Prof says he'll grade students on a curve, so they organize a boycott of the exams and all get As

Johns Hopkins Computer Science prof Professor Peter Fröhlich grades his students on a curve: the highest score on the final gets an A and everyone else is graded accordingly. Read the rest

Parkland teacher who was open to the idea of arming teachers forgets his loaded Glock in a public bathroom

Sean Simpson is a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who had expressed an openness the idea of arming teachers to prevent school shootings. Read the rest

MIT students create and circulate open source, covert RFID rings to subvert campus tracking system

A reader writes, "A couple years ago MIT changed their dorm security/student tracking policy. They hired security contractors to work in dorms and required everyone to tap their RFID cards upon entry (no vouching for friends/guests). Most students complied. Some moved out. Some got in trouble ;)" Read the rest

UC Berkeley offers its Foundations of Data Science course for free online

Berkeley's "Foundations of Data Science" boasts the fastest-growing enrollment of any course in UC Berkeley history, and now it's free on the university's Edx distance-education platform. Read the rest

Parkland student activists drive American right berzerk, supercharge attack on public education

While people around the world were inspired by the resilience, fearlessness and savvy of the students who created a national gun-control movement in the wake of the Parkland shooting, American right-wing leaders looked at these kids and saw evidence of the urgency to destroy public education and replace it with religious private schools and charter schools. Read the rest

Ifixit flunks Apple's new educational Ipad as nearly un-repairable

Apple's education-centric new Ipad is meant to be used in rambunctious classrooms where drops and other abuse will be commonplace; it is also meant to compete with relatively easy-to-service Pixelbooks that school district IT departments can fix themselves or get repaired by a wide variety of independent, local service depots whose community-based technicians do repairs onsite and also keep local tax dollars circulating in the community. Read the rest

2018 tsunami: Teachers lead mass strikes in four red states that voted for Trump in 2016

After the incredible success of the West Virginia teachers' strike, teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky walked out and now they're joined by teachers in Arizona -- all four of these are "red" states that voted Trump in 2016. Read the rest

Data Defenders, a media literacy game about data collection and targeting for kids in grades 4-6

Mediasmarts (previously), a Canadian media literacy nonprofit, has just released Data Defenders, a timely video game about data collection and targeting aimed at kids in grades 4-6. Read the rest

Machine learning projects for kids

Dale Lane's Machine Learning for Kids project uses extensions to the popular Scratch programming environment to teach the basics of machine learning to children. Read the rest

Teachers on four continents stage mass strikes

In the USA, there are tens of thousands of teachers in open rebellion, in Oklahoma, West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, and things are heating up in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Iowa and Colorado. Read the rest

Apple doesn't give a shit about your kids

Apple doesn't give a shit about your child's education. But then, neither does any other tech company: they only care about what they can sell to schools and parents.

This likely isn't news to anyone reading this, but I feel like it needs to be said.

This morning Apple held an education-centric event at a high school in Chicago. They released a new iPad. With the exception of a processor bump and the fact that it supports Apple Pencil, it's very much like the last iteration of the iPad. They're selling it for $329 or, if you're a student or educator, it can be had for $299. Need an Apple Pencil? That'll be an additional $99. Let me reframe this for you: One of the most lucrative companies in the world thinks it's a grand gesture to knock $30 off the price of their hardware for anyone involved in book learnin'. But, if they want to make full use of the iPad's capabilities, it'll cost them another $99 to do so.

This, at a time when when parents are running crowdsourcing campaigns for classroom supplies and to keep schools heated during the cold months of the year.

The real reason that they've shaved a sliver of fat off their pricing is because they're getting bled to death in the education sector by companies churning out less expensive Chrome OS hardware. Google's Chrome OS might not be able to boast the wide assortment of quality apps that an iOS device does, but the operating system doesn't need high-end specs to run on. Read the rest

Scenes from today's national gun control student walkout

Today at 10AM local time, students across America walked out of their classes for 17 minutes, in memoriam of the 17 students murdered in the Parkland massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, exactly one month ago. Read the rest

Interactive map of student debt by zip code

Mapping Student Debt illustrates the grim strings attached to higher education in the USA—strings disproportionately attached to latino and black kids.

More than 42 million Americans owe a total of $1.3 trillion in student debt, making it the second-largest liability on the national balance sheet. A generation ago, student debt was a relative rarity, but for today’s students and recent graduates, it’s a central fact of economic life that we don’t know much about. Mapping Student Debt is changing that. The maps below show how borrowing for college affects the nation, your city, and even your neighborhood, giving a new perspective on the way in which student debt relates to economic inequality.

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Betsy DeVos tries to explain why money should be taken away from schools

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, whose life's work is to take funds out of public education and give it to private religious charter schools, struggled to explain her philosophy on 60 Minutes last night. It was a funny journey into the exciting new mode of conservative thinking that everyone's talking about. When the desire to do something isn't backed by a coherent ideology (or one you dare to explain), describing it becomes a deer-in-headlights nightmare of fixed smiles and random thoughts springing into life and evaporating almost before an interviewer can pop them with simple, unchallenging questions. Read the rest

Crowdfunding to help West Virginia's striking teachers

West Virginia's public school teachers have walked out en masse in a wildcat strike, demanding an end to decades of real-terms wage cuts that have left them among the poorest-paid teachers in America, as well as skyrocketing health insurance costs. Read the rest

California ballot initiative to make state university free again by reinstating inheritance tax for millionaires

From their inception, California's state colleges and universities were free or nearly free for in-state students, but since the 1970s, the state systems have been ratcheting up tuition and originating loans that impose crippling debt on students, leading to delayed fertility, late home-ownership, reduced retirement savings, and dampening entrepreneurial risk-taking. Read the rest

Students substitute gun control protest for active shooter drill

After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students at MDI High School in Bar Harbor, Maine were scheduled to have a routine lock-down drill, in which students practice how to behave if their school is the site of a similar mass shooting; these drills teach children to sacrifice themselves by distracting the shooter before they are murdered in order to give other students a few more seconds during which the police might arrive and kill the shooter. Read the rest

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