Hack Education Weekly News
16 November 2018 | 7:10 pm

Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the series I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education. (That series isn’t going to be much of one this year… And frankly, this Friday thing is going to be paused for the duration of Teaching Machines book-writing, starting quite soon. So enjoy all this educational doom while you can.)

(National) Education Politics

Via Buzzfeed: “Betsy DeVos Wants New Regulations That Protect Students Accused Of Sexual Assault And Their Schools.” More from the National Women’s Law Center.

There’s more DeVos-related news in “the business of financial aid” section below.

From the press release: “FBI Releases 2017 Hate Crime Statistics.” Or as The New York Times puts it: “Hate Crimes Increase for the Third Consecutive Year, F.B.I. Reports.” More on the report from Pacific Standard.

Via Techcrunch: “Senators urge FTC to look into shady ad practices in apps for kids.”

Rural Kids Face an Internet ‘Homework Gap.’ The FCC Could Help,” says Wired. The New York Times notes it’s not just rural students who struggle with broadband access: “Why San Jose Kids Do Homework in Parking Lots.”

The Fordham Institute’s Michael Petrelli has declaredThe End of Educational Policy.” (Well, in fairness, there’s a question mark at the end of the headline. So maybe “has posited” is a better verb here.) He’s drawing on Francis Fukuyama’s famous (and wildly incorrect) pronouncement about “The End of History,” so make of this what you will. Fukuyama was wrong. Liberal democracy was not triumphant. Arguably it is no longer even ascendant. So similarly, let’s not tout this moment as one where recent changes to education can never be undone. Good grief. Take a look at school segregation and surveillance before you start touting some fabricated moment of satisfactory “homeostasis.”

Turkey has reacted angrily to suggestions that it might tone down its attack on Saudi Arabia over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi if the United States agrees to extradite an opponent of President Erdogan,” The Times reports. The opponent in question is Fethullah Gulen who currently lives in Pennsylvania (and who I’m including in this list of education-related stories because of the chain of charter schools he operates.)

Via The Atlantic: “Why Young Pakistanis Are Learning Chinese.”

(State and Local) Education Politics

Election results are still coming in…

Voters Widely Support Public Schools. So Why Is It So Hard to Pay for Them?” asks The NYT’s Dana Goldstein.

Via The New York Times’ Eliza Shapiro: “With Democratic Wins, Charter Schools Face a Backlash in N.Y. and Other States.”

Via Chalkbeat: (in New Jersey): “In Newark, how did most voters respond to ballot questions about schools? They didn’t.”

Via Chalkbeat (in Colorado): “Late votes deliver a narrow win for Jeffco school bond measure.”

The race for the California State Superintendent is still undecided – at least as I type up this article, it is.

Education in the Courts

Via WBEZ: “Chicago Charter Leader Investigated For Inappropriate Contact With Young Women.” That would be Mike Milkie, the head of the Noble Charter School chain.

Via the AP: “Florida charter school operator gets 20 years for fraud.”

There’s more DeVos-related legal news in “the business of financial aid” section below.

“Free College”

Via The Tennesseean: “Kris Tugman was Tennessee Promise’s poster boy – until he dropped out.”

The Business of Financial Aid

Via NPR: “Betsy DeVos Sued For Failing To Implement Automatic Student Loan Forgiveness.”

Also via NPR: “The Benefits Of Taking Out Loans For College.”

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

From the Coursera blog: “Announcing ‘AI for Everyone’: a new course from deeplearning.ai on Coursera.” (deeplearning.ai is the new company of Andrew Ng, Coursera’s co-founder.) More from Edsurge.

There’s more data about online education down in the “research” section at the bottom.

Meanwhile on Campus…

(Correction: This is the Class of 2019.)

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Hundreds of Drake University students, faculty members, alumni and others held a rally on campus Wednesday to denounce racist robocalls, full of white supremacist propaganda, that students have been receiving.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Chapel Hill students are being harassed by a white nationalist online commentator with ties to the alleged Pittsburgh synagogue shooter.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Texas at San Antonio Investigates After Students Say Lecturer Called Police on Black Classmate.”

Michelle Obama’s College Experience Is All Too Familiar for Minority Students,” writes Adam Harris (one of many stories this week about the First Lady’s memoir Becoming).

Via The New York Times: “For University of Minnesota, Chinese Tycoon’s Arrest Shines Light, Again, on Sexual Assault.”

Via The Verge: “An academic reported sexual harassment. Her university allegedly retaliated.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Hottest New Place for University Satellite Campuses: Los Angeles.” Literally on fire, one might say.

