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

    (National) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

    (State and Local) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

    Education in the Courts (Education and the Cops)

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

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

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

    Immigration and Education

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

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

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

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

    “Free College”

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

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Meanwhile on Campus…

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

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

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

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

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


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

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

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

    Go, School Sports Team!

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

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

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

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

    Labor and Management

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

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

    The Business of Job Training

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

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

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

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

    Is Blackboard dying?asks Tony Bates.

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

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

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

    Can AR/VR Improve Learning?asks Edsurge.

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

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

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

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

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

    Via Techcrunch: “Messenger Kids launches in Mexico.”

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

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

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

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

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

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

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

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

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

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

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

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

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Golden Gate Capital has acquiredThe Learning Experience.

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

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

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

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

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

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

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

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

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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

    (National) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (State and Local) Education Politics

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

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

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

    News out of LAUSD is in the courts section below.

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

    Immigration and Education

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

    Education in the Courts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Free College”

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

    The Business of Financial Aid

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

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Meanwhile on Campus…

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

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

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

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

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

    Coleman University will close, IHE reports.


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

    Go, School Sports Team!

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

    Labor and Management

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

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

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

    The Business of Job Training

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

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

    Contests and Awards

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

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

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

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

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

    Can We Save AP World History?asks Pacific Standard.

    Are Universities Training Socially Minded Programmers?asks The Atlantic.

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

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

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

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

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

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

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

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

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

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

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

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

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

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

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

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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

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

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

    (National) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (State and Local) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

    Immigration and Education

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

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

    Education in the Courts

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

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

    The Business of Financial Aid

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

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

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

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

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

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

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

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

    Meanwhile on Campus…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

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

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


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

    Go, School Sports Team!

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

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

    Labor and Management

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

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

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

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

    The Business of Job Training

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

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

    Contests and Awards

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

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Are Diplomas in Your DNA?asks Wired.

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

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Campuswire launches to redesign classroom communications,” writes Techcrunch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

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

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

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

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

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

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

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

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

    Weld North Education has acquiredReasoning Mind.

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

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

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

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

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

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

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

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

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

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

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

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

    Questionable survey data is questionable.

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

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

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

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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

    (National) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

    (State and Local) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Immigration and Education

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

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

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

    Education in the Courts

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

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

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

    The Business of Financial Aid

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

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

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

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

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

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

    IBM has joinededX.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

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


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

    Go, School Sports Team!

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

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

    Labor and Management

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

    The Business of Job Training

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

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

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

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

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

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    NPR on the latest show from Sesame Workshop.

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

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

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

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

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

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

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

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

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

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

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

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

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

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

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

    Elsevier has acquiredAries Systems.

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

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

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

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 08/17/18--09:20: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Education Dept. Wants to Hold Colleges Accountable by Reporting Graduates’ Earnings. One Problem: The Data Aren’t All There.”

    News about the update to FAFSA is in “the business of financial aid” section below.

    Via Education Week: “Congress Considering $95 Million for Study of Technology’s Effects on Children.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via Chalkbeat: “Carranza aims to speed up anti-bias training for educators, calling it a ‘cornerstone’ of school improvement.” (Richard Carranza is the new head of the NYC school system.)

    Via The New York Times: “Three years after the city launched an investigation into whether certain ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools were providing an adequate education in secular subjects, it revealed on Thursday that it had made little progress. In a letter to the state’s Education Department seeking guidance, Richard A. Carranza, New York City schools chancellor, acknowledged that investigators had managed to visit only half the schools involved.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via NPR: “Lunch Lady Larceny? Cafeteria Workers Allegedly Stole Half A Million Dollars.”

    Via the AP: “Mississippi’s Supreme Court says a state lawsuit against Google alleging violations of student privacy should stay in a northeast Mississippi court.”

    While not directly education-related, it is worth keeping an eye – both eyes, honestly – on the FCC’s attempts to roll back consumer protections and Internet subsidies for low-income families communities. Via The Verge: “Court halts FCC plan to revoke low-income internet subsidies on tribal lands.”

    “Free College”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “New York U.’s School of Medicine Goes Tuition-Free.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The Washington Post: “Going mobile: The government’s most crucial financial aid form.” One huge problem with the new mobile version of the FAFSA: you can’t use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on it. And that makes the mobile app pretty useless, IMHO.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    “The Future Of For-Profit Colleges” – Tressie McMillan Cottom (and others) on 1A.

    The future, in part, seems to involve renaming for-profits so they’re no longer as closely associated with a tainted brand, as we can see in this story about the “rechristened Altierus Career Collegein The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    “Education Department’s decision to drop gainful-employment rule will mean lowest-performing programs keep $5.3 billion over next decade,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

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

    OPMs are a Subset of a Bigger Market,” says Michael Feldstein.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Via The Atlantic: “The Fate of Black Colleges Post-Omarosa.” Related, I guess: “In her new book, controversial former aide to President Trump offers views on education secretary and support for black colleges,” Inside Higher Ed tells us. That would be Omarosa Manigault Newman, of course. We are in the worst reality TV show ever when (if) we find ourselves rooting for her villainy and treachery.

    Via The New York Times: “Transgender Girl, 12, Is Violently Threatened After Facebook Post by Classmate’s Parent.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Akron Will Phase Out 80 Degree Programs and Open New Esports Facilities.”

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

    Via The New York Times: “Back-to-School Shopping for Districts: Armed Guards, Cameras and Metal Detectors.”

    Via The New York Times: “U.S. Wants Students to Learn Bleeding-Control Methods to Prepare for School Shootings.”

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via The Washington Post: “Maryland places DJ Durkin on administrative leave amid reports of football program’s toxic culture.”

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

    The Business of Job Training

    Facebook is going back to college,” writes venture capitalist Ryan Craig. The story is actually a plug for Pathstream (not currently in his investment portfolio), which “supports the delivery of career-critical software skill training in VR/AR and digital marketing at colleges and universities.”

    “Richard Russell Stole a Plane in Seattle and Crashed It. How’d He Learn to Fly?” asks The New York Times. (Spoiler alert: video games.)

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Can Competency-Based Education Demonstrate Mastery Across a Lifetime?asks Edsurge.

    Is The LMS A Distraction In EdTech Futurology?asks Moodle News.

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

    Shocking, I know, but back-to-school means a lot of seasonal downloads for various education apps. So I’m not sure why this is news, via Edsurge: “More Popular Than Gmail, Facebook and Instagram: The Education App That Hit #1 on the iOS Chart.” (The app in question: Remind.)

    More important than the popularity of the ed-tech above is the scarcity of the ed-tech in this story, via The Washington Post: “EpiPen shortage raises alarm for parents as kids head back to school.”

    Via Edsurge: “Behind the Scenes of TED-Ed’s Wildly Popular YouTube Channel for Students.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Messenger Kids rolls out passphrases so kids can initiate friend requests themselves.”

    Do not tell the connectivists, but apparently – according to Edsurge at least– “Education’s Latest Secret Trend” is “Networking.” (Actually the article is just a promotion for three books penned by people close to Edsurge.)

    Mike Caulfield wrote this week that “QAnon and Pinterest Is Just the Beginning,” and I can’t help but think about how popular Pinterest is among teachers and what conspiracy theories they might be pinning as they look for ideas to decorate their bulletin boards.

    Via The New York Times: “This Company Keeps Lies About Sandy Hook on the Web.” “This company” is

    Speaking of blogs, Harvard announced it will no longer host Here’s Dave Winer’s take. Mike Caulfield responds with “A Provocation for the Open Pedagogy Community,” asking if institutional or corporate hosting has more longevity.

    Blockchain Gains Currency in Higher Ed,” according to Inside Higher Ed. (I’d love to know if any of these initiatives address cryptocurrency’s connection to anti-Semitism and the alt-right.)

    Via Phil Hill and O’Neil Spicer: “D2L Fusion 2018: Product improvements and potential signs of addressing challenges.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Via the IBM press release: “How Watson Education, Scholastic and Edmodo are using AI to close the learning gap.” I seem to recall a story just the other week in which someone called Watson "a piece of shit." But hey. PR gonna PR.

