(National) Education Politics
Listen, folks (particularly educators). If you’re going to decry “fake news,” then you best not be sharing it. If you’re going to talk about the importance of digital literacy or information literacy or media literacy or what have you, then you best practice it. Did you share this Raw Story story – “Education officials expect ‘ineffective’ Betsy DeVos to step down as her agenda collapses: report” – or this Salon story – “Expert: Expect DeVos to resign from Trump administration”? Why? Did you read the Politico profile of Betsy DeVos that these (and many other) pieces of clickbait were based on? Did you see evidence in that well-reported story that a resignation was imminent? Or did you just want a story to confirm your gut feelings that she should hit the road? Because, see, that’s part of the whole problem. It’s not just that these stories get written. It’s that folks share them so quickly and uncritically. Anyway, as Matt Barnum writes, “No, there’s no reason to think DeVos is planning to resign, contrary to viral news stories.”
The American Oversight notes that “DeVos Calendars Show Frequent Days Off.” (In fairness, I’m not sure what the typical work-week looks like for a Secretary of Education.)
Via The Washington Post: "Betsy DeVos lauds innovative teaching practices at awards ceremony.“ From the article that ”innovative teaching practice" appears to be project-based learning.
Via Education Week: “Trump Nominee for Career-Tech Position Being Pulled Due to Offensive Blog Posts.” That’s Tim Kelly, a Michigan state representative who Trump had nominated head the office of career, technical, and adult education at the Department of Education. More via Politico.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Frank Brogan, the chancellor of the Pennsylvania State University System from 2013 until retiring this year, has joined the Department of Education in the Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development – likely ahead of a nomination to a separate position.”
Reactions to the Congressional tax cut proposal – Via Education Week: “Five Things to Know About the $250 Tax Break That Teachers Could Lose.” The CATO Institute doesn’t like 529 plans for K–12. “Graduate students and higher education experts warn** GOP plan to tax tuition waivers** would be disastrous to both students’ finances and institutions’ teaching and research missions,” says Inside Higher Ed.
The Senate Republications introduced their tax cut bill. The Washington Post reports that “Senate Republicans would leave student loan interest tax deduction untouched.” More on the tax reform proposal in IHE.
The Trump Administration says it will reinstate some of the sanctions on Cuba that Obama rolled back. Inside Higher Ed says that “Experts expect new regulations on travel to Cuba published in the Federal Register to have limited effect on educational travel to the nation.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Representative Ron DeSantis introduced a bill Tuesday that would allow states to set up a parallel accrediting system to direct federal student aid money to a range of career training programs.”
Via Wired: “Al Franken Just Gave the Speech Big Tech Has Been Dreading.”
“Behind Randi Weingarten’s secret meeting with Steve Bannon” by Mike Klonsky.
The George W. Bush Presidential Center calls “accountability” “a dirty word in education.”
Via The New York Times: “A toxic cloud has descended on India’s capital, delaying flights and trains, causing coughs, headaches and even highway pileups, and prompting Indian officials on Wednesday to take the unprecedented step of closing 4,000 schools for nearly a week.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “E.U. Data-Protection Law Looms.”
(State and Local) Education Politics
Via Mother Jones: “Voters in This Colorado County Just Sent Betsy DeVos a Helluva Message.” The message: “The election of seven anti-voucher candidates to Douglas County’s school board means a likely end to its controversial school choice program.”
Via The Intercept: “Puerto Ricans Fear Schools Will Be Privatized in the Wake of Hurricane Maria.”
Via NOLA.com: “Florida school lets parents buy bulletproof panels for students to put in backpacks.”
Via The News & Observer: “New charter school for more than 2,000 students is coming to Cary.” It would be one of the largest in North Carolina.
Via Chalkbeat: “As a major provider of Head Start exits the program, hundreds of vulnerable Detroit families brace for change.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “A student loan bill of rights will be going into effect in Illinois after the state’s House of Representatives voted Tuesday night to override a veto by Governor Bruce Rauner.”
