"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Can Corruption Become Any More Blatant?

With less than three years remaining in the current corporate feeding frenzy in Washington, the legalized looting of the Federal Treasury in the coming months stands to make Baghdad after Saddam look like a picnic. What we know, of course, is that Bush's corporate thugs pushed through $12 billion in college student aid cuts in order to justify permanent tax cuts for the wealthy. What we did not know about that "deficit reduction bill" is that the same piece of legalized dreck contains an unending gift to the for-profit diploma mills to drain away the remaining student aid. Who is Sally Stroup and Brad Card? Sam Dillon has the whole sordid story:

It took just a few paragraphs in a budget bill for Congress to open a new frontier in education: Colleges will no longer be required to deliver at least half their courses on a campus instead of online to qualify for federal student aid.

That change is expected to be of enormous value to the commercial education industry. Although both for-profit colleges and traditional ones have expanded their Internet and online offerings in recent years, only a few dozen universities are fully Internet-based, and most of them are for-profit ones.

The provision is just one sign of how an industry that once had a dubious reputation has gained new influence, with well-connected friends in the government and many Congressional Republicans sympathetic to their entrepreneurial ethic.

The Bush administration supported lifting the restriction on online education as a way to reach nontraditional students. Nonprofit universities and colleges opposed such a broad change, with some academics saying there was no proof that online education was effective. But for-profit colleges sought the rollback avidly.

"The power of the for-profits has grown tremendously," said Representative Michael N. Castle, Republican of Delaware, a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee who has expressed concerns about continuing reports of fraud. "They have a full-blown lobbying effort and give lots of money to campaigns. In 10 years, the power of this interest group has spiked as much as any you'll find."

Sally L. Stroup, the assistant secretary of education who is the top regulator overseeing higher education, is a former lobbyist for the University of Phoenix, the nation's largest for-profit college, with some 300,000 students.

Two of the industry's closest allies in Congress are Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, who just became House majority leader, and Representative Howard P. McKeon, Republican of California, who is replacing Mr. Boehner as chairman of the House education committee.

And the industry has hired well-connected lobbyists like A. Bradford Card, the brother of the White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr. . . .

1 comment:

  1. Thank goodness for this news-- for a minute, I was afraid that the profits for Kaplan/Post would level off in the mere billions...BTW, what comes next, zillions???

    Kaplan, Inc. -- Headquartered in New York City with locations throughout the U.S. and abroad, Kaplan is one of the world's leading providers of lifelong education. The company has evolved well beyond its historic test preparation roots into a global, diversified education company that also provides K-12 services, postsecondary education, and professional training. Kaplan had 2004 revenues of more that $1.1 billion. Kaplan's operating units are: Kaplan Higher Education, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, Kaplan Professional, and SCORE!

    Kaplan Higher Education

    Kaplan Higher Education includes more than 75 campuses in the U.S. and abroad, and as well as online programs through Kaplan University and Concord Law School. This division offers students career-oriented Master's, Bachelor's, and Associate's degrees as well as certificates and diplomas. Through Kaplan Higher Education, students gain the skills necessary to qualify them for employment in a variety of fields, including criminal justice, health care, business, education, financial planning, information technology, legal studies, fashion and design. Each of the individual schools in the division is separately accredited by one of several national or regional accrediting agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

    Kaplan Professional

    Kaplan Professional provides students with training to obtain and maintain professional licenses and designations in the fields of securities, insurance, legal, real estate and information technology. Through educational tools such as on-site training and classroom instruction to 900 online courses and programs, Kaplan Professional provides individuals with the certification and continuing education training they need to maintain licenses and comply with regulatory mandates. In addition, Kaplan Professional provides businesses with solutions to satisfy regulatory mandates for tracking and compliance, serving some of the world's leading financial services organizations including Fortune 500 banks, securities and insurance firms.

    About Kaplan Higher Education
    The higher education division of Kaplan, Inc. includes 72 campuses in 17 states, as well as online programs. Kaplan Higher Education offers certificate, bachelor and associate degree programs designed to provide students with the skills necessary to qualify them for employment in fields such as healthcare, business, information technology, technology, fashion and design. Kaplan, which has been helping people achieve their goals for nearly 70 years, provides educational and career services to students, schools, professionals and businesses worldwide. Kaplan is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO). For more information about Kaplan, please visit www.kaplan.com.