    “Children are susceptible to peer pressure from robots,” says The Verge. (So are adults, to be fair.)

    Via Techcrunch: “This happy robot helps kids with autism.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How Artificial Intelligence Is Changing Teaching.”

    (Venture) “Philanthropy” and the Business of Education Reform

    Sponsored content on Edsurge, sponsored by Macmillan Learning and by First Lego League.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Quiz maker Quizizz has raised $3 million from Prime Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners, and GSF.

    Concourse Global has raised $2 million from Third Kind Venture Capital, LearnStart, Colle Capital Partners, A-Star-Education Holdings, and Jay Varkey for its college counseling service.

    Nuada has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Luna Ventures for its “adaptive” worksheet software.

    LittleBits has

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    “Here’s What Happens When We Allow Facial Recognition Technology in Our Schools,” says the ACLU.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Educause has published the 2018 Horizon Report for Higher Education. (And I’ve updated my Horizon Report History project with this new data.)

    “Digital Devices in the Classroom Can Hinder Long-Term Retention,” says Edsurge.

    Via Chalkbeat: “New data show how few black and Hispanic students benefit from New York City’s specialized high school diversity program.”

    Twitter Is Funding Research Into Online Civility. Here’s How One Project Will Work” – as described by Edsurge.

    Well this is depressing, via the AirBnB press release: “Teacher Hosts Earned $160 Million Last Year on Airbnb.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 08/24/18--09:30: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    The big ed-tech news this week is, of course, that Betsy DeVos is considering allowing schools to use federal funds to arm teachers and staff. I’ve put all the stories in the “yes, guns are ed-tech” section below.

    There are more stories about some of DeVos’s other policies in the for-profit higher ed section below.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The White House announced Tuesday that President Trump will nominate Robert L. King to be the assistant secretary of postsecondary education.”

    Via Edsurge: “As the Higher Ed Opportunity Act Turns 10, Here's How the Landscape Has Changed.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via Pacific Standard: “It’s Back-to-School Season, and Schools Are Still Underfunded.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “How Newark’s former schools chief used a ‘victory lap’ and privately paid consultants to cement his legacy.” That would be Chris Cerf.

    Via Chalkbeat: “Secret CPS report spotlights big vacancies, lopsided options for students.” CPS is, of course, the Chicago Public Schools.

    Via NPR: “In A Segregated County, A New Charter School Offers An Alternative.” This is in Alabama.

    Via Chalkbeat: “After a spike in unpaid school lunches last year, Denver takes steps to prevent a reprise.”

    Immigration and Education

    ICE hunted me down; my teachers and classmates fought back” by Dennis Rivera in The Houston Chronicle.

    Education in the Courts

    Via The New York Times: “How Do You Get Better Schools? Take the State to Court, More Advocates Say.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The U.S. Department of Education is being sued for ‘illegally’ delaying state authorization rules designed to help college students determine in which online university to enroll.”

    Via Education Week: “Ohio Sues Cyber Charter Founder, Pursuing Millions in Disputed Funds.”

    Via The Washington Post: “ Former George Mason professor accused of sexual harassment is now facing embezzlement charges.” That would be Peter Pober, former communications professor.

    There are more legal stories in the “sports team” section below.

    I honestly don’t know where this story should go, and I’m really only including it here because of the flimsiest of connections to education – Jerry Alter, one of the characters in the story, was a teacher. Via The Washington Post: “ A small-town couple left behind a stolen painting worth over $100 million – and a big mystery.”

    “Free College”

    The Chronicle of Higher Education asks“5 Key Questions About NYU’s Tuition-Free Policy for Medical School.”

    Via WBRC: “FedEx to offer tuition-free online University of Memphis degrees to Memphis hub employees.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via The Hechinger Report: “For students teetering on the edge financially, micro-grants help them finish college.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Student-Loan Borrowers, by Age Group, Amount Owed, and Repayment Status, 2017.”

    There was some income-sharing agreement news this week but the headline was in the form of a question so it’s not in this section, is it.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “A higher ed researcher cited by Betsy DeVos to justify dropping gainful-employment rule says her work actually backed more stringent standards.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “For-Profit Companies With the Highest Enrollments at Their Colleges, Fall 2016.”

    There are more stories about Purdue University Global, formerly the for-profit Kaplan University, in the “labor and management” section below.

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

    Gotta keep hyping that MOOC thing. Via Edsurge: “MOOCs Are No Longer Massive. And They Serve Different Audiences Than First Imagined.”

    Via Class Central: “Class Central’s Top 50 MOOCs of All Time (2018 edition).”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Cumulative Growth in Number of MOOCs, 2011–18.”

    Not surprisingly, there is more MOOC news in the surveillance section below. There is some (ongoing) online education news from Ohio in the legal section above.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Students at UNC Chapel Hill tore down the Confederate memorial Silent Sam this week. “UNC’s Moment to Lead – or Not,” writes Angus Johnston. More via WaPo and via The Daily Tar Heel.

    Via the BBC: “US school faces backlash after black student’s ‘unnatural hair’ criticised.” That is the Christ the King Parish School in Terrytown, Louisiana.

    Via Inside Inside Higher: “Ohio State University has launched a new centralized office designed to handle complaints of sexual harassment and violence after the old iteration of the unit shut down in June.” The timing of all of this is rich. Rich! (See the “sports team” section for more OSU news.)

    World Magazine on how Liberty University handles its student newspaper: “Papered over.” Bookmark this one for the next time some conservative tries to tell you that left-leaning students are the biggest threat to free speech on campus.

    Inside Higher Ed on“The End of a Blogging Era at Harvard.”

    Susan Crawrford argues“Why Universities Need ‘Public Interest Technology’ Courses.”

    Via the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette: “More than $300,000 spent on high-tech parking management system at UA.” UA, as the newspaper name should probably tell you, is the University of Arkansas.

    “How a Faculty Trip to Silicon Valley Changed the Classroom Experience,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Something something innovation something something blockchain.

    Via The Atlantic: “Black Colleges Have to Pay More for Loans Than Other Schools.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “Seeking advantage, colleges are increasingly admitting students as sophomores.”

    There are more stories about Purdue University Global, formerly the for-profit Kaplan University, in the “labor and management” section below. And there are more stories about various sports-related scandals in the sports section below. There’s also a very good story about Success Academy’s high school but the headline is in the form of a question, so you know where you’ll find it…

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

    Via The New York Times: “Education Secretary Considers Using Federal Funds to Arm Schools.” Via The Washington Post: “Betsy DeVos considers allowing schools to use federal funds to buy guns.” Via The Atlantic: “A Loophole That Could Let States Buy Teachers Guns With Federal Funds.”

    Via NPR: “Virginia County Approves Plan To Arm Teachers.”

    Not guns per se, but certainly part of this new ed-tech security theater we’re seeing play out. Via Education Week: “Latest in Back-to-School Tech: Panic Buttons for Teachers.”

    Also via Education Week: “What Counts as a School Shooting? The Answer to That Question Shapes Safety Debates.”

    Credentialing and Competencies

    Via CNBC: “Google, Apple and 13 other companies that no longer require employees to have a college degree.”

    Via the AP: “A requirement that teachers obtain master’s degrees has been removed by Kentucky officials.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “South Carolina technical colleges received formal permission on Wednesday to offer bachelor’s degrees in advanced manufacturing technology.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Program at Kean U. Is Losing Its Accreditation. Many Faculty and Students Have No Idea.”

    “An update on Badges and Backpack” from Mark Surman.

    There’s some other badging news but the headline was in the form of a question so it’s not in this section.


    “A Story about District Test Scores,” by Larry Cuban.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Ohio State head football coach had been investigated for his handling of domestic abuse allegations against one of his former assistant coaches,” says Inside Higher Ed. That’s Urban Meyer. The suspension: three games. Gee. Taking this pretty seriously, I see.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As Football Scandal Unfolds at Maryland, Professors Fear Lack of Athletics Oversight.” Via NPR: “University Of Maryland Football Abuse Scandal And The Rights Of College Athletes.”