Edsurge profiles the founder of Alder College – “Rethinking the First Two Years of Higher Education.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Meet the New Mega-University.”

“How One University Went From Proposing to Cut 13 Mostly Liberal-Arts Programs to Eliminating Only 6” – The Chronicle of Higher Education on The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.

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

Surely a subheader ideally suited for the “Betteridge’s Law of Headlines” section – “Billions are being spent to protect children from school shootings. Does any of it work?” – but I’ll put this story here instead. Via The Washington Post: “Armored school doors, bulletproof whiteboards and secret snipers.”

This story from The 74 is from Monday, and I am not sure if the numbers have changed since then: “1 Killed, 1 Injured in Shooting During SC College Homecoming Event; At Least 47 Killed and 88 Injured by Guns at Schools So Far This Year.”


Via Chalkbeat: “In a shift, more education reformers say they’re worried about schools’ focus on testing.” (So instead of “testing” we’ll have ubiquitous, non-stop surveillance / assessment via “personalized learning.” Winning.)

Go, School Sports Team!

The Chronicle of Higher Education on “How Financial Pressures Can Lead to Athletic Scandals.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Earlham Suspends Football Program.”

Labor and Management

Via The New York Times: “‘I Don’t Really Want to Work for Facebook.’ So Say Some Computer Science Students.” (Waiting for folks in education technology to respond similarly… but I won’t hold my breath.)

Via Futurism: “Headmaster Fired for Stealing School’s Electricity to Mine Crypto.”

The Scholarly Kitchen weighs in on layoffs at DPLA, the Digital Public Library of America.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Georgetown Grad Assistants Form Union.”

The Business of Job Training (and Educational Benefits for Employees)

Via Techcrunch: “Google partners with MotherCoders to bring tech training to moms in New York City.”

Via Education Week: “FUNecole: Social-Emotional Learning Meets Computer Science and Digital Literacy.” Any piece of education software or curriculum that puts “fun” in its name is not.

Define “liberal arts” for me, please and thank you. Because this makes no sense. (That is, “science” and “mathematics” are part of the liberal arts, no?)

Upgrades and Downgrades

Amazon announced its two new HQ locations this week: Queens, NY and Crystal City, VA. So cue from the ed-tech crowd a flurry of stories touting educational opportunities in the areas. “What Do East Coast Coding Bootcamps Think About Amazon HQ2?” asks Edsurge. The New York Times points out that “Amazon’s New Neighbor: The Nation’s Largest Housing Project.” From Fast Company: “Amazon’s HQ2 could eliminate 1,500 affordable housing units in NYC.”

Via Edsurge: “ClassDojo Goes ‘Beyond School’ to Launch First Monetization Feature for Parents.” Oh sure, sure. Call it “mindfulness” if it makes you feel better. More like, surveillance at school, surveillance at home. Behavior modification at school, behavior modification at home.

Speaking of products that promote "mindfulness“… The New York Times reports that ”Juul Suspends Selling Most E-Cigarette Flavors in Stores.“ ”Juul Labs reveals its plan to combat underage vape use,“ says Techcrunch. Via Wired: ”Juul Exhales After Dodging Full Ban on Flavored E-Cigs."

I’ll have more to say about this in tomorrow’s HEWN, but this New York Times investigation is something else: “Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis.” Lovely use of fake news by the Facebook leadership team to combat Facebook critics. Good thing no one at Facebook is in the education or “digital literacy” business.

Meanwhile… “Facebook Launches Courses to Help Adult Learners Skill Up,” Edsurge notes, neglecting to mention that its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, sponsors lots of articles on the site nor any of the controversies from just this week alone pertaining to the company’s ethics.

Elsewhere in Facebook-land… Via The New York Post: “Brooklyn students hold walkout in protest of Facebook-designed online program.” Via Education Week: “Brooklyn Students Protest Use of Online Learning Platform Designed by Summit Learning.” Edsurge reprints a letter students at the Secondary School of Journalism sent to Mark Zuckerberg: “‘Dear Mr. Zuckerberg’: Students Take Summit Learning Protests Directly to Facebook Chief.” Via the NY Magazine: “Brooklyn Students Are Protesting Silicon Valley’s Favorite Education Program.” (Remember when journalists called AltSchool “Silicon Valley’s Favorite Education Program”? Good times. Good times.)

Diane Ravitch notices that when it comes to stories about AltSchool, it’s always “one teacher’s perspective” – Paul France, who stars in almost all the coverage, pro- (early on) or (now) con.

Via the YouTube blog: “Experimenting with science education on YouTube.”

