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

    Apologies that this week this article is a day late.

    (National) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

    Via The New York Times: “Net Neutrality Has Officially Been Repealed.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

    (State and Local) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

    Immigration and Education

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

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

    Education in the Courts

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

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

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

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

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

    The Business of Financial Aid

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Meanwhile on Campus…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    Labor and Management

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

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

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

    The Business of Job Training

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

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

    Via The Evolllution: “Bootcamps Go To College.”

    Contests and Competitions

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

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Is School a Waste of Time?asks Rachel Cohen.

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    VR Helps Us Remember,” Techcrunch claims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    “The ethical dilemma of the robot teacherby Neil Selwyn.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

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

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Civitas Learning has acquiredClearScholar.

    EducationDynamics has acquiredJMH Consulting.

    Lincoln Learning Solutions has acquiredEvan-Moor.

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

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

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

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

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

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

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

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

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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

    Immigration and Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (National) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (State and Local) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Education in the Courts

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

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

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

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

    “Free College”

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

    The Business of Financial Aid

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

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

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

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

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Meanwhile on Campus…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    Labor and Management

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

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

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

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

    The Business of Job Training

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

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

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Is AI disrupting higher education?asks Education Dive.

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

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

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

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

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

    Microsoft has acquiredFlipgrid.

    2U has acquiredCritiqueIt.

    Degreed has acquiredPathgather.

    Vista Higher Learning has acquiredSANTILLANA USA.

    Pharos Capital has acquiredCCME School.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (National) Education Politics

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

    (State and Local) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Immigration and Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Education in the Courts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

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

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

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

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

    Meanwhile on Campus…

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

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

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

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


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

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

    Go, School Sports Team!

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

    Labor and Management

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

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

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

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

    Faculty at Oregon State University have unionized.

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

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

    The Business of Job Training

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Contests and Conferences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

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

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

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

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

    AI and Assessmentby Donald Clark.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

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

    Winnie has raised $4 million from Reach Capital. Other investors include Rethink Impact, Homebrew, Ludlow Ventures, Afore Capital, BBG Ventures, and Kairos. The parenting app has raised $6.5 million total.

    I won’t include this in my calculations of ed-tech funding, but I’ll note it here nonetheless: “VR blockchain startup founded by Second Life co-creator raises $35m.”

    Also not directly education related, but hey: “Jay-Z has a new venture fund and a Silicon Valley partner,” says Techcrunch.

    Boxlight has acquiredQwizdom for $2.5 million.

    Sphero has acquiredSpecdrums.

    Education Networks of America has acquiredCatchOn.

    SecureSet Academy has acquired the cybersecurity training company HackEd.

    Watermark, the company formed out of the merger of Taskstream, TK20 and LiveText, has acquiredDigital Measures.

    AdvancED and Measured Progress will merge.

    More on the sale of DeVry University in the for-profit college section above.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    ISTE calls this “personalized learning.” I call it surveillance pedagogy and an act of violence against women just waiting to happen:

    This is important work by Doug Levin: and “Hacking the ISTE18 Smart Badge” and “Hacking the ISTE18 Smart Badge, Part II.”

    Related, this on “smart” devices from The New York Times: “Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse.”

    Via Education Week: “Teacher’s Aide or Surveillance Nightmare? Alexa Hits the Classroom.”

    Via USA Today: “Alexa, when’s my next class? This university is giving out Amazon Echo Dots.” This university is Northeastern.

    Via Education Week: “State Treasurer Denise Nappier announced Wednesday that 21 Connecticut Higher Education Trust college savings accounts were recently breached, resulting in more than $1.4 million in unauthorized withdrawals.”

    “How Transparent Is School Data When Parents Can’t Find or Understand It?” asks Edsurge.

    School facial recognition system sparks privacy concerns,” says Naked Security.

    Via Techcrunch: “Yet another massive Facebook fail: Quiz app leaked data on ~120 million users for years.”

    Via The Verge: “Qualcomm’s first new smartwatch chip in two years is for kids’ watches.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new report from the Anti-Defamation League documents that there were 292 cases of white supremacist propaganda reported on campuses during the 2017–18 academic year, compared to 165 in 2016–17.”

    Edsurge on research from the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program: “Elite Colleges’ ‘Blind Spot’: Low-Income and High-Achieving Community College Students.”

    “Why Is There a ‘Gaming Disorder’ But No ‘Smartphone Disorder?’” asks The Atlantic’s Ian Bogost.

    “Most teachers say tech tools improve teaching and learning” says eSchool News– at least according to a survey of 1000 teachers.


    I didn’t note her passing last week, and I know some folks say it’s not nice to speak ill of the recently dead. But hey, The Chronicle of Higher Education went there (sorta): “Koko Is Dead, but the Myth of Her Linguistic Skills Lives On.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 07/06/18--03:30: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Trump Administration Will Rescind Obama-Era Guidelines on Race-Conscious Admissions.” “The Trump Administration Just Rescinded Obama-Era Guidance on Race-Conscious Admissions Policies. So What?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education in turn. More via NPR and via Pacific Standard.

    Via Chalkbeat: “DeVos presses pause on special education rule, highlighting ongoing discrimination debate.”

    From the Department of Education press office: “U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced that the Puerto Rico Department of Education (PRDE) will be the first to pilot new flexibility under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to create a student-centered funding system. The model is designed to equitably allocate local, state and federal resources based on student needs.”

    Teacher Kristin Mink took EPA head Scott Pruitt to task, confront him while he was eating lunch. A video went viral; Pruitt has since resigned.

    More on Ohio Representative Jim Jordan in the sports section below. And there’s more on accreditation in the accreditation section and in the for-profit higher ed sections below.

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via The Chicago Sun Times: “1 in 4 Chicago schools fails in new inspections spurred by dirty schools reports.”

    Via NPR: “New Virginia Law Mandates Mental Health Education In Public Schools.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via The New York Times: “In Denmark, Harsh New Laws for Immigrant ‘Ghettos’” – including “re-education trips.” JFC.

    The New York Times on kindergarten classes at one school in Toronto: “1 Neighborhood. 24 Kindergarten Classes. 40 Languages. (Some Miming Helps.)”

    Education in the Courts

    Via NPR: “‘Access to Literacy’ Is Not a Constitutional Right, Judge in Detroit Rules.”

    The Chronicle of Higher Education on McAdams v. Marquette University: “A Professor Called Out a Student by Name on His Blog. Should That Cost Him His Job?”

    Another court case in the financial aid section below.

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “California plans to sue one of the nation’s largest student loan companies.” That would be Navient.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Grand Canyon Succeeds in Second Nonprofit Bid,” reports Inside Higher Ed. “In Move Towards Nonprofit, Grand Canyon University Sells for $875M,” writes Edsurge.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Eighty-five colleges overseen by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools would likely have lost access to federal student aid – and most of their revenue – if Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had not opted to temporarily reinstate the accreditor earlier this year.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The nonprofit organization that took over scores of colleges from the Education Management Corp. chain of for-profit colleges has decided to end enrollments at 30 of those campuses, according to an email circulated Monday to employees of the Dream Center Education Holdings.”

    Via Edsurge: “Why Purdue Professors Continue to Protest Purdue’s Purchase of a For-Profit U.” That’s Kaplan, in case you can’t keep all these for-profit disasters straight.

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

    Via Chalkbeat: “Facing state scrutiny, Indiana charter school steps back from virtual plan.” That’s the Indiana Agriculture and Technology School, which Chalkbeat investigated earlier this year.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Deadly Shooting by Portland State U. Police Rekindles Protests Over Its Newly Armed Officers.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A Race Against Time to Preserve University Media Collections.”

    Via Wired: “New University Rules Encourage Scientists to Avoid Air Travel.”

    Yet another story promoting “student success technology” at Georgia State University. Helluva budget for marketing that initiative has.

    Via Pacific Standard: “How Universities Facilitate Far-Right Groups’ Harassment of Students and Faculty.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Essex County College, a two-year institution located in Newark, N.J., has exited probationary status with its accreditor, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General last week released the results of an audit on the department’s recognition processes for accrediting agencies, which serve as the gatekeepers for federal financial aid. The audit found several weaknesses, with concerns that revolved around inadequate supporting documents accreditors present to the department – a process the inspector general said is subject to ‘cherry-picking’ by the agencies.”

    Sound the disruptive innovation klaxon, as Michael Horn writes about “Stealing a Page From Disruption to Transform Accreditation.”

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

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Republican U.S. Representative Jim Jordan has been drawn into Ohio State University’s investigation of a former team doctor who allegedly molested college athletes decades ago, with some ex-wrestlers accusing the congressman, a leader of archconservatives, of failing to stop the ongoing abuse.”

    Labor and Management

    What can you do with a history degree? Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t make bucket-loads of money. Look at former Harvard President Drew Faust, for example! “Days After Exiting Presidency, Faust Joins Goldman Sachs Board of Directors,” The Harvard Crimson reports.