    Via The New Yorker: “How Charles Koch Turned Wichita State into a College-Basketball Powerhouse.”

    Commentary in CHE: “Sports Scandals Soil the Land-Grant Legacy.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Authorities in Michigan have charged a onetime Michigan State University gymnastics coach with lying to police about what she knew about sexual misconduct allegations against Larry Nassar, the doctor who pleaded guilty to assaulting hundreds of women.” The authority in question: Kathie Klages.

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “Wealthy Parents Help Child Athletes Go Pro in Their Own Backyards.”

    Labor and Management

    Teachers at LAUSD are weighing whether to authorize a strike.

    The ed-tech company Gaggle is peddling a “solution” to teachers’ strikes, apparently.

    “Who Owns Faculty Work at Purdue Global?” asks Inside Higher Ed. “‘Gag Clause’ at Purdue Global Raises Alarms About Faculty Rights,” writes The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Princeton Review Has Laid Off Many Employees. But Revenue Might Not Be Its Only Problem.”

    OPB on “The Strange Case of Susie Strangfield,” Parts 1 and 2.

    Via AZ Central: “Primavera charter CEO gets $8.8M despite having Arizona’s third-highest dropout rate.”

    Fast Company profiles Fusion Academy: “This DeVos-Style School Turned Teachers Into Gig Economy Workers.”

    Joe Holland will become the new CEO of Teachers Pay Teachers.

    The Business of Job Training

    Via The Atlantic: “Teaching Kids to Code During the Summer – for $1,000 a Week.”

    Good grief. I hope none of these programs are teaching “data science,” because this is just a silly claim based on bad data.

    Even worse? This idea from another bootcamp founder.

    “Posting Instagram Sponsored Content Is the New Summer Job” by The Atlantic’s Taylor Lorenz.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Can an Online Tool Depolarize Campus Discussions?asks Edsurge.

    Are Teachers About To Be Replaced By Bots?asks Forbes.

    Can a billionaire’s private school become a model for public education in Florida?asks The Tampa Bay Times.

    Income-Share Agreement Providers Want to Woo Higher Ed. But Will It Work?asks Edsurge.

    With Employers in the Mix, Can Badges Become More Than a Fad?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    Behind the scenes, Success Academy's first high school spent last year in chaos. Can Eva Moskowitz turn it around?asks Chalkbeat.

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

    “The Humanities Are in Crisis,” Ben Schmidt argues in The Atlantic.

    Via Buzzfeed: “Toys ‘R’ Us’ Demise Means Toys Will Probably Cost Less This Holiday Season.”

    Minecraft: Education Edition is coming to iPad,” says Techcrunch.

    Via The Verge: “Tinder is rolling out a college-only service, Tinder U.”

    “Student marketplace Spitball has launched a token-based ‘blockchain economy’ that aims to switch up the e-learning industry and create a decentralised landscape for students,” says IBS Intelligence. Sounds legit.

    “Dean Dad” Matt Reed on“‘Netflix for Books.’”

    Via Edsurge: “School’s Out for the Latest Y Combinator Batch, and Here’s What Its Edtech Graduates Are Up to.”

    Via the Google blog: “VR Labs open doors of opportunity for STEM students.”

    Gotta keep hyping that VR thing. Via Edsurge: “Everything You Need to Know to Get Started With AR/VR in the Classroom.”

    e-Literate on the latest debates about LMS markets: “Response to MoodleNews: Some considerations for critical reading of market sizing claims.”

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    “Kids connect with robot reading partners,” says the PR office of the University of Wisconsin Madison.

    Via Engadget: “Japan trials AI and robots to boost English skills in schools.”

    Via Education Dive: “Artificial intelligence put to use teaching students Mandarin.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

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

    “What Role Do Teachers Play in Education?” asks Cathy Davidson in her review of the new book from Andrea Gabor, After the Education Wars: How Smart Schools Upend the Business of Reform.

    Via Chalkbeat: “40 cities in 10 years: Leaked presentation offers more details on new group’s goals to spread charter (and charter-like) schools.” The group: The City Fund.

    There’s another philanthropist who likes to use his money to shape colleges how he wants them featured in the sports section above.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Mind-reading robot tutor in the sky” company Knewton has raised $25 million from these suckers: Triple Point Capital, Accel, Atomico, Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, First Round Capital, Founders Fund, and Sofina. The company has raised $182.3 million.

    HQ Education has raised $7.3 million from Zero2IPO-Chenguang Education Fund and Shunwei Capital for its online education software.

    Writing assessment company Writable has raised $3.2 million from Omidyar Technology Ventures and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

    EdWeek’s Market Brief looks at a new fund by the VC firm Reach Capital: “New Venture Capital Flowing Into Education, With Parent-Focused Products In Mind.”

    Also via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “New Oriental Education & Technology Group, which describes itself as the biggest provider of private educational services in China, has announced it will make a $220 million investment in ed-tech companies there.”

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via Wired: “Schools Are Mining Students’ Social Media Posts for Signs of Trouble.” “Trouble” – like school dress code violations and such.

    Via QZ: “Schools are using AI to track what students write on their computers.”

    The headline on the press release from Saint Louis University: “SLU Installing Amazon Alexa-Enabled Devices in Every Student Living Space on Campus.” Here’s the churnalism. Here’s more churnalism.

    Amazon updates Alexa with kid-friendly version,” the Long Island Business News claims. Only if you think surveillance is kid-friendly.

    Speaking of surveillance and paying people to talk about this stuff, the Amazon press release heralds that “Alexa Fund Invests in Student Scientists and Entrepreneurs with Expanded Alexa Fellowship.”

    Remember that story in The NYT just a couple of weeks ago about how wellness programs don’t work and how they’re actually just vehicles for more workplace surveillance? I do. So yeah, this story – sponsored content alert! – in Edsurge gives me pause: “Elementary School Wellness Program Helps Young Males of Color Cultivate Their Identities.”

    New York Magazine on the history of COPPA: “ Inside the Decades-Long Fight to Protect Your Children’s Data From Advertisers.”

    SuperProf private tutor site massively fails password test, makes accounts super easy to hack” by Graham Cluley.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    There’s more about research – and the politicization of research – in the for-profit higher ed section above.

    Research from Pew: “How Teens and Parents Navigate Screen Time and Device Distractions.” More via The Atlantic.

    I’m not sure why Crunchbase keeps repeating this story, but here we are again: “Top Universities And Business Schools For Funded Founders.” You will never ever guess what those top schools are, I’m sure.

    I’ve linked some of the statistics in various section above, but here’s the whole report from The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Almanac of Higher Education 2018–19.”

    The Atlantic on the latest Education Next poll: “Public Opinion Shifts in Favor of School Choice.”

    One of the worst things about education reporting is that people still write about the Benoit Mindset List every goddamn year. I’m not even linking to it. Next year, you shouldn’t either.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 08/31/18--10:55: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the massive review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

    (National) Education Politics

    Via The New York Times: “New U.S. Sexual Misconduct Rules Bolster Rights of Accused and Protect Colleges.”

    Via The Atlantic: “A Step-by-Step Guide to Trump’s New College Sexual Assault Policy.” Shocking, I know, that the “grab ’em by the pussy” guy is not a friend to survivors of assault.

    Via Chalkbeat: “How Trump’s tax law may have just gotten in the way of Betsy DeVos’ favorite policy.” The latter: vouchers.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Disaster-Stricken Colleges Will Get $63 Million in Aid From the Education Dept.” That is, three campuses in the University of Puerto Rico system.

    There’s more US federal government news in the guns section below. Because of course. There’s also more US federal government news in the for-profit higher ed section below. Also to be expected.


    Via The Atlantic: “How the Dutch Do Sex Ed.”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via Blavity: “The Water’s Been Turned Off In All Of Detroit’s Public Schools After Tests Found High Levels Of Lead And Copper Contamination.” More via NPR.

