Hack Education Weekly News

The big education news this week: Purdue University is buying the for-profit Kaplan University. All the details (or at least what we know now) are in the for-profit higher ed section below.

Education Politics

Via The New York Times: “Trump Orders Review of Education Policies to Strengthen Local Control.” “ What does Trump’s executive order on education do? Not much,” says The LA Times’ Joy Resmovits.

Via WaPo’s Valerie Strauss: “Trump’s rather weird meeting with the 2017 Teachers of the Year.”

Via The Hill: “21 state AGs denounce DeVos for ending student loan reform.”

Via The Washington Post: “ Education Department relaxes financial aid process in the absence of IRS tool .”

In other Department of Education bureaucratic nightmares, “Dozens of Colleges’ Upward Bound Applications Are Denied for Failing to Dot Every I,” The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The House Veterans Affairs Committee this week postponed a planned hearing on potential updates to the GI Bill amid growing opposition to a proposal that would require new service members to pay into the GI Bill for future benefits.”

New hires at the Department of Education include former HP exec Holly Luong Ham (she will serve as the assistant secretary for management) and former Congressional staffer Liz Hill (she’ll serve as the press secretary). Elsewhere in the administration, Trump’s new State Department spokesperson “spread toxic anti-Muslim stories for years,” says The Intercept, highlight a segment where former FOX anchor Heather Nauert described swim classes for Somali-American girls as “Sharia Law.”

Via Education Week: “FCC Chairman Announces Plan to Roll Back Key Net Neutrality Rules.” The Trump Administration is calling it “restoring Internet freedom,” because of fucking course.

Via Chalkbeat: New York City “Mayor Bill de Blasio announces plan to expand universal pre-K to 3-year-olds.” (“What do we really know about the value of prekindergarten?” asks WaPo’s Valerie Strauss, before reprinting an article by UVA professor Dan Willingham.)

The NAACP endorses OER.

The New York Times on the conservative think tank The Heartland Institute’s efforts towards “Sowing Climate Doubt Among Schoolteachers.” (Not to mention The New York Times’ own efforts to sow climate doubt.)

Via Infodocket: “Two U.S. Senators Introduce Bill to Keep Government Research Data Publicly Available (Preserving Data in Government Act).”

A bill that would let the President pick the next Register of Copyrights has passed the House of Representatives.

The Rwandan government plans to roll out digital education this summer. It’s a partnership with Microsoft.

The Egyptian parliament is weighing doing away with print textbooks and using digital materials instead. “5 Reasons Why e-textbooks in Egypt Would Be Inequitable” by Maha Bali.

Via the BBC: “University staff from EU countries should be guaranteed a right to stay and work in the UK after Brexit to avoid a ‘damaging brain drain’, says a report from MPs.”

Immigration and Education

Via The New York Times: “Judge Blocks Trump Effort to Withhold Money From Sanctuary Cities.”

Via EdSource: “1 in 8 children in California schools have an undocumented parent.”

Education in the Courts

Via KIRO7: “Charges filed after University of Washington shooting outside Milo Yiannopoulos event.” “Prosecutors say Elizabeth Joy Hokoana, 29, and her husband, Marc K. Hokoana [supporters of Yiannopoulos, let me editorialize] ‘created a situation designed to allow Elizabeth Hokoana to shoot the victim in the middle of an extremely crowded event under the guise of defending herself or her husband.’”

Via The Washington Post: “Lawsuit filed against UC Berkeley for canceling Ann Coulter speech.” More on Coulter cancelling her speech in the campus section below.

Via NPR: “West Virginia State University Says It Is Suing Dow Chemical For Contamination.”

Via Multichannel News: “Trayvon Martin Attorney Parks Targets AT&T Over Alleged Broadband Redlining.” (In Cleveland.)

More on sanctuary cities in the courts in the immigration section above. More on the NCAA’s legal battles in the sports section below.

Testing, Testing…

“Nation’s Report Card Finds Mixed Grades For U.S. Students In Visual Arts, Music,” NPR reports. The “nation’s report card” is the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. And I hardly noticed any freak out about these scores this week like there usually is about math scores. Weird. It’s almost as though the narrative about “failing schools” doesn’t care much about students’ creativity.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Purdue University is buying Kaplan University for a dollar. Will this “new university” become a public university? Or something else? That is, will faculty have the benefits of other public universities in the state? (Wait, do Indiana professors still have benefits?) Dunno. But it’s a sign of the times, says The Chronicle of Higher Education. “A bold move,” says Inside Higher Ed. Edsurge’s Jeff Young and Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill both asked industry analyst Trace Urdan for his take. I’m waiting for Tressie McMillan Cottom’s response, as she’s certainly unlikely to hype the industry angle and will surely raise the important issues surrounding equity, “lower ed,” and justice. Me, I wrote about how far Kaplan Inc’s reach is in education politics and products.

Elsewhere: “North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has opened an investigation into Charlotte School of Law,” says Politico.

More on the University of Phoenix’s new president in the HR section below.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

Online education pioneer Tony Bates asksWhat is online learning?”

EdX has launched some new “professional certificate programs.”

From the press release: “ MOOCs and books initiative launched by Springer and Federica Weblearning.”

Via NBC News: “How to Thrive: Arianna Huffington Launches E-Learning Series.” (It’ll run on LinkedIn Learning, formerly Lynda.com, which means it’ll cost you $24.99 a month.)

Meanwhile on Campus…

How the school-to-prison pipeline targets students of color, via Mic: “This Texas 6th-grader was threatened with suspension all because of a haircut.”

Via The New York Times: “Family by Family, How School Segregation Still Happens.”

Right-wing troll Ann Coulter pulled out of her talk at UC Berkeley, because “because she had lost the backing of conservative groups that had initially sponsored her appearance.” Good grief, the handwringing. “We Have Been Here Before,” says Swarthmore history professor Timothy Burke.

More in the courts section above on the charges filed against a person who shot a protestor at a Milo Yiannopoulos event at the University of Washington early this year. There’s also a lawsuit against UC Berkeley for cancelling Coulter’s speech (which I haven’t heard will move forward since Coulter was the one who cancelled.)

Via The Southern Poverty Law Center: “New Alt-Right ‘Fight Club’ Ready for Street Violence.” But sure, let’s condemn “liberal college students” as the problem.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Middlebury Professor Sorry for Co-Sponsoring Murray Talk.”

Via Newsweek: “Rand Paul to Teach ‘Dystopian Visions’ Course at George Washington University.”

Via The LA Times: “University of California administration is paying excessive salaries and mishandling funds, state audit says.” Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Janet Napolitano Disputes Finding That Her Office Held $175 Million in Undisclosed Funds.”

Via Democracy: “The Untold History of Charter Schools.”

Gotta love a quote like this, from a story in Edsurge profiling McComb, Mississippi’s Summit Elementary School: “We are learning how to mitigate between policy and trying to be as innovative as possible without breaking state laws.” I’m more interested in hearing about segregation and state laws in Mississippi than the adaptive learning software a school is using. But hey.

Edsurge offers “Your Guide to Running a School Like Disney World.” Oh. My. God.

Via The Hechinger Report: “With number of student-parents up, availability of campus child care is down.”

Via The New York Times: “In New York City Schools, an Ever-Rising Tide of Homeless Students.”

Via Times Higher Education: “Why Germany Educates International Students for Free.”

