Hack Education Weekly News

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

(National) Education Politics

Via The New York Times: “National School Walkout: Thousands Protest Against Gun Violence Across the U.S.” From The Atlantic: “The Student Walkout Against Gun Violence, in Photos.” NPR on the students who protested on Capitol Hill. ESPN turns to a real expert here: “Shaquille O’Neal says more cops is answer to school shootings.” WaPo’s Valerie Strauss asks, “ What legal rights do students really have to protest during the school day?” Robert Pondiscio writes in The 74 that “Civil Disobedience Means Facing Consequences. School-Sanctioned Walkouts Rob Students of That Lesson.” I am not sure that’s not what civil disobedience means, and the students most likely to experience gun violence are probably those least in a position to protest it (or at least, they are quite likely to suffer the most from “consequences”). But damn, the authoritarian streak in education reform is sure alive and well when it comes to the topic of school discipline, isn’t it.

There are more stories about how individual schools responded to the students’ walkout in the “meanwhile on campus” section below.

Via The New York Times: “Trump Finds Unlikely Culprit in School Shootings: Obama Discipline Policies.” I don’t think blaming Obama is “unlikely” at all with this administration or its racist supporters.

Via NPR: “Trump’s Plan To Secure Schools Calls For Arming Teachers, Improving Background Checks.”

The US Secretary of Education appeared on 60 Minutes this past weekend. And… well… I’m sure you’ve heard by now.

The Department of Education tried to clarify some of the gaffs DeVos made in the interview, and wow, the media loved this story: Buzzfeed. Chalkbeat. NPR. “DeVos Digs Herself Deeper,” says The Atlantic’s Alia Wong. Rolling Stone’s Jamil Smith on DeVos: “The Worst Government Possible, on Purpose.”

From the Department of Education’s press office: Betsy DeVos’s remarks to the American Enterprise Institute World Forum. Sound the “factory model of education” klaxon!

Via The Intercept’s Rachel Cohen: “Betsy DeVos Is Now Fighting the Union at the Education Department.”

Via Politico: “DeVos defies White House in dismantling Education budget office.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Education Dept. Stops Providing Details on Resolved Title IX Cases.”

More on the Department of Education and for-profit higher ed in the for-profit higher ed section below.

The Department of Education’s Chief Privacy Officer Kathleen Styles has been “reassigned,” Education Week reports. Although the news initially suggested the position would remain unfilled, it appears as though Angela Arrington will be the interim CPO at the department.

From the Department of Education press release: “Secretary DeVos Issues Full Forgiveness of HBCU Hurricane Relief Loans.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A bipartisan group of 30 attorneys general signed on to a letter Thursday opposing House legislation to reauthorize the Higher Education Act over a provision that would bar states from regulating student loan servicers.”

More on the politics of student loans in the financial aid section below.

The** Department of Education** has selected the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education to manage its #GoOpen campaign.

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via NPR: “Oklahoma Teachers Consider Strike.”

Lots more labor-related news in the HR section below.

Via The Washington Post: “ Why Florida school superintendents oppose new gun law Gov. Scott just signed.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Time Runs Out on Ball State School Takeover Plan.”

Via The Washington Post: “ It was hailed as the national model for school reform. Then the scandals hit.” “It” in the headline is the DC Public Schools.

Immigration and Education

Via The Outline: “ICE is detaining teenagers when they turn 18.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Trump Administration might limit the number of visas available to Chinese students. More via Inside Higher Ed.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “‘Please Don’t Deport Our Professor’: Augsburg U. Frets Over One of Its Own.”

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Visas Issued to Foreign Students Fall, Partly Due to Trump Immigration Policy.”

Education in the Courts

Via The Pacific Standard: “Prosecutors Will Seek the Death Penalty for the Accused Florida High School Shooter.”

The Business of Financial Aid

Via The Washington Post: “Education Dept. opens door for student loan companies to ignore state authority.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that the real reason that students do not complete the FAFSA is that it is too complicated:

This isn’t really financial aid per se, but it’s part of the larger suite of financial products that schools (and the companies they partner with) push. Via Inside Higher Ed: “Wells Fargo’s deals with colleges are scrutinized for being costly to account holders. A senator wants answers, but the bank’s backers on campus say it’s sometimes the best option to help students – and institutional budgets.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

“Negotiators appointed to revise the federal gainful-employment rule failed to reach consensus Thursday, leaving it up to the Department of Education to issue its own version of regulations for career education programs,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

From the Department of Education press release: “Secretary DeVos Extends Closed School Discharge to More Charlotte School of Law Students.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Ashford Seeks to Become a Nonprofit.” Ashford is a for-profit university run by Bridgepoint Education.

Via KSLA: “Delta Tech students searching for answers after graduation canceled.” The school recently announced that it would end its attempts to regain accreditation after the Department of Education withdrew recognition for the for-profit in 2016.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Sector in Flux: How For-Profit Higher Ed Has Shifted.”