Via The Atlantic: “How YouTube’s Algorithm Really Works.” Does it work to boost science education? (Spoiler alert: no.)

“What Does Personalized Learning Mean? Whatever People Want It To,” says Education Week. Perfect!

Futurism.com writes about “Why a Blockchain Startup Bought This $9 Million Stradivarius Violin.” I think the answer is “money-laundering,” but you never know… Maybe they’re planning to revolutionize college transcripts with the instrument.

“Enough With All the Innovation,” says John Patrick Leary. Amen.

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

Via MIT Technology Review: “Harvard researchers want to school Congress about AI.”

AI can humanize teaching – if we let it” – or so says eCampus News.

More robot news up in the MOOC section above.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Will Blockchain Revolutionize Scholarly Journal Publishing?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.”)

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

Via Education Week: “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Wants Teachers to Learn Brain Science.” That is, $1 million for the PD program Neuroteach Global. What could go wrong.

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

I won’t include this in my calculations of ed-tech funding, but WeWork has raised $3 billion from SoftBank.

UNICAF has raised $28 million from Goldman Sachs, University Ventures, EDEX, and CDC Group. The online education company has raised $40 million total.

Game-based literacy/math app-maker Kukua has raised $2.5 million from Kima Ventures, Founders Factory, EchoVC Partners, Burda Principal Investments, and Firstminute Capital.

Educative has raised $2.3 million from SK Ventures and Trilogy Equity Partners. The learn-to-code company has raised $2.6 million total.

Edves has raised $120,000 from Chinook Capital and Co-creation Hub. The school management software maker has raised $191,500 total.

Quad Learning has been acquired by Wellspring International Education.

Catapult Learning has acquired Capital Education Group.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

Via Chalkbeat: “A quietly edited report and dueling blog posts reveal a divide over the ‘portfolio model’.”

Via e-Literate: “Fall 2017 IPEDS Data: New Profile of US Higher Ed Online Education.”

There’s more vaping news in the upgrade/downgrade section above, but here are some numbers from the NEA: “Vaping in Schools: 3 Million Students and Counting.”

Via The Washington Post: “The sneaky science behind your child’s tech obsession.” Not a story about Juul or vaping, FWIW.

Ben Williamson in WonkHE: “Policy in numbers – what counts without counting?”

Writing in the Educause Review, Laura Czerniewicz on “Unbundling and Rebundling Higher Education in an Age of Inequality.”

Introducing the “Network of Concerned Academics.”

It’s almost as if high profile “public scholars” from private universities do not read the public scholarship unless it’s in The New Yorker or something.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Hack Education Weekly News
9 November 2018 | 6:15 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. It’s a bit tricky to do some weeks – because some weeks I’m traveling and some weeks a major event happens in the middle of the week making some of the “before” reporting seem a little odd.

(National) Education Politics

“Buckle Up, Betsy DeVos: Democrats Have Won the House,” Education Week warns.

I haven’t included updates to all the education races or education-related races here. I’m sorry. I’m tired.

“Midterms test the durability of the teacher uprising,” says The Washington Post.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “What the Midterm Elections Mean for Higher Ed.” Inside Higher Ed writes “What a Divided Congress Means for Higher Education.”

Young and College-Educated Voters Played Key Roles in Democratic Wins on Tuesday,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.

From the Department of Education press release: “U.S. Department of Education Fulfills Administration Promise to Invest $200 Million in STEM Education.” (These are grant funds, many of them already in existence. But nice PR.)

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Feds Prod Universities to Address Website Accessibility Complaints.” The subhead asks if “fully accessible” is possible, which… sucks.

(State and Local) Education Politics

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Paul.

The race between Marshall Tuck and Tony Thurmond for California State Superintendent has still not been called.

Via Chalkbeat: “Election results: Newark opts for elected board, NJ voters approve $500M for schools.”

Via AZ Central: “Arizona voters said ‘Hell no’ to Prop. 305, Ducey’s school voucher plan. But will he listen?”

(Speaking of vouchers in Arizona, AZ Central reported – pre-Tuesday’s election – that, “Parents spent $700K in school voucher money on beauty supplies, apparel; attempted cash withdrawals.”)

Good news in Wisconsin. Via Education Week: “Democrat Tony Evers, Wis. Schools Chief, Narrowly Defeats Gov. Walker.”

Via The Atlantic: “The Candidates Embracing Their Black-College Roots.”

Via Chalkbeat: “In New York City schools, 40,000 students aren’t getting required special education services, report finds.”