Via the Hong Kong Free Press: “China’s 8m graduates: Inside the world’s largest higher education boom.”

Via The New York Times: “At Hungary’s Soros-Backed University, Scholars Feel a Chill.”

“National Association of Scholars calls on universities to close their Confucius Institutes. Defenders say there’s nothing sinister about the Chinese-backed centers,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via Pitchfork: “Beyoncé Launches ‘Formation Scholars’ Scholarship Program.” The scholarship, “for young women studying creative arts, music, literature, or African-American studies,” will be offered to students at Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design, and Spelman College.

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen has doubled down on his prediction that half of all universities might close or go bankrupt within 10 to 15 years. He first made this prediction 6 years ago, so we’re looking at 4 to 9 years out, I guess. For what it’s worth, according to the latest data from the NCES, the number of post-secondary institutions in the US has increased since 2011. (Increased by just 2, but still.)

Accreditation and Certification

“When a College Degree Isn’t Enough,” according to The Atlantic.

Sebastian Gorka, Trump’s deputy assistant and a fan of wearing Nazi memorabilia, might have a fake PhD.

Inside Higher Ed reports on problems at Tallahassee Community College after students discovered their health IT program was not properly accredited.

Go, School Sports Team!

“A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit claiming that the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Pac–12 Conference infringed on labor laws and thus owed money to a former Division I football player,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

From the HR Department

Kristina Johnson, formerly an under secretary in the US Department of Energy under President Obama, has been named the new Chancellor of SUNY.

Peter Cohen, formerly the executive VP of McGraw-Hill Education, has been hired as the new president of the University of Phoenix.

Russell “Rusty” Greiff has joined 2U as its senior VP and regional general manager. Greiff has previously been a partner at the 1776 venture fund and he was also a co-founder of the test prep company Grockit.

Jeff Fernandez, the co-founder of the online learning company Grovo, has resigned. His other two co-founders are gone from the company too, says Axios’ Dan Primack.

Perhaps this will help the Grovo fellows: “Tips for Landing an Edtech Gig – From the EdSurge Jobs Team.” (Wow. This image speaks volumes.)

On the hiring of serial predators: “Ousted Over Sexual Misconduct Claims, and On to the Next Teaching Job.”

Students Oppose Pomona College’s Hiring of Alice Goffman as a Visiting Scholar," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Resident Advisers Gain the Right to Unionize.”

The Business of Job Training

Via The Wall Street Journal: “Liberal Arts Colleges, in Fight for Survival, Focus on Job Skills.”

It’s not a “skills gap,” says Edsurge. It’s an “awareness gap.”

The Hechinger Report profiles Mechatronics Akademie, “a modern iteration of career and technical education for high school students. Created through a partnership between the local department of education, the Volkswagen Chattanooga factory and Chattanooga State Community College, it uses online and in-person instruction in an out-of-school setting to prepare students who might not pursue higher education after high school.”

Upgrades and Downgrades

It’s 2017, and Wired still promotes a narrative that hackers” are all young men. Good job.

Here’s the headline from The Next Web: “Universities finally realize that Java is a bad introductory programming language.” But thing is, most universities already do not teach Java as the intro language. The most commonly taught language is now Python. But do strive to maintain the narrative that universities are out-of-date and irrelevant, tech blog.

There have been several stories recently calling the Google Books project a failure. The Executive Director of HathiTrust responds.

Internet Archive to ignore robots.txt directives,” says Boing Boing.

Via Techcrunch: “As Chromebook sales soar in schools, Apple and Microsoft fight back.”

Google announces more updates to its pseudo-LMS, Google Classroom.

Inside Higher Ed examines the challenges facing LMS provider Blackboard.

Via Campus Technology: “Pearson Expands Textbook Rental Program.”

Meal kits seem to be a popular startup idea right now. So no surprise, Techcrunch informs us that “Scrumpt now offers fresh, healthy lunches for kids.”

The Gap advertises tenure track professor wear.

Not directly ed-tech related, but with all the algorithmic learning hype, I thought I’d include this story anyway: “FaceApp apologizes for building a racist AI.”

“How Can VR be Used for Learning?” asks Jade E. Davis on the DML Central blog.

Snapchat’s smart pivot into an AR company but is AR ready for learning?” asks Donald Clark.

Via Edsurge: “Khan Academy’s New ‘Teacher Aid’ Tool Goes for a Test Drive in Southern California.” There’s a data dashboard, so you know it simply has to be useful.

IHE ed-tech blogger Joshua Kim wonders “Who Exactly Holds This Neoliberal EdTech Ideology?” Shrug.

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales is launching a new journalism site, WikiTribune, where folks are expected to work for free but there’s no neoliberalism in ed-tech so why worry.

Inside Higher Ed reports thatFannie Mae, the largest backer of mortgage credit in the country, has issued new guidelines allowing home owners to refinance their mortgages to pay off their student loan debt. The option to essentially swap student loan debt for mortgage debt is an expansion of a program launched last year with personal finance company SoFi.”

Via Techcrunch: “CommonBond now offers direct student loans alongside debt refinancing.”

Via Buzzfeed: Navient, “America’s largest student loan company was also the most-complained-about financial services company in the country over the last three months, according to new government data released on Tuesday.” Nope. No neoliberalism here. Move along.

Via The Financial Times: “ Inside Liberia’s controversial experiment to outsource education.” That’s to the ed-tech company Bridge International Academies. Nope. No neoliberalism anywhere in ed-tech.

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

According to Research and Markets’ latest forecast, “the artificial intelligence market in the US education sector to grow at a CAGR of 47.50% during the period 2017–2021.”

Via CNBC: “Google exec, Mark Cuban agree that these college majors are the most robot-resistant.”

Learn-to-code toy Ozobots is launching Spiderman and Guardians of the Galaxy branded robots.

Inside Higher Ed looks at drones (and rules about drones) on college campuses.

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

EverFi has raised $190 million in a Series D round of funding from The Rise Fund, TPG Growth, Advance Publications, Allen & Company, Eric Schmidt, Ev Williams, Jeff Bezos, and Main Street Advisors. The online “off-curriculum” education company has raised $251 million total.

EverFi also announced this week that it’s acquired the online compliance training company Workplace Answers.

MarcoPolo Learning has raised $8.5 million from Boat Rocker Ventures, Horizons Ventures, Seedcamp, and DST Global. The mobile app maker has raised $11.9 million total.

CollegeVine has raised $3.6 million from Morningside Technology Ventures, University Ventures, and Silicon Valley Bank. The admissions consulting service has raised $6.7 million total.

In February, Holberton School announced it had raised $2.3 million in funding. This week, there were more details about who those investors are – including R&B artist Ne-Yo who will join the coding school’s board of directors.

Square is acquiring the engineering team from Yik Yak for less than $3 million. Yik Yak has raised $73.5 million in funding.

Via Edsurge: “The Asian Money Fueling US Edtech Investments.”

Although this Wall Street Journal article is about the tech industry broadly, it’s still worth noting: “Once-Flush Startups Struggle to Stay Alive as Investors Get Pickier.”

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via The New York Times: “In China, Daydreaming Students Are Caught on Camera.”

Via The Red & Black, an independent student paper serving the University of Georgia: “UGA Dining Halls to introduce eye scanners.”