    I don’t have a complete list of all the education-related results from Tuesday’s elections. One note: Donna Shalala, who served as the Secretary of HHS under President Clinton and who’s been the president of several colleges, won her primary for a Congressional seat in Florida. This story, via NPR, was written before the primary: “3 Ways Education Is Influencing Arizona’s Midterms.” And via CNN: “Oklahoma legislators who opposed teacher pay bill are voted out.”

    Via NC Policy Watch: “Ethics questions raised on DPI’s $6 million iPad purchase.” Let’s unpack some of those abbreviations: NC is North Carolina and DPI is Department of Public Instruction. Prior to the department spending $6 million on iPads, Apple spent more than $5300 on meals and lodging for state Superintendent Mark Johnson and five other education officials to visit the company’s HQ.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “West Virginia Commission Seeks Equity for Colleges. But Behind the Scenes, Gordon Gee Pulls Strings.”

    There’s more news about teachers on strike in the “labor and management” section below.

    Immigration and Education

    Via NPR: “Texas School District To Send Teachers To Shelters For Migrant Children.”

    Education in the Courts

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Purdue Global Demands Students Waive Right to Sue.” Ah yes, the ol’ “forced arbitration” trick that for-profit colleges love to play.

    Via Edsurge: “General Assembly’s $1M Lawsuit Settlement Asks: Are Instructors Employees or Contractors?”

    Via The Washington Post: “Justice Department criticizes Harvard admissions in case alleging bias against Asian Americans.” More via NPR.

    “Every Generation Gets the Beach Villain It Deserves” – The NYT’s Nellie Bowles on tech billionaire Vinod Khosla’s attempts to restrict access to the California coastline near his mansion. (Some of Khosla’s education investments are listed here. His wife is also the founder of the OER organization CK12. Because “open.”)

    Via The New York Times: “Judge Rules Against Alex Jones and Infowars in Sandy Hook Lawsuit.”

    The Business of Financial Aid

    Via NPR: “Student Loan Watchdog Quits, Says Trump Administration ‘Turned Its Back’ On Borrowers.” That’s the CFPB’s Seth Frotman.

    Via The New York Times: “The Student Debt Problem Is Worse Than We Imagined.”

    Inside Higher Ed takes a closer look at a game called Givling, a mobile trivia app “that promises winners a payout of up to $50,000 on their student loan debt.”

    “One year into an experiment allowing colleges to award Pell Grants to incarcerated students, Trump administration officials look to be even more invested in the program,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

    “Billions in federal financial aid is going to students who aren’t graduating,” says The Hechinger Report.

    Via Eater: “Future parents are getting a chance at an $11,000 jumpstart on their future baby’s college education this September. The only catch: They have to brand their kid with the name of KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders. In a truly cynical sort of ‘race,’ the fried chicken chain has announced that it will award $11,000 in tuition to the first baby born on Sanders’s birthday – September 9 – that also has the first name Harland.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    “The Lifelong Cost of Getting a For-Profit Educationby The Atlantic’s Adam Harris.

    There’s more news about that “new for-profit” Purdue Global in the legal section above. (And before you sic your PR team on me, yes, I realize that Purdue Global is not a for-profit, even though it’s mostly a rebranded Kaplan. But we need to pay attention to how the for-profit sector is continuing its exploitative practices – such as forced arbitration in the story above. Restricting a discussion of for-profits to the tax status of institutions isn’t terribly helpful right now, particularly as many for-profits are trying to say they’re not-for-profit.)

    “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos this week delayed for the second time a final decision on the federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, an oversight body the Obama administration had sought to eliminate,” Inside Higher Ed reports. ACICS oversees accreditation for many for-profit colleges and universities.

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

    SDG Academy has joinededX.

    Via the Coursera blog: “Announcing the Global MBA from Macquarie University.”

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Read this by Andrea Long Chu: “I Worked With Avital Ronell. I Believe Her Accuser.”

    Via PR Week: “Baylor used ‘mole’ to aid comms during sexual assault crisis.” The university faces lawsuits from former students alleging that the school mishandled sexual assault cases, and “Baylor football players have been accused of committing 52 rapes over four years,” Deadspin points out. So Baylor thought it would manage the message by infiltrating support groups rather than dealing with the actual problem.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As UNC Issues 3 Arrest Warrants Over Confederate Statue’s Toppling, Board Member Says It Will Be Restored.” More via The Washington Post.

    Via The New York Times: “Feeling Suicidal, Students Turned to Their College. They Were Told to Go Home.”

    Beloit College will no longer be affiliated with the embarrassingly ageist “Mindset List.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Board of U. of Iowa’s Turning Point USA Chapter Criticizes National Leaders, Then Backtracks.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Facing an ‘urgent’ area housing shortage, officials at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have issued a plea to professors and staffers: please rent out rooms to students.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Bucking a Boastful Trend, Stanford Will No Longer Brag About Its Application Numbers.”

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

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

    Really great investigative work on Department of Education data on school shootingsby NPR’s Anya Kamenetz, Alexis Arnold, and Emily Cardinali: “The School Shootings That Weren’t.”

    Via The 74: “1 Killed, 2 Injured in FloridaShooting, One of Three Recent Incidents of HS Football Violence; At Least 43 Killed and 81 Injured at Schools in 2018.”

    Via NPR: “Federal Commission On School Safety Holds Its Final Listening Session.”

    Not gun-related, but putting this story here as it is about “school safety”: “Officer pepper-sprays fighting high school students in Las Vegas,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

    Wow. Wow. Wow. I cannot believe that this is the argument that ed-tech envangelists are gonna run with. (Yes, I can.) Via Edsurge: “Does It Make More Sense to Invest in School Security or SEL?” SEL is “social emotional learning,” of course. Both school security and SEL are deeply intertwined with surveillance and white supremacy. Good job, everyone.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

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

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Michigan State University has been cleared in the National Collegiate Athletic Association investigation into whether it properly handled reports of sexual assaults committed by former university doctor Larry Nassar, according to the institution.” Infuriating.

    Speaking of Michigan State and Nassar, via The State News: “Original MSU alumni magazine leaked.” “This version, solely focused on ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse and issues surrounding it, was not distributed to alumni.” It was apparently scrapped by someone in the university administration.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Southern Illinois U. Says It Won’t Tolerate Activism by Athletes in Uniform, Then Backs Off.”

    Gaming’s Not Just for Kids: What Educators Need to Know About Esports,” according to Edsurge. I’d say you should probably know a little about violent, toxic masculinity associated with gaming too. Ian Bogost writes in The Atlantic on “The Irony of the Jacksonville Mass Shooting,” where “two former athletes were killed playing a supposedly safer, video-game alternative to football.”

    Labor and Management

    Via NPR: “Teachers Strike in Washington State.”

    There’s more on the legalities of who is an employee (and who is an independent contractor) in the “courts” section above.

    The Business of Job Training (and Education as an Employment Benefit)

    Deliveroo offers free OpenClassrooms courses to riders,” says Techcrunch.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Will big brands disrupt higher education?Daniel Pianko and Carol D’Amico ask in Techcrunch.

    "Is Growth Mindset the Missing Piece in the Equity Discussion?" asks Edsurge.

    An Investor Argues for ‘Faster + Cheaper’ Education. Does His Formula Add Up?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

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

    Upgrades and Downgrades

    Kevin Carey argues in Washington Monthly “Why More Colleges Should Treat Students Like Numbers”:

    Students who log on to the LMS, download materials, click on lectures, and contribute to discussions are much less likely to drop out than students who don’t. Student engagement can now be measured in real time.

    This is Reich’s Law: students who do stuff do better than student’s who don’t do stuff. Thank you, big data, for giving people this insight.

    Here’s another example of the terrible potential (and the terribly obvious potential) of predictive analytics. Edsurge writes aboutapplication essays, asking if these could predict students’ success. It seems likely, however, if schools think that there’s something in an application essay that predicts a student won’t be successful or that they’re likely to drop out that schools will be unlikely to admit them in the first place.

