What Went Wrong at the Upstart School Milken Backed? - Bloomberg: "K12 Inc. (LRN) was heralded as the next revolution in schooling. Billionaire Michael Milken backed it, and former Florida governor Jeb Bush praised it. Now the online education pioneer is failing to live up to its promise. Plagued by subpar test scores, the largest operator of online public schools in the U.S. has lost management contracts or been threatened with school shutdowns in five states this year. The National Collegiate Athletic Association ruled in April that students can no longer count credits from 24 K12 high schools toward athletic scholarships...."
How dozens of failing for-profit schools found an unlikely savior: a debt collector - The Washington Post: "... “ECMC doesn’t have any experience operating an educational institution. And it’s buying an institution that is having major problems and offering a very questionable education. Is [ECMC] in a position, without any kind of experience, to improve a failing school?” said Robyn Smith, a lawyer at the National Consumer Law Center, which represents student borrowers. ECMC plans to run the schools under Zenith Education Group, a subsidiary separate from its debt collection practice. Asked whether his company was a suitable choice to acquire Corinthian campuses, ECMC President David Hawn said its experience collecting defaulted loans has given the company “firsthand understanding what coming out of school with high debt and low job prospects does to a student."...."
An interview with Sebastian Thrun. The Google X co-founder, Udacity CEO and inventor of Google's driverless car sits down with Emily Chang to explain why he has set his sights on fixing global education. (Source: Bloomberg 10/2)
Disruptive Teaching Technologies - Recognising innovative credentials - Higher Education Forum / September 30th 2014: Massive open online courses and personalized learning systems offer the promise of low overhead and democratized education. However, are these alternative degrees given the same weight in the eyes of employers? Will high-skill jobs always require a traditional credential? Have these new teaching technologies really disrupted the traditional education model? Published on Oct 20, 2014 Anant Agarwal Chief executive, edX
"The universities that are in trouble are those that are stuck in the middle. We're seeing this 'hollowing out of the middle' in industry after industry."-Andy Hines, assistant professor and program coordinator at the University of Houston's Graduate Program in Foresight (source infra)
A higher-ed bubble even bigger than student loans: "There are growing concerns that the benefits of a college degree are on the decline, while costs continue to rise. This so-called bubble in U.S. higher education is focused on the mounting debt load of college students and their difficulty in finding a degree or job that economically justifies the cost. But in the next 25 years, some futurists say the bigger issue—and the one that could likely cause this bubble to burst—will be the inevitable collapse of many colleges and universities as learning goes virtual. Clayton Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business School and the father of disruptive innovation theory, famously predicted in 2008 that half of high school classes will be online by 2019. With the expansion of the digital campus, many mid-level institutions of higher education could become obsolete, and the new landscape may be largely unrecognizable. "Half of the colleges and universities that exist in the United States will cease to exist," said author and futurist Nathan Harden, echoing Christensen's famous comment. Harden predicts new technologies could eventually lead to "the end of the university as we know it." The reason for the demise? Many institutions of higher learning, including some of the nation's most prestigious universities, such as Harvard and MIT, have started to open up their classes to the world through massive open online courses (MOOCS), in many cases for free, though how EdX ultimately plans to generate revenue remains a major topic of much speculation and debate....." (read more at the link above)
Robert Reich: College is a ludicrous waste of money - Salon.com: "...By contrast, Germany provides its students the alternative of a world-class technical education that’s kept the German economy at the forefront of precision manufacturing and applied technology. The skills taught are based on industry standards, and courses are designed by businesses that need the graduates. So when young Germans get their degrees, jobs are waiting for them. We shouldn’t replicate the German system in full. It usually requires students and their families to choose a technical track by age 14. “Late bloomers” can’t get back on an academic track. But we can do far better than we’re doing now. One option: Combine the last year of high school with the first year of community college into a curriculum to train technicians for the new economy...." (read more at link above)
College Consultant ThinkTank Guarantees Admission for Hefty Price - Businessweek: "When Ma opened ThinkTank’s Palo Alto center in 2011, it stirred a debate among locals. Chris Zaharias, an early Netscape employee and now founder and CEO of SearchQuant, says resentments were stoked by the immigrants’ academic success and their perceived detachment from the community. It’s usually the Asian parents who ask teachers for extra credit at back-to-school nights so their kids will have a better shot at earning an A, says Zaharias, who has two kids at Palo Alto High. When a local newspaper ran an article on ThinkTank, he posted comments calling its students “cheaters” and comparing the business to steroid use in sports. “People from Hong Kong or China are buying houses here so their kids can go to our schools,” he says. “They’re creating an arms race, and ultimately you realize you shouldn’t participate because you’re not helping your kid. But it’s hard to resist.”" (read more at link above)