    The Business of Job Training

    The Atlantic promotes coding bootcamps and income sharing agreements: “Code Now. Pay Tuition Later.”

    Via Education Week: “Texas educators training to shoot back at school shooters.”

    Contests and Awards

    Via Sports Illustrated: “Colin Kaepernick Honored With National Education Association’s President’s Award.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Can France Create Its Own MIT?asks Inside Higher Ed.

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

    Via Techcrunch: “Facebook is shutting down Hello, Moves and the anonymous teen app tbh due to ‘low usage’.”

    The Have You Heard podcast on Theranos: “What the Sordid Saga of a Silicon Valley Start-Up Tells Us About #EdReform.”

    Edsurge wants you to “Meet Two Leaders Trying to Reinvent College.” That would be the founders of Minerva and Wayfinding.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    I call bullshit on this story from NPR: “More States Opting To ‘Robo-Grade’ Student Essays By Computer.” John Warner didn’t just call bullshit. He wrote a very good response.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Pearson today signaled an increased focus on artificial intelligence and personalized learning with the appointment of former Intel executive Milena Marinova.”

    Though a goal of AI is automation, Marinova stressed that Pearson’s intent is not to replace instructors, but to help them. “AI-assisted decision making is better than human alone,” she said.

    Speaking of terrible ideas taken up by terrible people and terrible companies, Andrew Ng– yes, of MOOC fame – says that we should be less concerned with making self-driving cars safe and more committed to training bystanders (pedestrians? other drivers? cyclists?) to change their behavior to make way for autonomous vehicles. Good fucking grief. Well, at least the guy isn’t involved in education any longer… Oh.


    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Rick Hess on“How Education Philanthropy Can Accidentally Promote Groupthink and Bandwagonism.” I’m not sure it’s accidental at all, to be honest.

    “The Gates Foundation Spent $200M+ Trying to Improve Teacher Performance, and All It Got Was This Report,” says Edsurge. But that’s not true, of course. The Gates Foundation got a ton of press. “Groupthink” even. It shaped policy. It paid for publications to repeat certain narratives about teacher effectiveness and “value added” models.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    ApplyBoard has raised $13 million in Series A funding from Shahin Hedayat, Plug and Play, Green Century Investment, Artiman Ventures, Akhil Saklech, and 500 Startups. The “AI-enabled marketplace” for international college applications has raised $13.5 million total.

    Illuminate Education and Key Data Systems and IO Education and SchoolCity and Alpine Achievement are all merging.

    Chegg has acquired the flashcard app StudyBlue for $20.8 million in cash.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Tech’s ‘Dirty Secret’: The App Developers Sifting Through Your Gmail.”

    The imagery in The Wall Street Journal article on“The New Tech Avengers” speaks volumes.

    Via The Fresno Bee: “Schools collect a massive amount of student data. But advocates want to see more.”

    Via the Microsoft AI blog: “Microsoft improves facial recognition technology to perform well across all skin tones, genders.” Don’t. Please.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via The Conversation: “Schools are buying ‘growth mindset’ interventions despite scant evidence that they work well.” (Of course, there’s questionable science and corporate content and sponsored content all over the place that tries to convince schools that “social emotional learning” is necessary and good.

    This article on personalized learning has graphs so it must be true.

    Via The Hechinger Report: “More high school grads than ever are going to college, but 1 in 5 will quit.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Newly obtained records raise additional concerns about the research and oversight of Dr. Mani Pavuluri, a star pediatric psychiatrist at the University of Illinois at Chicago whose clinical trial studying the effects of the powerful drug lithium on children was shuttered for misconduct.”

    Via Gizmodo: “These Academics Spent the Last Year Testing Whether Your Phone Is Secretly Listening to You.”

    Forbes 30 under 30 in education: Manufacturing ‘edu-preneur’ networks to promote and reinforce privatization/marketization in education” by T. Jameson Brewer, Nicholas D. Hartlep, Ian M. Scott.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 07/13/18--02:10: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    President Trump has announced his pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy – more about that in the legal news section below.

    “Assertions that the U.S. Department of Education missed a deadline to delay state authorization rules are incorrect, a department spokeswoman said Thursday,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    There’s more Department of Education news – relating to student loans in particular – in “the business of financial aid” section below.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “China’s Ministry of Education recently approved the termination of more than 200 Sino-foreign cooperative education programs and jointly managed institutions in what the ministry framed as a move to improve quality and regulatory control.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Not sure why one would want to associate oneself with Elon Musk or his billionaire-bro fantasies of tech-enabled heroism, but hey. Perhaps we can learn a little about the folks who still do. Speaking of which, here’s the headline from the LA School Report: “How a Los Angeles school board member teamed up with SpaceX & Elon Musk to test a mini-sub for the Thailand soccer team’s rescue.” The LAUSD board member in question: Nick Melvoin. (Melvoin was recently elected to the board in the most expensive school board race in US history.)

    The school-to-prison pipeline looks like this – from “California County Law Enforcement Puts Kids On Probation for Bad Grades.”

    Via The Post and Courier: “Charleston-area police protest ‘The Hate U Give’ school assignment.” Ah yes. Letting the police decide what students should and should not read – totally a sign of a healthy democracy.

    Via The Hechinger Report: “In 6 states, school districts with the neediest students get less money than the wealthiest.” Spoiler alert: Alaska, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, and South Dakota.

    Via AZ Central: “Arizona charter school founder makes millions building his own schools.”

    “Do you think it’s appropriate to develop charter schools and make money? Absolutely,” [Glenn] Way said. “It’s no different than building a Walmart, CVS or Walgreens.”

    News from the new Tory government in Ontario: “Ford government cancels $100M school repair fund.”

    Still more news from the new Tory government in Ontario: “Ford government scraps controversial Ontario sex-ed curriculum.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via the AP: “Kids as young as 1 in US court, awaiting reunion with family.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “DACA teacher staves off his own fears while helping Chicago’s anxious undocumented students.”

    “The Trump Administration Deems Dozens of Migrant Children‘Ineligible’ for Reunification,” Pacific Standard reports.

    Education in the Courts

    D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh is Trump’s pick to replace Justice Kennedy. Politico has a breakdown of his education record.

    There is more legal news in the “for-profit higher ed” section below.

    Via Politico: “Tribunal de Primera Instancia Judge Iris Cancio González ruled that privately run charter schools and publicly funded vouchers used in private schools run afoul of the Puerto Rican constitution.”

    Via the Star Tribune: “St. Cloud State professor alleges forced union representation violates her rights.”

    Via The Salt Lake Tribune: “She was raped at a Utah State University fraternity. Now the school will pay her $250K and she’ll help improve its response to campus sexual assault.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A Virginia circuit court on Thursday ruled against a George Mason University student group seeking access to donor agreements between a university foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation.” The judge ruled that the university foundation is not a public body and therefore not governed by public records laws.

    Via The Atlantic: “Students in Detroit Are Suing the State Because They Weren’t Taught to Read.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Divided Wisconsin Supreme Court Backs Marquette Faculty Blogger.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via NPR: “This Game Show Gives Contestants A Chance To Have Their Student Debt Paid Off.” It says all you need to know about the US that folks go on game shows to pay off student loan and medical debt.

    Via Politico: “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said on Wednesday that the Education Department is stonewalling its attempts to gather information about Navient as part of the CFPB’s lawsuit against the student loan giant.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “An Education Department plan to begin cutting large debt collection firms out of the student loan system is on hold after Congress warned against move.”

    Via The New York Times: “The New Toll of American Student Debt in 3 Charts.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Edsurge and Getting Smart promote venture capitalist Ryan Craig’s new book A New U and the idea that “faster + cheaper alternatives will replace most of higher ed.” “Lower ed,” I believe Tressie McMillan Cottom calls this. Here’s a list of the investments that Craig’s VC firm have made in this narrative.

    The Strayer and Capella merger has been approved by its accreditor.

    Via The Washington Post: “Former executives of defunct for-profit college firm ITT settle fraud charges with SEC.”

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

    “The fallout from the mid-year closure of Ohio’s largest full-time online charter school continues,” writes Education Week, “with other e-schools struggling to navigate a massive influx of displaced students, thousands of students unaccounted for, and fights over money and liability dragging into the summer.” The virtual charter school in question: ECOT.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Federal Bureau of Investigation this week released details of a fraud scheme that bilked more than $24 million in Post–9/11 GI Bill funds, affecting more than 2,500 student veterans.” The scheme involved Ed4Mil, “an online correspondence course provider,” and a former dean of Caldwell University.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via ProPublica: “How the Fight Against Affirmative Action at Harvard Could Threaten Rich Whites.”