Immigration and Education

Casey Parks is such a great journalist and I am thrilled she is working for The Hechinger Report. Here’s her latest: “Immigrant students find hope in soccer, but some states won’t let them play.”

Via The Washington Post: “Trump can’t immediately end DACA, appeals court panel says, setting up Supreme Court fight.”

Education in the Courts

Via ACLU: “Children Cruelly Handcuffed Win Big Settlement Against the Police in Kentucky.”

Via The Washington Post: “Supreme Court refuses to block young people’s climate lawsuit against U.S. government.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Harvard’s Admissions Process Was Just Dissected in Federal Court. How Did It Hold Up?”

There’s more legal news in the “immigration and education” section above. And there’s more legal news in the “for-profit higher ed” section and in the “business of financial aid” section below.

The Business of Financial Aid

Via Politico: “Navient is mounting a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s plans to overhaul how the federal government collects student loans. The company alleges in a lawsuit, which became public on Monday, that the Education Department’s process for selecting companies for its new loan servicing platform has been unfair and violated federal procurement rules.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A federal judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by a for-profit college chain seeking to assure access to Title IV federal student aid money while it undertakes a financial restructuring.”

Inside Higher Ed reports that “Laureate Mulling Sale of Walden University.”

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

Via the Edmonton Journal: “Athabasca University reaches deal with cloud-computing giant Amazon.”

In the first phase of the project, all staff will be brought up to speed on cloud computing. The university will then begin augmenting its online offerings using machine learning and artificial intelligence products from Amazon.

Over time, students will be able to customize their learning experiences using Amazon products such as Kindle and Echo’s Alexa assistant.

So basically, Athabasca is making it possible for AWS to learn a lot about higher ed and, should it chose, launch new products to compete in the higher ed industry. Well done, team.

Via Techcrunch: “LinkedIn Learning now includes 3rd party content and Q&A interactive features.” Here’s how Edsurge puts it: “LinkedIn Learning Opens Its Platform (Slightly).”

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via Slate: “Tech-Bro Culture Was Written in the Code” – “How computing pioneers at Dartmouth in the 1960s gave rise to the macho tech culture we see today.”

Via the Idaho Statesman: “Middleton Heights staff placed on administrative leave over controversial Halloween outfits.” Their racist Halloween costumes involved dressing up as the “border wall.”

Via Texas Monthly: “Meet the Women Whose Persistence Made Texas A&M Change Its Sexual Assault Policies.”

Via NPR: “Legacy Admissions Offer An Advantage – And Not Just At Schools Like Harvard.”

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

Via Ocala Star Banner: “High school students now required to wear ID” – either clipped to their clothes or on a lanyard around their neck. This is following a school shooting at Forest High School in Florida.

Via Education Week: “Beware the Unintended Consequences of the School Safety Movement.”

Via the Las Vegas Review: “For some, random school searches are small price to pay for safety.”

Via The LA Times: “Thousand Oaks shooting leaves 13 people dead, including gunman, and 18 injured.” I’m including this story as the bar was “packed with college students.”

And same goes for the story about a shooting in Tallahassee – it’s loosely connected to the local campus. As Tallahassee.com reported, “Scott Beierle, gunman in Tallahassee yoga studio shooting, remembered as ‘really creepy’.” That is, he “had a history of arrests for grabbing young women around the campus of Florida State University.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Maryland’s student government organized a rally to encourage backing the football team. Many minority students and others said it was time to focus on the abuse of athletes and the death of a black player.”

Via USA Today: “Analysis shows 147 college football programs had at least one player diagnosed with CTE.”

There’s another sports-related story in the “immigration and education” section above.

Labor and Management

I have an idea. Let’s make sure educators can all earn a living wage.

Via Chalkbeat: “Here’s the letter announcing Michael Milkie’s departure from Noble Network.”

Via The New York Times: “Google Workers Reject Silicon Valley Individualism in Walkout.”

(I missed this news last week.) Via Chalkbeat: “Chicago’s Acero teachers vote 98% to authorize first-ever charter school strike.”

The Business of Job Training (and Educational Benefits for Employees)

Writing in Edsurge, Entangled Solutions’ Lauren Dibble, Michael B. Horn, and Rob Urstein all say they agree with venture capitalist Ryan Craig and his new book A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College: “The Rise of Early-Career Enhancers in Education.” It’s not the last mile of education. It’s the first mile on the next leg. Or something.

Via Campus Technology: “The University of North Dakota has teamed up with for-profit training company Woz U to provide short-term technology education programs.” No mention of any of the recent controversy about Woz U and the for-profit it’s affiliated with, Southern Career Institute.