Via Education Week: “The New York City Council is considering a requirement that all city agencies publish the source code behind algorithms they use to target services to city residents, raising the specter of significant changes in how the country’s largest school district assigns students to high school, evaluates teachers, and buys instructional software.”
Via The 74: “Illinois Lawmakers Override Their Governor on Cursive, Say All Students Will Benefit From Handwriting Instruction.”
Via The Voice of San Diego: “‘A Tax on Poor People’: San Diego Unified Sends Parents Who Can’t Pay for School Bus Rides to a Collections Agency.”
Via the AP: “Iowa City schools to stop using padded seclusion rooms.”
Via The Chicago Tribune: “Aldermen vote 48–1 for new police academy despite Chance the Rapper’s speech.” A $95 million police academy in a city that keeps closing down K–12 schools and firing teachers.
Via the AP: “The Homeless Defy Stereotypes in Wealthy Silicon Valley.”
Via The Post Gazette: “New Pittsburgh teachers contract could phase out performance pay.”
Via In These Times: “When Unions Lead Education Reform.”
The Nation’s Megan Erickson on Success Academy’s Eva Moskowitz.
Immigration and Education
Via Feministing: “Two Months After Trump Withdrew DACA, This Is Where the Program Stands.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Princeton University and Microsoft have joined together to file a lawsuit against President Trump’s rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. A DACA-protected student at Princeton, Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez, is also listed as a plaintiff.”
The New York Times with some fearmongering about “The Disappearing American Grad Student.” The article is accompanied by a photo of a classroom full of Asian students – as if Asian is not American.
Education in the Courts
Via the BBC: “Police investigate 17 child sexting cases a day.”
More legal wrangling about DACA in the immigration section above.
The Paradise Papers
The Paradise Papers – “The new files come from two offshore services firms as well as from 19 corporate registries maintained by governments in jurisdictions that serve as waystations in the global shadow economy.”
Via The New York Times: “Kremlin Cash Behind Billionaire’s Twitter and Facebook Investments.”
Via The Guardian: “Russia funded Facebook and Twitter investments through Kushner associate.”
For those keeping track of how ed-tech is intertwined in all this, here’s a list of Yuri Milner’s education investments: 17zuoye, Remind, Coursera, Clever, Codecademy, ClassDojo, and General Assembly. And more generally, via Crunchbase: “These Are The US Startups That Russian Investors Are Backing.”
Via The New York Times: “After a Tax Crackdown, Apple Found a New Shelter for Its Profits.”
Via The New York Times: “Endowments Boom as Colleges Bury Earnings Overseas.” As I noted on Twitter, this is what happens when you tell schools they should be run like a business.
Via The Guardian: “Paradise Papers: Oxford and Cambridge invested tens of millions offshore.”
Via The Tennessean: “Most Tennessee high school students apply for Tennessee Promise program.”
Via Bklyner.com: “Brooklyn Public Library and Bard College to Offer Free College Degree Programs in 2018.”
The Business of Student Loans
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Trump administration will ask negotiators of borrower-defense rule to reconsider institutions’ liability for claims of misrepresentation – a request that has some worried DeVos plans to let bad programs off the hook.”
The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The long wind-down of Corinthian Colleges continued Wednesday with the planned closure of all but three of the remaining campuses that the defunct for-profit chain formerly owned.” More via Buzzfeed.
“In a move that wouldn’t have been allowed a generation ago, a for-profit medical school is relocating from Dominica to Tennessee as its campus undergoes repairs from damage caused by Hurricane Maria,” says Inside Higher Ed. “Other for-profit medical schools are already operating in the U.S.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Which Colleges Do Students Say Defraud Them Most Often? For-Profit Colleges.”
Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”
“How Much Hollywood Glitz Should Colleges Use in Their Online Courses?” asks Edsurge.
Via The 74: “Inside the $1 Million Fight to Hold South Carolina’s For-Profit Virtual Charter Schools Accountable.”
Via Education Week: “For Online Schools, Unique Challenges in Serving Transgender Students.”