    Related: “How Much Does Being a Legacy Help Your College Admissions Odds?” asks The Wall Street Journal.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Dartmouth’s competitive business school announces new criteria for admission.” Apparently the criteria is “niceness,” which I’m guessing is actually code for “whiteness” and/or political centrism.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “For Georgetown Alumni, a Fellow Graduate’s Defense of Child Separation Touches a Nerve.” That graduate would be Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Temple University revealed Monday that its business school lied for years on a range of statistics about its online M.B.A. program. The university gave false information to U.S. News & World Report about standardized testing, student debt, grade point averages of admitted students, student-faculty ratios and more. The dean of the Fox School of Business was ousted amid reports that he encouraged a culture that focused on rankings.” (I’ve got this story in this section because the IHE headline reads “Accreditors Eye Temple.”)

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

    Labor and Management

    Via ProPublica: “A Day After Report, Violent White Supremacist Loses Job With Defense Contractor.” So very reassuring that you can fail a background check for a government job in the US if you’re a communist but not if you’re a Nazi.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    “School shooters leave clues. Could AI spot the next one before it’s too late?asks WBRC.

    Can We Design Online Learning Platforms That Feel More Intimate Than Massive?asks Edsurge.

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

    Via Wired: “How Silicon Valley Fuels an Informal Caste System.”

    Khan Academy introduces something big for little learners,” says the Khan Academy blog. “Lifelong learning” and multiple choice quizzes for two to five year olds. Sounds like fun.

    E-Literate claimed this week thatCanvas Surpasses Blackboard Learn in US Market Share” – with some additional analysis about “What’s Important about the Blackboard Market Share News.” Markets responded. But wait wait wait. Wait wait wait wait wait wait. All this over a difference of two? Canvas has two more installations than Blackboard in the E-Literate calculations? Doesn’t that seem small? Doesn’t that number seem so small that it might actually be an error in reporting or sampling? Indeed, Edutechnica, which also tracks LMS data, responds with their own numbers and says that Blackboard still has about two hundred more installations than Canvas and about a million more students using the software. Shrug.

    Microsoft Hopes to Revive Its Education Tablet Efforts With the New $399 Surface Go,” says Edsurge.

    Via The Atlantic: “The Rise and Fall of the Family-Vacation Road Trip.”

    Via Edsurge: “Britannica CEO Talks Google, Wikipedia and What Lil Pump Can Teach Us About Credibility.” From the press release (which explains why there’d be an article on the company this week): “YouTube joins forces with Britannica to provide easier access to credible and authoritative information.”

    “‘Find Your Passion’ Is Awful Advice,” says The Atlantic. Content warning: contains hype about “mindsets.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    I’m not tracking on these sorts of predictions right now – because of the book-writing – but let’s all circle back around in 2024 to see how this panned out. Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “K–12 Artificial Intelligence Market Set to Explode in U.S. and Worldwide by 2024.”

    High-Skilled White-Collar Work? Machines Can Do That, Too,” says The New York Times.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Edsurge reports thatJim Shelton to Leave Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.” (This is a good example of how ed-tech advocacy-posing-as-journalism operates – you get funded by an organization and then you get to “break the news” about that organization. Then you reprint a blog post from the organization so you get all the clicks.) More on the departure of Shelton from his role leading the venture firm’s education efforts in Education Week.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Pi-top, the maker of a Raspberry Pi-compatible laptop, has raised $16 million from Hambro Perks and Committed Capital. The company has raised $20.4 million total.

    Swing Education has raised $15 million from GV (Google Ventures), Kapor Capital, Ulu Ventures, Moment Ventures, Edovate Capital, Red House Education, Owl Ventures, and Social Capital. The vendor, which wants schools to outsource the process of hiring substitute teachers, has raised $22.8 million total.

    Goodwall has raised $10.8 million from investiere, Zürcher Kantonal Bank, Randstad Innovation Fund, and Verve Capital. The company, which claims it’s like “LinkedIn for students,” has raised $14.1 million.

    Cell-Ed has raised $1.5 million from Lumina Impact Ventures. Strada Education Innovation Fund, Partners Group Impact and Impact Fund. The company provides “interactive lessons and content on a mobile platform to low-skilled workers.”

    “Social emotional learning” content provider Move This World has raised $1 million from AT&T, The Global Good Fund, Prairie Capital, and New Media Investment Group.

    National University has acquiredUniversityNow– or some of its technology platform and curriculum, at least. The company had raised some $40.5 million in venture funding (including from the “cheaper and faster” folks at University Ventures). UniversityNow had previously sold off some of its technology to Penn Foster a couple of years ago. It will now join that other University Ventures “cheaper and faster” investment MissionU in the ed-tech dead-pool. Good work, everyone.

    Follett has acquired“adaptive” content company Fishtree.

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Short-Selling Investment Group Issues Warning About China’s TAL Education.” (Here’s a look at who TAL Education has invested in in turn.)

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    “Education Websites Face Pending ‘Mark of Shame’” writes Doug Levin, listing many high-profile “future of education” websites that do not support HTTPS.

    Edsurge reports on“Secret ‘Fusion Centers’ and the Search for the Next School Shooter,” asking “Do Fusion Centers Violate Students’ Legal Right to Privacy?”

    “Do Voice Assistant Devices Have a Place in the Classroom?” asks Edsurge. I mean, I’d go with the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines here, but Edsurge delivers its readers another strong dose of “gotta hear all sides.”

    Not directly ed-tech related, except for the part where many ed-tech evangelists really really really seem to want to put listening devices in classrooms. Via Buzzfeed: “Walmart’s Newly Patented Technology For Eavesdropping On Workers Presents Privacy Concerns.”

    Via The New York Times: “Facebook’s Push for Facial Recognition Prompts Privacy Alarms.” (See, I find it so telling that folks can write about CZI– see a couple of the stories above in the “venture philanthropy” section and gush about its plans for “personalized learning” and not ever really talk about what a shit-show for democracy Facebook is.)

    “All EFF’d Up” – Yasha Levine on“Silicon Valley’s astroturf privacy shakedown.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via Edsurge: “New Survey: Students See Anxiety and Time Management Among Top Challenges to Finishing Degrees.” The survey was conducted by learning analytics company Civitas Learning.

    Via Edsurge: “YouTube Searches Favor Videos That Attack Public Education, Scholar Finds.”

    Related perhaps – although ed-tech cheerleaders rarely seem to want to talk about any sort of bias in Google, do they – via Education Next: “According to American Teacher Panel Data, More than 90 Percent of Teachers Reported Using Google to Find Lessons.”

    The Pew Research Center onActivism in the Social Media Age.”

    Related to a recent story in The Hechinger Report about charter schools with policies that favor enrolling white students, you can now“Search the data on white charters.”

    “How do children of color learn to draw themselves?” asks The Outline with a look at how white teachers damage kids’ self-esteem.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 07/20/18--04:40: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    From the US Department of Education’s Press Office: “U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today congratulated both Scott Stump and James Blew on being confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical and Adult Education and Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, respectively.”

    There’s more news from the White House in the job training section below. And the immigration section below is full of monstrosity from this administration.

    “The FCC Is Threatening to Gut a Program That Provides Internet Access to Minorities,” Pacific Standard reports.

    Via Wired: “Juul’s Lobbying Could Send Its Public Image Up in Smoke.” At least the e-cigarette company (which targets teens) offers a social-emotional learning curriculum, right? I mean, clearly that’s what all the responsible corporations do.

    Via The Washington Post: “‘They are shooting at a church’: Inside the 15-hour siege by Nicaraguan paramilitaries on university students.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via The Boston Globe: “Four decades after court-ordered busing, Boston’s education gap remains.”

    Via the AP: “District of Columbia Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has issued her first-ever veto, rejecting legislation that would allow high school seniors absent for more than six weeks of class to graduate.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Denver superintendent Tom Boasberg is stepping down after nearly 10 years.”

    Via Poynter: “As local newsrooms shrink, college journalists fill in the gaps.”

    Education in the Courts (Education and the Cops)

    Via the AP: “Black students wrongly accused of leaving without paying.” Leaving an IHOP, that is. Incoming freshmen at Washington University, that is.

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Curriculum Provider Loses Court Fight With FedEx Over Copying ‘Open’ Materials.” (Not sure why the quotation marks around “open” here.)

    Via The New York Times: “E.U. Fines Google $5.1 Billion in Android Antitrust Case.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via Buzzfeed: “‘I Feel Like I Am Trash’: Immigrant Children Describe Squalid Conditions In Detention Centers Along The US Border.”

    Via ProPublica: “Immigrant Shelters Drug Traumatized Teenagers Without Consent.”

    Via Wired: “Nonprofit for Migrants Declines a Donation from Salesforce.” That would be Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), which refused the money after Salesforce declined to stop working with the CPB. It would be great to see education technology organizations also turn away this money, knowing that – if nothing else – children and families are harmed by anti-immigration policies and practices. (Those who’ve taken money from Salesforce this year include Edsurge and

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A Russian national who was charged Monday with conspiracy to act as an agent of Russia without registering as a foreign agent entered the U.S. in 2016 on a student visa.”