Via EducPros.fr: “Pour la CNIL, ‘la France doit garder la souveraineté de ses données scolaires’.”

Via Education Dive: “Casper College looks to Amazon approach to customize student experiences.” “Shouldn’t we be able to use our LMSes to aggregate the experience of every student based on the DNA of their self-selected digital assets?” the CIO asks. No. You shouldn’t.

Speaking of using Amazon as a model for education, via Motherboard: “Amazon Wants to Put a Camera and Microphone in Your Bedroom.” “Echo Look will use machine learning to decide if you look fat in that shirt.”

Smart Sparrow Adds Learner Data Analytics,” says Campus Technology.

Edsurge profiles “literacy” app Newsela and claims “super users” want more data sharing. No disclosure that Newsela and Edsurge share investors.

Via Duo Labs: “Phishing Across the Pond: 70% of U.K. Universities Impacted.”

Cyber criminals are sharing millions of stolen university email credentials,” says USA Today.

“Should We Be Sending Students Who Hack Their Schools to Jail?” asks Doug Levin. No.

The list of questions Edsurge says schools are supposed to ask ed-tech vendors contains no mention of privacy or information security.

The 4 Issues AltSchool Needs to Figure Out to Scale Its ‘Personalized Learning’ Platform” also do not include privacy or security. Perhaps that is how you “scale.”

Data and “Research”

Via The Guardian: “Teenage hackers motivated by morality not money, study finds.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A report released Tuesday by the Science Coalition identifies 102 companies whose creation was fueled by competitive federal research grants from agencies like the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.” (The point: do not defund those agencies.)

Prediction press release service Research and Markets says that the “global cloud-based English language learning (ELL) market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.07 percent from 2017 to 2021.”

The ANOVA “study of the week”: “When It Comes to Student Satisfaction, Faculty Matter Most.” (Also via FdB: “the Official Dogma of Education (version 1.0).”)

A report via Google Research: “Unconscious Bias in the Classroom.”

Via Education Week: “Better-Educated Families Less Likely to Choose Pa. Cyber Charters, Study Finds.”

Here’s a headline to side-eye, via The Federalist: “Dartmouth Study Finds Democrats Are The Least Tolerant Students On Campus.”

“The Prevalence of Hook-Up Culture on College Campuses Is Completely Exaggerated – and That’s a Problem,” says The Pacific Standard, drawing on research by St. Vincent College professor Jason King.

The Atlantic’s Melinda D. Anderson looks at research on how racism affects math education.

The NMC Horizon Report 2017 – the Library Edition

Pew Research asks, “In America, Does More Education Equal Less Religion?”

Why is the student veteran graduate rate so low, asks The Atlantic.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Students from American families with the highest incomes are almost five times likelier than students from the poorest families to earn a bachelor’s degree by age 24, a new report shows.”

Also via Inside Higher Ed: “On average, white and Asian students earn a college-level credential at a rate about 20 percentage points higher than Hispanic and black students do, a new report shows.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Colleges Whose Undergraduates Borrowed the Highest Average Amounts in Federal Loans in 2014–15.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics finds that 63 percent of college graduates still held student loan debt within four years of earning their degree.”

“A report released Thursday found largely negative results for students who participated in the District of Columbia’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, suggesting that many of the program’s beneficiaries might actually fare better if they turn down the private-school money,” says The Atlantic, asking how this will affect the Trump administration’s position on vouchers. (Trick question!)

Vouchers for students with disabilities aren’t always what they seem,” says Harvard Education’s Laura Schifter.

Charter-advocate publication The 74 boasts that “U.S. News Ranks America’s Top Public High Schools – and for the First Time, Charters Dominate Top 10,” but let’s perhaps consider how the US News and World Report’s rankings are pretty questionable to begin with.

Via The Cambridge Student: “National student boycott invalidates National Student Survey data.” I learned during my recent trip to the UK that the National Student Survey is a Very Big Deal, and by the sounds of it, its invalidation might be Very Good News.


Via Berkeley News: “Hubert Dreyfus, preeminent philosopher and AI critic, dies at 87.” Read What Computers Can’t Do, and think more critically about how we define “reason” and “intelligence” and machine interventions in education.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

from Hack Education http://ift.tt/2oU4KbU


I have added a script to my websites today that will block annotations – namely those from Genius and those from Hypothes.is. I have been meaning to do this for a while now, so it’s mostly a project that comes as I procrastinate doing something else rather than one that comes in response to any recent event.

I took comments of my websites in 2013 because I was sick of having to wade through threats of sexualized violence in order to host conversations on my ideas.

My blog. My rules. No comments.

I’ve made this position fairly well known – if you have something to say in response, go ahead and write your own blog post on your own damn site. So I find the idea that someone would use a service like Hypothes.is to annotate my work on my websites particularly frustrating. I don’t want comments – not in the margins and not at the foot of an article. Mostly, I don’t want to have to moderate them. I have neither the time nor the emotional bandwidth. And if I don’t want to moderate comments, that means I definitely do not want comments to appear here (or that appear to be here) that are outside my control or even my sight.

This isn’t simply about trolls and bigots threatening me (although yes, that is a huge part of it); it’s about extracting value from my work and shifting it to another (for-profit) company which then gets to control (and monetize) the conversation.

Blocking annotation tools does not stop you from annotating my work. I’m a fan of marginalia; I am. Blocking annotations stops you from writing in the margins here on this website.

from Hack Education http://ift.tt/2q8Ojfz

Hack Education Weekly News

Education Politics

Via The Military Times: “There’s a plan in Congress to start charging troops for their GI Bill benefits.”

“Should DeVos Block an Embattled Student Loan Giant’s Expansion?” Bloomberg asks. That’s poor embattled Navient.

Via The New York Times: “DeVos Halts Obama-Era Plan to Revamp Student Loan Management.”

More on the business of student loans in the upgrades/downgrades section below.

Via Pacific Standard: “Department of Education to Investigate Alleged Discrimination in Richmond Schools.”

Via The Verge: “Trump administration says it won’t release White House visitor records.” The White House has also discontinued open.gov.

“The Next Higher-Ed Funding Battle to Watch May Be in New Mexico,” says The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Immigration and Education

Via USA Today: “First protected DREAMer is deported under Trump.”

Tech Is Dominating Efforts To Educate Syrian Refugees,” reports NPR.

Would-be students have many immediate needs. They have universally experienced some form of trauma. There is a lack of schools, teachers, books, uniforms and food. Yet, according to this study, nearly half of the donors have chosen to supply educational technology, far more than are building schools, providing basic books and materials or employing teachers.

Trump Signs Order That Could Lead to Curbs on Foreign Workers,” The New York Times reports. More on changes to the H1-B visa program via The Chronicle of Higher Education and Axios.

Education in the Courts

Via The Washington Post: “Supreme Court case could pave the way for vouchers for Christian schools – or do just the opposite.”

Via Fortune: “These Popular Headphones Spy on Users, Lawsuit Says.” These popular headphones are the very expensive Bose headphones. Good thing no one in education is predicting that connected devices or the Internet of Things are the future, otherwise we’d have to be concerned about privacy in schools, right?

Testing, Testing…

Via Education Week: “Rhode Island drops unpopular standardized test system.”

“Free College”

NYT bore David Brooks has thoughts on “The Cuomo College Fiasco.”

“Shut Up About Financial Literacy,” says Sara Goldrick-Rab.