Contests and Conferences

Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill with “Notes on EDUCAUSE 2018.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Has ‘Shift’ Happened?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

Products like this remain one of the most terrifying ideas in education technology.

Via The Atlantic: “The Backlash Against Screen Time at School.”

Via The Verge: “Instagram might be working on school Stories.” All those teachers promoting their personal brandzzz on Insta will be thrilled!

Via Techcrunch: “Flickr says it won’t delete Creative Commons photos.”

Via Edsurge CEO Betsy Corcoran: “Edtech Incubators are Fading. Here’s What Will Replace Them.” This is a profile of Bobbi Kurshan, Senior Fellow and Innovation Advisor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (and an advisor to Edsurge – which certainly explains a lot about this article). This is largely a promotional piece for Penn and for the workshops that Penn GSE offers entrepreneurs, which I guess is what we’re supposed to think is replacing incubators – although certainly weekend workshops don’t offer the ever-important VC funding that many incubators have done.

EdWeek’s Market Brief published a story on incubators in Africa this week but the link now 404s. So perhaps incubators are fading after all.

Ed Week’s Ben Herold is a sly one because here is a headline in the form of a question that most assuredly can be answered “yes”: “Are Companies Overselling Personalized Learning?

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Pearson Unveils Immersive History Curriculum, Even as Potential Sale of K–12 Products Looms.” From what I can glean, “immersive” means there are photos and recordings available with the curriculum.

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

From Pearson: “AI-based tutoring: A new kind of personalized learning.” “New” since, oh, the 1960s.

Via Edsurge: “What Robots Can Teach Us About Being Human.”

Via Wired: “What the Boston School Bus Schedule Can Teach Us About AI.”

Via Edsurge: “Cat Ears and Robot Friends: What Japan’s Educational Future Could Include.” Based on what one sees at an education conference.

“Don’t let a robot stalk your babysittersays The Outline.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

From Capital and Main: “Reed Hastings: Netflix CEO Goes Nuclear on Public Schools.” (I don’t know that this really goes best under the “philanthropy” header here.)

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

Yuanfudao has raised $250 million from Tencent. The tutoring company has $494.2 million total.

Photomath has raised $6 million from Learn Capital and Goodwater Capital. The math-problem-solving app has previously raised funding but did not disclose the amount.

Kinvolved has raised $1.54 million from Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, the Twilio.org Impact Fund, New York Ventures, Excell Technology Ventures, GingerBread Capital, and u2i. The absentee monitoring software has raised $3.3 million total.

Tutoring company GuruQ has raised $300,000 from an unnamed investors.

Via Crunchbase: “China’s Education Startups Continue To Pull In Massive Funding Rounds.”

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via The New York Times: “At China’s Internet Conference, a Darker Side of Tech Emerges.” (This is worth thinking about in light of the massive amount of funding pouring into Chinese education companies right now.)

There are plenty of surveillance-related stories in the “guns are ed-tech” section above.

Via Education Week: “They Hacked Their School District When They Were 12. The Adults Are Still Trying to Catch Up.”

Via The News & Advance: “LU makes email addresses available to campaigns for a fee as candidates grow increasingly savvy with big data.” LU here is Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. (FERPA is such a joke.)

Research, “Research,” and Reports

I’m only including this here because I like to remind folks that many marketers are futurists and many futurists are marketers and they’re often all wrong. Via Apple Insider: “Gartner, IDC were both wildly wrong in guessing Apple’s Q4 Mac shipments.”

Via Education Week: “Computers + Collaboration = Student Learning, According to New Meta-Analysis.”

“The EDUCAUSE 2019 Top 10 IT Issuesfrom Educause.

Via The Washington Post: “Major depression in American youth rising, new report says.”

“Nobody Knows How Well Certificates Are Doing Against Degrees,” says Campus Technology, writing up a report by Eduventures.

Why Aren’t Schools Using the Apps They Pay For?asks Edsurge, writing up the results of a Brightbytes study of data from schools using the Brightbytes’ analytics platform. So perhaps the problem isn’t that schools aren’t using the apps that they pay for. Perhaps the problem is that schools who pay for Brightbytes are the kinds of places happy to throw their money at any sort of ed-tech.

The app store for higher educationby Ben Williamson.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Hack Education Weekly News
2 November 2018 | 8:45 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. I’m starting on that project soon, and my god, this all looks so grim.

(National) Education Politics

Via Vox: “Brazilian media report that police are entering university classrooms to interrogate professors.” And this was before the far- right politician Jair Bolsonaro was elected the new president of Brazil.