    Via 9 to 5 Mac: “Digital textbooks for iPad never took off, and here’s why.”

    ProfHacker writes aboutGenius as an Alternative Social Media,” but if you’re looking for bro-free social media, I’d recommend looking elsewhere.

    Speaking of bro culture company tech, “Oculus is bringing its Rift and Go VR headsets to classrooms around the world,” says The Verge.

    And speaking of social media, The New York Times writes aboutBig Tobacco’s Global Reach on Social Media” and in particular how young people are being targeted. There’s a lot to think about here, as Natasha Singer rightly pointed out on Twitter, as this might related to Big Ed-Tech. But I think it’s worth noting too that Juul, one of the vaping companies marketing itself to teens, has a whole “mindfulness” curriculum. (So a real special shout-out to everyone in this week’s news who is trying to convince y’all that social emotional learning and mindfulness are some sort of progressive path forward.)

    Via Techcrunch: “Amazon’s children’s book subscription ‘Prime Book Box’ opens to all in the US.”

    Mindwire Consulting’s Michael Feldstein wrote a couple of times this week on the OPM market (that is, on the outsourcing of core technical and instructional infrastructure to third-party vendors): “The Boundaries OPM and What Lies Beyond: The SUNY Example” and “Noodle Partners and the Boundary of the OPM Product Category.”

    The New York Times reviews the new documentary America to Me– “a searing lesson in school inequality.”

    “Fiddling with Time in Classrooms: Whatever Happened to Block Scheduling?” asks Larry Cuban.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via Chalkbeat: “Gates Foundation gives $92 million to networks of schools in latest reform effort.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Learn-to-code company Codeverse has raised $10 million in seed funding from Listen Ventures.

    Flatiron School (or WeWork, rather) has acquired the design school Designation.

    Barnes & Noble Education has

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Via Motherboard: “Spyware Company Leaves ‘Terabytes’ of Selfies, Text Messages, and Location Data Exposed Online.” The company in question: Spyfone.

    Also via Motherboard: “Spyware Company Exposed ‘281 Gigabytes’ of Children’s Photos Online.” The company in question Family Orbit. Hello parents and schools: if you use spyware on the children in your care, you might actually be exposing them to more risk rather than preventing risk.

    More on surveilling your children in the Evening Standard: “This child-friendly smartwatch keeps you connected to your child without screens.”

    Via The Age: “‘It was creepy’: the parents opting out of technology in the classroom.”

    Via Digiday: “A Japanese coffee shop will give you free coffee in exchange for your data.” The coffee shop is located on the campus of Brown University.

    Via Adweek: “Google Is Collecting Your Data – Even When Your Phone Isn’t in Use.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A University Took an Uncommonly Close Look at Its Student-Conduct Data. Here’s What It Found.” The university: Rutgers. Among the findings: “Business majors represented nearly 25 percent of all alcohol transports in the fall of 2016, despite constituting less than 12 percent of the student body.”

    No, a Teen Did Not Hack a State Election,” writes ProPublica.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    From the Department of Education’s blog: “Back to School by the Numbers: 2018.”

    Edsurge on a Gallup poll of superintendents: “The Biggest Challenge for District Leaders? Finding and Keeping Good Teachers.”

    Edsurge on a YouGov/Microsoft poll of parents: “Survey Says: Parents Think Tech Companies Should Help Build Kids’ Digital Skills.”

    The 74 on the latest PDK International Poll: “or First Time Ever, a Majority of American Parents Do Not Want Their Children to Become Public School Teachers.”

    Inside Higher Ed on an Association of American Colleges & Universities poll: “Public May Not Trust Higher Ed, but Employers Do.”

    Education Week on a Pearson poll: “Generation Z Prefers Learning From YouTube, Not Books.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “New York spends more per student than any other state. A new study suggests it should spend more.”

    Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “What Works Clearinghouse Looking at Costs of Implementing Interventions.”

    “Why Kids Want Things” – The Atlantic’s Joe Pinsker has“a conversation with a researcher who has studied materialism for almost 30 years.”

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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  • 09/07/18--12:15: Hack Education Weekly News
  • Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the mammoth review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education. I’ve probably missed a few of those stories this week as I am on vacation. But look how dutiful I am, still writing this list of shitty things that keep happening despite all the warnings I give.

    (National) Education Politics

    US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is one of the various administration officials who insists she is not the author of anonymous op-ed in the The New York Times criticizing President Trump. But come on. No one actually thought it was her, right?

    Via Vanity Fair: “‘I’m Tired of America Wasting Our Blood and Treasure’: The Strange Ascent of Betsy DeVos and Erik Prince.”

    Speaking of terrible people with too much power, there’s this gem from Mediaite: “Clarence Thomas’ Wife Hired Ex-TPUSA Staffer Known For Saying ‘I Hate Blacks’.”

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Scholars Describe ‘Incalculable Loss’ as Museum in Brazil Goes Up in Flames.”

    NPR asks, “Whatever Happened To… The Millennials Who Started A School For Boko Haram Escapees?”

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    Via The New York Times: “California Lawmakers Pass Nation’s Toughest Net Neutrality Law.”

    Chalkbeat with some news from Chicago: “What Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s decision to not seek re-election means for schools.”

    Chalkbeat with some news from NYC: Schools chancellor RichardCarranza is ready to approve an integration plan for Brooklyn middle schools. Here’s a guide to the potential changes.”

    And Chalkbeat with the NYC data: “Find out what your New York Cityschool spends per student.”

    Are your school’s employees armed?asks the Argus Leader. “For some S.D. parents, the answer is unclear.” (S.D. is South Dakota.)

    Via Chalkbeat: “Chicago Schoolsbackground checks send many teachers into limbo just as school sets to open.”

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “China Protest Over Cash-Strapped City’s School Plan Turns Violent.” The city in question: Leiyang. The plan: forcing some students to attend private schools.

    Via NPR: “Catholic Schools And Parents Grapple With Whether To Address Abuse Report.”

    Edsurge writes about“How Crowdfunding Is Matching Teacher Requests to District Tech Policies.” Personally, I’d say we should rethink how taxes support schools and how democratic practices support policies rather than being guided by these private entities and their evangelists.

    Immigration and Education

    Via The Texas Tribune: “Texas won’t pay to educate migrant kids in shelters. Now two charter schools are scrambling.” (The schools are located inside shelters.)

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Judge Keeps DACA in Place.”

    Via ProPublica: “As Months Pass in Chicago Shelters, Immigrant Children Contemplate Escape, Even Suicide.”

    “Free College”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Reports: Free College Programs Don’t Benefit Low-Income Students.”

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via Edsurge: “Purdue Global Drops Requirement That Professors Sign Nondisclosure Agreements.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Federal Trade Commission has reached agreements to shut down several copycat military websites that targeted people looking to join the armed services and then used their personal information to market for-profit colleges, the commission announced Thursday.”

    A working paper from NBER on for-profit higher ed, by Charlie Eaton, Sabrina Howell, and Constantine Yannelis: “When Investor Incentives and Consumer Interests Diverge: Private Equity in Higher Education.”

    There’s another NBER working paper in the “labor and management” section above. And there’s more research on the effects of attending a for-profit college on one’s future earnings down in the “research” section below.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    Elon Musk’s secretive LA private school doesn’t just teach spelling and math -- it also asks students ethics and critical thinking puzzles you usually don’t see elsewhere,” says Business Insider. I bet you didn’t know that ethics and critical thinking are not taught anywhere else but in an elite private school founded by a guy who likes LSD and science fiction. Apparently this curriculum comes from ClassDojo, which screams something about “ethics,” I reckon.

    Edsurge writes about e-scooters, one of the “hot new trends” out of Silicon Valley, and how these companies are defying the rules of college campuses in order to build up a new customer base there.

    “Today’s College Students Aren’t Who You Think They Are,” says NPR.