    “Free College”

    “Why Are Free College Programs So Successful?” asks Pacific Standard.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The nonprofit National University System announced today that it plans to acquire the for-profit Northcentral University, which specializes in online education in graduate and doctoral-level programs.” (Related: George Veletsianos makes a keen observation about an acquisition National University announced last week – one that relates to the new buzzword “precision education.”)

    Via AZ Central: “Grand Canyon University non-profit status will cost K–12 schools, Phoenix millions in tax revenue.”

    “For-Profit Bridgepoint Says Its Colleges Will Become Non-Profit (But It Won’t),” says David Halperin.

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

    “The cost of maintaining an online course for several years can eventually outstrip the launch cost – but the investment might just pay off,” says Inside Higher Ed.

    Via The New York Post: “Education department investigating high school’s online courses.” That’s Westchester Square Academy in the Bronx.

    There’s more MOOC news in the credential section below.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of California is on the brink of eliminating an 11-year-old $60 tuition surcharge in what would be the system’s first year-over-year decrease in almost 20 years.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of Illinois at Chicago is poised to acquire the nearby John Marshall Law School after the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved a plan Thursday that puts the transaction on track to close by next fall.”

    As part of his new show, Sacha Baron Cohen posed as a Reed College professor to dupe conservatives. Because of course.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Class Central: “Analysis of 450 MOOC-Based Microcredentials Reveals Many Options But Little Consistency.”


    The New York Times onNYC’s Specialized High Schools Admissions Test: “Does Admissions Exam for Elite High Schools Measure Up? No One Knows.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “College Board backtracks on plan to begin the AP World History exam in the year 1450, saying it will now begin in 1200.”

    “After a wild testing year, Tennessee student scores mostly dip – but there are a few bright spots,” says Chalkbeat.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Louisville Will Change Stadium Name After Papa John’s Founder Used a Racial Slur.” Racist. It was racist.

    Via The Atlantic: “The Downsides of America’s Hyper-Competitive Youth-Soccer Industry.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s football coach, Larry Fedora, on Wednesday said the sport is ‘under attack’ from safety advocates, with long-term stakes moving far beyond the playing field.”

    “I fear the game will be pushed so far from what we know that we won’t recognize it in 10 years. And if it does, our country will go down, too.”

    Labor and Management

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The President Who Helped Plot to Divide His Campuses Will Step Down.” That would be Randy J. Dunn, president of Southern Illinois University.

    More hiring and retiring news in the national and state/local politics sections above.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers calls for an emphasis on the ‘reskilling’ of adults in their prime working years, such as through apprenticeships or by opening up federal Pell Grants to shorter-term education programs.”

    I’m including this news here because 1) WeWork is making a number of education plays (acquiring bootcamps, launching a private K–12 school, for example) and 2) WeWork’s founder is Gwenyth Paltrow’s cousin (small world!), which makes these sorts of policy moves chuckle-worthy (to me, at least). Anyway, Techcrunch reports that “WeWork takes meat off the menu as part of environmental policy drive.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Schools Can Now Get Facial Recognition Tech for Free. Should They?asks Wired.

    Is Blackboard dying?asks Tony Bates.

    Colleges Can’t – or Won’t – Track Where Ph.D.s Land Jobs. Should Disciplinary Associations?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Does Online Education Help Low-income Students Succeed?asks Edsurge.

    Schools and Colleges Try Virtual Reality Science Labs. But Can VR Replace a Cadaver?asks Edsurge.

    Can AR/VR Improve Learning?asks Edsurge.

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

    The big ed-tech downgrade news this week makes an appearance in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section. That is, the announcement from RealNetworks that they’re offering facial recognition software to schools for free. I’ve put most of the links in the surveillance section, because obviously that’s where it fits best.

    Despite Magic Leap being vaporware (backed by some $2.3 billioin in venture capital), Edsurge is certain it’s going to “transform learning.” Because of course! Here’s the prediction: “Mixed Reality Will Transform Learning (and Magic Leap Joins Act One).” And do note all the hype out of Edsurge this week about VR. It’s almost as if someone is paying for the marketing. (Narrator voice: someone is.)

    Bless this headline (from The 74) ’s heart: “Educators & Experts Say Personalized Learning Is Not About Technology or Money but Leadership and Relationships.”

    Just grand that Facebook is running a bunch of media literacy and digital training courses for community colleges. I mean, clearly the company has a strong grasp on the politics of information. Not. From The Verge: “Mark Zuckerberg says Holocaust deniers are making an honest mistake.” From The Atlantic: “Mark Zuckerberg Is Doubly Wrong About Holocaust Denial.” More about this in my newsletter tomorrow…

    Via Techcrunch: “Messenger Kids launches in Mexico.”

    Compare/contrast that headline with this one, also in Techcrunch: “Facebook and Instragram change to crack down on underage children.”

    The Google blog post announcingCourse Kit,” a tool that will integrate Google Drive with the LMS. And the subsequent churnalism.

    Roblox responds to the hack that allowed a child’s avatar to be raped in its game,” Techcrunch reports. JFC.

    Unizin is partnering with TurnItIn. “Unizin Adds Student Writing Data to its Data Platform for a Clearer Portrait of Learner Success,” says the Campus Technology headline. (Unizin, for those who keep forgetting, is a consortium of schools who are using the Instructure learning management system to build out some sort of "learning ecosystem" or something like that.)

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via The New York Post: “Doctors slam sex robot ‘family mode’.”

    “Where Are The Robot Teachers?” asks Peter Greene.

    Robots in the classroom? Preparing for the automation of teaching” by Neil Selwyn.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Sponsored content on Edsurge this week, paid for by the Gates Foundation, includes this.

    Abl School has received a $3.2 million grant (?) from the Gates Foundation to a new scheduling program, says fellow Gates Foundation grant recipient Edsurge.

    Speaking of Gates, the AP writes about “The Billionaires Pushing Charter School Expansion in States.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Dismissed by KIPP over sexual harassment allegations, co-founder Mike Feinberg starts new organization.” The new organization is called the Texas School Venture Fund, and it will help fund charter schools.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Chinese tutoring company Zuoyebang has raised $350 million from New Enterprise Associates, Goldman Sachs, GGV Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Coatue Management, Tiantu Capital, Primavera Capital Group, and Taihe Capital. It’s raised a total of $585 million.

    Galvanize has raised $25 million from ABS Capital Partners, University Ventures, New Markets Venture Partners, Catalyst Investors, and The Colorado Impact Fund. The coding bootcamp (a.k.a. job training company) has raised $117.2 million total. The company also announced that it has acquired the coding bootcamp (a.k.a. job training company) Hack Reactor.

    Unacademy has raised $21 million from Sequoia Capital, SAIF Partners, Blume Ventures, and Nexus Ventures. The Indian online education company has raised $38.5 million total.

    Kenzie Academy has raised $4.2 million from Rethink Education, Learn Capital, Kelly Services, Gratitude Railroad, and Butler University. The coding bootcamp (a.k.a. job training company) has raised $5.8 million total.

    Alma Campus, a social network for college students, has raised $1 million from Norwest Venture Partners, Felicis Ventures, and Marissa Mayer.

    Volley has raised an undisclosed amount of money from JPMorgan Chase. Up til now, the “AI” textbook company has raised $7.3 million.

    Showbie has acquiredSocrative from MasteryConnect. (MasteryConnect acquired Socrative in 2014.)

    Golden Gate Capital has acquiredThe Learning Experience.

    GEMS Education may not go public after all, says Reuters.

    Research data from Edsurge on VC investment in the US is in the “research” section below.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via Education Week: “Facial-Recognition Systems Pitched as School-Safety Solutions, Raising Alarms.” More on this terrible idea from RealNetworksvia CNET and from Wired.

    The reports are starting to come back from those surveilled by ISTE at its conference last month. “My Flawed ISTE 2018 Journey Report,” writes Tim Stahmer. That people were asked to surrender their privacy and security for incorrect data claiming to offer "personalized learning" is just perfect. Really.

    The Wall Street Journal profiles EAB, examining how college surveil and market to prospective students.

    Via The Register: “Capita strikes again: Bug in UK-wide school info management system risks huge data breach.” Capita, to be clear, is the name of the student information system used by some 21,000 schools in the UK.

    Another invocation of Google Maps as a metaphor for student learning data in Edsurge. One note: Google Maps is not an “an open ecosystem for accurate, real-time geospatial and navigation data.” It’s a proprietary ecosystem, one that’s subsidized by advertising dollars, one that charges businesses to use its APIs, one that sucks data from municipalities but does not feel it has a civic responsibility to give data back to the public in return, and one that is increasingly shaping how we understand geographic space. The Google Empire. But sure sure, great metaphor for the future of education, guys.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via Education Week: “There’s No Single Profile of a Violent Student, Secret Service Says in New Report.” But fuck it. Let’s profile the hell out of students anyway, right?