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

Via Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try To Be An OPM: Conversion of for-profits and MOOCs.”

There’s some Udacity-related MOOC news in the job training section below.

Meanwhile on Campus…

There are more details about Tuesday’s school walkout protesting gun violence in the national politics section above.

Via The San Jose Mercury News: “Students at Concord’s Mt. Diablo High break through gate in gun protest.” Concord, California, that is, where the front gates were locked in order to keep students on campus.

There was also a lockout at all the schools in my hometown of Casper, Wyoming following a threat made by a student. The lockout prevented students from leaving schools to participate in the National Walkout Day protest.

Via MLive: “Grand Blanc school locks doors to avoid student walkout over gun violence.” That’s Grand Blanc High School in Grand Blanc, Michigan.

Via The New York Times: “Teacher’s Gun Is Accidentally Fired During Public Safety Class, Injuring 3.” The incident occurred at Seaside High School in Seaside, California.

NPR visits Aztec High School in New Mexico where a school shooting occurred in December: “After A Deadly Shooting, School Moves On But The Trauma Remains.”

Damn. “Strange” is an understatement in this subhead. Via KGW.com: “A strange message that went out over the loudspeakers at Woodland Primary School Tuesday scared kids and confused parents.”

Via Mic: “Richard Spencer suspending the rest of his college tour because ‘antifa is winning’.”

At least six people died on Thursday when a new pedestrian bridge at Florida International University collapsed.

Cooper Union unveils plan to cut undergraduate tuition back down to zero in 10 years,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

NPR on “risk” and playgrounds.

I thought that teens weren’t into driving, but according to The New York Times, there’s “A Problem for High Schools: More Cars, and Nowhere to Park Them.”

Go, School Sports Team!

“New report calls out NCAA for saying that black athletes graduate at higher rates than other black students, when that’s not true at the top conferences,” says Inside Higher Ed.

Memos from HR

Former Secretary of Education (and now, venture capitalist) Arne Duncan has joined TurnItIn’s board of directors.

David Harris is stepping down from his role at The Mind Trust. More from Chalkbeat on the organization’s role in charter schools and education reform in Indianapolis.

USA Today’s education reporter Greg Toppo is moving to Inside Higher Ed, where he will become its senior editor.

“Why America’s Teachers Haven’t Been Getting Raises,” according to The Atlantic.

University staff strikes continue in the UK. Via the BBC: “University strikers reject pension deal.”

There’s more labor union-related news in the national politics and in the state and local politics sections above.

The Business of Job Training

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Online education provider Udacity quietly drops money-back pledge for those who can’t find a job after finishing their studies.”

Via Techcrunch: “WeWork expands its Flatiron School education business fo London with £1M in scholarships.”

Via Wired: “Tech Companies Try to Retrain the Workers They’re Displacing.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Perhaps this should go in the “reports” section. Perhaps it should go in the “robots” section. But when you give it a title like this, CoSN, I feel I have no choice but to stick it here. “Artificial Intelligence: Could emerging technologies ‘humanize’ teaching & learning?asks CoSN.

Will these four technology trends change education in India?asks Livemint.

(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

YouTube, the Great Radicalizer” by Zeynep Tufekci. (This is so important to consider, as Tufekci noted on Twitter, in light of Google’s domination of the K–12 computing market.)

At SXSW, YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that it would start adding Wikipedia content to conspiracy-theory videos. Apparently Wikipedia received no “heads up” about this plan. Because relying on the free labor of others is precisely how this whole game works, I guess.

Via The MIT Technology Review: “A startup is pitching a mind-uploading service that is ‘100 percent fatal’.” It’s called Nectome, just so you have a little heads-up when the YC-backed company pivots to “job training” or something.

Techcrunch has details on another new YC Startup: “YC-backed Playbook wants students to make plans online, hang out offline.”

“America is about to become a Toys ‘R’ Us graveyard,” says The Outline.

UC Berkeley plans to shut down the server that runs the Chronozoom Big History project.

Edsurge on Degress Compass, a course recommendation engine from Austin Peay University: “How a ‘Netflix’ Model For Advising Lost Its Luster.” Sponsored by Salesforce “which had no influence on the thoughts and opinions expressed in this story.”

Edsurge on the “Five Dangers of Data-Informed Student Nudging.” Just five! Sponsored by Salesforce “which had no influence on the thoughts and opinions expressed in this story.”

Edsurge on Reagan Early College High School in Austin, Texas: “With Limited Options, a Struggling Campus Prepares Students for Life After High School.” Sponsored by Salesforce “which had no influence on the thoughts and opinions expressed in this story.”

More sponsored content on Edsurge – this one, on “middle school obsessions,” sponsored by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. And this one too, also sponsored by CZI, on a science research program. “Personalized learning” – it’s simply the best idea that money can buy (that isn’t already being paid for by Salesforce, I guess).