    Via Buzzfeed: “Most Fraternities Are Banning Hard Alcohol In Response To A Series Of Drinking-Related Deaths.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “New Jersey 2-Year Colleges Pursue Merger.” That is, Cumberland County College and Rowan College at Gloucester County.

    Also via Chalkbeat: “Newark charter school faces firestorm after kicking out students for dress code violations.”

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

    Via The New York Times: “Wander the Halls, Say Hello: A New Approach to School Safety.”

    There’s a story about surveillance, school shootings, and suicide prevention in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section below.


    The New York Times on the SHSAT: “The Test That Changed Their Lives.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “The SAT Mess That’s Not Going Away.”

    From the Khan Academy blog: “School district reports test scores rise with mastery learning on Khan Academy.”

    Speaking of test prep, there’s more news from Princeton Review down in the “labor and management” section below.

    Go, School Sports Team!

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “College of the Ozarks Drops Nike for Using Colin Kaepernick in Ad Campaign.”

    Labor and Management

    Via The Guardian: “How I survive: American teachers and their second jobs– a photo essay.” See also: how a small number of young white women teachers make money as Instagram stars. Story above.

    Edsurge has a new guide on the ed-tech job market, with articles including “Diversity in Hiring Doesn’t Start With Hiring” and “Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile for Your Edtech Job Hunt.” Not clear who’s sponsoring this narrative…

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Is having a chief diversity officer linked to significant gains in faculty diversity? Not really, says a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.”

    “What Is Missing From Our Curricula?” asks Edsurgework-based learning, apparently. Honestly, I would have gone with “anti-racist history and literature” or “civics,” but that’s me.

    Oh. My. God. Speaking of Edsurge, spot the misinformation and disinformation and invented history in this article on coding bootcamps.

    Via EdWeek Market Brief: “Princeton Review Weathers Layoffs, Changes in Test-Prep Market.”


    The Business of Job Training (and Educational Employee Benefits)

    Via The New York Times: “The Hot College Gig: Online Brand Promoter.”

    Via e-Literate: “Expansion of OPM-Derivative Model: Disney covers online degrees for hourly employees through Guild Education.”

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Could Monitoring Students on Social Media Stop the Next School Shooting?asks The New York Times.

    Do Corporate-Style NDAs Have a Place in Higher Ed?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

    College students say they want a degree for a job. Are they getting what they want?asks Jeffrey Selingo.

    Is NYTimes Correct That College Students Don’t Read Books?asks Joshua Kim.

    (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: “Teachers Are Moonlighting As Instagram Influencers To Make Ends Meet.” I have many thoughts on this, and if I wasn’t on vacation right now, you would hear an earful. There’s a related story on teachers’ second jobs – none of whom are raking in $200K a year like these Instagram stars, mind you – down in the “labor and management” section below.

    Speaking of Instagram, The Verge says that “Instagram launches a new parent portal to help them talk to their kids about online life.” I hope parents have fun talking about their teachers’ online lives on Insta.

    It’s time for the back-to-school articles touting this-and-that ed-tech trends. Via Edsurge: “10 Inspired Tech Trends Every Teacher Should Know About.” Via the Getting Smart blog: “What Do Broad EdTech Trends Mean for Your School District?”

    “What is Blockchain and How Can it be Used in Education?” asks MDR Education. Let me tell you (although this doesn’t seem to be what the article says): it’s a hype machine baked with a hot molten core of alt-right ideology and anti-Semitism. How can it be used? Well, by con artists, I reckon, it can be used quite deftly for any number of techno-magical things.

    Hearables are hear to stay in learning – podcasts, learning, language learning, tutoring, spaced-practice and cheating in exams!” according to Donald Clark.

    Via Techcrunch: “Amazon launches kid-friendly FreeTime service in Spanish.” “Kid-friendly.”

    How Do We Know If Technology Is the Solution or the Problem?asks Edsurge. Related, from IHE’s Joshua Kim: “What If Digital Is Antithetical to Learning?” JFC. “I am part of the resistance inside the ed-tech industry” or something like that.

    A dispatch from Techcrunch’s “Disrupt SF” conference: e-cigarette maker “Juul says it will use technology to help you quit e-cigarettes, too.” LOL. Please tell me there’s a “mindfulness” curriculum component too.

    Via Pacific Standard: “The Future of Podcasting Is Educational.”

    Via Publishers Weekly: “Penguin Random House Changes Library E-book Lending Terms.”

    The Prof Hacker blog is leaving its current URL at The Chronicle of Higher Education and will be indie once again.

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Kadho debuts Kidsense A.I., offline speech-recognition tech that understand kids,” Techcrunch claims.

    Via Wired: “This Hyper-Real Robot Will Cry and Bleed on Med Students.”

    Via Edsurge: “Applying Artificial Intelligence to the Search for EdTech: An SRI-EdSurge Collaboration.”

    Donald Clark makes the case for chatbots in education being a “gamechanger in learning.” I mean, we’re well into Year 50 of chatbots in education, so I’m sure the game will be changed any day now.

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Via Chalkbeat: “Mark Zuckerberg’s education giving so far has topped $300 million. Here’s a list of where it’s going.” (I will update my list of CZI investments accordingly.)

    Via Inside Philanthropy: “‘Local Context.’ The New Gates K–12 Strategy is Coming Into Sharper Focus.” I’m sure it’s a good strategy this time.

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    I’m not sure I’ll include this investment in my monthly calculations of ed-tech funding, since I’m not sure how educational this really is. But it’s fairly close to being framed as such, so here it is: Roblox, “which allows kids to create 3D worlds and games” per Techcrunch, has raised $150 million in Series F funding from Index Ventures, First Round Capital, Greylock Partners, Tiger Global Management, Meritech Capital Partners, and Altos Ventures. The company has raised $251.6 million total.

    I’m also never sure whether or not to include investment in private schools in my ed-tech calculations. Regardless, Sanyu Education just raised $250 million for its private chain of kindergartens from Legend Holdings.

    MasterClass has raised $80 million from IVP, Javelin Ventures, NEA, Advancit Capital, Atomico, and Evolution Media. The company, which offers online courses “taught” by celebrities, has raised $136.4 million total.

    Makeblock has raised $44 million from CICC ALPHA, Yuexiu Industrial Investment Fund, GX Capital, and Everest Capital. The educational robotics company has raised $79.9 million total.

    Open Assessment Technologies has raised an undisclosed amount of money from ACT, whose CEO tells Edsurge “Besides just being an assessment company, we’re also becoming a learning and navigation company.” Oh.

    Carnegie Learning has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the private equity firm CIP Capital. It will merge with New Mountain Learning, already owned by CIP Capital, but keep the Carnegie Learning brand name, because brand name.

    VitalSource has acquiredAcrobatiq.

    Via Reuters: “Brazilian learning systems company Arco Platform should raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering on Nasdaq expected in September, one source with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.”

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    Well, let’s all be sure to look forward to IBM’s work on “personalizing education” with this story from The Intercept in mind: “IBM Used NYPD Surveillance Footage to Develop Technology That Lets Police Search by Skin Color.”

    There’s a story about surveillance, school shootings, and suicide prevention in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section above.

    Via The Register: “Victoria’s educational apps-for-students let creeps contact kids.” That’s the Victorian Department of Education in Australia.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

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

    There’s more “research” on free college up in the “free college” section above. There’s more “research” on how Khan Academy improves test scores up in the “testing” section above. There’s more research on for-profit higher ed in the for-profit higher ed section above.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Attending a for-profit college widens the earnings gap between rich and poor students, new research finds. Enrolling at a selective college does the opposite.”

    Via Edsurge: “Report: ‘Colleges Need to Better Inform Students of Tradeoffs Between Working and Learning’.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Marijuana Use Still High Among College Students.”

