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

Monday, April 30, 2007

No Corporate Sponsor Left Behind by Spellings

We know about the thugs running Reading First who pressure states to adopt their preferred approach for intellectual lobotomies for poor children. Now we find out that a similar kind of bullying has broken out during discussions between Maggie's Higher Ed Commission and those in academia who resist the manipulation of accrediting agencies to advance the agenda of the Business Roundtable and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce.

Inside Higher Ed has a detailed piece
, exposing the intimidation used by ED officials at last week's meeting, which eventually broke down after late-night phone calls from ED officials suggesting resignation of Judith Eaton, the remaining dissident on the committee. Pulling the strings, of course, are the for-profit online diploma mills that were approved last year (thanks to Congressman Boehner) as legitimate recipients of federal student loan money. Their angry eyes are now on the real prize--to join the ranks of the those legitimate universities who have thus far resisted the use of the for-profit phony credits toward legitimate degrees from regionally-accredited colleges and universities.

Today's Inside Higher Ed carries a story with a new twist from the government privatizers and corporate socialists: corporate sponsorship for the upcoming regional summit meetings of the Higher Ed Commission. The first one in Atanta is appropriately sponsored by Coca-Cola, whose the policies are the real thing in union crushing. Never mind that some campuses have outlawed Coke products in protest of their labor policies--that fact only makes Coke more attractive to Spellings:
Corporate sponsorship is pretty common these days — walk around campus, tour an art museum, listen to NPR, and you’ll quickly encounter the name of some benefactor. But should Education Department meetings about the future of higher education have corporate sponsors?

That’s the question some academics have been asking since invitations went out to the summit that will take place in June in Atlanta to discuss the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education. The invitations indicate that they are coming from Margaret Spellings, the secretary, but that the event is “hosted by the Coca-Cola Company at the Hilton Atlanta.” A similar reference to Coke as the host of the meeting appears on the department’s Web site. The Atlanta meeting is one of a series of regional conclaves the department is holding to follow up on a national summit it held in March.

One reason the apparent corporate sponsorship of the Atlanta meeting is drawing snickers is that the national meeting was held at the Willard Intercontinental — a landmark Washington hotel known for its exclusivity and luxury, not the transparency and frugality of the sort the secretary advocates for higher education.

Several people who have been attending Education Department forums in various places around the country through several administrations said that they could not remember seeing a department event that appeared to have a corporate sponsor like the Atlanta meeting (or one with hors d’oeuvres as nice as those served at the Willard).

While the Atlanta meeting is the only one identified as having a corporate host in a sponsorship style, the Boston regional meeting will take place at the headquarters of the EMC2 Corporation, a company whose software and services are used to secure and store information; the Kansas City meeting will take place at the headquarters of H&R Block; and the Seattle meeting will take place at Microsoft. No setting has been identified yet for the Phoenix meeting. . . .

Might I suggest the Phoenix meeting be held at the U. of Phoenix's home office, the Apollo Group, Inc.? That $3 billion that UP has received in federal student loan money should be enough to buy a few hundred shrimp cocktails, right?

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