Publicly funded private school creates "poor kids' playground" for kids whose parents wouldn't contribute to new playground equipment

Wednesdbury Oak Academy in the West Midlands is an "academy school," similar to a US charter school -- a publicly funded, privately operated school, which, theory goes, is able to "experiment" with new educational techniques, by deviating from the standard curriculum, rejecting students on the basis of selection criteria, and hiring teachers without formal qualifications. Read the rest

Teacher removed from public education meeting in handcuffs after asking why superintendents get raises but teachers don't

Deyshia Hargrave is an English teacher at Rene Rost Middle Schools in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana; on Monday night, she attended a special meeting of the local school board and, when called upon comment period, politely asked why the board superintendants had voted themselves a raise while the teachers in the school district have been subjected to a long-term pay-freeze. Read the rest

The GOP tax plan will pay millionaires to subsidize failing religious schools

Until the GOP tax plan came along, rich people who donated to religious schools only get partial tax write-offs for their gifts, because the constitutional principle of separation of church and state obliged them to use special scholarship funds that were not under direct state control. Read the rest

UK Tory MP unclear on the concept of dystopia

The Getting to the Future First: How Britain can lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution report was created by Alan Mak, Conservative Member of Parliament for Havant, and it's a laughable compendium of trickle-down nonsense proposing that if all dividends from automation flow to capital, somehow everyone in the world will share in the benefits. Read the rest

Dynamicland: a collaborative programming environment inside a whole building that you modify by doodling on paper

Dynamicland is a new nonprofit based in Oakland, where they are building a collaborative computing space, kitted out with cameras and projectors that allow people to work together to compose computer programs by scribbling on ordinary paper, have those doodles parsed by an interpreter, and then have the programs run as projections on the flat surfaces of the rooms. Read the rest

The Quantum Game: like Laser Maze, but built on real principles of quantum mechanics

Laser Maze is a super-fun electronic board game that challenges players to arrange angled mirrors to route a laser beam from an emitter to a sensor, avoiding obstacles; in The Quantum Game, you undertake the same fundamental task, but with a virtual laser that only emits one photon, and virtual beam-splitters, absorbtive polarizers, quarter-wave plates, polarizing beam splitters, Faraday rotators, and other exotic apparatus. Read the rest

Student debt: more people, paying more money, and mounting year on year

Dissident economic statistician Matt Bruenig (previously) has parsed the latest numbers from the Survey of Consumer Finances, and brings us the news of the increased democratization of student debt: in 1989, only 16% of students and their families carried student debt -- in 2016, it was 44%. Read the rest

Investigators claim that Oxbridge and other top UK universities are operating a massive, illegal surveillance dragnet aimed at students/alumni and their friends and families

An investigation by the (generally terrible) Daily Mail claims that the Russell Group, which includes top UK universities like Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, the LSE, and 20 other universities, hired "wealth screening firms" that illegally spied on students, grads and their families and friends to determine who to ask for money, and how much to ask for. Read the rest

Once you have a student's name, birthday and SSN, the US Department of Education will give you EVERYTHING else

The US Department of Education's Free Application for Federal Student Aid program requires any student applying for federal aid for college or university to turn over an enormous amount of compromising personal information, including current and previous addresses, driver's license numbers, Green Card numbers, marital details, drug convictions, educational history, tax return details, total cash/savings/checking balances, net worth of all investments, child support received, veterans' benefits, children's details, homelessness status, parents details including SSNs, and much, much more. Read the rest

UK authors and librarians' open letter to Education Secretary: stop closing school libraries!

I remember the day I realised that my daughter's London school had no library, the shock I felt, the sense that the cuts had gone beyond the bone, and that kids were being deprived of something critical -- and then the discovery that then-Education Minister Michael Gove was planning to spend a fortune distributing Bibles to schoolchildren with his name embossed in metal foil on the cover. Read the rest

The secretive wealthy family behind the opioid epidemic are using the same tactics to kill public education

The Sackler Family are best known for philanthropy, but their real legacy is the opioid epidemic, which they engineered through their family firm, Purdue Pharmaceutical, which used a variety of front organizations that paved the way for massive overprescription of the company's painkillers, while covering up the flaws in the drug-testing for Purdue's products and the false claims about their safety and efficacy. Read the rest

How the University of New Hampshire spun blowing a frugal librarian's donation on a stupid football scoreboard

In September 2016, we learned that the University of New Hampshire was going to use $1 million that an incredibly frugal librarian saved while working as a library cataloger for 50 years to buy a new scoreboard for its stadium. Read the rest

Lifelong Kindergarten: how to learn like a kid, by the co-creator of Scratch

Mitchel Resnick is one of the most humane, accomplished and prolific creators of educational technology in the world, one of the co-creators of Logo and Lego Mindstorms, and founder the MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten group, where the open source, kid-friendly, open-ended Scratch software development tool was born; in a new book (also called "Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play") Resnick analyzes the extraordinary successes that have emerged from his kid-centered view of learning with technology, sketching out a future in which kids program their classroom computers, not the other way around.

Better education doesn't correlate strongly to economic mobility (but union membership does)

America's great stagnation includes a hardening of class divisions, with fewer and fewer poor and working class people raising children who rise to the middle class or even the one percent -- a fact that strikes at the heart of the cherished American notion of rags-to-riches meritocracy where you rise to prominence on the basis of your contributions to society, not the accident of your birth. Read the rest

Once again, Cards Against Humanity is offering full-ride scholarships for women in STEM

Cards Against Humanity put $1M into a permanent trust that pays for an annual full-ride scholarship for women in science, technology, engineering, or math who are high-school seniors or current undergrads. Read the rest

Republicans who support tuition-free state college outnumber opponents

A Morning Consult poll found that 47% of Republicans support making public four-year colleges and universities tuition free, a proposal made by Bernie Sanders during his 2016 campaign for the Democratic party nomination (45% of Republicans oppose the idea). Read the rest

Kids who attend online charters perform like traditional students who miss the whole year

Stanford's Center for Research on Education Outcomes released this study in 2015, comparing the outcomes for students enrolled in online charter schools with comparable students (controlled for grade level, gender, race/ethnicity, free lunch eligibility, English language status, special ed status and historical state achievement test scores) in brick-and-mortar classrooms. Read the rest

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