    Via the ACLU: “Federal Data Shows Public Schools Nationwide Are a Hotbed of Racial Injustice.” A hotbed of racial injustice, surveillance technologies, e-cigarettes and accompanying mindfulness curriculum, and e-scooters. God bless ed-tech.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project

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    A year ago, the richest man in the world asked Twitter for suggestions on how he should most efficiently and charitably spend his wealth. And today, Jeff Bezos unveiled a few details about his plans – other than funding space travel, that is. His new philanthropic effort, The Day 1 Fund, will finance two initiatives: the Families Fund will work with existing organizations to address homelessness and hunger; and the Academies fund “will launch an operate a network of high-quality, full-scholarship, Montessori-inspired preschools in underserved communities.”

    “We’ll use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon,” Bezos wrote in a note posted to Twitter. “Most important among these will be genuine intense customer obsession. The child will be the customer.”

    The child will be the customer.

    Bezos then went on to cite a phrase that is so often misquoted and misattributed in those shiny, happy motivational PowerPoint slides – you know the ones – that people like to post to social media: “Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire.” W. B. Yeats never said this, for the record, but words get so easily twisted, history so easily co-opted.

    The assurance that “the child will be the customer” underscores the belief – shared by many in and out of education reform and education technology – that education is simply a transaction: an individual’s decision-making in a “marketplace of ideas.” (There is no community, no public responsibility, no larger civic impulse for early childhood education here. It’s all about private schools offering private, individual benefits.)

    This idea that “the child will be the customer” is, of course, also a nod to “personalized learning” as well, as is the invocation of a “Montessori-inspired” model. As the customer, the child will be tracked and analyzed, her preferences noted so as to make better recommendations to up-sell her on the most suitable products. And if nothing else, Montessori education in the United States is full of product recommendations.

    There’s another piece to all this, not mentioned in Bezos’s note about building a chain of preschools that “use the same set of principles that have driven Amazon”: Amazon’s own labor practices. The online retail giant is a notoriously terrible place to work – the pay, particularly in the warehouses, is so low that many employees receive government assistance. The working conditions are dangerous and dehumanizing. “Amazon has patented a system that would put workers in a cage, on top of a robot,” read the headline in last week’s Seattle Times. And it’s not so great for the white collar workers either. “Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk,” one employee in books marketing told The New York Times back in 2015.

    The majority of the early childhood educators in the US are already very poorly paid; many preschools have incredibly high turnover rates. As research has demonstrated that preschool has a lasting positive effect on children’s educational attainment, there have been efforts to “raise the standards,” demanding for example that preschools be staffed by more qualified teachers. But that demand for more training and certification hasn’t brought with it better pay or benefits. The median pay for preschool teachers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is less than $30,000 a year. Even those with Bachelor’s degrees earn only about $14.70 an hour, about half of the average wages for all those with the same level of education.

    This is a field in which a third of employees already qualify for government assistance. And now Jeff Bezos, a man whose own workers also rely on these same low-income programs, wants to step in – not as a taxpayer, oh no, but as a philanthropist. Honestly, he could have a more positive impact here by just giving those workers a raise. (Or, you know, by paying taxes.)

    Bezos is not alone in eyeing the early education “market,” which has received quite a bit of attention from ed-tech investors in recent years. So far this year, three companies have raised venture capital to help people run preschools and childcare facilities in their homes: Wonderschool, WeeCare, and Procare Software. Last year, VCs poured millions into similar sorts of companies, including Tinkergarten, Sawyer, and Kinedu. Investors in these startups include some of the “big money” names in Silicon Valley: Omidyar Network, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Andreessen Horowitz, among others. (One of these companies, WeeCare, says it’s also planning to train and license childcare providers, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see the micro-certificate, online education, nanodegree folks also jump on this bandwagon. “Uber for Education” or something.)

    Ostensibly, there’s no shortage of potential “customers” for these private preschool software startups – the demand for childcare is high, and many families live in what the Center for American Progress has called“child care deserts,” that is places where there are no options for affordable, high-quality early childhood education.

    But are private preschool chains really the path we want to pursue, particularly if we believe that access to excellent early childhood education is so incredibly crucial? Can the gig economy and the algorithm ever provide high quality preschool? For all the flaws in the public school system, it’s important to remember: there is no accountability in billionaires’ educational philanthropy.

    And, as W. B. Yeats famously never said, charity is no substitute for justice.

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  • 09/14/18--12:30: 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. In the meantime, it also depresses the hell out of me.

    (National) Education Politics

    “Can Federal ‘School Safety’ Funds Be Used for Surveillance Tech?” asks Edsurge, narrowly avoiding having this story in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section by adding this sentence after its question: “Congress Is Looking Into It.”

    Via The New York Times: “Education Dept. Reopens Rutgers Case Charging Discrimination Against Jewish Students.”

    An op-ed in The Hechinger Report: “Betsy DeVos’ slippery slope of religion, ethnicity and race.”

    An op-ed in Edsurge: “With the Fox in the Henhouse, Betsy DeVos’s Ed Department Is Hurting Low-Income College Students.”

    Via Education Week: “DeVos’ Trip to South America Focuses on Workforce Prep.”

    There’s more about Betsy DeVos and her policies in the courts section and in the financial aid section below.

    A public service announcement from the FBI: “Education Technologies: Data Collection and Unsecured Systems Could Pose Risks to Students.” More on this from Education Week’s Ben Herold.

    Via The Verge: “Juul has 60 days to prove it can keep its e-cigs away from kids, FDA warns.”

    Via The New York Times: “Australian Politicians Threaten Schoolgirl Over National Anthem Protest.” She’s 9. They’re assholes.

    (State and Local) Education Politics

    There’s more about the teachers’ strike in Tacoma, Washington in the “labor and management” section below.

    Via Chalkbeat: “New York bans the use of federal, state money to buy guns for schools.”

    Via Education Week: “ECOT Looms Over Ohio Gubernatorial Candidates’ Education Plans.” ECOT is the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, an online charter school.

    The New York Times Magazine has a long and thoughtful piece by Sara Mosle on school reforms in the Atlanta Public Schools.

    Education in the Courts

    Via Politico: “Judge rules DeVos delay of Obama-era student loan rulesunlawful’.”

    Via NEA Today: “NEA, CTA Sue DeVos Over Rollback of Protections for Online Students.”

    Via The Wall Street Journal: “ITT Bankruptcy Trustee Sues Lenders, Department of Education.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “An Oregon grand jury has declined to indict two police officers at Portland State University who shot and killed a man this summer.”

    Immigration and Education

    This is evil. Via The New York Times: “Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever.”

    Via ProPublica: “Here’s What Happened to the 99 Immigrant Children Separated From Their Parents and Sent to Chicago.”

    Via The Washington Post: “Trump slams Jealous’s plan for free community college for ‘dreamers’.” That’s Maryland candidate for governor Ben Jealous.

    “Free College”

    “Don’t Dismiss the Value of Free-College Programs. They Do Help Low-Income Studentsby Sara Goldrick-Rab and Michelle Miller-Adams.

    “America Wakes Up From Its Dream of Free Collegeby The Atlantic’s Adam Harris.

    The Business and Politics of Financial Aid

    Via The AP: “The Trump administration is granting only partial loan forgiveness to the vast majority of students approved for help because of fraud by for-profit colleges, according to preliminary Education Department data obtained by The Associated Press.”

    There’s more about the Trump Administration’s attempts to delay implementing regulations regarding loan forgiveness up in the “courts” section above.

    The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

    Via Inside Higher Ed: the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges“places each college of the for-profit Center for Excellence in Higher Education on probation, finding misrepresentations to students and – at one campus – discriminatory attitudes toward students.”

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

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

    Via Class Central: “Monetizing A MOOC Platform.”

    Also via Class Central: “First Look at edX’s Paywall Experiments.”

    Via Campus Technology: “Coursera’s CEO on the Evolving Meaning of ‘MOOC’.”

    There’s more ECOT news – there’s always more ECOT news – in the “state and local politics” section above. There’s also more legal news regarding online education in the “courts” section above.