“Whatever happened to the promise of online learning?” asks WonkHE.
“How can online learning help Canadian colleges meet the challenges ahead?” asks Tony Bates.
More on online education research in the research section below. And there’s some human resources news in the HR section below too.
Meanwhile on Campus…
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “2 Flagship Universities Surveyed the Campus Climate. Here’s What They Found.” Via The Cap: “Survey: Politically conservative students feel safe, respected and at home at UW-Madison.” But keep writing those op-eds about how ostracized conservative students are.
Amy Silverman writes in The Phoenix New Times about ASU’s decision not to approve a disability studies major.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Oxford Professor Is on Leave Amid Allegations of Sexual Assault.” That’s Tariq Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies.
“A Refuge for Jae-in Doe: Fugues in the Key of English Major” by Seo-Young Chu. In the essay, Chu accuses Jay Fliegelman, a Stanford literature professor, of rape and harassment.
And another, different Stanford literature professor too has been accused of sexual assault: Franco Moretti.
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Signs Naming Students Accused of Sexual Assault Reopen Wounds at Atlanta Colleges.”
Purdue president “Mitch Daniels is shaking up higher education,” says Education Dive.
Via NPR: “Air Force Academy Cadet Wrote Slur Outside His Own Door, School Says.”
In a response to protests at Reed College, The Atlantic argues “Why Everyone Should Learn About Western Civilization.”
Related I predict the canon wars are going to be revived, particularly as education reformers turn to “curriculum” as their new focus. See also, this via The New York Times: “Why Arthur Schlesinger’s ‘Disuniting of America’ Lives On.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Florida State University has banned fraternities and sororities following the death of a student, its president announced Monday.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “In Reversal, Notre Dame Will Continue to Cover Contraception for Employees.”
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Syllabus at Duke barred staffers of campus paper from class on hedge funds.”
Another Duke story – The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at the school’s Technology Scholars Project: “Steering More Women to Silicon Valley.”
And news from a well-known former Duke student:
HA HA HA Richard Spencer's check to the University of Florida covering the rental fee for the ODome bounced! http://pic.twitter.com/0oMZuYGFbD
— Mike Bowen (@DrMBowen) November 8, 2017
“What does college look like in prison?” asks The Hechinger Report.
Via The Washington Post: “ Students’ grades determine where they may eat lunch at Florida schools.”
Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “To Help Combat Racism, Kansas State U. Will Cancel Classes (for 2 Hours).”
“Activists leading protests at UNC-Chapel Hill about Silent Sam have identified and outed a campus police officer who went undercover in an apparent effort to keep tabs on what they were up to,” The Herald Sun reports.
Via The NYT: “N.Y.U. Will Waive Tuition for Displaced Puerto Rican Students.”
More NYU news – via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “NYU Faculty Members Shun Abu Dhabi Campus Over Academic-Freedom Issues.”
Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies
Via Getting Smart: “Competency-Based Micro-credentials are Transforming Professional Learning.” Are they?
Rasmussen College is expanding its CBE program, Campus Technology reports.
Via The Hechinger Report: “Known for its intense testing pressure, top-performing South Korea dials it back.”
Go, School Sports Team!
The Ringer profiles Brenda Tracy and her work to end college football’s rape culture.
Via The Wall Street Journal: “Coming Soon to Campus: The $100,000 Hotel Room.” To the Texas A&M campus, to be precise – just 96 feet away from the football stadium.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “The proportion of athletes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s top competitive division who graduated within six years of enrolling rose to 87 percent (by the NCAA’s count) this year, continuing what has been a consistent increase since the association altered its approach to academic performance 15 years ago.”
From the HR Department
Shernaz Daver, Udacity’s chief marketing officer, is leaving the company.
The Business of Job Training
Via Edsurge: “How Apple, Salesforce and Other ‘Platform’ Companies Can Help Close the Skills Gap.”