Via ThinkProgress: “Bolsonaro‘s party launches campaign against ’indoctrinator teachers’.” That’s all you lovers of Paolo Freire, to be sure.

In related news: “Right-wing groups are recruiting students to target teachers,” says Reveal.

Via Education Week: “Reorganization of U.S. Ed. Department’s Privacy Office to Take Effect in Early 2019.”

Via the Center for American Progress: “How the DeVos Family Is Buying Political Sway Ahead of the Midterm Elections.”

“Who’s Meeting With DeVos? Lots of Republicans, Few Democrats,” says Education Week.

There’s another story on DeVos and virtual schools down in the “online education” section below.

(State and Local) Education Politics

Buzzfeed on a campaign in Massachusetts: “Transgender Teens Could Destroy The Bathroom Predator Myth Once And For All.”

Via The New York Times: “After Teacher Walkouts, Arizona Republicans Jostle Onto Education Platform.”

Via Chalkbeat: NYC schools Chancellor Richard “Carranza unveils capital plan with $750 million in fixes for disability access.”

There’s more NYC school news in the testing section below.

Via Chalkbeat: “After 120 days on the job, Newark’s new superintendent is asked: Where’s your plan?”

Education in the Courts

The Harvard admissions trial is wrapping up – coverage in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Appeals court ruling continues decade-long legal battle between Georgia State University and three publishers over what constitutes ”fair use“ of course materials.”

Via The Salt Lake Tribune: “Utah Valley University paid $45,000 to settle former Title IX director’s whistleblower lawsuit.”

The Business of Financial Aid

News from the most well-funded ed-tech company, student loan provider SoFi:

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Economic Boom Isn’t Helping Some Student-Loan Debtors, Advocacy Group Says.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Via The Seattle Times: “Art Institute of Seattle lays off all but 3 full-time teachers amid fears for school’s future.”

There’s an update on the potential sale of for-profit operator Navitas down in “the business of education” section.

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

“Life Is Complicated: Distance Learning Helps,” says The New York Times.

Via Chalkbeat: “Here’s what Betsy DeVos has to say about Indiana’s failing virtual schools.”

Via Edsurge: “The Beginning of a New Era in the Online Degree Market.”

Meanwhile on Campus…

The ongoing saga at the University of Maryland: Via The Washington Post (on Tuesday): “U-Md. president to retire in wake of football death.” Then, “A Day Later, Football Coach Out at Maryland,” Inside Higher Ed reported. “Board Chairman Resigns in Fallout Over a Maryland Football Player’s Death,” The New York Times reported on Thursday. “University of Maryland’s accreditation under review in wake of football death,” The Washington Post reported on Thursday.

University of Nebraska political science professor Ari Kohen “liked” a photo on Facebook depicting a defaced campaign sign for Congressman Jeff Fortenberry. One of Fortenberry’s staffers apparently called Kohen and his department chair and the school chancellor to complain about the professor’s support for “political vandalism.” The Lincoln Journal Star has the story. But remember, kids, the biggest threat to free speech on campus comes from liberal students.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Virginia Bans Richard Spencer and Other Leaders of Violent ‘Unite the Right’ Rally.”

Buzzfeed on complaints about a special education teacher at Redlands High School in California: “‘He Betrayed My Trust’: How Students With Special Needs Finally Stopped Their Abusive Teacher.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “With Student Interest Soaring, Berkeley Creates New Data-Sciences Division.”

Writing in The Atlantic, Jeffrey Selingo argues, “As Humanities Majors Decline, Colleges Try to Hype Up Their Programs.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Valparaiso Law School announced its plans to close less than a month after the Tennessee Higher Education Commission rejected its plan to transfer to a public university in that state.”

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

Via The New York Magazine: “The Class of 1946–2018 Twenty-seven school-shooting survivors bear their scars, and bear witness.”

Via The New York Times: “At Butler High School in N.C., Bullying Led to Fatal Shooting of Student, Police Say.” Via WSOCTV: “Matthews police to add officers at schools after deadly shooting at Butler HS.”

On the heels of a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, Inside Higher Ed writes, “For Hillel, Community and Safety.”

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

There are some accreditation rumblings at the University of Maryland – I’ve gathered all the stories related to the death of a football player there in the “meanwhile on campus” section above.

Via The New York Times: “A High School Education and College Degree All in One.” I swear, IBM gets its marketing money’s worth with this P-TECH stuff, doesn’t it.

Something about the “blockchain-powered future.”


