DeVos’ civil rights chief have the Education Department churning through civil rights complaints. The department has closed more than 1,500 complaints of discrimination at the nation’s schools – including dismissing more than 900 outright — in the two months since Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson took steps she said were aimed at reducing a massive backlog.”

    Via Education Week: “ESSA Point Man Jason Botel to Leave Education Dept. Post, Sources Say.” Before joining the Trump administration, Botel had founded a KIPP school in Baltimore.

    Via Education Week: “E-Rate, Other Universal-Service Funds to Be Transferred to U.S. Treasury.”

    Via The New York Times: “Britain Turns to Chinese Textbooks to Improve Its Math Scores.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics


    Via The New York Times: “Daniel Loeb, a Cuomo Donor, Makes Racial Remark About Black Leader.” Loeb is the chairman of the Success Academy charter school chain.

    Via The NY Daily News: “Critics slam $669G contract for former NYC school official’s math program.” That’s Joel Rose’s School of One software.

    Via The LA Times: “Former L.A. schools food guru charged with mishandling district funds.” David Binkle, that is, LAUSD’s former food services director.

    Via The New York Times: New York governor “Cuomo to Give Colleges $7 Million for Courses in Prisons.”

    Chicago Public Schools will lay off 950 employees.

    Via The Chicago Sun Times: “Chance the Rapper pushing to #supportCPS.”

    Immigration and Education


    Via Buzzfeed: “More Chinese Students Are Coming To US High Schools To Get Into American Colleges.”

    Via The Intercept: “These Are the Technology Firms Lining Up to Build Trump’s ‘Extreme Vetting’ Program.”

    Education in the Courts


    Not really ed-tech-related, except for all those companies saying they’re “Uber for education.” Via The New York Times: “Uber Investor Sues Travis Kalanick for Fraud.”

    Not really ed-tech related, except that Vinod Khosla is a venture capitalist. (His education portfolio.) Via The Mercury News: “Court orders tech billionaire to open up Martins Beach.”

    Via Vulture: “LeVar Burton Sued for Using His Reading Rainbow Catchphrase on His Podcast.”

    Via The Verge: “Disney sued for allegedly spying on children through 42 gaming apps.”

    Via Gamasutra: “Parents take Subway Surfers devs to court over alleged misuse of kids’ data.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The JCC Bomb-Threat Suspect Had a Client.” Michael Kadar, who’s been accused of making over two hundred threats to Jewish Community Centers and schools, offered his services online: $30 to email a bomb threat to a school.

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Judge Rejects Bankrupt Woman’s Bid to Cancel $333,423 Student Loan Bill.”

    Testing, Testing…


    The Chronicle of Higher Education reads“New Venture Will Offer Free Courses That Students Can Take for College Credit.” The courses are for AP exams, which some colleges do count for credit, I suppose and are being offered through Modern States Education Alliance, which is run by Steven Klinsky, a private equity firm.

    Via The New York Times: “More Law Schools Begin Accepting GRE Test Results.”

    The Business of Student Loans


    OpenSecrets.org on how the student loan industry and higher ed institutions spend their lobbying dollars: “The politics behind your college and how you pay for it.”

    Trump’s Student-Loan Plan Could Be A Great Deal For Undergrads,” says Buzzfeed– as long as you’re not poor.

    Via The New York Times: “$78,000 of Debt for a Harvard Theater Degree.”

    More on student loans in the for-profit higher ed section below and the court section above.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    Purdue-Kaplan online university one step closer to reality,” the Journal & Courier reports. More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Via The New York Times: “U.S. to Help Remove Debt Burden for Students Defrauded by For-Profit Chain.” That is, for the 36,000 students who attended Wilfred American Education Corporation’s beauty and secretary schools.

    Via The Atlantic: “The Future of a Once-Doomed Law School.” That’s the for-profit Charlotte School of Law, which might be “saved by Trump-era regulatory rollbacks.”