Google for Education: Announcing Drive for Education: The 21st century backpack for students: "Drive for Education will be available to all Google Apps for Education customers at no charge and will include: Unlimited storage: No more worrying about how much space you have left or about which user needs more gigabytes. Drive for Education supports individual files up to 5TB in size and will be available in coming weeks. Vault: Google Apps Vault, our solution for search and discovery for compliance needs, will be coming free to all Apps for Education users by the end of the year. Enhanced Auditing: Reporting and auditing tools and an Audit API easily let you see the activity of a file, are also on the way." (read more at link above)
Online education company edX expanding to offer free courses aimed at high school students - Metro - The Boston Globe: "The online-learning collaborative edX, a partnership between Harvard University and MIT, is expanding its reach beyond higher education and will begin offering courses geared toward high school students. Edx plans to unveil its first free classes for younger students Wednesday, when most of the new courses will open for enrollment. The 26 high school courses were created by 14 institutions — including MIT, Georgetown and Rice universities, the University of California Berkeley, Boston University, Wellesley College, and Weston Public High School. The online classes, available to anyone in the world, will cover such subjects as computer science, calculus, geometry, algebra, English, physics, biology, chemistry, Spanish, French, history, statistics, and psychology...."
The Trouble With Tenure - NYTimes.com: " . . . a growing number of states have chipped away at traditional tenure or forged stronger links between student performance and teacher evaluations. And the challenges to tenure have gathered considerable force, with many Democrats defying teachers unions and joining the movement. After a California judge’s recent ruling that the state’s tenure protections violated the civil rights of children by trapping them with ineffective educators in a manner that “shocks the conscience,” Arne Duncan, the education secretary, praised the decision. Tenure even drew scrutiny from Whoopi Goldberg on the TV talk show “The View.” She repeatedly questioned the way it sometimes shielded bad teachers. “Parents are not going to stand for it anymore,” she said. “And you teachers, in your union, you need to say, ‘These bad teachers are making us look bad.’”..." (read more at link above)
The educators in Fairfield County School District in rural South Carolina are inspiring their students and providing them with an excellent education with the help of Google tools. In this video, hear from Fairfield County teachers and students about how they use Chromebooks, Google Apps for Education, and Tablets with Google Play for Education to transform teaching and learning.
Google Penetrates The E-Learning Market To Expand Chromebook Sales - Google Inc. -Seeking Alpha: "E-learning is a term used to describe the use of technology in education. It includes a number of categories such as computer-based training, web-based training, virtual learning environment, technology-enhanced learning and more. Each category is used in a different stage of education, from pre-school to university, and for different purposes that range between the delivery of lessons and materials to students and online Q&A with the teacher after school hours." (read more at link above)
L.A. Unified halts contract for iPads - LA Times: "... Supt. John Deasy suspended future use of a contract with Apple on Monday that was to provide iPads to all students in the nation's second-largest school system amid mounting scrutiny of the $1-billion-plus effort. The suspension comes days after disclosures that the superintendent and his top deputy had especially close ties to executives of Apple, maker of the iPad, and Pearson, the company that is providing the curriculum on the devices. And an internal report that examined the technology effort showed major problems with the process and the implementation."Moving forward, we will no longer utilize our current contract with Apple Inc.," Deasy wrote in a memo sent to the Board of Education on Monday...Under the contract approved just over a year ago, Apple had been expected to provide iPads with Pearson as the subcontractor...."
Jay Bhatt, president and CEO of Blackboard, discusses how the company uses big data to help teach students. He speaks with Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television's "Street Smart." (Source: Bloomberg June 5)
Here Comes The Student Loan Forgiveness: ".... Under the latest version of President Obama’s giveaway to former college students, people with student loans that meet certain income eligibility standards will only need to pay 10 percent of their discretionary income for a maximum of 20 years. Discretionary income is the amount you earn above the poverty line for your family size. If a borrower works for a government or in a job defined as public service, they only have to pay for 10 years. After that, the remaining balance is forgiven. In an extreme case, a person could pile up $100,000 in student loans going to an expensive school, graduate, and go to work for a non-profit advocacy group with 501(c)(3) status in New York City. Imagine that our graduate stays single and is paid $40,000. She will pay only about $187 per month which will not even cover the interest accruing on her loans...."
