Given the urgency of improving the US education system, we can no longer afford to shut out an entire group of providers. In a time of declining state and federal revenues, policymakers should be stimulating, not stifling, the influx of private capital to our education system. When it comes to other crucial national challenges, policymakers do not ask whether they should engage for-profit companies, but how they should. It is time for education policymakers to follow suit.
I have some issues with this.
(I’m exhausted and I’ve just downed half a beer in about 5 minutes, so bear with me.)
Here’s the thing with teaching: you are not selling a product. You don’t take flights in a government-operated airplane, but the government is not obligated to provide every citizen with access to air travel.
The government is obligated to provide every citizen with quality education, regardless of ability to pay.
In “for-profit” education, who exactly is the paying customer? The students? Their families? What about when they can’t pay? What then?
Who exactly is profiting? The teachers? What, from the money the students pay?
Do you see what I mean?
Look, “for-profit” education + gov’t money is exactly what is happening in higher ed all over this country, and think about how excellently that is working to make college ed accessible for everyone in America, regardless of socioeconomic status.
Isn’t this more or less what NCLB was doing? Trying the for-profit model, except “profit” was “funding” and to keep it you had to score highly on tests or else you were failing and would therefore lose the money which would like, suddenly magically motivate everyone to start teaching or something? And the now-even-more impoverished schools would turn around because they’d have to to get the money they needed? Except they didn’t have the money they needed, so…
I just can’t deal with this whole “Let’s run education like a private business!” bullshit. It’s not hypocrisy. It’s a fundamentally different kind of service than the ones listed in this article.
Sorry it took me so long to weigh in—I couldn’t find my soapbox.
My reply is to the the original title of the article:
In a sentence, the problem with for profit educators is that the vast majority are providing a subpar, unaccredited “degree” while leeching away a significant chunk of federal and state financial aid dollars that could go to students at real universities who are more likely to persist, and who are guaranteed to earn a degree that’s actually worth something if they graduate.
This Atlantic article also ignores the fact that no self-respecting public institution is a diploma mill. This phenomenon is exclusive to the for-profit arena they’re championing here. Don’t believe me? Here’s a list of ANIMALS that have been granted degrees by for profit institutions.
In another sentence: The University of Phoenix requires its faculty to have at least a Masters or Ph.D. to be able to teach for the University of Phoenix. Those degrees just can’t come from the University of Phoenix because they’re unaccredited.