Via Chalkbeat: “NYC is offering the SHSAT during school hours to boost diversity, but it’s mostly benefitting white and Asian students.”

Edsurge profiles Imbellus: “A Test Worth Teaching To? How a College Dropout Plans to Replace the SAT and ACT.” My most favorite lines simply must be these: “One of the early adopters of Imbellus was McKinsey & Company, the management consulting firm, which uses the scenario assessments to find job candidates. McKinsey employees, after all, solve problems for a living.” LOL, they do?! And wait, wait, wait… wasn’t McKinsey in the news recently? Ah yes. “McKinsey’s Work for Saudi Arabia Highlights its History of Unsavory Entanglements,” as The New Yorker writes. Imbellus raised a round of funding – hence the profile – and there are more details in the venture capital section below. One of the investors, I feel like I should mention here since we’re on the topic of Saudi Arabia now suddenly, is Thrive Capital, which is the VC firm run by Joshua Kushner, brother to a certain Jared, who, funnily enough, has some deep ties to Saudi Arabia too. Really looking forward to this new testing company though! Seems like it’s got only the best connections to folks with all of our very best futures in mind.

There’s more testing news from Tennessee down in the “labor and management” section.

Go, School Sports Team!

There’s more about the fallout from the death of a football player at the University of Maryland in the “meanwhile on campus” section above."

ASU’s Michael Crow is one of the new members of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

Video Games Are a Waste of Time? Not for Those With E-sports Scholarships,” says The New York Times.

Via NJ.com: “Rutgers football player charged in attempted double-murder plot.”

Labor and Management

Via The New York Times: “Alphabet Executive Resigns After Harassment Accusation.” Also via The New York Times: “Google Faces Internal Backlash Over Handling of Sexual Harassment.” Also via The New York Times: “Google Employees Stage Worldwide Walkout.”

Instructure Announces a New CEO” – Michael Feldstein on Dan Goldsmith.

Via Chalkbeat: “Questar hires tech guru amid TNReady testing cleanup.” The “guru” is Brendan Kealey, formerly with Pearson.

There’s more hiring/firing news in the for-profit higher ed section above.

The Business of Job Training (and the Business of Jobs Giving Educational Benefits for Employees)

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Arizona State Will Give Uber Drivers in 8 Cities Free Tuition in Its Online Program.”

Via the AP: “Amazon’s new goal: Teach 10 million kids a year to code.”

Perhaps the problem isn’t “skills.” Perhaps, just perhaps, there are other factors at play in the labor market, eh?

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Is Open Content Enough?asks Edsurge.

Are ‘Smart’ Classrooms the Future?asks Campus Technology.

(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: “Juul Offered To Pay Schools As Much As $20,000 To Blame Vaping On Peer Pressure.” Social emotional learning! Mindfulness! My god, it’s all too perfect.

Via Getting Smart: “Extending Social Emotional Learning into the Home.”

Via The New York Times: “Your Kid’s Apps Are Crammed With Ads.” (The Atlantic and Vox also wrote up this study.)

Flickr, which was acquired from Yahoo by SmugMug, is changing how it handles free accounts – that is, it will limit those to 1000 photos (and delete any photos over that number if you don’t pay up). What’s going to happen to that huge collection of openly licensed content on the site? Creative Commons seems to think it’s not a problem. Shrug.

“Young Makers Take Action and Tackle Problems,” says The New York Times in a puff piece about the Maker Faire. And speaking of utterly uncritical reporting, here’s another story in The NYT that does very little to demonstrate the claims made in the headline: “How ‘Makers’ Make the Classroom More Inclusive.”

In other “maker” news, “Apple investigates report that Chinese students were forced to make its watches,” says CNN.

“The Moodle/Blackboard Breakup: The Long and the Short of It” by e-Literate’s Michael Feldstein.

Via Common Dreams: “Downplaying Deportations: How Textbooks Hide the Mass Expulsion of Mexican Americans During the Great Depression.”

Not directly education-related, I suppose, but I think still relevant for thinking about the ideology of software (and software makers and software funders) is this story from The Washington Post: “From Silicon Valley elite to social media hate: The radicalization that led to Gab.”

Stop acting like “self-directed learning” is a new thing. Thanks in advance.

Shocking, I know, but according to The Outline, education is not a silver bullet.

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

Via The New York Times: “Colleges Grapple With Teaching the Technology and Ethics of A.I.

Speaking of ethics, “Google offers money to universities to use artificial intelligence to scale up research,” The Washington Post reports.

