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

But Betsy DeVos' emails: Education Secretary used personal emails for work, Inspector report finds

Betsy DeVos used personal email accounts for her government work as the Secretary of Education in 'limited' cases, the Inspector General said. The report also found DeVos did not consistently preserve her government-related email messages properly, as is required by federal law. Read the rest

Bernie Sanders' "Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education" will desegregate schools, defund charters, pay teachers, end the school-to-prison pipeline

Bernie Sanders has released A Thurgood Marshall Plan for Public Education, a detailed and bold suite of public education reforms reminiscent of the kinds of policy planks being laid down regularly by rival candidate Elizabeth Warren (I'm a donor to both Sanders' and Warren's campaigns). Read the rest

A former college admissions dean explains the mundane reverse affirmative action that lets the rich send their kids to the front of the line

Thanks to the college admissions scandal the issue of inequality and access to postsecondary education is now in our national conversation, but despite the glitz of the bribery scandal, the real issue is a much more mundane form of reverse affirmative action that allows wealthy Americans to dominate college admissions, muscling out better candidates from poorer backgrounds, especially Black students. Read the rest

Magical science demonstration of water not spilling from an upside down glass

This gravity defying water trick, watch til the end. from r/blackmagicfuckery

A science teacher uses a classic but eternally astonishing magic trick in a lesson on atmospheric pressure and surface tension. The real magic though is the infectious curiosity she sparks in her students.

(Here's the secret and the science.) Read the rest

I'm teaching on this year's Writing Excuses Cruise!

I'm one of the guest instructors on this year's Writing Excuses Cruise, a nine-day intensive writing program on land and at sea, departing from Galveston and putting into port at Cozumel, Georgetown, and Falmouth, with a roster of instructors including Brandon Sanderson, Piper Drake, Kathy Chung, K Tempest Bradford, DongWon Song, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler. The program starts with a two-day workshop at a Houston hotel and then sets sail, running Sept 22-30 altogether. I've taught many other workshops, but this is my first Writing Excuses Cruise and I'm really looking forward to it. I hope to see you there! Read the rest

Most US eighth graders have taken apart a gadget to fix it or see how it works

From the 2018 National Assessment of Educational Progress: "In 2018, fifty-three percent of eighth-grade students reported that they believed they could perform a variety of technology- and engineering-related tasks such as taking something apart to fix it or see how it works." Read the rest

Lawyer for kid whose parents paid $1.2m bribe to get into Yale says the high price shows grifters' anti-Chinese bias

There are some mysteries in the court documents related to the college admissions scandal: a pair of mystery students whose parents paid $1.2m and $6.5m in bribes to get them into top US educational institutions. Read the rest

Lawyers and law students' signatures needed for Supreme Court amicus brief in favor of publishing the law

Attentive reader will note that rogue archivist Carl Malamud (previously) published the laws of Georgia -- including the paywalled annotations to the state laws -- in 2015, prompting the state to sue him and literally call him a terrorist; Malamud countersued in 2015 and won a huge victory in 2018, when the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled that the law could not be copyrighted. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren's latest proposal: cancel student debt, make college free

Elizabeth Warren has proposed a $1.25 trillion plan to forgive student debts and make all public college and university undergraduate education free, as well as earmarking $50B for historically Black colleges, and expanding federal grants to help pay for all students' non-tuition expenses. Read the rest

Zuck turned American classrooms into nonconsensual laboratories for his pet educational theories, and now they're rebelling

Summit Learning is a nonprofit, high-tech "customized learning" group funded by Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan's family charity; under the program, students are equipped with high-surveillance Chromebooks and work on their own "at their own pace" and call on teachers to act as "mentors" when they get stuck. Read the rest

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