What the Sordid Saga of a Silicon Valley Start-Up Tells Us About #EdReform

While Have You Heard co-host Jack Schneider is off doing whatever academics do during months without an ‘r,’ Jennifer has been tearing through a blockbuster new book on the meteoric rise and implosion of Silicon Valley blood-testing startup Theranos. So what does the sordid saga of a blood testing company have to do with education? Writer John Warner steps into the Have You Heard studio to discuss Bad Blood and what it tells us about “bad ed tech” and “bad ed reform.”

Life A la Carte: School Choice, Segregation and Gentrification in an Unequal City

In episode #44, sociologist Carla Shedd steps into the Have You Heard studio to talk about the complex interplay between school choice, segregation and gentrification in the unequal city she calls home: New York. You may remember Shedd from a previous appearance on this page. I interviewed her a few years back about her book Unequal City about Chicago. And if you’re a fan of Have You Heard and want to help us keep the podcast going, we’ve got a Patreon page now where you can do just that!

One Year In: Reflections on the DeVos Education Agenda

Has it really been a whole year since VP Mike Pence cast his tie-breaking vote, making Betsy DeVos Secretary of Education? Congrats! You survived – and DeVos remains Trump’s least popular cabinet official. In this episode of Have You Heard, Jennifer and Jack reflect on DeVos’ first year, a task they prepared for by watching, reading, and listening to WAY too many DeVos speeches. (Note: don’t try this at home, or in close proximity to sharp objects). Their top takeaway: after 365 days, DeVos remains misunderstood and misunderestimated. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you will experience the 46 longest seconds of your life – and still have many minutes to go in the episode!

No Clean Hands

I’m responsible for the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Are you?

By Alicia
18th century political and moral philosopher Joseph de Maistre said every country gets the leader it deserves.  More recently, professor and public intellectual Tressie McMillan Cottom pointed out there are no innocent parties in the expansion of market-based education. That’s over two centuries of wisdom firmly identifying us, *We the People,* as just as responsible for the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education as President Donald Trump.

How are you or I responsible for the appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education?

It was President Trump who picked her, which makes sense, as his own for-profit education company defrauded thousands of students. But you and I also helped DeVos get to her position. We’re implicated too, despite our protest of the selection of a woman who has used her financial and social capital to undermine public education. My contribution to Betsy DeVos’ appointment is that I consistently failed to pay attention to what was occurring in public education. Continue reading →

Screw U

Betsy DeVos’ top advisor led a for-profit university that defrauded students and hoovered up federal student aid. Now Robert Eitel is tasked with *right-sizing* the Department of Education. What could possibly go wrong?

Jennifer Berkshire: This week Betsy DeVos announced that she was tasking one of her top advisors, Robert Eitel, formerly of Bridgepoint Education, Inc., with overseeing the *right sizing* of the Department of Education. Bridgepoint has something of, um, an interesting backstory that I’d like you to walk us through. Start in 2005 when the company purchased a nun-run Iowa college and blew it up into an online behemoth.

Christopher Crowley: So Bridgepoint Education was started by a group of former University of Phoenix executives who were able to get Wall Street seed money and then used that money to buy a small college in Iowa called the Franciscan University of the Prairies. When Bridgepoint bought the college in 2005, there were around 300 students enrolled, taught mostly by the nuns who founded the school. Bridgepoint changed the name of the school to Ashford, and by 2010 there were more than 80,000 students enrolled, mostly online. That’s huge. Continue reading →