    “Researchers find that filters don’t prevent porn,” says Techcrunch.

    “Many caregivers and policy makers consider Internet filters a useful technology for keeping young people safe online. Although this position might make intuitive sense, there is little empirical evidence that Internet filters provide an effective means to limit children’s and adolescents’ exposure to online sexual material.”

    “Why are the financial rewards from higher education falling?” asks Bryan Alexander. It’s almost as though we cannot talk about wealth and income and higher ed without looking more broadly at trends and institutions outside of higher ed.

    Via Edsurge: “2018 Halftime Ka’Ching Report: U.S. Edtech Raises $739M in Venture Funding.”

    Mindset Marketing, Behaviorism, and Deficit Ideology” by Ryan Boren.

    Research from Luci Pangrazio and Neil Selwyn: “‘It’s Not Like It’s Life or Death or Whatever’: Young People’s Understandings of Social Media Data.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Do suspensions lead to higher dropout rates and other academic problems? In New York City, the answer could be yes.”

    Via Education Week: “One-Third of Parents Fear for Their Child’s Safety at School.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Council for Advancement and Support of Education has acquired the Voluntary Support of Education survey from the Council for Aid to Education and is using the annual survey to help build a clearinghouse for global advancement data.”

    Via The New York Times: “Women Making Science Videos on YouTube Face Hostile Comments.”

    “Who Lives in Education Deserts?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education. “More People Than You Think.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 07/27/18--04:00: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The Hill: “Betsy DeVos’s $40 million yacht set adrift by vandals.” Don’t worry. Her nine other yachts were unharmed.

    More on the Trump Administration’s plans to eliminate the “gainful employment” rules for for-profit higher ed in the for-profit higher ed section below.

    More on the Trump Administration’s plans to make it harder for students defrauded by for-profit colleges to get their loans forgiven in the financial aid section below.

    Conservative High Schoolers Want to ‘Own the Libs’,” The Atlantic’s Adam Harris reports from the Turning Point USA’s conference. Among the speakers: Betsy DeVos and Peter Thiel.

    Via Wired: “Congress Has a $65 Million Proposal to Study Tech’s Effect on Kids.”

    Via The Guardian: “The great academy schools scandal.” (Academy schools in England are somewhat similar to charter schools in the US – publicly funded by not locally controlled.)

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    More about Florida’s plans to prevent school shootings – which, surprise surprise have nothing to do with gun control – down in the surveillance section below.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Just like their parents, Chicago students will soon have to learn cursive.”

    Via The Oregonian: “With toxic lead out, Portland Public Schools plans to turn on drinking fountains.”

    News out of LAUSD is in the courts section below.

    There’s a profile of NYC schools head Richard Carranza down in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section below.

    Immigration and Education

    Via ProPublica: “Why Russian Spies Really Like American Universities.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via The LA Times: “L.A. school board’s Ref Rodriguez pleads guilty to conspiracy and resigns.”

    Via The New York Post: “The founder and president of a for-profit Brooklyn college tasked his employees with steering attractive young women to his office – ‘so he could proposition them for sex,’ according to a new sexual harassment lawsuit.” The school in question: ASA College.

    Via them: “Trans Students in Bathrooms Don’t Violate Anyone’s Privacy, A Federal Court Says.” More via the AP.

    Via “Former PA Cyber CEO Nick Trombetta gets 20 months in prison for tax fraud.” That is the former CEO of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.

    Via The New York Times: “Brock Turner Wanted Only ‘Outercourse,’ Lawyer Argues in Appeal.” My god, that guy.

    Via Wired: “Users Sue Juul for Addicting Them to Nicotine.” (Juul is an e-cigarette that markets its product to teens and peddles social emotional learning content.)

    An update on Mark Janus of Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 fame in the “labor and management” section below.

    “Free College”

    Via MarketWatch: “20,000 preschool teachers just got offered a free education.” That is, the daycare company Bright Horizons will pay for its employees to get their degrees at four institutions – three of which are for-profits (including Ashford University and Walden University, which have been targets of lawsuits claiming they misled students).

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday unveiled a proposed overhaul of a federal rule on student loan forgiveness, with a plan to possibly make the process more restrictive for defrauded borrowers.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via The New York Times: “DeVos to Eliminate Rules Aimed at Abuses by For-Profit Colleges.”

    More on the Trump Administration’s plans to make it harder for students defrauded by for-profit colleges to get their loans forgiven in the financial aid section above.

    There’s more for-profit related news in the “free college” section above and in the “courts” section above.

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

    Via Edsurge: “Coursera’s First Ivy League Degree: An Online Master’s From the University of Pennsylvania.” (Not mentioned: Penn was one of the very first investors in Coursera.)

    There’s more MOOC news from Edsurge in the “job training” section below.

    Via The Economist: “Universities withstood MOOCs but risk being outwitted by OPMs.”

    Via “National e-school figure to test new approach to online learning here in Ohio.” That figure is K12 Inc founder Ron Packard.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via The Guardian: “The free speech panic: how the right concocted a crisis.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What Is Academic Freedom? Statement That Alarmed Professors at U. of Texas Sets Off Debate.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “There’s a New Scholarly Take on Mizzou’s Race Crisis, and Its Former Leaders Don’t Fare Well.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Columbia U Opens Research Center Devoted to Blockchain Tech.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Paul Quinn, Lauded for Its Work-College Model, Will Open a Second Campus.”

    Coleman University will close, IHE reports.


    Two testing-related stories appear in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section below.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “More Than 100 Ohio State Alumni Allege Abuse by Former University Sports Doctor.”

    Labor and Management

    An update, via The Chicago Sun-Times, on Mark Janus, who just won his anti-union court case before the Supreme Court: “Mark Janus quits state job for conservative think tank gig after landmark ruling.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “New documents show what KIPP told Mike Feinberg leading up to his firing.”

    Via Bloomberg: “Inside Google’s Shadow Workforce.” Just make a note of this for the next time you hear someone tout how great the hiring process and work environment are at Google.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Edsurge: “How Udacity Decides What Subjects To Offer Courses In (And Why It Isn’t Doing New University Partnerships).”

    The New York Times Magazine has an incredible profile of Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Goop” empire. Why is this in the job training section of the Hack Education Weekly News, you ask? Because her cousin is the founder of WeWork, and I’m keeping track of how all this “wellness” and mindset snake oil is shaping the future of education and work, kids.

    Contests and Awards

    Village Capital’s ongoing social entrepreneurship programs is like a friendlier – and perhaps more impactful – version of Survivor,” says Edsurge. So, it’s like some sort of imperialist fantasy that provides a feeding ground for a culture of “fake news”? Sounds amazing.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Can We Make Non-Racist Face Recognition?asks Gizmodo.

    Can Richard Carranza Integrate the Most Segregated School System in the Country?asks The Atlantic.

    Can a $49 English Test Pass Muster?asks Inside Higher Ed.

    Can We Save AP World History?asks Pacific Standard.

    Are Universities Training Socially Minded Programmers?asks The Atlantic.

    Was It Ethical for Dropbox to Share Customer Data with Scientists?asks Wired.

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

    “An open letter to Mark Zuckerberg: our child died at** Sandy Hook** – why let Facebook lies hurt us even more?” – this, in The Guardian– was written by the parents of Noah Pozner.

    Via The Atlantic: “Teens Are Debating the News on Instagram.”

    IBM Watson Reportedly Recommended Cancer Treatments That Were ‘Unsafe and Incorrect’,” says Gizmodo. Good thing IBM Watson isn’t making any claims about “personalized learning” or partnering with beloved shows like Sesame Street. Oh. Wait. Shiiiiit.

    Via the CBC: “Sesame Street to enter U.S. classrooms in new deal with McGraw-Hill Education.” More via the AP.

    “The RISE Package for R: Reducing Time Through the OER Continuous Improvement Cycle” by Lumen Learning’s David Wiley.

    Blackboard’s Debt Grows While Canvas Gains Contracts,” says ELearning Inside News.

    Via Edscoop: “YouTube’s latest initiative aims to foster educational content.”

    Via Techcrunch: “SuperAwesome now offers kids brands an alternative to YouTube.” Or, SuperAwesome has launched an app that features kid-friendly video content with a ton of advertising.

    Via the Google blog: “What’s happening next for G Suite Enterprise for Education.” Among the updates: “Now, institutions with data location requirements can choose where to store primary data for select G Suite apps.” It’s not clear what counts as “primary data” from the marketing copy.