There's more to the Starbucks "Scholarship" story --
Starbucks' Degree Scholarship, Not as Simple as It Seems | Inc.com: "Starbucks' Degree Program: Not Exactly an Employee Benefit -- Starbucks is not contributing any money toward the scholarship for employees studying at Arizona State, but the university does. It turns out Starbucks isn't contributing any upfront scholarship money to an online college degree program it introduced this week... Following the announcement, however, Arizona State University President Michael Crow told The Chronicle of Higher Education that Starbucks is not contributing any money toward the scholarship. Instead, Arizona State will essentially charge workers less than the sticker price for online tuition. Much of the remainder would likely be covered by federal aid since most Starbucks workers don't earn a lot of money. Workers would pay whatever costs remained out of pocket for the first two years, and Starbucks would bear no costs...."
Starbucks offers college tuition but graduates might still be baristas | Money | theguardian.com: "Many of those college graduates who are employed are working low-wage jobs. In December 2013, the underemployment rate for college graduates was 18.3%, compared to 9.9% in 2007. In 2012, about 284,000 college graduates were working at or below the minimum wage, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s 70% higher than 10 years ago in 2002. In 2013, that number dropped to 260,000 college graduates."
“Most students will depend on federal student loans to pay for tuition, books and living expenses while in law school. During the 2012-2013 academic year, 88% of our students borrowed student loans to finance their legal education. At graduation, the average student loan debt incurred for those borrowers while attending the Charleston School of Law was $146,595.”
"Nine months after graduation, 53 percent of the school’s class of 2013 had found full-time long-term jobs requiring a JD. More than half of those were working in firms of 10 or fewer attorneys. So at Charleston, student debtors finance profit distributions to law school owners who have no accountability for poor graduate outcomes. When the school later hits the financial skids, only InfiLaw, another for-profit organization, can rescue it. Wealth redistribution takes many forms, but none produces results more perverse than the current system for financing — and profiting from — legal education."
Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Is There a Shortage of Skilled Workers? My Own Personal Experiences: "...The idea that a "middle-skilled" person can go back to school at age 40, take a few classes and become a java programmer, an engineer, or a chef, and land a meaningful job in that field is nothing but hope-filled hype. Perhaps 1 out of 100 make some use of their training. The rest just end up deeper in debt. Fed-induced boom-bust cycles that benefit the already wealthy at the expense of everyone else, and debt-overhang, including student debt that exceeds $1 trillion, are the major problems today, not the alleged shortage of skills..."
A must read for anyone interested in school reform at link below (excerpt follows):
Dale Russakoff: A Test for School Reform in Newark : The New Yorker: " . . . In Newark, the solutions may be closer than either side acknowledges. They begin with getting public-education revenue to the children who need it most, so that district teachers can provide the same level of support that spark does. And charter schools, given their rapid expansion, need to serve all students equally. Anderson understood this, but she, Cerf, Booker, and the venture philanthropists—despite millions of dollars spent on community engagement—have yet to hold tough, open conversations with the people of Newark about exactly how much money the district has, where it is going, and what students aren’t getting as a result. Nor have they acknowledged how much of the philanthropy went to consultants who came from the inner circle of the education-reform movement. Shavar Jeffries believes that the Newark backlash could have been avoided. Too often, he said, “education reform . . . comes across as colonial to people who’ve been here for decades. It’s very missionary, imposed, done to people rather than in coöperation with people.” Some reformers have told him that unions and machine politicians will always dominate turnout in school-board elections and thus control the public schools. He disagrees: “This is a democracy. A majority of people support these ideas. You have to build coalitions and educate and advocate.” As he put it to me at the outset of the reform initiative, “This remains the United States. At some time, you have to persuade people.”
What’s actually in the Common Core? - Everything you need to know about the Common Core - Vox: "The Common Core is a list of things students should know and know how to do at each grade level in math and language arts. The language arts standards include expectations for writing, speaking, and reading both fiction and nonfiction. Many of the standards show up over and over at every grade level: writing age-appropriate opinion pieces that back up arguments with evidence, for one. ..."
Previewing a new Classroom by Google -"
Classroom is a new, free tool coming to Google Apps for Education that helps teachers easily and quickly create and organize assignments, provide feedback, and communicate with their classes. This video highlights the experiences of some of the teachers and students who gave us feedback to help develop Classroom. Learn more: http://google.com/edu/classroom - published May 6, 2014
Official Google Blog: Previewing a new Classroom: a preview of Classroom, a new, free tool in the Google Apps for Education suite. It helps teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with their classes with ease. Classroom is based on the principle that educational tools should be simple and easy to use, and is designed to give teachers more time to teach and students more time to learn....
