Discover more from ETCH
EdTech Thoughts Weekend Reading 5/19
Week of 5/15 - 5/19
EdTech Thoughts Weekend Reading is a roundup of what happened in the EdTech industry over the course of the week. It includes funding and M&A activities, people moves, and important news articles across early childhood, K12, Higher Ed, and Workforce.
Weekend Reading is the free sister publication to the EdTech Thoughts Weekly Update, which provides an analysis of why these events happened to paying subscribers. It comes out on Sunday nights. I’d love to have you subscribed to both!
Funding / M&A
Oneday raises $6.2M / United Kingdom, Alternative Degree Providers
Springpod raises $3.7M / United Kingdom, Career Navigation
Clu raises $1.5M / United Kingdom, Recruitment software
Anywyse raises undisclosed / Netherlands, Special Education Services
Specialized Education Services acquires New Hope Academy / US, K12 Special Education Services
Lepaya acquires Krauthammer / Netherlands, Corporate Training Provider
Last week I saw something special. For the first time in my life - and possibly in human history - I saw a fifth grader plead with his teacher for more time to shovel goat poop. The young man’s entreaty was completely in earnest; he and his classmates would give anything to spend more time with the farm’s goats, Remy and Nigel, even if it meant mucking their pen.
I witnessed this scene while volunteering for a few days at former Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift’s farm in Williamstown MA. The farm is about as classic a New England farm as it gets, having run in Swift’s husband’s family for over 100 years.
Unfortunately, it is also a farm in transition. After Swift’s husband, who took care of the farm, passed away in late 2021, the farm needed a new mission to continue to be taken care of.
While Jane considered a late-career pivot to farming (and has been seen on the tractor!), the more sustainable approach seemed to be to bring the farm closer to the education work that has been her focus for most of her post-gubernatorial career.
Over the past year, I’ve been following along as Jane converted the farm to a non-profit education center - recruiting a (truly wonderful) team, building new facilities, and designing a curriculum that would both sustain the farm and bring joy to the students and adults that visited.
Supporting the farm extends beyond preserving the rapidly dwindling number of small farms in the US. The farm also represents the balance between technology and experiences that we need to find in the education world.
I am concerned about screen time. We are only just starting to understand the impact social media has on the development of kids. Measurement of efficacy is still not a given in EdTech products (though I believe that is changing).
The answer to these concerns is not to remove screens, refuse technology, or go back to paper-based testing. The answer is to bring balance to our lives - both children and adults - through real, in-person experiences.
Your in-person experiences don’t HAVE to include shoveling animal droppings. But, it is an option, and I will say there is something cathartic about going outside and working with your hands.
If any of this resonates with you, I hope you will consider supporting the continued development of Cobble Hill Farm Education and Rescue Center (CHARM). This summer, the farm will provide hands-on experiences in horticulture, health & wellness, animal science, and construction & engineering career clusters to students from the North Adams Public School System. The team hopes to continue broadening its reach over time and donations - both financial and in in-kind materials - make a big difference.
You can contact CHARM by visiting the website or emailing jane or sue at chfarm.org.
This week’s Featured Organization is not sponsored, but it may be in the future. If you are interested in having your organization featured, email email@example.com
Question of the Week
Dollywood goes big on childcare. The Dolly Parton < > EdTech crossover we didn’t know we needed, but should be legitimately grateful for / via EdSurge
DC, Connecticut, and California try baby bonds / via Wall Street Journal
ETS and the Carnegie Foundation working hard to push the narrative for competency-based education forward / via 74million
K12 needs a privacy reset. I think we will have a close-to-universal identity platform for minors within the next 5 years to help solve this problem / via EdSurge
Usually a criticism of the charter/alternative school movements, some public schools cherry-pick students too / via Time
America isn’t ready for the school-funding crisis ahead / via The Atlantic
En garde! Coming soon to a bougie high school near you - parents paying upwards of $10K to have children’s high school research published to better chances of admittance to elite colleges / via Chronicle of Higher Education
The only group that isn’t using chatGPT is parents / via Education Week
University of Phoenix to affiliate with University of Idaho / via Inside Higher Ed
Summary of updated ruling on Gainful Employment / via Whiteboard Advisors
“Seven in ten Americans agree that the government should prioritize making college more affordable for current and future students.” I’m confused, I thought Americans were out on college? / via IPSOS
Student loan pause will end this year. It is good to get the student loan apparatus functioning again, but re-starting payments will be painful / via CNN
Follett takes a stake in blockchain credentialing platform Greenlight. Follett is a sneaky-important player in the Higher Ed ecosystem, but I’m not sure what role they play in student transcripts / via PRNewswire
TCF report on Gainful Employment / via The Century Foundation
“Non-elite schools should consider radical steps.” The path forward for elite and open-access universities is straightforward but not easy. It is much murkier for schools in the middle / via Higher Ed Dive
Biden trying to bridge the “Diploma divide” / via New York Times
Related, noted proponent of the college degree, Anthony Carnevale, seems to agree with Biden’s effort / via Education Week
Cosmetology certification is the rabbit hole everyone knows about, but no one wants to go down. I disagree with the perspective that healthcare jobs are in a comparable bucket, healthcare has stronger long-term options / via Associated Press
Update on earnings season. I hope to have my own report out in the next week or two / via Higher Ed Dive
What AI will disrupt but never replace / shoutout Jennifer Carolan at Reach Capital
Record youth unemployment in China / via Bloomberg
Writing: good career move, terrible career. In Tobias Funke voice, “But it might work for us” (it did work for Byrne!) / Shoutout at The Diff
EdTech Thoughts Weekend Reading is the free sister publication of the EdTech Thoughts Weekly Update. It provides links to the week’s EdTech Funding, M&A, People moves, and a curated list of Links to relevant industry news. If you enjoyed this edition, I hope you will subscribe and/or forward to your friends!