    “The Obama administration shut down Globe U, but an affiliated university bought four of its Wisconsin campuses with the backing of the Trump administration and a state regulator with a tough reputation on for-profits,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “2-Pronged Strategy Against ‘Gainful’ Rule.”

    Via Reuters: “Some U.S. coding boot camps stumble in a crowded field.”

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    Via Edsurge: “Andrew Ng, Co-Founder of Coursera, Returns to MOOC Teaching With New AI Course.” More via Wired.

    Harvard will offer a new, online business analytics certificate program through 2U. Edsurge has a story about this too– no disclosure that John Katzman, one of the founders of 2U, is an Edsurge investor.

    Meanwhile on Campus…


    Via the Dallas News: “Self-published ‘Pepe the Frog’ kids’ book is conservative but not alt-right, Denton ISD admin says.” JFC, can you imagine having to send your kid to this principal’s school?!

    “Who’s Taking College Spots From Top Asian Americans?” asks ProPublica. “Privileged Whites.”

    Chalkbeat onvouchers in Indiana: “Choice for most: In nation’s largest voucher program, $16 million went to schools with anti-LGBT policies.”

    The New York Times on “mastery based learning: “A New Kind of Classroom: No Grades, No Failing, No Hurry.”

    Inside Higher Ed profiles career and technical education at Arkansas State University Newport: “Men Flock to Short-Term Career Ed.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of Texas at Austin has unveiled Stampede2, said to be the most powerful supercomputer at any campus in the U.S.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Marygrove College to Eliminate All Undergraduate Programs.”

    Holy shit. “Iowa State University seeks 7 percent annual tuition hike for each of next 5 years,” The Des Moines Register reports.

    Sara Goldrick-Rab recommends professors put a statement about “basic needs security” on their syllabi.

    Accreditation and Certification


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “$147,000 for a One-Year Master’s? In Journalism?” A master of science in data journalism from Columbia University’s School of Journalism. (Disclosure: I’m heading to the school in a couple of weeks for a Spencer Fellowship, which pays me, thank god.)

    The University of Maine at Presque Isle has created an online, competency-based degree aimed at adult students,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    Go, School Sports Team!


    An op-ed in The LA Times: “Josh Rosen is right to question the value of student-athletes’ education.” Rosen is UCLA’s quarterback.

    Recommended viewing: Last Chance Uon Netflix. Season Two was recently released.

    Via NPR: “NCAA Will Require Athletes And Coaches To Complete Sexual Violence Education.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Big-Time Sports Programs Tighten Rules on Athletes With Sexual-Assault Records.”

    The Google Memo


    I’m putting this into its own category. It’s part an HR story, but it’s also a culture of tech story. And if you think it has nothing to do with education, I don’t even know what to say to you.

    Via Motherboard: “Google Employee’s Anti-Diversity Manifesto Goes ‘Internally Viral’.”

    Via Wired: “Internal Messages Show Some Googlers Supported Fired Engineer’s Manifesto.”

    Via The Guardian’s Julie Carrie Wong: “Segregated Valley: the ugly truth about Google and diversity in tech.”

    “A Googler’s Would-Be Manifesto Reveals Tech’s Rotten Coreby Ian Bogost.

    Via Gizmodo: “Fired Google Memo Writer Took Part in Controversial, ‘Sexist’ Skit While at Harvard for Which Administration Issued Formal Apology.”

    Via Recode: “Google CEO Sundar Pichai canceled an all-hands meeting about gender controversy due to employee worries of online harassment.”

    From the HR Department


    ISTE has hiredJoseph South as its Chief Learning Officer. South previously worked at the US Department of Education and K12 Inc.

    The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s CTO, Brian Pinkerton, is leaving the company.

    “​Pearson to Lay Off 3,000 More Employees,” says Edsurge.

    The Business of Job Training


    Via the Coursera blog: “What’s Next in Employee Learning: Virtual Reality.”