“Salesforce will start selling its online learning platform, which has helped its own employees change roles and get promotions,” says MIT Technology Review, going with the wonderful lie in the headline “Making Job-Training Software People Actually Want to Use.”
This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines
“Are Big Tech Companies Doing Right by America’s Students?” asks MIT Technology Review.
“Does ‘The Mooch’ Belong on Tufts Advisory Board?” asks Inside Higher Ed.
“Can a Mathematical Model Detect Fake News?” 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
“How Silicon Valley Plans to Conquer the Classroom” by The New York Times’ Natasha Singer – through some pretty shady practices, no doubt.
(Education Next suggests, as part of its “behind the headlines” takes, an article by Curriculum Associates’ Rob Waldron," How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off by Ed-Tech Vendors.” Waldron’s company is featured in Singer’s story and not in a very good light. More Curriculum Associates news in the VC section below, incidentally.)
“Something is wrong on the internet,” says James Bridle. Via The New York Times: “On YouTube Kids, Startling Videos Slip Past Filters.” YouTube now says it has a “new policy” to flag this content. (Nice timing to promote “picting” in the classroom.)
Maybe social media is broken, Cathy O’Neil suggests. And maybe educators will rationalize using it anyway…
“Google’s Mass-Shooting Misinformation Problem” by The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal.
“Media Literacy When the Platforms Are Complicit” by Bill Fitzgerald.
“Facebook will teach the unemployed digital/social media skills in 30 cities,” says Techcrunch. Facebook breaks democracy and then turns around and sells you the fix. Clever.
In other Facebook news, “Facebook’s testing a new method to prevent revenge porn that requires uploading your nudes,” says Techcrunch.
Via the BBC: “Facebook’s fake news experiment backfires.”
Via Newsweek: “Meet Naomi Wu, Target of an American Tech Bro Witchhunt.” Maker CEO Dale Dougherty is accused of harassing Wu online “alleging that she’s only a model who serves as the face of engineering projects completed by a team of men.”
Via Techcrunch: “How littleBits grew from side project to Star Wars.”
Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Follett to Start Selling LEGO Education Materials for Hands-On Lessons.”
Inside Higher Ed looks at “inclusive access,” which is a very misleading way of saying you’re forcing everyone to buy the course materials or digital textbooks thru a fee tacked on to tuition. Publishers love this, of course.
“It’s Time For A Deeper Conversation About How Schools Use Technology,” says KQED Mindshift.
Via Edsurge: “Educators Question AltSchool’s Pivot: Where Does Silicon Valley’s Philanthropy End and Profits Begin?” Two educators, at least, had questions for Edsurge.
One tech industry CEO’s vision of revolutionizing schools withers, and another is there to take its place. This week, it’s WeWork, which recently acquired the troubled coding bootcamp Flatiron School. Bloomberg reports that “WeWork Is Launching a Grade School for Budding Entrepreneurs.” “In my book, there’s no reason why children in elementary schools can’t be launching their own businesses,” [says founder] Rebekah Neumann. Except maybe child labor laws. IP concerns. Ethics. A commercial-free childhood. Never one to shy away from promoting the techno-dystopia, Fast Company weighs in: “WeWork Founder Hopes Her New School Will Help 5-Year-Olds Pursue Their Life’s Purpose.” (This seems closely related to Ivanka Trump’s notion that 5 year olds need to learn to code so they can get a job. Good thing no one in the current administration actually advocates child labor. OH WAIT.)
Via Business Insider: “An MIT psychologist explains why so many tech moguls send their kids to anti-tech schools.” That’s Sherry Turkle.
“Why Moodle Supporters Should be Concerned,” according to Mindwires Consulting’s Michael Feldstein. And from Phil Hill: “A Note on Data Used for LMS Market Analysis.” Also by Feldstein: “How and Why the IMS Failed with LTI 2.0.”
Via Times Higher Education: “Scholars launch non-profit rival to ResearchGate and Academia.edu.” It’s called ScholarlyHub, and I’d tell you more about it but like ResearchGate and Academia.edu, there’s a paywall that prevents me from reading the Times Higher Education article.