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

ESPN on the downfall of Forest Trail Sports University, an all-sports for-profit university.

Via Edsurge: “Reactions to a College Alternative: Debating the Merits of MissionU.”

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

Via WCTI12.com: “Boy, 8, drives to McDonald’s after learning how online.”

MOOCs Started Out Completely Free. Where Are They Now?” asks Dhawal Shah, founder of the site Class Central. (Disclosure alert: no mention that Edsurge, which published this article, shares an investor with Class Central.)

Via the Udacity blog: “Udacity Launches Mobile Developer Education with Facebook at F8.”

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via Mother Jones: “I Went Behind the Front Lines With the Far-Right Agitators Who Invaded Berkeley.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “After one of its students was seen on video punching a woman at a protest in Berkeley, Calif., the president of California State University at Stanislaus said on Monday it had opened an investigation.”

White supremacist Richard Spencer’s talk at Auburn was canceled, then un-canceled.

Right-wing agitator Ann Coulter’s speech at UC Berkeley was canceled, then un-canceled.

The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf wants to write about something other than how students are protesting free speech on campus and destroying democracy; so college students, I guess you’re supposed to email him with your thoughts.

Via The Washington Post: “‘I don’t like to be touched’: Video shows 10-year-old autistic boy getting arrested at school.”

More handwringing about distracted students and technology in the classroom in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A group of scholars object to a decision by the University of California, Berkeley, to remove many video and audio lectures from public view as a result of a Justice Department accessibility order.”

Via NPR: “Schools Will Soon Have To Put In Writing If They ‘Lunch Shame’.”

Salon plugs charter schools in rural areas.

Last week, NPR covered the lack of clean water at schools on the Navajo Nation. This week, Edsurge covers a charter school there and its promotion of “personalized learning” and assessment technologies. Priorities.

Via The New York Times: “Whittier Law School Says It Will Shut Down.”

University of California’s Payroll Project Reboot Now At $504 Million,” says Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill.

Via The San Francisco Chronicle: “Audit to examine questions on Peralta College district spending.”

Via KHOU: “AR–15 raffled for New Caney school charity.” That’s New Caney, Texas.

Via The New York Times: “Dolly Parton College Course Combines Music, History and Appalachia Pride.” The course will be offered at the University of Tennessee’s Knoxville campus.

Accreditation and Certification

Via Campus Technology: “Education Department Database Publishes Accreditation Warnings.”

Go, School Sports Team!

Via Inside Higher Ed: “NCAA Moves to Alter Football Recruiting Rules.”

Via IndyStar.com: “New IU policy bans athletes with history of sexual or domestic violence.” That’s Indiana University.

More on sports and for-profit universities in the for-profit higher ed section above.

From the HR Department

DPLA executive director Dan Cohen will be stepping down from that role in June and joining Northeastern University as a provost/dean.

Dallas Dance resigns as Baltimore County Schools superintendent,” The Baltimore Sun reports.

Via Buzzfeed: “Black Teachers Are Leaving The Profession Due To Racism.”

Contests and Awards

Via the Education Writers Association: “2016 Finalists for the National Awards for Education Reporting.”

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

“Can There Be a Microscope of the Mind?” asks Mindwire Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.

“Do controversial figures have a right to speak at public universities?” asks The USA Today.

“Can a District Disrupt the Edtech Industry?” asks Edsurge.

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

Upgrades and Downgrades

Via The Hechinger Report: “Using virtual reality to step into others’ shoes.” Related from the radiator design blog: “‘If you walk in someone else’s shoes, then you’ve taken their shoes’: empathy machines as appropriation machines.”

Via NBC Los Angeles, a profile on Caine Monroy, who five years ago create the cardboard Caine’s Arcade.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “American Historical Review, a flagship journal in history, has apologized for assigning a book about inequality and urban education to a professor who has been criticized by many as a white supremacist.”

Via Education Week: “‘Personalized Learning’ Guidebook Geared to Rural Districts’ Needs.”

Via MarketWatch: “America’s student loan giant Navient is about to get even bigger.”

Via The Washington Post: “ Government watchdog investigating discrimination in student loan servicing.”

Via Edsurge: “Why Language Learning Apps Haven’t Helped Struggling ELL Students.”

I didn’t pay close attention to Facebook’s developer event this week. But there were others there to transcribe the PR, so I’m sure you can easily find what glorious products and futures were promised. Via MIT Technology Review: “Facebook’s Sci-Fi Plan for Typing with Your Mind and Hearing with Your Skin.”

In other FB-related news: “Facebook’s algorithm isn’t surfacing one-third of our posts. And it’s getting worse.”

Via Business Insider: “Planned Parenthood is following the ACLU’s lead and is joining a Silicon Valley startup accelerator.” Gross.

Via The Economist: “Silicon Valley’s sexism problem” – “Venture capitalists are bright, clannish and almost exclusively male.”

What higher ed can learn from American Express, according to venture capitalist Ryan Craig.

Via Boing Boing: “Prison inmates built working PCs out of ewaste, networked them, and hid them in a closet ceiling.”

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

Via Techcrunch: “Robot tutor Musio makes its retail debut in Japan.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

Lumen Learning has raised $3.75 million in Series A funding from the Follett Corporation, Alliance of Angels, and the Portland Street Fund. The open courseware startup has raised $6.25 million total. Coverage and reactions from Edsurge, Inside Higher Ed, Geek Wire, Lumen co-founder David Wiley, Stephen Downes, Wiley again (responding to Downes), Mindwire Consulting’s Phil Hill, and Mindwire Consulting’s Michael Feldstein.

Thinkster Math, formerly known as Tabtor Math, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the Jefferson Education Accelerator. The math tutoring company has previously raised $4.7 million.

Frontline Education has acquired job search site Teachers-Teachers.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform

Via The New York Times: “How Top Philanthropists Wield Power Through Their Donations.” Related, by me: “The Omidyar Network and the (Neoliberal) Future of Education.”

Via Edsurge: “New Profit Dishes Out $1M to 7 Organizations in Personalized Learning Initiative.” New Profit is a new venture philanthropy firm funded by the Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. (Disclosure alert, no surprise.)

Via Edsurge: “Houston Community College Receives $300K to Develop Z-Degree Program.” The money comes from the Kinder Foundation. Z-Degrees are programs with zero dollars worth of textbook costs.

Via Edsurge: “Couragion Receives $750k Through Small Business Innovation Research Grant.”

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via Edsurge: “Schoolzilla ‘File Configuration Error’ Exposes Data for More Than 1.3M Students, Staff.” (Disclosure alert: no mention in the story of Edsurge’s shared investor with Schoolzilla.)

“He’s got access to your students’ info and is trying to decide what to do. Now what will YOU do?” asks databreaches.net.

The University of California’s press office announced the school “has uncovered a massive scheme targeting students through its student health plan that fraudulently obtained student information and then stole almost $12 million from UC by writing phony medical prescriptions in the students’ names.”

“Online Courses Shouldn’t Use Remote Proctoring Tools. Here’s Why,” says Edsurge.

Via Chalkbeat: “Counting attendance in school ratings could be smart – or completely misleading.”

Via the ANOVA: “Study of the Week: Discipline Reform and Test Score Mania.”