    Via The New York Times: “At Walmart Academy, Training Better Managers. But With a Better Future?”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “McDonald’s brings a flexible approach and free career and college advising to its tuition assistance program, which is aimed in part at keeping employees on the job longer.”

    “In the push to expand ‘earn-while-you-learn’ programs, what lessons can the U.S. take from approaches in Germany and Switzerland?” asks Inside Higher Ed.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Is a Spotify approach the future of curriculum?asks Education Dive.

    Will blockchain change the face of K–12 record storage and tracking?asks Education Dive.

    Can Minecraft Camp Help Open Up The Tech World To Low-Income Kids?asks Mindshift.

    (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


    Larry Cuban on personalized learning: part 1 and part 2.

    Jen Howard on“What Happened to Google’s Effort to Scan Millions of University Library Books?”

    Via Techcrunch: “Sony wants to digitize education records using the blockchain.”

    “‘Schoolifying’ Minecraft Without Ruining It” by NPR’s Anya Kamenetz.

    The Wall Street Journal predicts“The End of Typing: The Next Billion Mobile Users Will Rely on Video and Voice.” I mean, as long as data isn’t an issue and tech companies can build voice recognition software that recognizes languages other than English and accents other than Californian.

    The Internet Archive’s Jason Scott on“Celebrating 30 Years of HyperCard.”

    The Chronicle of Higher Education on Elsevier“becoming a data company.”

    “The Culture Wars Have Come to Silicon Valley,” The New York Times pronounces, with a look at internal tussles between Facebook board members Peter Thiel and Reed Hastings.

    Peter Thiel Has Been Hedging His Bet On Donald Trump,” Buzzfeed claims.

    Phil Hill on an “LMS Revival: D2L picking up new customers and showing they can listen.”

    The Giant Inflatable Trump Chicken of Ed Techby Michael Feldstein.

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “‘Driverless’ Van Turns Out to Be Va. Tech Researcher Costumed as Car Seat.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


    Wired argues thatJeff Bezos Should Put His Billions Into Libraries.” It reminded me, not of Carnegie who the article mentions, but of Gates, who initially started funding libraries – public and collective access to digital technologies – before turning to school reform and “personalized learning” efforts.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    Tinkergarten has raised $5.4 million in Series A funding from Owl Ventures, Omidyar Network, and Reach Capital. The company has $8.3 million total.

    The private equity firm Thoma Bravo has acquiredFrontline Education.

    Impero Software has been acquired by Investment Technology Partners which paid $36.3 million.

    Barnes & Noble Education has acquiredStudent Brands, which includes the Cram and StudyMode homework help sites.

    I missed this news back in February: CheggacquiredRefMe.

    More from EdWeek’s Market Brief on ACT’s investment last week in the venture firm New Markets Venture Partners.

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    NIST has changes its recommendations for passwords.

    Via Arkansas Online: “License plate readers at University of Arkansas to be delayed.”

    Via Education Week: “Risky Practices With Students’ Data Security Are Common, Survey Suggests.”

    Data and “Research”


    ProPublica has updated its “Nonprofit Explorer,” which provides financial data on tax-exempt organizations. Khan Academy, for example, had $27.9 million in revenue in 2015, and its executive compensation was $2.8 million.

    Via The Verge: “Kik has become ‘the defacto app’ for child predators, according to an investigative report.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Most competency-based education programs remain nascent, highly localized and of limited size, according a new report from Eduventures, Ellucian and the American Council on Education.”

    “How Minecraft Supports Social and Emotional Learning in K–12 Education” – a new report from Getting Smart.

    Via Campus Technology: “Report: VR and AR to Double Each Year Through 2021.” Yeah, I’ll be watching this prediction.

    “There are 2.4 million fewer college students than there were five years ago,” says Hechinger Report, proving a map to visualize the demographic shift.

    Via Axios: “Wall Street outpaces Silicon Valley on gender equality.”

