A little over two years ago, Google launched a version of the Play Store tailored for education in an attempt to push Android tablets into schools. There's been basically no news about it since — until now, with Google essentially announcing plans to shut down the store. Google tells TechCrunch that in about a month it'll "no longer sell Google Play for Education licenses," so schools won't be able to buy and distribute apps in bulk to their students. Google says it'll continue to support the tablets already out there using Play for Education apps; educational apps will also remain available inside the standard version of the Play Store that's accessible to everyone.
While Play for Education clearly failed, it's not entirely bad news for Google. When it launched the store, it was hoping to promote the use of Android tablets for education. But Android tablets haven't improved dramatically for students in that time, while Chromebooks, on the other hand, have taken a major role in schools. They have both Apple and Microsoft worried, and Google is working on major changes to ChromeOS that could make them even more capable. Basically, Chrome is what Google cares about seeing in schools right now — not Android tablets — so it doesn't really need this program.
This is how Google introduced the program in November 2013: