Hack Education Weekly News
13 July 2018 | 9:10 am

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

(National) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

(State and Local) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Immigration and Education

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

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

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

Education in the Courts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Business of Financial Aid

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

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

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

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

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile on Campus…

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

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

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

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

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

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

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

Labor and Management

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

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

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

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

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

Upgrades and Downgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

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

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

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follett has acquired “adaptive” content company Fishtree.

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

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research, “Research,” and Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Hack Education Weekly News
6 July 2018 | 10:30 am

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

(National) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

(State and Local) Education Politics

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

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

Immigration and Education

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

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

Education in the Courts

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

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

Another court case in the financial aid section below.

The Business of Financial Aid

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

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile on Campus…

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

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

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

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

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

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

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

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

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

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

Go, School Sports Team!

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

Labor and Management

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

The Business of Job Training

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

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

Contests and Awards

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

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

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

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

Upgrades and Downgrades

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

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

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

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

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

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

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

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


(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

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

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

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

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

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

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

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

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

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

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

Research, “Research,” and Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Hack Education Weekly News
29 June 2018 | 2:00 pm

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

(National) Education Politics

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

(State and Local) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Immigration and Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

Education in the Courts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile on Campus…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

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

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

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


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

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

Go, School Sports Team!

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

Labor and Management

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

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

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

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

Faculty at Oregon State University have unionized.

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

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

The Business of Job Training

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contests and Conferences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upgrades and Downgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

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

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

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

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

AI and Assessmentby Donald Clark.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

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

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

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

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

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

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

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

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

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

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

Boxlight has acquired Qwizdom for $2.5 million.

Sphero has acquired Specdrums.

Education Networks of America has acquired CatchOn.

SecureSet Academy has acquired the cybersecurity training company HackEd.

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

AdvancED and Measured Progress will merge.

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

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research, “Research,” and Reports

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

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

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

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


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

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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