Via Edsurge: “VR Could Bring a New Era of Immersive Learning. But Ethical and Technical Challenges Remain.”

More on VR from Edsurge: “The 10 Best VR Apps for Classrooms Using Merge VR’s New Merge Cube.” Not sponsored content? Really?

Mindwires Consulting’s MIchael Feldstein offers an update on his company’s “Empirical Educator Project.”

Lumen Learning’s David Wiley introducesThe CARE Framework.”

“How to Ungradeby UMW’s Jesse Stommel.

You can now learn Klingon on Duolingo, Techcrunch reports.

More Techcrunch churnalism: “This eQuoo app games you into learning useful psychological skills.”

The Wall Street Journal weighs in on laptop bans.

Fitbit Ace is the company’s first fitness band for kids,” says The Verge. The tracker comes in purple or blue. No mention of privacy issues, because you won’t get invited to the next launch event if you’re too critical.

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

Via Wired: “Med Students Are Getting Terrible Training in Robotic Surgery.”

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Education ‘Moonshot’ on Horizon From Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

17zuoye has raised $200 million in Series E funding from Toutiao. The “homework help” company has now raised some $335 million, making it one of the most well-funded, privately held education companies in the world.

Yogome has raised $26.9 million in Series B funding from Exceed Capital Partners, Seaya Ventures, Insight Venture Partners, and Variv Capital. The educational game-maker has raised $36.5 million total.

Kiddom has raised $15 million from Owl Ventures and Khosla Ventures. The K–12 learning management company has raised $21.5 million total.

Ponddy Education has raised $6 million for its language learning software from Chenco Holding Company, Osnaburge Ventures LLC, and the MIC Ponddy AR Fund.

Saturday Kids, a coding bootcamp for children, has raised $1 million from Potato Productions.

Will Udacity IPO?

Edsurge’s Tony Wan interviews Ted Dintersmith, a partner at Charles River Ventures, at “what school could be.” (Here’s a look at CRV’s investment portfolio for a glimpse at what the firm imagines school should be.)

Edtech Digest’s Victor Rivero interviews Tory Patteron, a partner at Owl Ventures on how the firm is “Betting 185 Million Dollars on EdTech.” (Here’s a look at Owl Ventures’ investment portfolio for a glimpse at where the money’s going.)

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

“There Are No Guardrails on Our Privacy Dystopiawrite David Golumbia and Chris Gilliard (and this section of the Hack Education Weekly News is here to prove it).

Via the Magnolia Reporter: “Magnolia School District buying advanced camera surveillance technology for MHS, MJHS.” Local law enforcement will be able to “tap into the system.”

Via The Intercept: “Amazon Partnership with British Police Alarms Privacy Advocates.” Enjoy those Alexa in the classroom!

Via The Verge: “University of Arizona tracks student ID cards to detect who might drop out.”

Via The Register: “Privacy activists have called for more transparency and parental control over web monitoring in British schools after a survey indicated that almost half track their students online.”

Here’s how Snapchat surveilled the students who walked out of school on Tuesday.

Via Willamette Week: “Portland State University Researchers Cancel Presentation of a Research Project That May Have Used Federally-Protected Student Data Without Permission.” More via OPB.

Via The Verge: “Peter Thiel’s data company Palantir will develop a new intelligence platform for the US Army.”

Via the Tallahassee Democrat: “50,000 Leon students, teachers may be impacted by Virtual School data breach.” That’s the Florida Virtual School, to be clear.

Via Remaking the University: “The Outsourcing of Payroll Data by the University of California and Why We Should Worry.” I’m not going to spoil it by telling you who has the contract for this project. But OMFG.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

A new report from the Network for Public Education: “Online Learning: What Every Parent Should Know.”

“Where did venture capitalists go to college?” asks Techcrunch. You’ll never guess…

The UK Higher Education Policy Institute predicts, “University place demand to grow by 300,000 by 2030.”

From the NCES: “Changes in Bullying Victimization and Hate-Related Words at School Since 2007.” The data says bullying is down, but do note: the data comes from the years 2007 through 2015.

Via Pacific Standard: “College Students Report Decreased Confidence in Free Speech Protections in a New Poll.”

Stanford University professor Larry Cuban asks, “Whatever Happened to Direct Instruction? (Part 1)”

NPR on “Rethinking How Students With Dyslexia Are Taught To Read.”

Via Chalkbeat: “When Chicago cut down on suspensions, students saw test scores and attendance rise, study finds.”

“How the ‘industrial era schools’ myth is a barrier to helping education today” by Sherman Dorn.

School Segregation Is Not a Myth,” writes Will Stancil in The Atlantic.

RIP

From Cambridge University: “Professor Stephen Hawking 1942 – 2018.”

(A reminder, from Teen Vogue: “Saying Stephen Hawking Is ‘Free’ From His Wheelchair Is Ableist.”)

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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