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Hack Education


I am making some changes to how this site earns money – or rather, Hack Education will not solicit any donations from readers for the foreseeable future. I am closing my Patreon account, and while I cannot cancel any recurring payments that are c…

What’s Next for Hack Education

I’m making some major changes to Hack Education this year – and no, not because I’ve received venture capital and my investors have told me I have to rewrite the publication’s mission statement again. That’s a different si…

Hack Education Weekly News

Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. In the past, this all feeds the reviews I have written each December on the stories we are told about the future of education. I’m ending that series, I t…

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. But I’m putting that project on pause while I wr…

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. And wow, December is right around the corner, isn&#821…

Hack Education Weekly News

Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the series I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education. (That series isn’t going to be much of one this …

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. It’s a bit tricky to do some weeks – because some weeks I’m traveling and some weeks a major event happens in the middle of the week making some of the “before” reporting seem a little odd.

(National) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(State and Local) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Immigration and Education

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

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

Education in the Courts

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

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

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

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

The Business of Financial Aid

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

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile on Campus…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go, School Sports Team!

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

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

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

Labor and Management

11% of our host community in New York are teachers.

For many teachers, being a host is a natural extension of the knowledge and compassion they have shared throughout their careers. 🏡💰☀️✔️🎒

— Airbnb Citizen (@AirbnbCitizen) November 2, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contests and Conferences

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

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Has ‘Shift’ Happened?asks Edsurge.

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

Upgrades and Downgrades

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

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

I’m sorry, but if you were the “poster child” for promoting tech and now have suddenly positioned yourself to be the “poster child” for criticizing tech, I am just gonna assume you’re more into being a “poster child” than much else

— Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) November 9, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

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

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

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

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

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

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

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

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

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

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

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

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

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

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

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

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

Research, “Research,” and Reports

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

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

“The EDUCAUSE 2019 Top 10 IT Issuesfrom Educause.

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

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

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

The app store for higher educationby Ben Williamson.

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Hack Education Weekly News

Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education. I’m starting on that project soon, and my god, this all looks so grim.

(National) Education Politics

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

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

Thank God we spent the last 20 years paying a dozen middle-aged white men to rehash the same articles on how political correctness on campus is the true threat to free speech

— Dara Very Rude Elevator Screamers Kaye (@DaraKaye) October 29, 2018

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

In today’s @FedRegister, @usedgov said it’s re-upping the application questions for colleges that want to participate in EQUIP. Only one reason to do that: ED’s going to reopen and expand the experiment. 1/

— Clare McCann (@claremccann) October 26, 2018

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

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

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

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

(State and Local) Education Politics

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

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

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

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

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

Education in the Courts

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

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

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

The Business of Financial Aid

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

SoFi settles w/ FTC over allegations it misrepresented how much borrowers save by refinancing. SoFi ads “inflated the actual average savings, sometimes even doubling it, by excluding large categories of consumers.”

— Kaitlin Mulhere (@KMulhere) October 30, 2018

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

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile on Campus…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

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

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

Something about the “blockchain-powered future.”


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

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

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

Go, School Sports Team!

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

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

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

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

Labor and Management

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the height of the Great Recession, more than one out of every 6 workers without a high-school degree was trying unsuccessfully to find a job. Today, only one in 18 is in that situation.

— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) October 31, 2018

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

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Is Open Content Enough?asks Edsurge.

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

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

Upgrades and Downgrades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robots and Other Education Science Fiction

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

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

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

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

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

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

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

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

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

IXL Learning has acquired ABCya.

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

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

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

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Research, “Research,” and Reports

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

Techcrunch touts Angela Duckworth touting “grit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Icon credits: The Noun Project

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. (Oh my god, it’s almost time to start working o…

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. I’m assembling this week’s news roundup on…

Hack Education Weekly News

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

(National) Education Politics

Perhaps the disappearance (and reported murder) of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi doesn’t seem like an education technology story. But it matters. In part, I am including it here at the top of my weekly news roundup because, as a journalist, I find the political climate right now to be incredibly frightening for people in my profession.

But it is also, I’d argue, a story that is deeply connected to many of the people that I write about regularly. And that’s because, Silicon Valley has courted Saudi wealth. “Silicon Valley’s Saudi Arabia Problem,” as Anand Giridharadas puts it in The New York Times. “Technology companies can no longer turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses of one of their largest investors.” SoftBank’s Vision Fund is funded in part by Saudi billions. Among the fund’s ed-tech investments: WeWork, SoFi, and perhaps soon Zuoyebang. When the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman toured the US recently, he hung out with Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Sergey Brin, for example. Among those involved in bin Salman’s $500 billion megacity project, Neom, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

Speaking of billionaires shaping the future, “Betsy DeVos was in Wichita,” says The Wichita Eagle, “but not many people knew about it.” She was, apparently, at Koch Industries.