Via Edsurge: “Panorama’s Student Progress Reports Show More Than Grades (Think Behavior and SEL).” (Disclosure alert: no mention that Edsurge shares an investor with Panorama.)

Via iNews: “University to monitor student social media to gauge well-being.” That’s the University of Buckingham, and this idea sounds awful.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “An Instructor Saw Digital Distraction in Class. So She Showed Students What She’d Seen on Their Screens.”

The lack of respect shown for students’ privacy never ceases to amaze me.

Blackboard says it is “Putting data in the hands of students.” (Not really. The LMS is displaying some of students’ data back at them.)

Data and “Research”

“So Far in 2017, Pace of Investment Into Ed Tech Bouncing Back,” says EdWeek’s Market Brief, drawing on a report from investment research firm CB Insights. (Reminder: you can find my analysis on ed-tech investment at funding.hackeducation.com.)

Via Inside Higher Ed: “PayScale’s Impact (and Limitations).”

Via Quartz: “For half a century, neuroscientists thought they knew how memory worked. They were wrong.”

UVA’s Daniel Willingham on research on computers and children’s social lives.

Via Edsurge: “Interest in Online Higher Ed Gain (But Campus-Based Programs Wane).” That’s according to a report from a consulting firm, Gray Associates.

Support for public higher education rose in 33 states and declined in 17 in 2016 – including a massive drop in Illinois,” according to figures in the 2016 State Higher Education Finance report.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Pathway to a College Presidency Is Changing, and a New Report Outlines How.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “UNESCO Paper on Gaps in Global Completion Rates.”

“A growing body of research shows that full-time college students are more likely to graduate, yet experts caution against policies that neglect part-time students,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

Via WaPo: “Minority teachers in U.S. more than doubled over 25 years – but still fewer than 20 percent of educators, study shows.”

Bryan Alexander on a report from the Institute for the Future: “Americans versus the future.”

Via Education Week: “Augmented, Virtual Reality Yet to Gain Traction in K–12, Survey Finds.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

from Hack Education http://ift.tt/2oZSKX0

Higher Education in the Disinformation Age

This was what I said this evening at a panel at the University of Mary Washington as part of its Presidential Inauguration Week. The panel was titled “Higher Education in the Disinformation Age: Can America’s public liberal arts universities restore critical thinking and civility in public discourse?” The other panelists included Steve Farnsworth (University of Mary Washington), Sara Cobb (George Mason University), and Julian Hayter (University of Richmond). I only had ten minutes, so my remarks really only scratch the surface.

In February 2014, I happened to catch a couple of venture capitalists complaining about journalism on Twitter. (Honestly, you could probably pick any month or year and find the same.) “When you know about a situation, you often realize journalists don’t know that much,” one tweeted. “When you don’t know anything, you assume they’re right.” Another VC responded, “there’s a name for this and I think Murray Gell-Mann came up with it but I’m sick today and too lazy to search for it.” A journalist helpfully weighed in: “Michael Crichton called it the ”Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect," providing a link to a blog with an excerpt in which Crichton explains the concept.

Apologies for quoting Crichton at length:

Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I call it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)

Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story – and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all.

But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn’t. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia.

I remember, at the time, appreciating parts of this observation. Or at least, I too have often felt frustrated with the reporting I read on education and technology – topics I like to think I know something about. But I hope we can see how these assertions that we shouldn’t read and shouldn’t trust newspapers are dangerous – or at the very least, how these assertions might have contributed to our current misinformation “crisis.” And I’d add too – and perhaps this can be part of our discussion – that how we’ve typically thought about or taught “information literacy” or “media literacy” has seemingly done little to help us out of this mess.

This isn’t just about Michael Crichton’s dismissal of journalism (and I’ll get to why he’s such a problematic figure here in a minute.) It’s the President. “Forget the press,” he said during the campaign. “Read the Internet.” It’s the digital technology industry – including those venture capitalists in my opening anecdote – which has invested in narratives and literally invested in products designed to “disrupt” if not destroy “traditional media.” Facebook. Twitter. Automattic (the developer of the blogging software WordPress). Despite the promises that these sorts of tools would “democratize” information, that the “blogosphere” and later social media would provide an important corrective to the failures of “mainstream journalism,” we find ourselves instead in a world in which institutions and experts are no longer trustworthy.

And yet, all sorts of dis- and misinformation – on the Internet and (to be fair) on TV – is believed. And it’s believed in part because it’s not in print and not from experts or academics or certain journalists.

I wanted to share this Michael Crichton story for a number of reasons. As I was preparing my remarks, I faced a couple of challenges. First, I couldn’t remember where or when I’d seen these tweets, although I was certain I’d first heard about the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect from venture capitalists on Twitter. Searching for old tweets – verifying Twitter itself as a source – is not easy. Twitter’s search function offers us to “See what’s happening right now.” The architecture of the platform is not designed as a historical record or source.

I guess these tweets were the conversation I saw – I spent a lot of time looking through old VC tweets from 2013 and 2014 – although my memory tells me it was Tim O’Reilly, a different venture capitalist, who’d mentioned the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect and had caught my eye.

When and if you do find an old tweet you’re looking for – as a scholar, perhaps, or as a journalist – it is stripped from its context within the Twitter timeline, within the user’s stream of tweets. What was happening on February 28, 2014 that prompted venture capitalist Dave Pell to complain about journalism? I couldn’t really divine.

In this exchange, we have a series of other Internet-based information claims. Journalist Mathew Ingram links to a blog post to explain the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect, but if you click, you’ll find all of the links in that particular post are dead, including the one that goes to “The Official Site of Michael Crichton.” If you google “Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect,” the top search result is Goodreads, a book review site owned by Amazon. The excerpt there doesn’t give a date or a source or a link to Crichton’s commentary.

The Internet doesn’t magically surface “the truth.” Its infrastructure can quite readily obscure things. You have to understand how to look for information online, and you have to have some domain expertise (or know someone with domain expertise) so you can actually verify things.

The “Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect” comes from a talk titled “Why Speculate?” that Crichton gave in 2002 at the International Leadership Forum, a think tank run by the now-dormant Western Behavioral Sciences Institute. You can google this stuff, of course. Or maybe you know it. Maybe this is all, to borrow from Crichton “some subject you know well.”

Maybe you’re familiar with Crichton too, or more likely you’ve heard his name – a best-selling author; medically trained, but never formally licensed to practice medicine; creator of the TV show ER; writer and director of the movie Westworld (the one with Yul Brenner); and author of many novels including Jurassic Park, The Andromedia Strain, Disclosure, and State of Fear. After the publication of Disclosure, Crichton was accused of being anti-feminist; after the publication of State of Fear, he sealed his status as one of the leading skeptics of global climate change.

And this is all part of the message of that talk in which he argues for the existence of the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect. Journalism, Crichton contends, is almost entirely speculation. Sunday talk shows, speculation. Global climate change, speculation. “False fears.” Crichton blames the end of fact-checking on the praise for Susan Faludi’s feminist book Backlash. He blames academia, particularly post-modernism: “most areas of intellectual life have discovered the virtues of speculation. In academia, speculation is usually dignified as theory.”

This was 2002 – Crichton doesn’t blame the Internet. He doesn’t blame the Web. He doesn’t blame Facebook. He blames MSNBC. He blames The New York Times.

2002 – A year before Judith Miller’s now discredited reporting on the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq appeared in that very newspaper.

