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

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress this week about privacy, data, monopoly power, and regulations. I’ll have more to say about this in my newsletter tomorrow. But for now, here are a couple of education-related stories: one from Education Week and from Edsurge.

And there’s more Facebook-related news in several of the sections below.

Via NPR: “Justice Dept. Investigating Early-Decision Admissions At Elite Colleges.” More via The Chronicle of Higher Education.

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via People: “Oklahoma Mom ‘Embarrassed’ After Her Daughter Checks Out Textbook Once Used By Blake Shelton.” The singer was once a student in Ada, Oklahoma and checked out the reading textbook in 1982.

Teacher strike stories are in the “labor and management” section below.

Via Chalkbeat’s Colorado news desk: “$35 million for school safety will go toward training, but not hiring, of school resource officers.”

Via The Verge: “Facebook-backed lawmakers are pushing to gut privacy law.” Privacy law in Illinois, that is.

Via The Seattle Times: “Seattle School Board selects first Native American superintendent in city history.” Her name: Denise Juneau.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The governor of Virginia has approved a bill requiring all public higher education institutions in the state to take steps to adopt open educational resources – freely accessible and openly copyrighted educational materials.”

Via NPR: “California’s Higher Ed Diversity Problem.”

Immigration and Education

Via ProPublica: “Teen Who Faced Deportation After He Informed on MS–13 Gets Temporary Reprieve.”

Via The Washington Post: “ICE is moving to deport a veteran after Mattis assured that would not happen.” This part about a government-created “fake university” caught my eye:

Xilong Zhu, 27, who came from China in 2009 to attend college in the United States, enlisted in the Army and was caught in an immigration dragnet involving a fake university set up by the Department of Homeland Security to catch brokers of fraudulent student visas.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday that immigrant students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, status are not eligible for lower in-state tuition rates.”

Education in the Courts

Via The Washington Post: “Student loan servicer asks court to settle spat between Education Dept. and Connecticut over licensing dispute.” The servicer in question: the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

Via Splinter: “Stoneman Douglas Teacher Who Pushed for Guns in Schools Arrested for Leaving His Gun in a Bathroom.”

Via KMOV, news from Montville High in Montville, Connecticut: “Substitute teacher arrested for starting ‘fight club’ in classroom.”

Via Buzzfeed: “ A Lawsuit Says This Private Religious High School Protected An Accused Rapist.” The school: Holland Christian High School in Holland, Michigan, whose most famous alumnus is probably Betsy DeVos.

“Publishers Wiley, Cengage, Pearson and McGraw-Hill Education have won a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against a seller of fake textbooks,” Inside Higher Ed reports. The seller: Book Dog Books.

Via The Washington Post: “Howard student sues school amid financial aid scandal.” The student in question: Tyrone Hankerson Jr, of meme fame.

There’s more legal news in the “immigration” section above.

The Business of Financial Aid

Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons this week announced that it would eliminate student loans with scholarships for all students who qualify for financial aid,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

There’s more financial aid news in the “research” section below and in the “courts” section above.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

More on the accreditation of for-profits in the accreditation section below.

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

The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at Western Governors University and its “mentor-based model.”

Via KPVI: “Idaho Department of Education Offering Online Pre-K.”

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “ Virtual charter high school serving 2000 students closing in June.” That’s Graduation Achievement Charter High School.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “In Wake of Sit-In, Howard Faculty Members Vote No Confidence in President.” More on the protests via NPR.

Still more Howard news, via The Washington Post: “Howard University reveals that fired employees misappropriated $369,000.”

The Guardian looks at the relationship between the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and elite universities, including Harvard and MIT.

Via the Times Higher Education (and reprinted by Inside Higher Ed): “China Tries Private University Model.” That’s at Westlake University in Hangzhou.

Mount Ida will close, and its campus will be part of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Via The Atlantic: “When a College Employee Shoots a Student.”

Via the BBC: “All 500 teachers of Millcreek School District near Erie got a 16in (41cm) bat in the wake of the Parkland, Florida high school attack in February.” A baseball bat, to be clear.

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

ACICS, a flashpoint for debate over accountability of the for-profit sector, has another chance at federal recognition. But some higher ed observers see tough odds for its long-term survival,” says Inside Higher Ed.

Testing

NAEP NAEP NAEP NAEP!

Education Next on “Interpreting the 2017 NAEP Reading and Math Results.”

Just remember: “interpretations” of “the nation’s report card” are often “confirmations” of people’s education politics.

“Did computer testing muddle this year’s NAEP results?” asks Chalkbeat’s Matt Barnum. “Testing group says no; others are unconvinced.”

