NEPC Launches Education Interview of the Month Podcast Series 

NEPC Launches Education Interview of the Month Podcast Series

Key Takeaway: NEPC Education Interview of the Month is a great teaching resource; engaging drive-time listening; and 30 minutes of high-quality policy information for educators, community members, policymakers, and anyone interested in education.

BOULDER, CO (September 21, 2017) – In the inaugural 30-minute podcast of the NEPC Education Interview of the Month, Lewis and Clark College Emeritus Professor of Education Gregory A. Smith examines student privacy issues with University of Colorado Boulder Research Associate Faith Boninger, co-author of Asleep at the Switch: Schoolhouse Commercialism, Privacy, and the Failure of Policymaking.

Join Smith and Boninger for an engaging conversation about the digitalization of education, why current policy is insufficient, and what policymakers, administrators, teachers and parents can do to protect children’s privacy.

Boninger notes that student privacy is a vital issue because “Schools and districts are paying huge sums of money to private vendors and creating systems to transfer vast amounts of children’s personal information to education technology companies.

While this is happening, policymaking to protect children’s privacy or to evaluate the quality of the educational technology they use ranges from inadequate to nonexistent.

This is why we have a number of recommendations for strengthening oversight of the education technology used in schools.

For example, we recommend that before technologies are adopted in schools, independent third-party assessments of their validity and utility, and of the potential threats they pose to students’ well-being, be conducted and addressed.

”A new NEPC Education Interview of the Month, hosted by Gregory A. Smith, will be released each month from September through May.Don’t worry if you miss a month. All NEPC Education Interview of the Month podcasts are archived on the NEPC website and can be found here.

Coming Next MonthIn October, Greg’s guest will be Alyssa Dunn, author of Activism through attrition?: An exploration of viral resignation letters and the teachers who wrote them. Greg and Alyssa will discuss what can be learned from teachers’ resignation letters about working conditions in contemporary American schools.Stay tuned in to NEPC for smart, engaging conversations about education policy.

Source: NEPC Launches Education Interview of the Month Podcast Series | National Education Policy Center


Boycott Artprize

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

(The following article was written by Russell Gorton and is reposted with his permission.)

Artprize is dumb and harmful to art and artists.

1. The premise of artprize binds art to money. This rewards spectacle, which is not the same as art.

Like capitalism, artprize does not reward bad luck. Artists become casino gamblers, feeding their dollars and their work into a machine with worse-than-random odds. Viewing art, learning about art, discussing the merits of art, building a public audience engaged with art — none of these things are made better with a hokey lottery attached.

Judging the best cuisine by public vote, results in McDonalds and Applebees. Similarly, artprize does not allow consideration of smaller pieces conceived without the intent to provoke a broad public response. Repeatedly, the artprize public has chosen meticulous production, imposing scale, systemic and repetitive techniques. 

Art is often not regarded as valuable and profound in its…

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Those attending the MSU ribbon-cutting ceremony were greeted by anti-Betsy DeVos protestors in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

Earlier today, MSU students organized a demonstration at the new MSU medical building on the corner of Monroe and Michigan in downtown Grand Rapids.

The reason for the protest, was due to the fact that MSU administrators had invited Betsy DeVos to speak at the grand opening of the new university facility.

An estimated 60 people showed up to protest DeVos, a protest that was organized by MSU students and faculty.

The MSU student-led protest included a petition to stop DeVos from speaking, which included these bullet points:

As Education Secretary, Secretary DeVos:

  • Recommends a $9 billion cut in federal education funding, including cuts to higher education, training and after-school programs.
  • Supports cutting financial aid to low-income college students making it easier for private loan servicer’s to prey on Michigan families. The MSU College of Human Medicine already has some of the highest per student debt in the nation.
  • Rolled…

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Two but Not Two Frauds: STEM and Education Technology


Last year, IBIS Capital produced a report for EdTechXGlobal stating, “Education technology is becoming a global phenomenon, … the market is projected to grow at 17.0% per annum, to $252bn by 2020.” Governments in Europe and Asia have joined the US in promoting what Dr. Nicholas Kardaras called a “$60 billion hoax.” He was referring specifically to the one to one initiatives.

An amazing paper from New Zealand, “Sell, sell, sell or learn, learn, learn? The EdTech market in New Zealand’s education system – privatisation by stealth?” exposes the promoters of EdTech there as being even more bullish on EdTech. “The New Zealand business organisation (they spell funny) EDTechNZ, indicates on its website that educational technology is the fastest growing sector of a global smart education market worth US$100 billion, forecast to grow to US$394 by 2019.”

These initiatives are fraud based agendas because they focus on…

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DACA, the DREAM Act and undocumented immigrants: A primer for journalists 

This explainer helps journalists understand what DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is and how the program impacts local communities and undocumented immigrants.

Read more here: DACA, the DREAM Act and undocumented immigrants: A primer for journalists – Journalist’s Resource

CURMUDGUCATION: DeVos Simplifies the Issues

The slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: DeVos Simplifies the Issues

DeVos Simplifies the Issues

It is easy, once you start flying down the rabbit hole of the education debates, to get wrapped up in some complex issues and arguments. If Betsy DeVos has done anything for the ed debates, it is simplifying the privatizer position.

Charter fans have layered many arguments into their pitch. Look at those terrible public school test scores– how else can we spur excellence? Look at the terrible inequity– how else will we bring social justice to the poor? Look at those terrible teachers and their terrible unions– how else can we wrest control of schools away from them? Look at how backward they are– how else can we make schools modern? Only the market can force schools to innovate and protect students and educate the poor. We must fix low standards, special ed, facility issues! Course choices! Ending religious discrimination! Better school lunches! Ipads!

Much of this variegated noise was strategic– an attack on public education along many fronts. But it was also meant to collect allies, to build a huge coalition of various interests and line them up between privatization of public education. People using labels like conservative, progressive, Republican, Democratic, libertarian, apolitical technocrat– ignore for the moment the question of how accurately or honestly those labels were used, they were all there in the parade.

And then Trump-DeVos happened. Could you call yourself progressive and support them? Many former allies decided (perhaps a tad hypocritically) that the answer was no. People who are serious and sincere about their ed reform ideas (yes, there are such people) had to consider their position vis-a-vis an administration that is not serious or sincere about anything. The coalition frayed, splintered.

But there is DeVos herself. While she has paid lip service to some coalition talking points, if you listen and read, the through line is pretty clear:

Public schools are a dead end, to be abandoned and cur loose. If a few survive, well, good for them. But the market must reign, and it should reign unhampered by any regulation at all. DeVos has repeatedly indicated that she can not imagine an instance in which USED would step in and say, “If you accept public tax dollars, you must stop doing that.” Nor has she indicated any barriers to vendors who wish to enter the market. And there should be no institution, no system. Just parents acting as customers.

Her objective is plain. No more system of public education. Just private ed-flavored businesses. No more taxpayers who imagine that the system they pay for must work for them. Just customers– and no customer walks into a McDonalds or Macy’s and says, “You all work for me.”

Progressives who think reform should be an engine of uplift? Conservatives who think tax dollars should be accounted for? Charteristas who believe the deal is trading autonomy for accountability, or that charters should be part of a public system? Yeah, none of you are really at DeVos’s table, and trying to pretend that you are just hurts your cause, because DeVos can only barely bothered to pay lip service to your policy ideas.

DeVos has made it simple. There are groups out there that are calling her on it, some that have been seeing this coming for a while now. including the Network for Public Education. Listen to Diane Ravitch of NPE explain how simple it is.