“Inventor creates device to help fidgety kids learn better,” the AP reports. The device is called “Bouncy Bands.” It’s been featured on Dr. Oz so it must work.
“Tech is making ed more inclusive, accessible to students with special needs,” says Education Dive. I’m not quire sure this is true, as I’m working on my year-in-review series and see a lot of stories about how tech exacerbates inequalities and excludes those with disabilities.
As I’m working on that series, I can see how certain “trends” in ed-tech are being carefully cultivated by ed-tech companies and the ed-tech press. One of those “trends” is surely “character development” (a.k.a. “grit” a.k.a. “mindsets” a.k.a. “social and emotional learning.”) The CEO of Schoolrunner writes in Education Week’s Market Brief, for example, that “Science of Character Development Initiative to Help Students Achieve Goals.” The 74 says that “There’s Lots of Social-Emotional Support for Students, but Not for Teachers. Here Are Some Programs Looking to Change That.” Getting Smart review The Flexible SEL Classroom. Via Education Dive: “Principals support SEL efforts, but want more teacher training.” Oh and there’s fundraising news on this topic too via Edsurge – that’s in the VC section below.
It’s not “social emotional learning,” but it’s… something. “What is Agentic Learning and Why is it Important?” asks Getting Smart. Via The 74: “25 Years, 1 Million Kids. How Expeditionary Deeper Learning Engages Students Through Inquiry, Discovery & Creativity.”
“The path to personalized learning is not straight,” says The Hechinger Report.
The latest Have You Heard podcast episode: “What We Talk About When We Talk About the Corporate Education Agenda.”
“As Corporate World Moves Toward Curated ‘Microlearning,’ Higher Ed Must Adapt,” says Edsurge.
Via Techcrunch: “Apple’s ‘Everyone Can Code’ initiative expands to colleges and universities outside of the US.”
Via Education Dive: “Tech for ELL students can bridge content and digital learning gaps.”
“Networked U.’s: This Is What Will Save Higher Ed,” says Jeff Selingo.
Edsurge talks with former LAUSD superintendent John Deasy, who’s now the editor-in-chief for a new publication run by Frontline Education, a K–12 software company.
I’m just including this because I think the headline underscores how some in technology think that technology adoption is simply a matter of tech and not of other social, cultural, economic forces: “A Mind-Bending Cryptographic Trick Promises to Take Blockchains Mainstream.”
The idea that Sean Parker is a “conscientious objector” to social media is fucking hilarious. But anyway…
Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF
The Next Web says “This smartphone app is like an AI chastity belt for teens.” No. Just. No.
Via the Observatory of Educational Innovation: “Can you predict your students’ final grade at the start of the course? Yes, you can with Artificial Intelligence.” Sigh.
Via MIT Technology Review: “Andrew Ng Wants a New ‘New Deal’ to Combat Job Automation.” That is, he wants the federal government to invest in retraining workers.
“What will universities look like in 2030?” asks Times Higher Education. Something something robots something something.
Via Edsurge: “Who Controls AI in Higher Ed, And Why It Matters (Part 1).”
(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform
NewSchools Venture Fund has announced the startups in its “early learning cohort”: AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation, Brightwheel, CodeSpark, Cognitive ToyBox, Family Engagement Lab, Kaymbu, Learning Genie, Mawi Learning, MIND Research Institute, Sparkler, Peekapak, Reasoning Mind, Teachley, Waterford Institute, and WriteReader. These companies get $1.5 million in grant funding.
Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech
Panorama Education has raised $16 million from the Emerson Collective, Spark Capital, Owl Ventures, SoftTechVC, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Once upon a time, this was a school survey company but it now markets itself as a social emotional learning company. That seems to have worked with investors – it’s raised $32 million total.
Tutoring company Acadsoc has raised $15 million from Shenzhen Capital Group and IDG Capital Partners.
Language learning tutoring startup PandaTree has raised $1.5 million from Michael Dearing and Randy Ching.