“The U.S. Department of Education at a convening here yesterday awarded recognition to 10 educational technology projects aiming to expand access to education and pipelines to the work force,” Inside Higher Ed reports. Edsurge was there too. And there’s a blog post on Medium, because I guess someone thinks it’s a good idea for the Office of Ed Tech to outsource its website to a for-profit company. (You can sorta see this attitude – the future is for-profit – in the winners of its grant challenge too.)

(State and Local) Education Politics

Montana vote becomes a national referendum on public confidence in higher ed,” says The Hechinger Report.

Via The Mercury News: “Turn schools into teacher housing? Unique idea sparks backlash in Bay Area community.”

Via Chalkbeat: “With union’s blessing, students at 15 schools in the Bronx will take courses taught remotely.”

Immigration and Education

Via the AP: “Deported parents may lose kids to adoption.”

Via The New Yorker: “The Five-Year-Old Who Was Detained at the Border and Persuaded to Sign Away Her Rights.”

Via The New York Times: “Migrant Children in Search of Justice: A 2-Year-Old’s Day in Immigration Court.”


Education in the Courts

Via The New Yorker: “The Rise and Fall of Affirmative Action.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “A new lawsuit against UW Madison calls into question whether students can participate in the campus sexual adjudication process without implicating themselves in criminal proceedings.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “American Grad Student, Barred From Entering Israel, Remains in Custody Over Alleged Activism.”

The Business of Financial Aid

Via The New York Times: “How a Potential $1 Billion Student Loan Settlement Collapsed After Trump Won.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

Edsurge profiles Stephen Kosslyn, a former Harvard dean, and his new for-profit university (as of yet unaccredited), Foundry College.

As Sears looks to go bankrupt, DeVry University is moving into an old Sears store. The circle of life, or something.

Via The Financial Review: “Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs tapped as BGH Capital bids for Navitas.” Navitas is a for-profit education company that runs courses in Australia (and elsewhere).

There’s more for-profit higher ed news in the accreditation section below.

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

From the edX blog: “Fully Online, Top-Ranked Master’s Degrees Now Available on edX.”

Via Edsurge: “5 Ways MOOC-Based Degrees Are Different From Other Online Degrees.” Not listed: other online degrees simply aren’t hyped the way MOOCs are.

FutureLearn Looking To Raise £40m, Announces a MOOC-based BA,” says Class Central.

WeWork Helps Online Learning Take its Next Step Forward,” according to the Clayton Christensen Institute’s Michael Horn. WeWork, let us recall, is funded in part by the Softbank Vision Fund. See the top of this article for why that matters.

Via The Hechinger Report: “Experts call for an end to online preschool programs.”

Meanwhile on Campus…

Inside Higher Ed on “The Scooter Wars of 2018.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “U. of Michigan Disciplines Professor Who Refused to Recommend a Student Heading to Israel.”

Via WUSA9: “Transgender student barred from shelter in locker rooms during school safety drill.” A follow-up via ThinkProgress: “Mother of transgender daughter kept out of locker rooms during lockdown drill speaks out.”

Via NPR: “Trying Not To Break Down – A Homeless Teen Navigates Middle School.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Anonymous Website Aims to Out Sexual Assaulters at U. of Washington.”

Via ProPublica: “Confusion for Prairie View A&M Students on the Last Day for Voter Registration.”

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

Via Inside Higher Ed: “The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, an embattled national accrediting agency, has sanctioned Niels Brock, a Danish business college, over concerns that the college lacks approval from the Danish government to issue bachelor’s degrees.”

“Most states are failing to address a fundamental driver of teacher discontent: A teaching re-licensure system that doesn’t encourage career growth,” says Pacific Standard.

There’s more on the GED, that very old competency-based learning exam, in the research section below.

Go, School Sports Team!

There’s a court case involving a University of Wisconsin football player up in the courts section above.

The Business of Job Training

Edsurge on “The Flipped Hiring Revolution,” which if I understand the idea correctly means getting people to work for you before you actually hire them.

Inside Higher Ed continues to investigate problems with the career services company Handshake: “University of Delaware is changing its policies after a student was able to fool career-services platform Handshake and the institution with a blatantly fraudulent job posting.”

Via The Verge: “Amazon reportedly scraps internal AI recruiting tool that was biased against women.” Of course, the technology is biased because the data that Amazon used to “train” the algorithm was biased, which likely means that Amazon’s recruiting practices were biased in the first place.

Via Techcrunch: “Upskill launches support for Microsoft HoloLens.”

Contests and Conferences

There’s more about the story of Jamal Khashoggi in the politics section above, but via NBC: “Media companies pulling out of Saudi conference after Khashoggi’s disappearance.” The conference in question: The Future Investment Initiative. According to the conference website, the only participating education company is VIPKID, a Chinese tutoring company (whose investors include Learn Capital and Sequoia Capital) that is currently one of the most well-funded ed-tech startups.