In the past 15 years, I wonder if that the “amnesia effect” has worn off in some troubling rather than liberatory ways. Increasingly we trust very little that the media says. Last year, Gallup found Americans’ trust in the media had dropped to the lowest level in polling history. The media, as Crichton and others contend, is all speculation. “Fake news.”

But it’s not just the media. We face a crisis in all our information institutions – journalism and higher education, in particular. Expertise is now utterly suspect. We mistrust (print) journalists – “the mainstream media,” whatever that means; we mistrust academics; we mistrust scientists.

We still trust some stories sometimes. Importantly, we trust what confirms our pre-existing beliefs. Perhaps we can call this the Michael Crichton Ego Effect. We have designated ourselves as experts-of-sorts whenever we confront the news. We know better than journalists, because of course we do. (This effect applies most readily to men.)

The Internet has made it particularly easy for us to confirm our beliefs and our so-called expertise. Digital technologists (and venture capitalists) promised this would be a good thing for knowledge-building; it appears, instead, to be incredibly destructive. And that’s the challenge for journalism, sure. It’s the challenge for universities. It’s the challenge for democracy.

from Hack Education http://ift.tt/2pJ22qr

The Omidyar Network and the (Neoliberal) Future of Education

This article is part of my research into “who funds education technology,” which I plan to expand with my Spencer Education Fellowship

The Omidyar Network announced earlier this week that it has invested in Data & Society, a New York City-based research institute co-founded by danah boyd. The two-year $850,000 grant will fund Data & Society’s work on “the social and cultural issues arising from the development of data-centric technology.”

The grant is just one of a slew of recent investments by the Omidyar Network in companies and organizations that work in and around education technology, including Khan Academy, Hypothes.is, and Edsurge. And much like Edsurge (as well as another portfolio company, Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept), the Omidyar Network’s investment in Data & Society certainly raises questions about that organization’s ability to be “independent” in its research and analysis.

The Omidyar Network, a “venture philanthropy” firm founded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, has invested over $1 billion in various projects – those run both by for-profit companies and not-for-profit organizations in finance, public policy, property rights, journalism, and education. According to its promotional materials, the Omidyar Network is “dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. We invest in and help scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change.”

The “power of markets,” according to this investment approach, is a force for “social good.” However, the history and the impact of the Omidyar Network’s investments, particularly in the Global South, tell a very different story. It’s a story of neoliberalism; it’s a story of privatized investment at the expense of public infrastructure. And when it comes to education – in the Global North and South – that story is of profound political importance.

The Omidyar Network’s Education Portfolio

Where the dollars have gone:

  • African Leadership Academy (leadership training) – $1.5 million
  • African Leadership University (accredited university) – investment amount unknown
  • Akshara Foundation (private school chain in India) – $950,000
  • AltSchool (private school chain in the US) – $133 million
  • Andela (coding bootcamp in Africa) – $27 million
  • Anudip Foundation (coding bootcamp in India) – $850,000
  • Artemisia (entrepreneurial training and startup accelerator program in Brazil) – investment amount unknown
  • Aspiring Minds (career placement in India) – investment amount unknown
  • Bridge International Academies (private school chain in Africa) – investment amount unknown
  • Code.org (computer science career marketing) – $3.5 million
  • Common Sense Media (media education) – $4.25 million
  • Creative Commons (open licenses) – investment amount unknown
  • DonorsChoose.org (crowdfunding school projects) – investment amount unknown
  • Edsurge (ed-tech marketing) – $2.8 million
  • Ellevation (English-language learning software in the US) – $6.4 million
  • EnglishHelper (English-language learning services in India) – investment amount unknown
  • FunDza (literacy program in South Africa) – $300,000
  • Geekie (adaptive learning platform in Brazil) – investment amount unknown
  • Guten News (literacy program in Brazil) – investment amount unknown
  • Hypothes.is (annotation software) – $1.9 million
  • Ikamva Youth (after-school tutoring program in South Africa) – $1.33 million
  • IMCO (think tank in Mexico) – $202,500
  • Innovation Edge (early childhood education in South Africa) – investment amount unknown
  • Kalibrr (predictive analytics for hiring in the Philippines) – investment amount unknown
  • Khan Academy (video-based instruction) – $3 million
  • LearnZillion (instructional content and professional development company in the US) – investment amount unknown
  • Linden Lab (best known as the maker of Second Life) – $19 million
  • Lively Minds (preschools in Ghana and Uganda) – $360,000
  • Numeric (tutoring program in South Africa) – investment amount unknown
  • Open Knowledge (data and knowledge-sharing organization) – $2.64 million
  • Platzi (online coding classes) – $2.1 million
  • Reach Capital (venture capital firm) – investment amount unknown
  • RLabs (entrepreneurship training in South Africa) – $465,000
  • Siyavula (adaptive textbooks in South Africa) – investment amount unknown
  • Skillshare (course marketplace) – $12 million
  • Socratic (homework help) – $6 million
  • SPARK Schools (a private school chain in Africa) – $9 million
  • Teach for All (Teach for America, globalized) – investment amount unknown
  • Teach for India (Teach for America but for India) – $2.5 million
  • The Education Alliance (organization supporting public-private partnerships in education in India) – investment amount unknown
  • Tinkergarten (marketplace for early childhood education) – $1.2 million
  • Varthana (private student loans in India) – investment amount unknown
  • Wikimedia Foundation (operator of Wikipedia) – investment amount unknown

(Funding data drawn from Crunchbase and from the Omidyar Network’s website)

Investment (as) Ideology

In some ways, the Omidyar Network’s education investments look just like the rest of venture capitalists’: money for tutoring companies, learn-to-code companies, and private student loan companies.

While many insist that the latter should not “count” as ed-tech, to ignore the companies offering private financing for education is to misconstrue the shape and direction that investors and philanthropists like Pierre Omidyar want education to take.

It also obscures the shape and direction that these investors are pushing finance to take, particularly for the very poor and the “unbanked.” Indeed, microfinance initiatives in the developing world have been the cornerstone of the Omidyar Network’s investment strategy for over a decade now. This work has been incredibly controversial, and despite the hype about the promise of micro-loans – “financial inclusion” as the Omidyar Network calls it – the results from these programs have been mixed at best. That is, they have not pulled people out of extreme poverty but rather have saddled many with extreme debt. “Take SKS Microfinance,” write Mark Ames and Yasha Levine in a 2013 profile, “an Omidyar-backed Indian micro-lender whose predatory lending practices and aggressive collection tactics have caused a rash of suicides across India.”

(The winners in microfinance investing: the investors.)

In a 2012 article in the World Economic Review, Milford Bateman and Ha-Joon Chang argue that “microfinance in international development policy circles cannot be divorced from its supreme serviceability to the neoliberal/globalisation agenda.” Nor can the Omidyar Network’s investment policy – in microfinance and beyond – be separated from its explicitly neoliberal agenda.

That holds particularly true for its education investments. The Omidyar Network has backed DonorsChoose.org, for example, which encourages teachers to crowdfund projects and supplies. “The end result,” write Ames and Levine, “is that it normalizes the continued strangling of public schools and the sense that only private funding can save education.”