Via Chalkbeat: “A decade of stagnation: What you should know about today’s NAEP results.”

The Secretary of Education issued a press statement on the NAEP results.

Via Chalkbeat: “Two years after massive testing snafus, Tennessee will test more students online than ever.”

Via MIT Technology Review: “DNA tests for IQ are coming, but it might not be smart to take one.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The faculty union at Eastern Michigan University is blasting administrators there for cutting four sports while football – a money- and game-losing program – remains intact.”

Labor and Management

Via Politico: “Teachers Are Going on Strike in Trump’s America.”

This story – “Oklahoma Teachers Continue Strike” – is from last weekend, and as I type up these notes while listening to the radio, it sounds like the strike might be over.

Via NPR: “Walkouts And Teacher Pay: How Did We Get Here?”

Via NPR: “Arizona Teachers ‘Walk-In’ To Protest Low Pay And Low Funding.”

Via The Washington Post: “Strike avoided: Teachers at California online charter schools reach landmark union agreement with K12 Inc.” More via The Atlantic and via NPR.

The Guardian headline says, “Secret rightwing strategy to discredit teacher strikes,” but it’s not that secret. The State Policy Network has a plan to counter union activism with anti-union PR.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Union Organizer at Penn State’s Grad School Cites University’s ‘Veiled Threat’ to Foreign Students.”

The Business of Job Training

Via Chalkbeat: “Newark looks to build school-to-work ‘pipeline’ by boosting vocational education.”

Via Campus Technology: “NYC Data Science Academy Launches Online Bootcamp.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Can AI Help Students – and Colleges – Determine the Best Fit?asks Edsurge.

Apple and Microsoft Now Offer $100 Styluses. But Do Schools Need – or Want – Them?asks Edsurge.

Can a For-Profit, Venture-Backed Company Keep OER Free – and Be Financially Sustainable?asks Edsurge.

Can a ‘Family of Bots’ Reshape College Teaching?asks Edsurge.

Do Online Courses Really Save Money?asks Edsurge.

Can Artificial Intelligence Make Teaching More Personal?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.” And a big thank you for the editors who consistently run with this sort of ridiculous headline and make writing this section such a joy.)

Upgrades and Downgrades

Chris Gilliard onHow Ed Tech Is Exploiting Students.” (Note: there’s a response to this article by Georgia Tech professor Ashok Goel, who builds teaching chat-bots, in the “robots” section below. Edsurge also interviewed Goel this week. That story’s in the “Betteridge’s Law” section.)

Edsurge’s coverage of Top Hat’s OER news is also in the Betteridge’s Law section above.

Via Techcrunch: “Tencent and education startup Age of Learning bring popular English-learning app ABCmouse to China.”

Via The Verge: “YouTube will reportedly release a kids’ app curated by humans.”

Via Reveal: “When virtual reality feels real, so does the sexual harassment.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education lists “Pros and Cons of Virtual Reality in the Classroom.”

Via US PIRG: “‘You might want to tell your instructors about this:’ students as sales reps?” “This” in this headline is a product from Cengage, which markets directly to students asking them to push the product to their teachers.

Stanford’s Larry Cuban on “Whatever Happened to Ebonics?”

Via The Verge: “Duolingo overhauled its fluency system to make it harder for advanced users.”

From the Scratch Team’s Medium blog: “3 Things To Know About Scratch 3.0.”

Via Edsurge: “Transcription and Accessibility – New Partnerships from Microsoft and Amazon.”

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

A letter to the editor in The Chronicle of Higher Editor asserts thatAI Project at Georgia Tech Does Not Exploit Students.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How A.I. Is Infiltrating Every Corner of the Campus.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education also wants you to know that you can major in “drones.”

Techcrunch says thatRobo Wunderkind wants to build the Lego Mindstorms for everyone.” (Why is Lego Mindstorms not the Lego Minstorms for everyone?)

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Via The Washington Post: “Billionaire offered $25 million to high school alma mater. What he wanted in return was too much for the district.” The billionaire in question: Stephen A. Schwarzman. The school: Abington High School in Abington, Pennsylvania. Imagine that: strings attached when someone gives you money.

“Philanthropic” sponsored content on Edsurge, paid for by Salesforce.org and by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

School administration software-maker Connexeo has raised $110 million from Great Hill Partners.