    Via The Verge: “Kano tries to make learning code magical with its new Harry Potter Coding kit.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Forbes has pulled an essay by a professor that advocated that Amazon stores replace public libraries and thus save the taxpayers money. Librarians and library supporters responded by saying that the article was ill informed and didn’t reflect the many roles libraries play.” I can’t believe we have to repeatedly engage with these unworthy ideas. It’s one of the terrible things about the Internet, quite frankly. It’s a dumb idea. Don’t link to it. Ignore it. Talking about it expands that overton window, if nothing else. And it feeds the clickbait machine at Forbes.

    Via Motherboard: “This VR Founder Wants to Gamify Empathy to Reduce Racial Bias.” You cannot hear me screaming as I type this bullshit up. But know that I am screaming.

    From the Oculus Rift marketplace: “Teacher’s Lens Beta is an Oculus Launch Pad winning project that strives to mitigate unconscious bias in classroom education.” S.c.r.e.a.m.i.n.g.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via Quartz: “How AI could transform the way we measure kids’ intelligence.”

    IHE blogger Joshua Kim predicts there is “1 technology, 2 futures” as he writes aboutRobot Burger Makers and Adaptive Learning Platforms.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Charles Koch Foundation to Publish Future University Grant Agreements.”

    Edsurge says it’s received $1.45 million in grant funding from the Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to write about personalized learning and other specific topics but also claims it has “sole editorial control over all the content” which seems pretty contradictory to me.

    Among the sponsored content on Edsurge this week paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is this on data science and gym class and this on the “science of learning.”

    (Related, from CJR: "We need a new model for tech journalism.)

    Via Education Week: “Gates Foundation Gives $2.2M to For-Profit Company Tackling School Schedules.” The company: Abl Schools.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Guild Education has raised $40 million from Bessemer Venture Partners, Redpoint, Silicon Valley Bank, Felicis Ventures, Salesforce Ventures, Harrison Metal, Cowboy Ventures, Rethink Education, and Workday Ventures. The company, which helps other companies offer employee education benefits, has raised $71.5 million total.

    Skillshare has raised $28 million from Union Square Ventures, Burda Principal Investments, Amasia, and Spero Ventures. The online education company has raised $50.8 million.

    RaiseMe has raised $15 million from Teamworthy Ventures, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Salesforce Ventures, and Strada Education Network. The financial aid company has raised $31.5 million total.

    Preply has raised $4 million from Point Nine Capital, RTAventures VC, Diligent Capital Partners, SMRK, Mariusz Gralewski, Arthur Kosten, and Przemyslaw Gacek. The tutoring company has raised $5.6 million total.

    ACT has acquired the National Research Center for College and University Admissions.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via Education Week: “To Stop School Shootings, Fla. Will Merge Government Data, Social Media Posts.”

    Via The Outline: “Tracking devices are required in this French high school.” The BBC writes that “French school in row over tracking pupils electronically.” The tracking device comes from a French startup called NewSchool.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Temple U. Says Several Programs Submitted False Data to ‘U.S. News’.”

    “Who Gets Access to Data About D.C.’s Public Schools?” asks Rachel Cohen in the Washington City Paper.

    Wired on the surveillance product that just won’t die: “Google Glass Is Back – Now with Artificial Intelligence.”

    Via Ars Technica: “Amazon’s Rekognition messes up, matches 28 lawmakers to mugshots.” More on the facial recognition fail via The New York Times.

    “Internal Review Finds Portland State University Researchers Broke Federal Law,” Willamette Week reports. “The university now concedes the project did not have proper authorization to use the data from public school classrooms.”

    Venmo Is the Best Place to Stalk Your Children” is a completely fucked up headline – thanks Bloomberg.

    Also stalking you and your children, retail stores. That’s according to Chain Store Age which claims that “Location data could improve back-to-school campaigns.”

    Via Medianama: “Personal and academic data of millions of Indian students is up for sale online.”

    What Happens in the Classroom No Longer Stays in the Classroom. What Does That Mean for Teaching?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    “Your Tweets Are Somehow Worthy Of Scientific Study,” FiveThirtyEight marvels. (See also: the story in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section above about a study based on Dropbox usage.)

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “New study shows that splitting attention between lecture and cellphone or laptop use hinders long-term retention, and those in class suffer from others’ use of devices.” Prepare for many “takes” on why this study is right and/or wrong and justifies the authors’ tech policies in their classrooms.

    Via Motherboard: “Two Researchers Challenged a Scientific Study About Violent Video Games– and Took a Hit for Being Right.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new study by Morning Consult for Cengage, an educational technology and services company, asked 1,651 current and former college students how purchasing textbooks figures into their financial picture. Forty-one percent of those students said that textbooks and other course materials had ‘somewhat of an impact’ on their financial situation, and 46 percent said that it had ‘a big impact.’”

    According to the World Bank (as written up by EdWeek’s Market Brief), “The Cost of Not Educating Girls: $30 Trillion.”

    Via Education Week: “Pearson Studies Seek to Shine Light on Cyber Charter Student Mobility.”

    Private Schools Are Becoming More Elite,” says The Atlantic, with a look at the decline in enrollment in Catholic schools.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Private college closures have risen to a rate of about 11 per year, and the rate at which campuses are shut down is expected to increase in the future, according to a new report published by Moody’s Investors Service Tuesday.”

    Ed Yong on“An Enormous Study of the Genes Related to Staying in School.” (I could link to lots more coverage of this, most of it pretty bad. When in doubt about a major scientific study, read Ed.)

    Genetics, big data science, and postgenomic education researchby Ben Williamson. “Why We Shouldn’t Embrace the Genetics of Educationby John Warner. And the obligatory NYT op-ed: “Why Progressives Should Embrace the Genetics of Education.” Of course, let’s remember that education progressives have long been supporters of eugenics.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 08/04/18--08:50: Hack Education Weekly News
  • My apologies that this is a day late. Yesterday was the first day in over a year that I didn’t make a commit to GitHub (which I use to manage all my websites). I wish I could say I was on vacation; rather, I’m moving. Or rather, yesterday I moved. And thanks to the shining brilliance of American digital infrastructure there is no Internet yet in my new place.

    Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    I thought for a brief moment this morning “what if I never do another ‘Friday news roundup’ ever again?” – that day is coming soon enough, my friends.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The Verge: “France bans smartphone use in schools.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “President Trump on Tuesday signed into law an update to the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, which will give states more authority to determine their own goals for the $1.2 billion federal grant program.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Trump to Nominate U. of Oklahoma Weather Expert to Top Science and Tech Post.” That’s Kelvin Droegemeier.

    There’s more for-profit higher ed news – and how the Trump Administration has deep, deep ties to this industry – in the for-profit higher ed section below.

    DeVos Seeks To Rewrite The Rules On Higher Ed,” says NPR.

    There’s more DeVos news in the “philanthropy” section below.

    Via NPR: “Department Of Education Plans To Change Rules For Regulating Colleges.” – “This includes how long-distance learning programs are defined.”

    There’s more accreditation news out of the Department of Education in the accreditation section below.

    “To Focus On Students’ Emotional Well-Being, India Tries ‘Happiness Classes’,” says NPR.

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via the New Haven Independent: “The school board [in New Haven, Connecticut] will allow Yale University continue with a study on students struggling to read, but tighter rules will be in place for any future research.” The study includes DNA testing.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Tennessee approves first-ever computer science standards for K–8 schools.”

    Via The Oregonian: “Oregon allows educators to be punished in secret.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “Can in-house child care keep young teachers in the classroom? These districts want to find out.”

    Immigration and Education

    Via ProPublica: “Immigrant Youth Shelters: ‘If You’re a Predator, It’s a Gold Mine’.”

    Via The Nation: “A 6-Year-Old Girl Was Sexually Abused in an Immigrant-Detention Center.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via The New York Times: “Alex Jones, Pursued Over Infowars Falsehoods, Faces a Legal Crossroads.” This asshole is trying to get the parents whose children died at Sandy Hook Elementary to pay for his court costs. (They’re suing him for defamation as he peddles the lie that there was, in fact, no shooting that day.)

    Via “Kyle Sandler, former Round House owner, arrested in Texas on Lee County warrants.” Sandler is also the founder of the ed-tech company Nibletz.

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The New York Times: “Sex Scandal Toppled a Silicon Valley Chief. Investors Say, So What?” I’m putting this story here as it discusses VCs’ willingness to continue to invest in Mike Cagney, the former head of the student loan company SoFi.

    Via The Guardian: “Student Loans Company‘spied on vulnerable students’ social media’.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via The Atlantic: “Emails From Trump Education Official Reveal Ties to For-Profit Colleges.” Not sure we needed emails to know this, but hey.

    Via Inside Higher Ed (who got the news from Politico): “A repeal of the Obama administration’s gainful-employment rule would cost $4.7 billion over 10 years, according to an Education Department cost analysis, Politico reported this week.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Strayer and Capella Merger Finalized.”

