California to force NCAA to pay athletes

The NCAA is notionally an "amateur" league, but the only thing amateur about it is that the athletes (who risk their health and even their lives) are unpaid, while the universities effectively own and operate wildly profitable pro sports teams. Read the rest

Whistleblowers out Falwell's Liberty University as a grifty, multibillion-dollar personality cult

Jerry Falwell, Sr founded the Moral Majority, brought evangelicals into the voting booth, elected Ronald Reagan, and changed the face of American politics forever; his son, Jerry Jr now commands the Falwell empire, including Liberty University, which now has $3b in assets. Read the rest

NYT calls for an end to legacy college admissions

In the wake of the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, a new debate opened up, about the mundane, everyday ways that wealthy people buy their way into elite institutions: from hiring, poorer, smarter kids to write their kids' essays, to surrendering custody of your kids in order to misappropriate low-income tuition grants, to simply "donating" shit-tons of money to the school. Read the rest

List of free and amazing online courses from top universities

Open Culture and Class Central compiled a list of thousands of enticing free MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) and lectures from top-shelf educators at great universities like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. Read the rest

Ohio State University files for a trademark on "THE"

"The Ohio State University" is apparently the full name of Ohio State, and to remind everyone of it, they're selling a line of clothing emblazoned with the stark word "THE," and so they've asked the US Patent and Trademark Office to give them the exclusive right to sell t-shirts, baseball hats and hats with the word "THE" on them. This is stupidly generic and unlikely to survive a challenge or even examination. Doesn't THE university have a law-school that could prevent this kind of public embarrassment? Read the rest

Make: a solar hot-dog oven (then learn the science)

Making a solar hot-dog oven is a science fair standby, but JohnW539's CNC-milled Sundogger Instructable really digs into the classroom portion, drawing on the creator's experience as a physics/astronomy/computer science prof at Middle Tennessee State University. Read the rest

Affluent parents surrender custody of their kids to "scam" their way into needs-based college scholarships

Propublica Illinois has identified "dozens of suburban Chicago families" who surrendered custody of their children during the kids' junior and senior years of high-school, turning them over to aunts, grandparents, friends, and cousins, so that the kids claim to be independent and qualify for needs-based scholarships, crowding out the poor kids the scholarship was designed for. Read the rest

Linkedin to libraries: drop dead

For years, libraries across America have paid to subscribe to lynda.com for online learning content; four years ago, lynda.com became a division of Linkedin, and this year, the company has informed libraries that they're migrating all lynda.com users to Linkedin Learning, which would be fine, except Linkedin only allows you to access Linkedin Learning if you create and connect a Linkedin profile to the system. Read the rest

App-based English-language tutors say they frequently witness their Chinese students suffering brutal physical abuse by their parents

There is a booming market for app-based English-language tutors, many in the USA, who serve Chinese families where the parents are eager to have their children acquire English proficiency; these tutors are often also moonlighting teachers, or former teachers, who have been trained to spot and report signs of abuse. Read the rest

Germany says nein danke to Microsoft

Microsoft has a history of attempting to give Microsoft das boot (yes, I know boots in German is stiefel, but work with me here...) Read the rest

Independent evaluation of "aggression detection" microphones used in schools and hospitals finds them to be worse than useless

One of the griftiest corners of late-stage capitalism is the "public safety" industry, in which military contractors realize they can expand their market by peddling overpriced garbage to schools, cities, public transit systems, hospitals, etc -- which is how the "aggression detection" industry emerged, selling microphones whose "machine learning" backends are supposed to be able to detect "aggressive voices" (as well as gunshots) and alert cops or security guards. Read the rest

Texas teacher who tweeted Trump her school was 'taken over' by 'illegal students from Mexico' may be fired

A Texas high school teacher may lose her job after tweeting to President Donald Trump that her school had been "taken over" by "illegal students from Mexico." Read the rest

Print book reading is surging, just not in research libraries

US booksellers and public libraries are reporting strong growth in demand for print books, but research libraries are increasingly serving as archives, rather than references. Read the rest

Business schools are shuttering full-time MBA programs, citing low enrollment, millennials

MBA programs are the origin node of a lot of ugly, exploitative business trends over recent decades (see this excellent documentary for more), and their star is in decline, with MBAs commanding a much lower wage premium after graduation, leading to declining enrollment in full-time MBA programs. Read the rest

Profiles of young Americans who entered voluntary exile rather than paying their student loans

CNBC profiles a small handful of young Americans who have moved abroad and ceased payments on their student debt, relying on international borders to protect them from their edu-creditors. Read the rest

Federal lawsuit calls college textbook/ebook packages a "scam"

The Virginia Pirate Corporation is a startup that brokers sales of used textbooks at colleges; they're suing North Charleston, SC's Trident Technical College over its inclusion of textbook fees in tuition, meaning that students will have already paid for new textbooks when they pay their tuition. Read the rest

Pennsylvania Judge: professor who had sex with students must be reinstated

A Bloomsburg University professor was fired for having sex with two of his female students, but a Pennsylvania court has ordered that it reinstate him. Pennlive:

The Commonwealth Court ruling upholds a June 2018 arbitrator’s decision that voided the termination of Assistant Professor John Barrett. University officials had appealed that award, which the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties union secured on Barrett’s behalf. The arbitrator ordered Barrett’s reinstatement with full benefits and back pay.

In the state court’s opinion, Judge P. Kevin Brobson noted the relationships between Barrett and the women were consensual, that neither woman was taking classes from Barrett at the time, and that the relationships were not barred by the university’s sexual harassment policy.

Barrett was also accused of groping one of the women — specifically by waking her up by touching her genitals without consent — but "the judge [found] that the supposed fondling did not amount to sexual harassment because it occurred in the context of a consensual sexual relationship."

Pennsylvania seems to have a problem with colleges being unable to rid themselves of predatory faculty and their facilitators.

Lock Haven Univeristy was forced in March to reinstate a professor it fired after learning of his past as a convicted child molester.

And here's Penn State students rioting after legendary coach Joe Paterno was fired when officials learned he helped cover up decades of child sexual abuse by his assistant, Jerry Sandusky. The college soon returned to "honoring" his memory. Read the rest

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