The Omidyar Network has backed AltSchool, a private school startup that blends algorithmic command-and-control with rhetoric about progressive education. “Montessori 2.0” and such. I recently spoke about AltSchool and its “full stack” approach to education – a technology platform that manages and monitors all digital activities and physical practices in the classroom. AltSchool is one of the most commonly-cited examples of how Silicon Valley plans to “disrupt” and reshape education.

I find this “platforming” of education to be profoundly chilling (and profoundly anti-democratic), particularly with its penchant for total surveillance; but it’s probably Bridge International Academies that serves as the most troubling example of the Omidyar Network’s vision for the future of education.

Bridge International Academies, which is also funded by the Gates Foundation and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative – is a private school chain operating in several African countries that hires untrained adults as teachers. These teachers read scripted lessons from a tablet that in turn tracks students’ assessments and attendance – as well as teachers’ own attendance and pay. Families must pay tuition – this isn’t free public education – and the cost is wildly prohibitive for most. Moreover, outsourcing to scripted lesson delivery does not build the capacity – in terms of infrastructure or human resources – that many African nations need. As such expansion of Bridge International Academies has been controversial, and the Ugandan government ordered all the Bridge schools there to close their doors in August of last year. But earlier in the year, Liberia announced its plans to outsource its entire education system to Bridge International.

So, while in the US we see neoliberalism pushing to dismantle public institutions and public funding for public institutions, in the Global South, these very forces are there touting the “power of markets” to make sure public institutions can never emerge or thrive in the first place. Investors like the Omidyar Network are poised to extract value from the very people they promise their technologies and businesses are there help.

Conveniently, the Omidyar Network’s investment portfolio also includes journalistic and research organizations that are also poised to promote the narratives that aggrandize these very technocratic, market-based solutions.

Disclosure: I have done some paid research for Data & Society on school accountability, and I have published a couple of articles on its website.

from Hack Education http://ift.tt/2pCjPyq

Hack Education Weekly News

Education Politics

From the Department of Education’s press release: “U.S. Secretary of Education Announces Chief of Staff and Additional Staff Hires.” And what a fine bunch. Via ProPublica: “DeVos Pick to Head Civil Rights Office Once Said She Faced Discrimination for Being White.” Also on the list of new hires: Robert Eitel, “who had been criticized for his dual role as a top for-profit college official and Education Department adviser, has resigned from his position at Bridgepoint Education.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “DeVos Withdraws Obama-Era Memos Focused on Improving Loan Servicing.” Also via CHE: “DeVos’s Rollback of Servicing Guidance Raises Fears Among Borrowers’ Advocates.” More on the policy change via IHE. Here’s the very short press release from the Department of Education.

Via The New York Times: “The Accusations Against Navient.” Navient is the country’s largest student loan provider.

“Researchers say removal of an IRS tool for financial aid applicants may have slowed FAFSA submissions, while college aid groups warn that affected students could already be losing out on aid,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

“A bipartisan proposal in the U.S. Senate would open up Pell Grants to low-income students who earn college credits while still enrolled in high school,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

ESSA’s Flexible Accountability Measures Give PE Teachers (and Entrepreneurs) Hope,” says Edsurge. Well, thank goodness that entrepreneurs are hopeful.

Special Ed School Vouchers and the Burden of a ‘Simple Fix’” by The New York Times’ Dana Goldstein.

Via The New York Times: “Arizona Frees Money for Private Schools, Buoyed by Trump’s Voucher Push.”

Via Boing Boing: “California’s charter schools: hundreds of millions of tax dollars for wasteful, redundant, low-quality education.”

Via FOX 59: “State lawmakers say virtual pre-school will be part of pre-K bill.” State lawmakers in Indiana, that is.

Via The Washington Post: Governor Scott “Walker wants Wisconsin to be first state to stop dictating how much time kids should go to school.”

Via Raw Story: “White House solicits Sesame Street characters for Easter Egg Roll four days after bid to end PBS funding.” No one knew the White House Easter Egg Roll could be so complicated.

Via Wired: “The New FCC Chairman’s Plan to Undermine Net Neutrality.”

Via The New York Times: “New Mexico Outlaws School ‘Lunch Shaming’.”

Via Buzzfeed: “California Shows The Rest Of The Country How To Boost Kindergarten Vaccination Rates.”

Immigration and Education

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Evolving Visa and Border Regime.”

Education in the Courts

Via The New York Times: “Rolling Stone Settles Lawsuit Over Debunked Campus Rape Article.”

Via the AP: “Michigan courts can have no role in admission decisions at faith-based schools, a lawyer told the state Supreme Court on Thursday in a case that tests whether a family can sue a Roman Catholic school over their daughter’s rejection.”

Testing, Testing…

Via WaPo’s Valerie Strauss: “The list of test-optional colleges and universities keeps growing – despite College Board’s latest jab.”

“Free College”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “New York State Is Set to Test Free Tuition.” Note: read the fine print. More on the proposal via Inside Higher Ed.

Via The New York Times: “New York’s Free-Tuition Program Will Help Traditional, but Not Typical, Students.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As New York Embraces a Free-Tuition Plan, Private Colleges Fear the Consequences.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

ProPublica looks at the Dream Center Foundation’s acquisition of the Education Management Corporation.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “South Carolina State University is the latest historically black institution to align with the University of Phoenix to expand its online education offerings.”

Sante Fe University of Art and Design will close at the end of the 2017–2018 school year.

Via Edsurge: “Tech Needs More Than Coders. This Bootcamp Will Train Sales Chops (and Even Pay For It).” The bootcamp in question: Sales Bootcamp.

“Common (and Avoidable) Legal Pitfalls for Coding Bootcamps and Alternative Education Providers,” according to three lawyers writing for Edsurge.

Online Education and the Once and Future “MOOC”

Via the Coursera blog: “New mobile features: Transcripts, notes, and reminders.”

Udacity has updated its online "classroom."

It’s lovely to see the big innovation from the MOOC startups in 2017 involves the learning management system.

Meanwhile on Campus…

Via The LA Times: “Boy, 8, and teacher slain in San Bernardino school shooting; gunman kills himself.” The Secretary of Education’s response; POTUS says nothing.

Via The New York Times: “Sexual Abuse at Choate Went On for Decades, School Acknowledges.”

Via NPR: “On The Navajo Nation, Special Ed Students Await Water That Doesn’t Stink.”

Via The New York Times: “PTA Gift for Someone Else’s Child? A Touchy Subject in California.”

Via NPR: “Where Corporal Punishment Is Still Used In Schools, Its Roots Run Deep.”

Is college worth the cost?” asks PBS.

Via NPR: “White Supremacists Trying To Recruit On College Campuses.”

Accreditation and Certification

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “How Open E-Credentials Will Transform Higher Education.” “These developments suggest that open e-credentials in 2017 are indeed as inevitable as e-commerce was in 1997.” LOL, okay.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A changing economy and professionalization is driving an increase in education requirements for child-care workers, but there are concerns about mandating higher degrees for a field that traditionally doesn’t pay well.”

“Can States Tackle Police Misconduct With Certification Systems?” asks The Atlantic. Betteridge’s Law of Headlines tells us “no”, as does history and sociology.

“Should High School Students Need A Foreign Language To Graduate?” asks NPR.

Go, School Sports Team!

LeBron James has emerged as an American education leader,” according to The Plain Dealer’s Phillip Morris.

Via The Sun News: “CCU cheerleaders were paid up to $1,500 for dates, according to investigation.” That’s Coastal Carolina University.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “NCAA Moving to Stop Two-a-Day Football Practices.”