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

    Via The Washington Post: “ A South Carolina school district just abolished snow days– and will make students learn online.” JFC. Let kids have a friggin’ snow day. Or just have them read a book. It’s probably better for them than stupid worksheets on their Chromebooks.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    LeBron James opened a school. Well, LeBron James and the Akron public school district, that is. Via NPR: “Principal Of LeBron James’ I Promise School Talks About Mission.” Via Education Week: “LeBron James joins other celebrities who launched schools.”

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “More Schools Are Buying ‘Active-Shooter’ Insurance Policies.”

    Via The New York Times: “‘All I Did Was Be Black’: Police Are Called on College Student Eating Lunch.” That’s at Smith College.

    Via The Atlantic: “How History Classes Helped Create a ‘Post-Truth’ America.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As Colleges Distance Themselves From Papa John’s Founder, Ball State U. Sticks With Him.”

    Via Edsurge: “With a Year of Crisis Text Line Data, California Community Colleges Launch Mental Health Program.”

    Via The LA Times: “Donation from prominent L.A. politician roils USC, which referred case to federal prosecutors.”

    Via The Huffington Post: “Tokyo Medical School Allegedly Gave Women Lower Scores To Give More Spots To Men.” That would be Tokyo Medical University.

    “What Happens When a College Flip-Flops on Using Race in Admissions?” asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    “How can small colleges survive the 21st century?” asks Bryan Alexander.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “DeVos Delays Decision on Troubled AccreditorACICS.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Credential Registry is several months into its mission to document all U.S. credentials, but the finish line is further than ever.”


    There’s some testing-related news in the “research” section below.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Here’s another headline that’s probably better-suited for the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section, via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Ohio State Suspended Its Head Football Coach. Does That Show Universities Are Taking a Stronger Stand on Domestic Abuse?”

    Via The Detroit Free Press: “University of Michigan alumnus Donald C. Graham helped pay for the university’s football team trip to France. His contribution came after U-M invested $102 million in his son’s private equity funds.”

    Labor and Management

    Via Buzzfeed: “Lawrence Krauss, Celebrity Scientist, Is Replaced At Top University Job Amid Harassment Allegations.” That job: head of the Origins Project at ASU.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Texas System Picks Former CUNY Leader as Its Next Chancellor.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Virginia Center Defends Hiring of Former Trump Official, Over Faculty Resistance.” That would be Marc Short. Later in the week, also via CHE: “2 Scholars Quit UVa Center Over Appointment of Former Trump Administration Official.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Georgia Tech’s Finance Chief Is Out After Campus Gave ‘Boat Load of Money’ to Company That Paid Him.” The official: Steven G. Swant, executive vice president for administration and finance. The company: RIB Software SE. More via AJC.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Teaching Tech-Based Farming: Microsoft Backs Program for Ag Group’s 650,000 Students.”

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Employers Eager to Hire Try a New Policy: ‘No Experience Necessary’.”

    Contests and Awards

    Via The New York Times: “Fields Medals Awarded to 4 Mathematicians.” Nope, no women. Again.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Are Diplomas in Your DNA?asks Wired.

    Hey, Alexa, Should We Bring Virtual Assistants to Campus?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

    Apple is now a $1 trillion company,” says The Verge. “Apple Reaches $1 Trillion Valuation. Does the Profitable Glow Extend to Education?” asks EdWeek’s Market Brief. (Perhaps a headline better suited for the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section below.)

    Another headline in the form of a question: “Makerspaces Nationwide Face the Question: Can Users 3D Print a Gun?” asks Edsurge. I wish some of these stories about this would reference the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 signed by one Ronald Reagan. But I wish a lot of things about tech journalism, I guess.

    As a lover of pens and moleskin notebooks, I get the impulse behind this story in The Outline– “An ode to back to school shopping” – but when families are spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars buying school supplies for their children, I’m not sure we should be celebrating.

    Blackboard’s Defense of its Finances is not Persuasive,” writes Michael Feldstein.

    Also from Feldstein: “Moodle and Blackboard Cut Ties.”

    Via Edsurge: “When School Districts Buy From Amazon, Are They Getting the Best Deal? Maybe Not.” EdWeek’s Market Brief also wrote about Amazon this week. Coincidence? Or press release?

    Perhaps this story fits better in the “human resources” section below, but I’ll stick it here. Why not. This is where all the press releases and press release rewrites go. Via Techcrunch: “Duolingo hires its first chief marketing officer as active user numbers stagnate but revenue grows.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Facebook launches a digital literacy library aimed at educators.”

    Campuswire launches to redesign classroom communications,” writes Techcrunch.

    Via Techcrunch: “LittleBits enlists the Avengers for its latest kit.”

    Via Edsurge: “Behind Closed Doors: Edtech Entrepreneurs’ Biggest Challenges in 2018.” The words “privacy,” “security,” and “equity” appear nowhere in this article.

    Via Edsurge: “Pearson’s Former Product Chief Reflects on the 4 Megatrends Shaping Global Education.” Shocking, I know, but apparently “technology” is a “megatrend.”

    Twitter is funding college professors to audit its platform for toxicity,” writes The Verge. Something about algorithms to track when folks are being “uncivil.” Great. What could possibly go wrong with that?

    I hope all your neurobollocks warning bells go off when you read this interview Edsurge conducted with former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on “student brains.”

    Oooh, I am sensing a trend here. “Whole Brain Teaching Is Weird – and Weirdly Viral,” Edsurge wants us to know.

    I also hope that folks approach “precision education” with a lot more skepticism too. (See the story above about DNA testing struggling students in New Haven.) Here’s Laura Gogia with two articles on how this might work: 1 and 2.

    Via Edsurge: “As College Innovation Efforts Grow, So Do Warnings of a ‘McDonaldization’ of Higher Ed.” Perhaps this headline demonstrates why “innovation” in education is a so often a meaningless (at best) term.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via The Hechinger Report: “How artificial intelligence could help teachers do a better job.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via NPR: “DeVos Family Money Is All Over The News Right Now.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “With big names and $200 million, a new group is forming to push for the ‘portfolio model’.”

    Here’s a great example of how corporate philanthropy works (and works in very self-serving ways), via the Google blog: “Five new grants to support CS education research.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    DreamBox Learning has raised $130 million from The Rise Fund. The adaptive learning company has raised $175.6 million total. (And Arne Duncan has joined its board of directors – that makes it, I believe, the second ed-tech company’s board he sits on. EDITED TO ADD: Actually, it is the third. He also sits on the board of TurnItIn.)

    Reach Capital has closed an $82 million round. Investors in the VC firm include Sesame Workshop, TAL Education, the Los Angeles Police and Fire Pensions fund, and Hall Capital Partners.

    Perhaps this isn’t directly education-related, but I think it’s worth considering how talk of the “gig economy” is seeping into education-adjacent work. WeeCare has raised $4.2 million in funding from Wavemaker Partners, Social Capital, Amplify.LA, Fuel Capital, and Fika Ventures. The company offers a platform for people to turn their home into childcare facilities; it also offers training and licensing.

    Weld North Education has acquiredReasoning Mind.

    Class Central writes thatY Combinator’s Startup School MOOC To Give Out $10,000 to 100 Companies.” “Give out” here means “equity-free venture funding.”

    From the Pearson website: “Pearson 2018 half-year results.” Related, this from EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Investors Pressure Pearson CEO for Details on Sale of U.S. K–12 Curriculum.”

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    The NYT’s E. K. Moore on some of the research Doug Levin has been conducting about ad trackers (and the like): “The Information on School Websites Is Not as Safe as You Think.”

    Via The New York Times' Natasha Singer: “For Sale: Survey Data on Millions of High School Students.” The story prompted the College Boardto respond and re-examine its data-for-sale policies, so that’s a win.

    Big Data Is Getting Bigger. So Are the Privacy and Ethical Questions,” Goldie Blumenstyk writes. This includes a company called Degree Analytics that tracks students’ location data using their cellphones – “Some colleges are using [the data] to improve the kind of advice they might send to students, like a text-message reminder to go to class if they’ve been absent.”

    There’s more news about spying on students in the financial aid section above.

    “Will Majoring in Psychology Make You Better Off? The Government Wants to Know,” writes The Wall Street Journal.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    I ran the numbers on the amount of venture capital in education for the month of July. (But I ran them before DreamBox Learning announced its $130 million round.)

    From Pew: “Most Americans say higher ed is heading in wrong direction, but partisans disagree on why.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “More students are taking AP exams, but researchers don’t know if that helps them.”

    Questionable survey data is questionable.

    Via Wired: “How Technology Shapes the Way We Read.”

    Via The Atlantic: “What Rereading Childhood Books Teaches Adults About Themselves.”

    “Mea culpa: there isa crisis in the humanities,” writes Ben Schmidt.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 08/10/18--15:00: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is making the rounds to promote his new book. Via CBS News: “Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan says U.S. education system ‘not top 10 in anything’.” Via The Atlantic: “Arne Duncan: ’Everyone Says They Value Education, but Their Actions Don’t Follow’.”