Edsurge covers OpenEd: “Beyond Free Materials: OER Advocates Push For Inclusiveness in Teaching Practices.”

Edsurge writes that “New Competition Wants to Bring Ethics to Undergraduate Computer Science Classrooms” just a few days after claiming that “The Most Important Skills for the 4th Industrial Revolution? Try Ethics and Philosophy.” Really nice set up there.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Alexa, Should We Trust You?asks The Atlantic.

Does OER Actually Improve Learning?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

Teens Are Being Bullied ‘Constantly’ on Instagram,” writes Taylor Lorenz. You’d think all those teachers promoting their wares on Instagram would notice, eh?

Via Edsurge: “Drinking, Smoking and Sugar: How Unsavory Ads Wound Up on Edmodo.”

Via Buzzfeed: “Google Is Shutting Down Google+ After It Discovered A Bug That Exposed Personal Information.”

The Weekly Standard reviews the new book by Charlie Kirk, head of Turning Point USA, calling it a “hot mess.”

This headline – OMG – from Chalkbeat: “In a tough business, startups vie to become the Uber and Lyft of child care.”

Sponsored content on Edsurge this week paid for by Macmillan Learning includes this and this.

Microsoft says it is open-sourcing its patent portfolio.

E-cigarette maker Juul is the fastest startup in history to reach decacorn status. 4X faster than Facebook. 5X faster than Snap. 11X faster than Dropbox.
Companies that sell physical products aren’t supposed to scale that quickly.

— Zack Guzman (@zGuz) October 9, 2018

Um, it does help that Juul’s product is literally addictive. (The e-cigarettes, that is. Not the mindfulness curriculum.)

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Via Chalkbeat: “What happens when you pay students to get ready for college? One state is about to find out, with help from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.” The state in question is Rhode Island. And golly, behavior modification sure remains popular among this crowd, doesn’t it.

Summit Schools to Spin Out Learning Program,” says Edsurge. The learning management system, which the charter school chain utilizes, has been built by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

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

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

RedShelf has raised $25 million from DNS Capital LLC, Tao Huang, and Rick Lane. The digital textbook company has raised $33.1 million total.

Kahoot has raised $15 million from Northzone, Microsoft, and Datum AS. The “aren’t quizzes so much fun” company has raised $58.9 million total.

Lambda School has raised $14 million from GV (Google Ventures) and Stripe. The learn-to-code company has raised $18.1 million total.

Wiley has acquired Learning House for $200 million.

Trilogy Education has acquired JobTrack and Firehose Project.

Not ed-tech, but certainly a company that gives you an idea about what Silicon Valley thinks about the future of family and work – the story via Techcrunch: “YC-grad Papa raises $2.4 million for its ‘grandkids-on-demand’ service.”

Also not ed-tech-related, I suppose (except for the story above about how DeVry University is moving into an old, abandoned department store), but “Sears Hires Advisers to Prepare Bankruptcy Filing,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

There’s more for-profit education business in the for-profit education section above.

SoftBank is considering a majority stake in WeWork,” says Techcrunch. This is part of SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which is funded in part by the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman. See the very top of this article for more. And for crying out loud, be wary of people who are claiming that WeWork is the future.

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

Amazon just filed a new patent for an Alexa system that can tell when you’re sick (so it can sell you cough drops). Technical description: a voice-processing algorithm that detects when a user’s emotional state is abnormal

— Drew Harwell (@drewharwell) October 9, 2018

Good thing no school would be stupid enough to put one of these devices in a classroom or dorm.

Speaking of terrible ideas that get foisted onto schools, there’s more on Google+ in the upgrade/downgrade section above.

Via The Guardian: “Facebook Portal smart screen to launch amid concerns over privacy.”

Great time to launch a creepy home surveillance device, Facebook, as Buzzfeed reports that “The FBI Is Now Investigating Facebook‘s Security Breach Where Attackers Accessed 30 Million Users’ Personal Information.”

Larry Cuban on “Facing the Trilemma of Classroom ‘Data Walls’.”

Babysitter screening app Predictim uses AI to sniff out bullies,” says Venture Beat. What could possibly go wrong.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

Via The Washington Post: “Percentage of young U.S. children who don’t receive any vaccines has quadrupled since 2001.”

Falling Confidence in Higher Ed,” says Inside Higher Ed, explaining the results of the latest Gallup poll.

Via The Hechinger Report: “GED and other high school equivalency degrees drop by more than 40% nationwide since 2012.”

I’m tracking the genetics claims being made about education (what is arguably a return of eugenics). Related: this review of Robert Plomin’s new book, Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are, in The Guardian.

The latest version of How People Learn is out.

More from The Outline on that academic journal “hoax” bullshit.

Icon credits: The Noun Project