Via The Atlantic: “How School Start Times Affect High-School Athletics.”

From the HR Department

Graduate students at American University have voted to unionize.

Contests and Awards

The winners of this year’s Harold W McGraw Jr Prize in Education: Dr. Christine Cunningham, Founder and Director of Engineering is Elementary (EiE) at the Museum of Science; Dr. Sandy Shugart, President of Valencia College; and Chris Anderson, TED “curator.”

The winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes include Harvard University’s Matthew Desmond for his book Evicted and the Salt Lake Tribune’s staff for its reporting on sexual assault at BYU.

Upgrades and Downgrades

“Is Your Edtech Product a Refrigerator or Washing Machine?” asks the Clayton Christensen Institute’s Julia Freeland Fisher. Historian Jonathan Rees, author of Refrigeration Nation, has a wonderful response to this silly “disruptive innovation” mantra, noting how history gets rewritten to support certain ed-tech narratives.

I love this headline from Campus Technology, which echoes the wise words of Bill and Ted from their excellent adventure: “Ed Tech Changes … and Stays the Same.”

Via Nieman Lab: “ This ‘Wikipedia for fact-checking’ by students makes more room for context and origins of claims online.”

Facebook gets in the “literacy” business. Not really. It’s still in the entertainment and advertising business. “Facebook’s News Literacy Advice Is Harmful to News Literacy,” says Mike Caulfield.

Via Desmos: “The Desmos Geometry Tool.”

Edsurge profiles Lexia Learning in a new research series paid for by a variety of investors and corporations. No mention that Lexia Learning is owned by Rosetta Stone. Very thorough research, gj.

Via CMX: “ How Edcamp Scaled Up 1,500 Community Events Connecting Educators All Over the World.”

Pearson and Chegg are partnering for textbook rentals.

“Ed access to VR growing as low-cost options expand,” says Education Dive. Folks really really really really want VR to be “a thing,” don’t they.

“Why Fixing the Pipeline Alone Won’t End Edtech’s Diversity Problem,” says Edsurge.

In other STEM news, Pornhub awards a “women in tech” scholarship. Because “Pornhub cares.”

“What Would Happen If Learning in School Became More Like Working at a Startup?” asks Edsurge. More racial and sexual discrimination? More dismantling of public institutions in the name of John Galt?

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Cost That Holds Back Ed-Tech Innovation.” Spoiler alert: humans.

Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Growing Pains Begin to Emerge in Open-Textbook Movement.”

Robots and Other Ed-Tech SF

Via The Guardian: “The automated university: bots and drones amid the dreaming spires.”

“Mixing Automation and a Human Touch, New Software Helps Keep Students ‘On Task’,” says Edsurge.

AI Learns Gender and Racial Biases from Language” says Jeremy Hsu in IEEE Spectrum. But I’m sure keeping students “on task” as in the Edsurge story above is a totally progressive and unbiased initiative.

Via Edsurge: “CSUEB Partners with Cognii to Offer Chatbot Services for Students.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Ed-Tech

College Ave has raised $30 million in Series D funding from Comcast Ventures and Leading Edge Ventures. The private student loan company has raised $50 million total, but I’m told “fintech” doesn’t “count” as ed-tech so let’s just ignore this trend, right?

Smart Sparrow has raised $4 million from Moelis Australia Asset Management, One Ventures, and Uniseed Ventures. The adaptive learning company has raised $16 million total.

The Omidyar Network has invested $850,000 in the “future of tech” research organization Data & Society.

Bomberbot has raised $795,000 from Social Impact Ventures. The learn-to-code company has raised $1.19 million total.

TakeLessons has acquired digital sheet music company Chromatik.

Venture/Philanthropy and the Business of Ed Reform

“Who is the Walton Family Foundation Funding?” asks Diane Ravitch.

Privacy, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via the EFF: “Spying on Students: School-Issued Devices and Student Privacy.”

And spying on children at home. Via TNW: “Amazon‘s new dashboard gives parents eyes on their kids’ browsers.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Where Every Student Is a Potential Data Point.”

Via Vocativ: “This Teen’s Story Is Your Worst ‘Predictive Policing’ Nightmare.”

Speaking of predictive policing… Via Edsurge: “This Mathematician Brought Big Data to Advising. Then Deeper Questions Emerged.” The story praises the work of Tristan Denley and his course recommendation tool Degree Compass.

Via Education Week: “Algorithmic Bias a Rising Concern for Ed-Tech Field, RAND Researchers Say.”

Structural Justice in Student Analytics, or, the Silence of the Bunnies” by Jeffrey Alan Johnson.

“What Is the Future of College Marketing?” asks Jeffrey Selingo in part 3 of a series in The Atlantic on big data and higher ed. (Part 1 and part 2.)

Big Data Alone Won’t Help Students,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Other stories in its “big data” series“: ”Big Data for Student Success Still Limited to Early Adopters.“ ”Big Hopes, Scant Evidence.")

Also via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Keeping Up With the Growing Threat to Data Security.”

Via Times Higher Education: “The Australian Approach to Improving Ph.D. Completion Rates.” Spoiler alert: “tracking the performance of those who supervise doctoral students.” Metrics, not humanity. Never humanity.

Data and “Research”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “Value, Number of Education Deals Plummet Over Most Recent Year.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “K–12 Schools Could Save Billions by Sharing Ed-Tech Prices, Report Says.” The report is from the Technology for Education Consortium. (I’ve written about the growing trend of companies and organizations selling procurement consulting services.)

Via The Conversation: “ Who owns the world? Tracing half the corporate giants’ shares to 30 owners.”

Jeb Bush’s ed-reform org ExcelinEd releases a data visualization tool based on school ratings data, Edsurge reports.

Via MindShift: “Delay Kindergarten? Some Research Says, Enroll Anyway.”

“For every $1 spent on SEL, there’s an $11 return,” says Education Dive, summarizing some Penn State and Robert Wood Foundation research into three bullet points.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “New study suggests female professors outperform men in terms of service – to their possible professional detriment.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Compensation survey from AAUP says faculty salaries are up slightly year over year, but institutional budgets continue to be balanced ‘on the backs’ of adjuncts and out-of-state students.”

“Roughly two-thirds of undergraduates are paying more for college than is recommended by a common benchmark for affordability,” according to a report by the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute, and New America.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Study Examines Loan Aversion by Population.”

RealClearEducation makes “The Case for Income Share Agreements.”

“An update on the staggering mass of student loan debtby Bryan Alexander.

“Has Underemployment Among College Graduates Gone Up?” asks Matt Bruenig.

Via Mark Guzdial’s Computing Education Blog: “University CS graduation surpasses its 2003 peak, with poor diversity.”

Via NPR: “Having Just One Black Teacher Can Keep Black Kids In School.”

A report from the Movement Advancement Project: “Segregation and Stigma: Transgender Youth and School Facilities.”

“The Current State of Educational Blogging 2016,” according to Edublogs’ Sue Waters.

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Ithaka S+R and OCLC Research launch project to examine how universities and their libraries are changing.”

Via the ANOVA: “Study of the Week: Computers in the Home.”

Via Vox: “A new study finds political polarization is increasing most among those who use the internet least.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

from Hack Education http://ift.tt/2ouR9Zd