    Meanwhile on Campus…

    It has now been at least five years since Clayton Christensen started predicting that half of colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years. He’s still at it. Via CNBC: “Harvard Business School professor: Half of American colleges will be bankrupt in 10 to 15 years.” “No, Half of All Colleges Will Not Go Bankrupt,” Derek Newton responds in Forbes.

    Via The Atlantic: “The Moral Catastrophe at Michigan State.”

    Via Buzzfeed: “Women Say A School For Troubled Teens Punished Girls For Being Gay.” That is the River View Christian Academy.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “University of Arizona psychologist is under scrutiny for taking money from an organization founded to support research in eugenics.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Another controversial policy proposal in Wisconsin would eliminate all programs with fewer than five majors annually, on average, if ‘remediation’ didn’t work. Faculty leaders see attempt to turn system into a ‘widget factory.’”

    “Many College Courses Are Either Overloaded or Underfilled,” writes Jeffrey Young in Edsurge. “That May Be Hurting Retention.”

    Via The Atlantic: “Teens Are Protesting In-Class Presentations.”

    Via Chalkbeat: “‘Kicked out’: Newark charter school purges students in possible violation of state rules.” The school in question: Marion P. Thomas Charter School.

    Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Nebraska Wondered Whether Conservative Students Were Being Silenced. Here’s What It Found Out.”

    Via The Hechinger Report: “A new challenge for colleges: opioid-addicted students.”

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “Purdue pilot program restricts access to sites such as Netflix and Hulu in specific lecture halls.”

    To everyone in the path of Hurricane Florence – teachers and students and staff and families alike: you’re in my thoughts. Stay safe.

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

    This, via, is quite terrifying: “Blanks to be fired during school’s active shooter drill.”

    Via The Washington Post: “A sleeping student wouldn’t wake up in class. So an officer pulled out her Taser.”

    There’s more gun-related news in the “state and local politics” and “courts” sections above.

    Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

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


    “What If a DNA Test Could Show How to Teach a Student With Dyslexia?” asks Education Week.

    “What Personality Tests Really Deliver” by Louis Menand in The New Yorker.

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “ACT Announces Retest Over Glitches.”

    Labor and Management

    Teachers are on the cover of Time Magazine, this time making a very different case than that infamous cover of Michelle Rhee holding a broom. The featured article: “13 Stories of Life on a Teacher’s Salary.”

    Via The New York Times Magazine: “The Second Shift: What Teachers Are Doing to Pay Their Bills.”

    Teachers in Tacoma, Washington have been on strike this week, but The Seattle Times reports that “Tacoma teachers reach deal with district; schools could open Monday.”

    Via The News Tribune: “Attention Tacoma Public Schools: When teacher Anne Hawkins quits, you’re doing something wrong.”

    Former Department of Education official Yuanxia Ding has joined the student loan provider Skills Fund as its “chief impact officer.”

    Contests and Awards

    Via the BBC: “Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell has been awarded a Breakthrough Prize for the discovery of radio pulsars.” Her male collaborators won the Nobel back in 1974 for her work.

    This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

    Would the Education Dept.’s New Title IX Rules Really Save Colleges Money?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

    Via The Atlantic: “What Kids’ Backpacks Say About Them.” Perhaps their parents have money (or not)?

    Via Education Week: “Instagram and Teens: What Do You Need to Know?” Well, you probably need to know more than what Facebook / Instagram has revealed in its new parents’ guide.

    Techcrunch with the press releases and product announcements: Via Techcrunch: “YouTube Kids adds a whitelisting parental control feature, plus a new experience for tweens.” Via Techcrunch: “Kano’s latest computer kit for kids doubles down on touch.” Via Techcrunch: “LittleBits intros three kits to explore music, space and more.” Via Techcrunch: “Sphero launches Bolt, as education moves front and center.”

    Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein continues to write about the OPM market: “Extension Engine and OPM Market Transparency.”

    And from Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Blackboard Learn Ultra in 2018: Is it ready and does it matter?” (Also from Hill: “Timeline of e-Literate Coverage of Blackboard Learn Ultra.”)

    Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

    Probably my favorite “robots are the future of education” story in a good, long while. Via Buzzfeed: “Students Are Using Bots To Crash Games Of Kahoot At School.”

    (Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

    Jeff Bezos posted a note on Twitter, outlining his plans to launch a $2 billion fund to build a chain of preschools and to support organizations that work with homeless families. Everyone, it seemed, had a story: The New York Times, Techcrunch, Chalkbeat, The Verge, Ed Week’s Market Brief, Edsurge, etc etc etc. Historian Diane Ravitch says we should “wait and see how the Bezos philanthropy plays out,” but I think we know enough from the history of Amazon’s labor practices and the history of tech billionaires’ education philanthropy to weigh in. So I took a brief break from book research to rage-type my thoughts.

    Alibaba’s Jack Ma, China’s Richest Man, to Retire From Company He Co-Founded,” The New York Times reports. And what is he going to do? Education philanthropy of fucking course.

    Via The Guardian: “Billionaires v teachers: the Koch brothers’ plan to starve public education.”

    Via Techcrunch: “Interview with Priscilla Chan: Her super-donor origin story.”

    Ben Williamson summarizes some of the recent news (certainly not all of it “philanthropical”) about tech billionaires’ education initiatives: “The tech elite is making a power-grab for public education.”

    Venture Capital and the Business of Education

    Perlego has raised $4.8 million from Alex Chesterman, ADV, Simon Franks, and Peter Hinssen. The textbook company has raised $6 million total.

    Carnegie Learning has acquiredMondo Publishing.

    WeWork has acquired the office management startup Teem. OK, this isn’t necessarily ed-tech related, but as WeWork is attempting to be in the education business (with its acquisition of the Flatiron School, for example) perhaps we will see if and how the real-estate-company-disguised-as-a-co-working-space pivots to software sales.

    Edsurge’s Tony Wan on“When Education CEOs and Bigwig Financiers Go ‘Back to School’” – that is, on the BMO Capital conference in NYC.

    Also by Wan: “Companies Are Bought, Not Sold: M&A Advice From 3 Edtech CEOs Who Survived the Process.”

    Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

    This story by Doug Levin is really important as it challenges some of the popular narratives about “student hacking.”

    Via The New York Times: “How Game Apps That Captivate Kids Have Been Collecting Their Data.”

    Via Education Week: “Data-Privacy Questions From Parents That Schools Should Be Ready to Answer.”

    Via Edsurge: “The Unintentional Ways Schools Might Be Violating FERPA, and How They Can Stay Vigilant.”

    Also via Edsurge: “Tear Down That Wall? Why Data Walls May Cause More Harm Than Good.”

    There’s more surveillance news in the federal education section up top.

    Research, “Research,” and Reports

    Via Inside Higher Ed: “George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health defended its study on Hurricane Maria-related mortality rates in Puerto Rico on Thursday after President Trump falsely said on Twitter that an estimated death toll of around 3,000 was manufactured by Democrats who wanted to make him look bad.”

    Via The New York Times: “Asbestos in a Crayon, Benzene in a Marker: A School Supply Study’s Toxic Results.”

    Via Edsurge: “Polls Reveal What Teachers and Parents Want From School Data.” The polls in question: from the Data Quality Campaign.

    Edsurge on a new report from Common Sense Media: “Teens Know Social Media Is Manipulative. But They Just Can’t Get Enough.” More on the report via Education Week.

    Inside Higher Ed on a new Woodrow Wilson Center report on China’s influence in US higher ed.

    Teaching Tolerance has released its latest report on “Hate at School.”

    “Number of International Private Schools Surges Again, Up 6 Percent Over Last Year,” says EdWeek’s Market Brief, citing a report from ISC Research.

    Via The Chronicle of Education: “How a Famous Academic Job-Market Study Got It All Wrong – and Why It Still Matters.”

    Why aren’t kids being taught to read?asks Emily Hanford in APM Reports.

    Sound the education prediction klaxon. Someone get Clayton Christensen on the phone. STAT. “College students predicted to fall by more than 15% after the year 2025,” says The Hechinger Report.

    Icon credits: The Noun Project