Where the G.O.P. Gets It Right - NYTimes.com: "SCHOOL REFORM - Republicans were right to blow the whistle on broken school systems, for education in inner-city schools is the civil rights issue of the 21st century. Democrats, in cahoots with teachers’ unions and protective of a dysfunctional system, were long part of the problem. Bravo to Republicans for protesting that teachers’ unions were sometimes protecting disastrous teachers (including, in New York City, one who passed out drunk in her classroom, with even the principal unable to rouse her). Likewise, some of the most successful schools in the inner cities have been charters in the Knowledge Is Power Program, showing what is possible even in troubled cities." (read more at link above)
Higher education: Is college worth it? | The Economist: "College graduates aged 25 to 32 who are working full time earn about $17,500 more annually than their peers who have only a high school diploma, according to the Pew Research Centre, a think-tank. But not all degrees are equally useful. And given how much they cost—a residential four-year degree can set you back as much as $60,000 a year—many students end up worse off than if they had started working at 18." (read more at link above)
Here's Why the Textbook's Days Are Numbered: Video - Bloomberg: "April 2 (Bloomberg) –- The first ever all digital system of courses for students K-12 is making its debut in classrooms across the country. Bloomberg got an exclusive look at the unusual collaboration between veteran educators and digital pros who together created the first comprehensive K-12 system of courses designed for the iPad. (Source: Bloomberg)"
Online Programs Could Erase Half of U.S. Business Schools by 2020 - Businessweek: "...programs, geared toward working professionals, will soon have to compete with elite online alternatives for the same population. Lower-ranked business schools, rather than recognized names such as Harvard Business School and Wharton, are most vulnerable to this phenomenon. When the big players start offering online degrees, they’ll draw far-flung students who might otherwise have opted for the convenience of a part-time program close to home...."
Khan Academy Gets Rare Partnership To Close Wealth Gap In College Test Prep | TechCrunch: "“So big picture success is that access to college (and success in life) becomes much less dependent on income and much more dependent on merit,” Khan Academy Founder, Sal Khan, writes to me. “We think we can make the playing field more level by making the best-in-class tool and making it free. We hope that beyond individual students, these tools become adopted by after-school and college readiness programs.”"
Price; Security; Light weight and small form factor; Instant On; Ease of use; Web only applications; Personalization; Use of peripherals (mice, keyboards, monitors, SD cards, USB devices); Wireless networking; Large number of quality applications; Multimedia capability; Video conferencing; Management applications . . ." (read more at link above)
Magnet Schools Find a Renewed Embrace in Cities - NYTimes.com: "...Magnet schools never quite delivered on that desegregation promise, and in the past couple of decades they have largely fallen off the radar. But in this multiracial city (Miami) — and, increasingly, in other urban districts including Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Newark and Washington — public school leaders are refocusing on the idea as traditional public schools come under increasing pressure from charter schools and vouchers for private schools...."
RealClearMarkets - Education: The Civil Rights Issue of the 21st Century: " . . . Every special interest group claims to be battling on the grounds of civil rights, but none can make as strong of a case as the parents whose children are required to attend a failing school. These parents and their children have been discriminated against. Opponents of school choice have essentially declared minorities and those below the poverty line as unqualified to make decisions regarding their child's education. It is just astounding when you think about it. And it is this reason alone that allows many to declare school choice as the biggest U.S. civil rights issue of the 21st century. . . ."
'Hour of Code' STEM push drags us into reality | ZDNet: "Code.org wants to change the general attitude that the United States holds of coding. Only one in ten schools in the U.S. offer Computer Science classes, and many of these are electives rather than credit-based, and so there is little to entice students to pursue the subject as part of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) career. The non-profit has been campaigning for this to change in order to make sure the next generation are trained in these areas, and the "Hour of Code" promotion is designed to improve awareness around the issue -- as well as provide basic instruction for interested students of any age."
Chinese Top Universities Plagued With Corruption | Dragons and Pandas | Big Think: "... Here’s a quote from WSJ: “Some 70% of research funds, he [Mr. Xia] says, goes to personal use—"travel, hotels, meals, computers, mobile phones, iPads, printers, all things you can imagine […]" State media reports that the government is closely investigating the entire ‘C9 League’ – the alliance of China nine top universities. Xi Jinping’s massive crackdown on corruption has finally reached the ivory towers."