Montessorium has raised $1 million from Bluestem Capital, SD Angel Funds, Falls Angel Fund, Two Bridges Capital, Kampeska Capital, and SDSU/Brookings Angel Fund. The app maker has raised $2 million total.
Once upon a time, Musical.ly was an ed-tech startup. Then it opted to become a “viral sensation.” Now it “is being sold for between $800 million and $1 billion to Bytedance, the company that controls the Chinese news aggregator Toutiao,” The New York Times reports.
Curriculum Associates has acquired Motion Math.
Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “New Venture Capital Firm Bullish on Future of Europe’s Ed-Tech Market.” I mean, I guess you’d have to be to start a new ed-tech venture capital firm, right?
Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security
Jade E. Davis writes in DML Central on “The Importance of Student Privacy in Big Data.”
“High School Safety Includes Protecting Teens’ Data” says US News & World Report.
Via The Hans India: “District Education Officers asked to ensure 100% biometric attendance in schools.”
Via KSN.com: “Derby schools computer software could track cyber bullying, suicide threats.” What could possibly go wrong in Kansas.
Via NBC Connecticut: “Newtown Among 800 School Sites Attacked By Hackers.”
Via Naked Security: “Student charged by FBI for hacking his grades more than 90 times.” 90. Times.
Via The Guardian: “Big Brother isn’t just watching: workplace surveillance can track your every move.”
Research, “Research,” and Reports
Via The Hechinger Report: “How preschool teachers feel about science matters, new research finds.”
Via The Washington Post: “Hate at school: 90-plus ‘poisonous’ incidents reported on K–12 campuses in October.”
“A Nation of Snowflakes” – Inside Higher Ed on a new survey on campus free speech.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “President of higher ed research group documents white dominance in the academy and urges scholars to use their work to help disenfranchised people.” That’s Shaun Harper, a professor at USC and executive director of the university’s Race and Equity Center
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study finds male Ph.D. candidates submit and publish papers at much higher rates than women, even at the same institution. One factor is that women teach more during their Ph.D. programs and men serve more often as research assistants.”
A report from the Shanker Institute: “Public and Private School Segregation in the District of Columbia.”
The 74 on a research brief from the American Institutes for Research: “The Hidden Mental Health Crisis in America’s Schools: Millions of Kids Not Receiving Services They Need.”
“Poverty Is Largely Invisible Among College Students,” writes Sara Goldrick-Rab.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Private colleges and universities are expected to grow tuition revenue faster than public institutions in 2018, breaking from recent trends, according to an annual survey of colleges rated by Moody’s Investors Service.”
Via The Hechinger Report: “Federal data shows 3.9 million students dropped out of college with debt in 2015 and 2016.”
Via UNESCO’s World Education Blog: “The Partnership Schools for Liberia: A critical analysis.”
The Chronicle of Higher Education on “Why Faculty Members Still Aren’t Sure What to Make of Education Technology.” Bonus points for the Educause researcher who described this stance on ed-tech as “some very weird doublethink.” Perhaps the dangers actually lie with those who believe that nuanced views of technology are somehow problematic.
Via Inside Higher Ed: “Oregon State University Ecampus has created a database compiling research on the efficacy of online learning. The Online Learning Efficacy Research Database, which launched this week, is a searchable resource of academic studies that was created in response to skepticism about online education.”
Campus Technology writes up the results of a poll from McGraw-Hill that claims “More Than Half of Students Want Their Classes to Go Digital.”
Via NPR: “Free Books Boost Early Literacy.”
It’s not directly related to ed-tech, sure, but damn ed-tech sure does love this stuff so I’m including it here anyway. Via The New York Times: “Don’t Nudge Me: The Limits of Behavioral Economics in Medicine.”
From Harvard’s Shorenstein Center: “Information Disorder: Toward an interdisciplinary framework for research and policymaking.”
Here’s Forbes with some “fake news”: “Millennials And Their Kids: Why They’re Choosing DIY Education.” (n=2)
Icon credits: The Noun Project
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