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ETCH Weekend Reading 9/24/23
Money for childcare in CA, the end of Scantrons, and teaching vs. research at universities
No announcements from me this week, straight to the update!
Funding / M&A
Lepaya raises €35M / Netherlands, Corporate Training / Endeit, Educapital, Mars Growth Capital, Liquidity Capital, Target Global, Mediahuis Ventures
Betterleap raises $13M / US, Recruiting software / A16Z, Peakstate Ventures, Streamlined Ventures, Active Capital, Air Angels, Stipple Capital
Gizmo raises $3.5M / UK, Homework Help / NFX, Ada Ventures, Capital T
Shaq on EdTech / via Techcrunch
Monark raises $1.5M / Canada, Leadership Development / Storytime Capital, The51, Archangel, UCeed
Babbel acquires Toucan / Germany (US), Language Learning
FullBloom acquires EmpowerU / US, Special Education
Spark Hire acquires Chally / US, Talent Management (Assessment)
Golden Vision Capital buys out Hawkes Learning / US, Higher Ed Curriculum
Apave acquires Trainor / Norway, Vocational Training
Correcto raises €6.5M / Spain, Language Learning
General funding news
Learnlaunch announces most recent vintage of their accelerator program. / via PRNewswire
Do VC specialists outperform generalists? A particularly pertinent question given the number of EdTech specialist VCs and generalists who dabble in EdTech. / via Pitchbook
James Sanders joins Converge as CEO. / via PRNewswire
Omar Abbosh replaces Andy Bird as CEO of Pearson. / via Bloomberg
Jason Mendenhall joins MIND Education as Chief Product Officer. / via PRNewswire
Paper lays off 87 employees. / via Globe and Mail
Related, the hope at the bottom of the child care cliff. / via New York Times Opinion
EdTech for little ones needs more testing before rollout. On the importance of setting a research/assessment agenda early on in the product development cycle of EdTech Products! / via K12 Dive
On teachers becoming adaptive educators and social engineers. One of the best, most level-headed essays I have read on how technology tools (including AI) will shape the future of teaching. / via EdSurge
27% of educators think that teachers are properly trained on the science of reading. This announcement focuses on parents, but the educator stat is more interesting to me, as it significantly lags the ~60% of states that have passed policies related to the science of reading. / via businesswire
The end of Scantron tests. I was going to make a funny quip about how the only people sad about this are private equity firms hunting for legacy cashflow, but then I looked it up and it turns out this is not a joke, but a truth. / via The Atlantic
Americans value good teaching. Do colleges? It is starting to feel like there is an inflection moment coming where universities will be pushed to choose between teaching (and, probably, liberal arts vs. workforce development teaching) and research. / via Chronicle of Higher Education
Related, if you don’t believe me that change is coming, maybe Open University Professor Martyn Hammersley will change your mind. / via Times Higher Education
Also related, clearly some schools have decided to punt on teaching. Northwestern Michigan College is outsourcing adjunct staffing to a third party. / via Higher Ed Dive
On the other hand, let’s remember not to throw the baby out with the bath water - the current iteration of the US university system produces a lot of good. The American university system is reviled at home but envied around the world. Why? / via LA Times Opinion
One area where US universities have mixed results? International campuses. Which makes it interesting to see IIT (the top universities in India) expanding to Zanzibar, Tanzania. / via Times Higher Education
Not unrelated to the inflection moment, college living quarters were once a (relative) equalizer, but are rapidly | stratifying. What does that mean for the college experience? / via Business Insider and Wall Street Journal
The only way college sports can begin to make sense again, written by one of the University of Michigan’s regents. I don’t have the answer to fixing college sports, but appreciate suggestions for athlete-first paths forward. / via New York Times Opinion
Harvard’s Medical School is for sale. Well, the naming rights are anyway, and it will only cost you one billion dollars. Which is significantly more money than the £779 (and 329 books) John Harvard left for the OG naming rights. / via The Harvard Crimson
The administrative overhaul of the New College of Florida. Regardless of where you stand on New College’s dramatic Liberal to Conservative ideological shift, this is a wild display of cronyism. / via Inside Higher Ed
Remote for me, but not for thee. Baby Boomers most likely to prefer flexible, remote work. This is particularly rich given the number of bigtime boomer bosses using return-to-office as a pretext for layoffs.
D2L goes B2B. I can’t quite put my finger on it yet, but there is an emergent discussion to be had over the incumbent, K12/university-oriented LMSes being challenged by a new crop of venture-backed LMSes like Workera in the B2B vertical. / via PRNewswire
The problem with on-demand, reusable content provided without an instructor. A follow up to Google’s participation trophies. Lots to pick apart here, I hope to have more to say on this topic in a future essay. / via OnEdTech and Washington Monthly
Biden signs Executive Order to create American Climate Corp, funding 20,000 jobs in clean energy. This is neat, and I am a big fan of finding new ways for young adults to gain work experience through service with a broad societal benefit. / via HR Dive
The kids on the night shift. An expose on the hard labor being done in meatpacking plants by underage, undocumented children. / via New York Times
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Image of the Week
Of note, apparently inflows are unexpectedly higher than 2019 levels, with no clear reason why. I’m curious if some of this is due to debt holders choosing to pay off the balance of their loans rather than restarting payments.
If you have a 22-40 year old with student debt in your life, drinks are on you this month while they re-calibrate to paying down their loans!