Via Edsurge: “Robots Won’t Replace Instructors, 2 Penn State Educators Argue. Instead, They’ll Help Them Be ‘More Human.’”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

“The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, pledged $3.3 million to four organizations focusing on helping students develop critical life skills,” says Politico. $750,000 to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning; $685,000 to Roses in Concrete Community School; $700,000 to Peer Health Exchange; and the rest to GripTape.

Sponsored content on Edsurge, paid for by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in order to promote personalized learning, promotes "personalized learning,“ among other things.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

Peilian.com has raised $150 million from Tiger Global Management, Tencent Holdings, Orchid Asia Group Management, Long Capital, Lanchi Venture Capital, Jinshajiang Venture Capital, GSR Ventures, and BHG Long Hills Capital. This is a Series C round of funding for the Chinese online music education company, but I’m not sure how much it’s raised previously.

Handshake has raised $40 million from True Ventures, Spark Capital, Reach Capital, Omidyar Network, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins, KPCB Edge, EQT Ventures, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. The career services company – which has been covered many times by Inside Higher Ed for its questionable privacy practices – has raised $74 million total. I know. I too am shocked that these investors, particularly CZI, would back a company with questionable privacy practices.

Imbellus has raised $14 million from Upfront Ventures, Thrive Capital, Rethink Education, and Owl Ventures. The testing company (profiled by Edsurge in the “testing” section above) has raised $22.5 million total.

IXL Learning has acquired ABCya.

The Financial Review, tracking on the potential sale of the Australian for-profit college company: “Navitas gives in to shareholders, agrees to meeting but says BGH offer ‘does not reflect value’.”

Via The New York Times: “Apple Raises Prices, and Profits Keep Booming.”

Not education-related (unless, of course, you’re in the camp that likes to tout the politics of “open,” I guess), but The New York Times reports that “IBM to Buy Red Hat, the Top Linux Distributor, for $34 Billion.”

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

“Programmed for Success” – The New York Times on how community colleges surveil their students in order to identify ones who are struggling (academically).

Via Motherboard: “Facing Tomorrow’s High-Tech School Surveillance.”

Via Futurism.com: “Schools Are Installing Bathroom Surveillance Systems to Bust Vapers.”

Via Fast Company: “Alexa will soon order you around at home–politely, of course.” Some asshole is going to brand this as “social emotional learning,” I guarantee it.

More toddler surveillance, from Google: “Google and Disney launch interactive Little Golden Books that work with Google Home,” says Techcrunch.

Still more surveillance: “Silicon Valley Nannies Are Phone Police for Kids,” says The New York Times.

Via Motherboard: “‘Remini’ App Used by Schools Left Personal Info Open to the World.”

There’s news about how the Department of Education will reorganize its privacy office in the “national education politics” section at the top.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

Here are my latest calculations about the venture capital flowing into education businesses – as well as acquisitions, mergers, and spinoffs – during the past month. (I’ve also updated the web pages where I track where the Gates Foundation and CZI dollars are going.)

Techcrunch touts Angela Duckworth touting “grit.

Inside Higher Ed on new data about adjuncts from the TIAA Institute: “The majority of adjunct instructors are over 40 and primarily teach at a single college or university, ‘countering common perceptions that faculty is younger and teach at multiple colleges while pursuing a tenure-track position,’ according to TIAA.”

George Veletsianos on the “ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2018.”

NPR on “How Americans Feel About Affirmative Action In Higher Education.”

The Hechinger Report on a study on “personalized learning” and the cultural relevance of curriculum.

There’s more “research” (or at least a write-up of a survey) on student loan debt in “the business of financial aid” section above.

Via Edsurge: “Campus Support for OER is Growing, Survey Finds.”

The Atlantic on recent Pew Research data about families lacking high-speed Internet access at home: “Why Millions of Teens Can’t Finish Their Homework.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Two new reports find public universities less affordable for low-income students and less accessible for members of minority groups.”

“Just how polarized are we about reading instruction?” asks Daniel Willingham.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new study shows few student achievements from an innovative initiative in Tennessee that moved college math remediation back to high school.”

ProPublica on its “trove of education data”: “Reporting Recipe: How to Investigate Racial Disparities at Your School.”

Paging that ridiculous trio who wanted to hoax us about the dangers of “grievance studies” – perhaps this is a bigger problem? Via The New York Times: “He Promised to Restore Damaged Hearts. Harvard Says His Lab Fabricated Research.”

Via The New York Times: “Study of Cellphone Risks Finds ‘Some Evidence’ of Link to Cancer, at Least in Male Rats.” No evidence yet that mobile computing harms pigeons so your children are safe, I’m sure.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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