    In other Secretaries of Education News, Newsweek asks“Why Does Betsy DeVos’s Family Yacht Fly a Foreign Flag?” Spoiler alert: so she doesn’t have to pay taxes.

    Updates on the Department of Education’s plans to scrap the “gainful employment rules” are down in the for-profit higher ed section.

    Updates on the Trump Administration’s plans for accreditation in the accreditation section below.

    Via Edsurge: “Why the FCC’s E-rate Makes Funding High-Speed Internet a Slow Crawl.”

    Via Education Week: “Cyberattacks During FCC‘s ’Net Neutrality’ Fight? Didn’t Happen, Agency Now Says.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via Chalkbeat: “State investigation: Denver violated federal rules, delayed services to students with disabilities.”

    The Huffington Post on vouchers in Florida: “A new program in Florida is supposed to help victims of bullying switch to private schools. But many of these private schools don’t accept LGBTQ kids, and use historically inaccurate, bigoted curricula.”

    Via The Boston Globe: “Boston’s schools are becoming resegregated.”

    The Atlantic’s Melinda D. Anderson interviewsVanessa Siddle Walker about her new book, The Lost Education of Horace Tate: Uncovering the Hidden Heroes Who Fought for Justice in Schools.

    Via NPR: Illinois“Lawmakers Looking At How Public Schools Handle Private Data.”

    Via The Dallas Morning News: “Dwaine Caraway resigns from Dallas City Council, pleads guilty to federal corruption charges.” More details: “The 66-year-old Caraway, who has also served as the city’s interim mayor, admitted to accepting $450,000 in bribes and kickbacks from two key figures in the scandal that last year brought down the school bus agency Dallas County Schools; Bob Leonard, who owned the stop-arm camera company that took millions from DCS; and Slater Swartwood Sr., an associate of Leonard’s.”

    “The Wisconsin Governor’s Race Might Be Decided by Education,” says The Atlantic.

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “To Bolster K–3 Literacy, North Carolina Provides 24,000 iPads for Reading Teachers.”

    There’s some Ohio and Indiana news in the online education section below.

    Immigration and Education

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Judge Orders DACA Be Restored.” More via Slate.

    Via Buzzfeed: “In A State That Voted For Trump, The Teachers Rallied When ICE Raided A Rural Nebraska Town.”

    Inside Higher Ed writes about the claim, made by Politico, that “President Trump characterized the vast majority of Chinese students in the U.S. as spies during a dinner Tuesday night with CEOs at his private golf club in New Jersey.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via Education Week: “Students With Disabilities Sue ACT Over Release of Personal Information.”

    Via Reuters: “EU’s top court backs copyright holder in landmark ruling.” The details: “The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruling came after a secondary school student in Germany downloaded a photograph of Cordoba from a travel website to illustrate a presentation which was then published on the school website.”

    Via SFGate: “Brock Turner loses appeal of his conviction in Stanford sexual assault case.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The Third Way: “Want More Students To Pay Down Their Loans? Help Them Graduate.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Education Dept. Proposes Tossing Gainful-Employment Rule, Which Took Aim at For-Profit Colleges.” More via Inside Higher Ed.

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

    “The Saga of Ohio’s Embattled E-School Is Coming to an End,” writes Education Week’s Ben Herold.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Hoosiers paid $1 million for a rural district to oversee online charter schools. Is it too much?”

    IBM has joinededX.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via The Outline: “Racism and the battle of free speech at Evergreen State College.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “BYU Is Under Fire, Again, for Punishing Sex-Assault Victims.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Panicked universities in search of students are adding thousands of new majors.”

    Yes, Guns Are Ed-Tech (and It’s So F*cked Up that I Had to Make This a Category)

    Via The Atlantic: “School-Security Companies Are Thriving in the Era of Mass Shootings.”

    Via The New York Times: “Secret Service Issues Guide to Help Prevent School Shootings.”

    Via The AP: “Man at New Mexico Compound Accused of Training Kids for School Attacks.”

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Office led by President Trump’s son-in-law holds a series of meetings on higher education policy, signaling high-level attention from the administration.” His son-in-law is Jared Kushner, of course. (Related: the education investment portfolio of Kushner’s brother; the ed-tech connections of Kushner’s wife.)


    There’s more testing-related news in the legal section above.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via The News & Observer: “‘Like you just have no brain after the game.’ Inside a UNC lineman’s concussion ordeal.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The NCAA plans new rules for the sport it says will minimize corruption – among them, allowing agents the association certifies to represent college players.”

    Labor and Management

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Southern Cal President Steps Down, Immediately.” The university announced he would do so in May.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via Edsurge: “Amazon Pumps More Than a Half Million Dollars into Coding Education in Canada.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Facebook launches Mentorships, matching people within Groups to help them guide each other.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Does the Magic Leap One, and the Promise AR, Matter to Higher Ed?asks IHE’s Joshua Kim.

    Do Pre-Packaged Kits Belong in Makerspaces?asks Edsurge.

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

    Via Buzzfeed: “Internal Facebook Note: Here Is A ‘Psychological Trick’ To Target Teens.”

    “The Common App Will Stop Asking About Students’ Criminal Histories,” writes The Atlantic.

    Google has updated its pseudo-LMS, Classroom. Google blogs; tech publications help market the news.

    More Google PR, this time from The Verge: “Google is adding ARCore support to the Chromebook Tab 10 with Classroom updates.”

    More Google PR, this time from Edsurge: “What It’s Like to Be a Teacher Vlogger Star on YouTube.”

    Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill onSchoology, NEO, Claroline, Chamilo: The beginning of the LMS long tail.”

    And via Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein: “Instructure Enters those Awkward Teenage Years.” (Instructure is, in fact, 8.)

    NPR on the latest show from Sesame Workshop.

    Commentary via Education Week fights cliche with cliche: “No, Fortnite Isn’t Rotting Kids’ Brains. It May Even Be Good for Them.” This line though: “From purely a safety standpoint, playing digital laser tag is probably safer than having crabapple battles with garbage can lids as shields like we did.” I mean, I guess you’re safer if you never play outside.

    Arguably, a much more interesting look at gaming and education is this, from Phil McAndrew, on D&D: “Critical Hits in the Classroom.”

    Campus Technology makes the case for “Why Higher Ed Should Do More with Blockchain Tech” – that is, according to a conference held at (wait for it…) Oral Roberts University.

    “Whatever Happened to Channel One?” asks Larry Cuban.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    “What if Your Favorite Teacher was a Robot?” asks the Kauffman Foundation.

    Via Techcrunch: “Ibuki is the 10-year-old robot child that will haunt your dreams.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via The New York Times: “How Tech Billionaires Hack Their Taxes With a Philanthropic Loophole.” Related: “Why did Elon Musk stash a quarter-billion dollars of Tesla stock in a non-profit back in 2016?” asks The Outline.

    The Clayton Christensen Institute’s Julia Freeland Fisher on how “LeBron James Is Schooling Us on What Education Reform Got Wrong.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    I am sensing a trend here… preschool management companies. Wonderschool has raised $20 million from Omidyar Network, Gary Community Investments, Round Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Jeff Jordan, and Abstract Ventures. The company has raised $24.1 million total.

    Edmit has raised $1.4 million in seed funding from Founder Collective. The college search engine has raised $2.3 million total.

    “Career accelerator” Pathrise has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Western Technology Investment, Quero Education, Long Venture Partners, LetsVenture, Kutlu Kazanci, and GoAhead Ventures.

    Procare Software has raised an undisclosed amount of money from Warburg Pincus. The childcare management tech provider also acquired Cirrus Group, which also makes similar software.

    Daekyo, a Korean tutoring center, has acquired the adaptive math company KnowRe.

    Elsevier has acquiredAries Systems.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    There’s a data-related court case in the legal section above.

    Via “Unixiz Agrees to Shutter ’i-Dressup’ Site and Pay Penalty to Settle Charges Under COPPA and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.”

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via Chalkbeat: “Eight years ago, the L.A. Times published teachers’ ratings. New research tells us what happened next.”

    There are more research/reports on student loans in “the business of financial aid” section above.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Students’ math scores drop for years after using a private school voucher in country’s largest program.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Growth in several higher education revenue streams has been better than expected for 2018, Moody’s Investors Service says in a new report – but the ratings agency nonetheless maintained a negative outlook for the sector due to flat enrollment and limited expected growth in tuition and fees.”

    Via The New York Times: “Workplace Wellness Programs Don’t Work Well. Why Some Studies Show Otherwise.” Good thing ed-tech isn’t promoting a whole “wellness” thing.

    Via e-Literate: “Welcome Change: OpenStax using more accurate data on student textbook expenditures.”

    Via Time: “How Your Brain Tricks You Into Believing Fake News.”

    Via The Atlantic: “Student Journalism in the Age of Media Distrust.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project