    Via Campus Technology: “This academic year, the average cost of college students’ required course materials dropped to $579, down from $602 last year and $701 in 2007–2008, according to a new report from the National Association of College Stores.”

    The Pew Research Center on the future of trust online.

    Via The New York Times: “A Few Telling Freshman Trends.”

    A report from The Century Foundation on outsourcing and ed-tech: “The Private Side of Public Higher Education.” (Here’s IHE’s coverage.)

    Icon credits: The Noun Project


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  • 08/18/17--04:15: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Charlottesville and UVA


    Hundreds of white supremacistsmarched at the University of Virginia campus Friday night, carrying torches and chanting “blood and soil.” On Saturday, the Unite the Right rally met again in the streets of Charlottesville. A counter protester was killed when a white nationalist allegedly ran his car into a crowd of people.

    President Trump did not condemn the violence of the white supremacists. Instead he blamed “both sides,” later insisting that “very fine people” were marching with the neo-Nazis.

    There’s more on white nationalists on campus in the “meanwhile on campus” section below.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As White Supremacists Wreak Havoc, a University Becomes a Crisis Center.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As UVa’s Leaders Equivocate, Professors Shine an Ethical Light.”

    UVA’s Siva Vaidhyanathan in The New York Times: “Why the Nazis Came to Charlottesville.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “UVa Employee Suffers a Stroke After Campus Clash With White Supremacists.”

    Via The LA Times: “Who was responsible for the violence in Charlottesville? Here’s what witnesses say.”

    An op-ed in The LA Times: “What UVA did wrong when white supremacists came to campus.”

    Tennessee’s former education commissioner called on Betsy DeVos to resign as the nation’s education chief Thursday because of her boss’s ambivalent response to racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia,” Chalkbeat reports.

    Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ first response – two tweets, inititally – just talked about “hate-filled rhetoric,” but she sent an email to her staff on Thursday that was more forceful. Via Chalkbeat: “In departure from Trump, Betsy DeVos calls out ‘racist bigots’ in Charlottesville.” Her note did not mention Trump. Actions, of course, speak louder than words.

    “Nazis in Charlottesville” by UVA’s Daniel Willingham.

    Via NPR: “Resources For Educators To Use In The Wake Of Charlottesville.”

    “7 Ways Teachers Can Respond to the Evil of Charlottesville, Starting Now” by Xian Franzinger Barrett.

    Tune into the Contrafabulists podcast this weekend, when Kin Lane and I will discuss the response (or lack thereof) from the tech industry, including Cloudflare, Spotify, Squarespace, GoDaddy, Google, the EFF, and others.

    (Other National) Education Politics


    “Transcript of Education Secretary DeVos’ Interview with AP” – via the AP, of course.

    “How Did ‘Copyright Piracy’ Language Get Into ESSA, the K–12 Law?” asks Education Week.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “President Trump Wednesday signed an update of the Post–9/11 GI Bill into law after the bipartisan legislation swiftly made it out of both chambers of Congress.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “In a letter sent today to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, asked for information about the work of senior counsel Robert Eitel to determine if he broke conflict-of-interest laws.” Eitel was an exec at Bridgepoint Education.

    Via Pacific Standard: “The Afterlife of Big Ideas in Education Reform.”

    More about (US) national education politics and policies in the student loan section and for-profit higher ed sections below.

    Meanwhile, in the UK: “Learndirect training contract withdrawn over standards concerns,” the BBC reports. “Learndirect, which offers apprenticeships and adult training at sites across England, is responsible for almost 73,000 trainees and employs more than 1,600 staff.”

    (Other State and Local) Education Politics


    Via The Buffalo News: “Carl Paladino’s polarizing time on [the Buffalo NY] School Board comes to an end.” “Polarizing” is a nice way of putting it, I suppose.

    Via Politico: “Following months of criticism, Eva Moskowitz distances herself from Trump.” Moskowitz is the head of the Success Academy chain of charter schools.