Talented and gifted classes don’t provide much extra benefit, say researchers - Quartz: "But the positive effects of talented and gifted programs may be overstated, according to a recent study in American Economic Journal: Economic Policy. Scott Imberman, Sa A. Bui, and Steven G. Craig analyzed the standardized test scores of more than 14,000 fifth-graders in an urban school district in the United States. They focused on students who just barely made the threshold for their schools’ gifted and talented programs—and those who just barely missed it. The goal was to compare how students of roughly the same abilities do when they’re in gifted classes with how they do in regular classes. If the gifted and talented programs are effective, then the marginal students should end up with higher test scores than the marginal students in regular classes. If they’re not effective, then both sets of students would have around the same scores. The researchers found that, after a year and a half of gifted and talented classes, the scores of the marginal students were about the same as those of the marginal students who’d taken regular classes. “There is essentially no difference,” said Imberman."
Amazon: 5 bold predictions for 2014 | Internet & Media - CNET News: "2. The Kindle, your tutor
Thanks to Mayday, your Kindle Fire can tell you how to change the brightness of your tablet or how to order an e-book. So why couldn't it also teach your kids math? If Amazon's acquisition of TenMarks is any indication, the company may be looking to delve into education. TenMarks creates math practice programs and is a teaching tool. When Amazon purchased it in October, it said TenMarks would develop new education apps for Kindle tablets. It's not a huge stretch to see a potential marriage of TenMarks' education resources and the Mayday service -- perhaps a premium option that allows for tutors to help with math equations via one-sided video tutelage ... Couple that with Amazon's newly released free-time features on a tablet designed for penny-pinching parents, and Amazon makes the Kindle the ideal children's tablet."
Data Mining Exposes Embarrassing Problems for Massive Open Online Courses | MIT Technology Review: "And they have depressing news. They say that participation falls precipitously and continuously throughout a course and that almost half of registered students never post more than twice to the forums. What’s more, the participation of a teacher doesn’t improve matters. Indeed, they say there is some evidence that a teacher’s participation in an online discussion actually increases the rate of decline."
As Chromebooks catch on, 2014 promises more models | Mobile - CNET News: " . . . How popular are they? Well, Chromebooks, such as the Acer C270 and Samsung offering, seem to be ensconced almost permanently at the top of Amazon's bestselling laptop list. And a report from the NPD Group last month showed the Google Chrome-based laptops grabbed about one-fifth of sales in commercial laptop channels -- which the report says is largely shipments to educational institutions -- in a 12-month period, up from virtually nothing the year before. All of the above is spurring the world's largest PC maker, HP, to put more emphasis on Google's Chrome OS. HP now sells both a 14-inch Chromebook and an 11-inch model. One reason for their popularity is price. They're typically priced between $200 and $300. In addition, some organizations, like those in education, only need Google services such as Google Docs and Google Drive, according to NPD. . ." (read more at link above)
Large-scale online courses, hailed as a way to democratize higher education, have so far been plagued by very high attrition rates. . . . [but] even the loudest critics of MOOCs do not expect them to fade away. More likely, they will morph into many different shapes: Already, San Jose State is getting good results using videos from edX, a nonprofit MOOC venture, to supplement some classroom sessions, and edX is producing videos to use in some high school Advanced Placement classes. And Coursera, the largest MOOC company, is experimenting with using its courses, along with a facilitator, in small discussion classes at some United States consulates (source infra)
After Setbacks, Online Courses Are Rethought - NYTimes.com: "Mr. Siemens said what was happening was part of a natural process. “We’re moving from the hype to the implementation,” he said. “It’s exciting to see universities saying, ‘Fine, you woke us up,’ and beginning to grapple with how the Internet can change the university, how it doesn’t have to be all about teaching 25 people in a room. “Now that we have the technology to teach 100,000 students online,” he said, “the next challenge will be scaling creativity, and finding a way that even in a class of 100,000, adaptive learning can give each student a personal experience.”"
Amazon: 5 bold predictions for 2014 | Internet & Media - CNET News: "2. The Kindle, your tutor
Thanks to Mayday, your Kindle Fire can tell you how to change the brightness of your tablet or how to order an e-book. So why couldn't it also teach your kids math? If Amazon's acquisition of TenMarks is any indication, the company may be looking to delve into education. TenMarks creates math practice programs and is a teaching tool. When Amazon purchased it in October, it said TenMarks would develop new education apps for Kindle tablets. It's not a huge stretch to see a potential marriage of TenMarks' education resources and the Mayday service -- perhaps a premium option that allows for tutors to help with math equations via one-sided video tutelage?
Crazy? Perhaps. But just crazy enough for Amazon? Certainly. Couple that with Amazon's newly released free-time features on a tablet designed for penny-pinching parents, and Amazon makes the Kindle the ideal children's tablet."