Edovo has raised $9 million from Kapor Capital, Ekistic Ventures, Lumina Foundation, SustainVC, Impact Engine, Evolve Foundation, IDP Foundation, and Series Change Investment. The company sells a tablet for use in prison. Here’s how Techcrunch describes it:

Edovo works with facilities to bring in secure wireless networks and tablets that access Edovo’s educational platform. The incentive-based learning program covers a variety of areas, including literacy, college course work, cognitive behavioral therapy and vocational training. Upon completion of certain lessons, incarcerated individuals can receive certificates and entertainment options. They can also use Edovo to stay in touch with their loved ones.

Ed-tech as surveillance and punishment and behavioral management. It’s not just for schools. Anyway. Edovo, which describes itself as “the most innovative carceral technology solution on the market,” has raised $12.3 million total.

Holberton School has raised $8 million from daphni, Trinity Ventures, and the Omidyar Network. The coding bootcamp has raised $12.5 million total.

BookNook has raised $2 million from Better Ventures, the Urban Innovation Fund, Reach Capital, Impact Engine, Kapor Capital, Redhouse Education, and Edovate Capital. The reading software-maker has raised $3.2 million total.

The big “business of ed-tech” news of the week: Edmodo has been acquired by Chinese game-maker NetDragon. NetDragon will pay $137.5 million for the company – but of that just $15 million is cash; the rest is equity in NetDragon. Edmodo had raised some $77.5 million in venture capital according to Crunchbase ($100 million according to Edsurge). Either way, it’s not a good look, and not a good ending. As The Financial Times puts it, “EdTech fails to pay, again.”

Coding bootcamp Thinkful has acquired coding bootcamp Bloc.

Credly has acquired Pearson’s badge platform, Acclaim.

Campus Labs has acquired Chalk & Wire.

Reuters looks at Springer Nature’s upcoming IPO.

It’s not venture capital, but it’s funding news. I guess. Techcrunch reports that “Sesame Street turns to Kickstarter to fund autism book.”

More business news from Mindwires Consulting’s Phil Hill: “Moody’s Downgrades Blackboard Debt, Focuses On Learn Ultra Delivery.”

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via The Washington Post: “The new lesson plan for elementary school: Surviving the Internet.”

Via Edscoop: “Personal information of 1 million potential college applicants ‘exposed inadvertently’.” The data in question was from Target Direct Marketing.

Via the Windsor Star: “‘Personal and private’ info of Essex school students stolen from teacher’s home.”

Via MIT Technology Review: “YouTube may be illegally collecting kids’ data.” Indeed. “Over 20 advocacy groups complain to FTC that YouTube is violating children’s privacy law,” Techcrunch reports.

The Verge asks, “How much VR user data is Oculus giving to Facebook?”

Via Education Week: “Schools Choose Not to Delete Facebook Despite Data-Privacy Worries.”

Schools prove soft targets for hackers,” says The Hechinger Report.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

The Atlantic versus "learning styles."

Via The New York Times: “Holocaust Is Fading From Memory, Survey Finds”: “Thirty-one percent of Americans, and 41 percent of millennials, believe that two million or fewer Jews were killed in the Holocaust; the actual number is around six million. Forty-one percent of Americans, and 66 percent of millennials, cannot say what Auschwitz was.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “For Students in Debt, Bitcoin on Their Minds.” The Chronicle of Higher Education responds, “No, Students Probably Aren’t Blowing Their Student Loans on Bitcoin.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “New Study on Income-Driven Repayment Plans.”

“The U.S. could see a shortage of up to 120,000 physicians by 2030, according to a report published Wednesday by the Association of American Medical Colleges,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

From Science Alert: “ Evidence Shows Students Still Learn More Effectively From Print Textbooks Than Screens.”

Edsurge looks at a report called “Making Digital Learning Work,” but as it’s gone – once again – with a headline in the form of a question, that story is in the Betteridge’s Law of Headlines section above. More on the report via Bryan Alexander.

Pew Research onBots in the Twittersphere.”

Education Next on “Studying a Large-Scale Voucher Program in Colombia.”

Via Gizmodo: “Teen Monitoring Apps Don’t Work and Just Make Teens Hate Their Parents, Study Finds.” I wonder what “studies” say about these apps at school and how they make teens feel about teachers and principals?

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Why Researchers Shouldn’t Share All Their Data.”

From the press release: “Facebook Launches New Initiative to Help Scholars Assess Social Media’s Impact on Elections.” Financial backers: the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Democracy Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Charles Koch Foundation, the Omidyar Network, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Education Week on a new Gallup poll: “Teachers on Tech: Good for Student Learning, Bad for Student Health.”

Via PBS News Hour: “Millions of U.S. adults live in education deserts, far from colleges and fast internet.”

Survey finds more teachers are clicking on marketing emails. Congrats, everyone. Good work.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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