    Via the AP: “A new Tennessee law requiring public school districts to provide student data to charter schools faces its first tests with pushback from districts.”

    Immigration and Education


    “Five Years In, What’s Next For DACA?” asks NPR’s Claudio Sanchez.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Law Professions: ‘No Question’ DACA is Legal.”

    Education in the Courts


    From a press release issued by the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York: “Individual Who Compromised Over 1,000 Email Accounts At A New York City University Pleads Guilty.”

    Via The New York Times: “Another Silicon Valley Start-Up Faces Sexual Harassment Claims.” This time, it’s SoFi, a private student loan provider.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Lawsuits From Students Accused of Sex Assault Cost Many Colleges More Than $200,000.”

    Testing, Testing…


    PARCC Inc, best known as one of the Common Core test-makers, is “moving in a new direction,” Politico reports. The new focus: “classroom tools and services geared toward school districts.”

    The Business of Student Loans


    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is seeking a proposed settlement against Aequitas Capital Management for assisting Corinthian Colleges with providing private loans to its students.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed


    The Charlotte School of Law has closed its doors. Story via Inside Higher Ed.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “U.S. Continues to Delay, Soften Gainful-Employment Rules.”

    Via Vice: “Trump’s ‘Forever GI Bill’ won’t stop for-profit schools from preying on vets.”

    Via Bloomberg: “This Coding School Wants Graduates to Share Their Income.” That’s the New York Code and Design Academy, which is owned by Strayer Education.

    App Academy, another bootcamp that uses income-sharing agreements in lieu of tuition, reportedly announced in an email this week that it would move from a percentage of income – 18% of graduates’ first year salary – to a flat fee: $28,000.

    Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”


    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Cumulative Growth in Number of MOOCs, 2011–17.”

    Meanwhile (Elsewhere) on Campus…


    White Nationalists Are The New Face Of Campus Free Speech,” says Buzzfeed.

    Via The New York Times: “After Charlottesville Violence, Colleges Brace for More Clashes.”

    Since the events at UVA last weekend, several universities have declined white nationalists’ requests to hold events on their campuses. These include Michigan State University, University of Florida, Louisiana State University, and Texas A&M.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “When Your Students Attend White Supremacist Rallies.”

    Via the Southern Poverty Law Center: “The Alt-Right On Campus: What Students Need To Know.”

    “Have You Experienced or Witnessed a Hate Crime or Bias Incident?” asks Education Week, which has joined the Documenting Hate project.

    An interactive from Politico: “Symbols of the Confederacy still dot the South.” This includes some 109 public schools named for Confederate icons. “Of these schools, nearly 25 percent have a student body that is primarily black.”

    Via NPR: “Ethnic Studies: A Movement Born Of A Ban.”

    Via NPR: “High-Achieving, Low-Income Students: Where Elite Colleges Are Falling Short.”

    Via Boing Boing: “School to parents: a $100 donation gets your kids to the front of the lunch line.”

    “In some districts, free summer ‘crash courses’ are trying to meet the needs of students who can’t afford to attend traditional pre-K programs,” The Atlantic reports.

    Accreditation and Certification


    Via Education Week: “Records show five more administrators in an Ohio school district could lose their state educator licenses in connection with an investigation that found student data was falsified to improve district performance ratings.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The Onerous, Arbitrary, Unaccountable World of Occupational Licensing.”

    From the HR Department


    Via The Houston Chronicle: “Texas assistant principal reassigned after writing alt-right kids’ book.”

    “The superintendent of one of the nation’s largest online charter schools is retiring amid its court battle with Ohio officials over at least $60 million in disputed funding,” the AP reports. That’s Rick Teeters, head of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow.

    The Business of Job Training


    Via Edsurge: “Nonprofit Bootcamps Want to Make Coding Accessible to Low-Income Learners.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Purdue University unveiled another outside-the-box move Thursday, announcing a five-year deal with one of India’s largest technology outsourcing firms, Infosys, under which the university will perform joint research and provide training and classes for the company’s employees.”

    Via Techcrunch: “UPS is developing virtual reality tech to train its drivers.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines


    Are pre-K ‘cram courses’ an adequate substitute for full programs?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


    Me in The Baffler on“How Silicon Valley’s brand of behaviorism has entered the classroom.” Featuring ClassDojo and HeroK12.

    Via Edsurge: “Software Helps Instructors Stop Mangling Hard-to-Pronounce Student Names.”

    Via The New York Times: “Cambridge University Press Removes Academic Articles on Chinese Site.”

    Mindwire Consulting’s Michael Feldstein reports from BbWorld: “Blackboard May Be Turning Around.”

    “What Do We Mean When We Say ‘Social And Emotional Skills’?” asks Mindshift.

    Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF


    Via MIT Technology Review: “Growing Up with Alexa.”

    Via The Atlantic: “The Value of Bringing Drones to the Classroom.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform


    Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech


    Zuoyebang, a tutoring app owned by Baidu, has raised $150 million in Series C funding from H Capital, GGV Capital, Legend Capital, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global Mauritius Fund, and Xianghe Capital. The subsidiary has raised $210 million total.

    Lightneer has raised $5 million in seed funding from Reach Capital, Brighteye Ventures, GSV Acceleration, and IPR.VC. The educational game-maker has raised $9.04 million total.

    Curriculum maker Activate Learning has acquired curriculum maker IT’S ABOUT TIME.

    Harris School Solutions has acquiredJR3 WebSmart.

    Andrew Ng is raising a $150M AI Fund,” Techcrunch reports.

    Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security


    “2017 Data Breaches Hit Half-Year Record High,” says the Identity Theft Resource Center. Breaches in education account for 11% of these.

    “Everything’s Bigger in Texas ... Including (Maybe) the Data Breaches,” says EdTech Strategies’ Doug Levin.

    Via Fox Business: “Texas schools create high-tech ID badges to track students on buses.”

    Edsurge on data interoperability.

    Via GeekWire: “Alexa goes to college: Amazon and Arizona State putting 1,600 Echo Dots in dorm rooms.” What happens to students’ data here?!

    From the Future of Privacy Forum: “Location Controls in iOS 11 Highlight the Role of Platforms.”

    Via Go To Hellman: “PubMed Lets Google Track User Searches.”

    JISC lauds the “intelligent campus,” and I have to say, touting Chinese universities’ surveillance of students is not really such a great model, folks.

    There’s more on information security (or lack thereof) in the courts section above.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports


    “Surprise, Trump’s Education Ideas Are Polarizing,” says NPR’s Anya Kamenetz, reporting on the latest Education Next poll. Support for charter schools, for example, fell by 12% from last year’s survey. (The poll data.) EdTech Strategies’ Doug Levin says that this year’s poll is “much improved.” More on the survey from Inside Higher Ed and from Politico.

    Via Education Week: “Ed-Tech Companies Should Open Algorithms to Scrutiny, Report Suggests.” The report in question– “Asleep at the Switch: Schoolhouse Commercialism, Student Privacy, and the Failure of Policymaking” – comes from the National Education Policy Center.

    “Are Small Colleges Doomed? Not So Fast,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Via Crunchbase: “Here Are The Top Schools Among Founders Who Raise Big Dollars.” I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn that the top school is Stanford.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Colleges With the Highest Average Pay for Full Professors, 2015–16.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The percentage of student loan borrowers leaving college owing $20,000 or more doubled over about a decade, according to a report released Wednesday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Silicon Valley’s school integration paradox: More black and Hispanic students get to college – and get arrested.”

    Studies Are Usually Bunk, Study Shows,” The Wall Street Journal claims, in an attempt to support the arguments made by fired Google engineer James Damore (and undermine those challenging him).

    Science doesn’t explain tech’s diversity problem – history doesby Sarah Jeong and Rachel Becker.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project