For-Profit Education and the Failure of Capitalism

There is a lesson to be learned from a new report exposing the deceptive and unethical practices of for-profit colleges and universities, and it’s a much broader lesson than the narrow, mushy, call for greater “regulatory scrutiny” in today’s Seattle Times.

A scathing report by the influential think tank, Education Trust, offers a damning list of examples. Only 22 percent of students in for-profit colleges’ four-year programs earn degrees within six years. Contrast that with a 55 percent six-year graduation rate at public colleges and a 65 percent rate at private nonprofit schools.

The most egregious example is a 9 percent graduation rate at the University of Phoenix — the nation’s largest for-profit postsecondary education provider as well as the recipient of more than $1 billion in federal Pell Grant aid last year.

While some career colleges have achieved a level of credibility, the business model at far too many appears to be one based on student failure, not success.

The emphasis is mine, and I added it to highlight the inescapable conclusion that so many of our nation’s respectable pundits are too fearful and/or ideologically rigid to admit: there are simply some things that are simply best left outside the profit-driven clutches of the market.

And education—K-12 and beyond—is one of ‘em.

This by the way, is one of the reasons why I oppose the charter school movement, which seems to be based on the attractively simple proposition that competition between schools will foster innovation and improvement. You know, sprinkle a little free market pixie dust on our public school systems and the problems and inefficiencies will just sort themselves out on their own. Or perhaps the invisible hand of God will reach in and personally carve lessons on the blackboard. You get the point.

This of course ignores the fact that we’ve had plenty of competition between public schools for, well, forever, and it hasn’t done anything to improve the failing ones. Those parents who could afford to move to neighborhoods with good schools, did so, and those who couldn’t… well… their children got what they got.

Now I know what the knee-jerk, free market apologists are going to say: the problem with for-profit colleges is not the profit-motive but rather the distortion of the market caused by government grants, loans and other education subsidies. If the government would just get out of the higher education business—you know, no financial aid, no community colleges or public universities, no research grants, no nothing—the market would be free to allocate resources efficiently and provide the best and most affordable higher education system possible.

Or, instead of relying on magic, we could as a society, you know, invest more heavily in our community college systems, so that technical and career degrees would be more widely available to qualified students, and from institutions whose primary obligation isn’t to the shareholder.

But for, say, the Seattle Times editors to call for that, would also require them to call for raising more tax revenues to pay for it. So instead they just waste the opportunity by settling for a little stern, finger-wagging.


  1. 1

    headless lucy spews:

    Privatizing publiuc education will cost more in taxes than funding public education.

    If a school wants to be ‘private’, their source of funds should be private as well. If they run into any trouble, they can ask their pastors for assistance, as charity is not the responsibility of government.

  2. 2

    Deathfrogg spews:

    Several years ago, I sniffed around the University of Phoenix as a possible school. what I got was a seriously hard sell by the representative (salesman) that was supposedly my counselor. From day one, he was trying to get me to sign off on student loan agreements, grants and such, getting irritated that I wouldn’t just sign everything he put in front of me without reading it. The feel of the encounters were of that of buying a used car. I felt like I needed a lawyer to get through the contracts, and they wouldn’t let me take any of that paperwork home for serious review. When all was said and done, I walked away without signing anything, and got phone calls from hard core pushy salesmen for months after I told them to go to hell.

    These “schools” are nothing more than scams, designed to take taxpayers money and let the “student” hold the bag while they make tons of liquid cash straight from the student loan system.

    Pure rip-off.

  3. 3

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    1. headless lucy spews:

    Privatizing publiuc education will cost more in taxes than funding public education.

    Even if that’s true…which I contend…the outcome would be much better with competition and getting rid of teachers who are just hanging on the last 10 years until retirement.

  4. 4

    Michael spews:

    These “schools” are nothing more than scams, designed to take taxpayers money and let the “student” hold the bag while they make tons of liquid cash straight from the student loan system.

    Pure rip-off.


    Contrast that with a 55 percent six-year graduation rate at public colleges

    I’d note that a 55% graduation rate, especially when those people who don’t graduate are leaving saddled with student loan debit, is also problematic.

  5. 5

    headless lucy spews:

    re 3: Not to question an intellectual of your stature, but can you cite some evidence for your assertions?

  6. 6

    Xar spews:

    @3: There are more effective ways to deal with bad, tenured teachers than creating a private school system. That would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. This would be better addressed by merit pay and some method of weeding out bad individual teachers.

    The myth of the free market is based on three necessary assumptions: 1) free and symmetrical distribution of relevant information across the marketplace, 2) rational decision-making by all consumers, and 3) a consuming public that has the ability to effect the decisions they make. None hold true.

    Particularly in education, competition is only relevant if every (or at least most) people have a choice. Do you really think poor families will get any meaningful choice if we move to a voucher system or any type of serious conversion to private schools?

  7. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “there are simply some things that are simply best left outside the profit-driven clutches of the market”

    More to the point, there are some things that government simply does better than the profit-driven market.

    Administering health care payments, for example. Private health insurers skim 30% of our premium dollars off the top for pushing the same paperwork that Medicare manages for less than 1%. Yet, incoming Republican congressmen want to repeal a law that requires some health insurers to spend 80% of their premium revenue, instead of 60%, on health care. The people who voted them in will soon be very, very sorry they did.

  8. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “the market would be free to allocate resources efficiently and provide the best and most affordable higher education system possible”

    This points to another issue where conservatives fall flat on their faces. They assume efficiency should not only be our highest goal but our only goal. Yet, the pursuit of maximum efficiency often produces cruel results — unemployed workers, uninsured sick people, and so on.

    In an unregulated and efficient health insurance market, only healthy people will be insured, and the sick … well, they can go fuck themselves.

    Is that what we want for our society? It’s what conservatives want, but should we allow them to want it for you and me?

    I say, conservatives can go fuck themselves.

  9. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @3 Typical Klown crapola — it’s all the fault of bad teachers!! Mr. Cynical has never met a problem he couldn’t blame on public employees. That’s his one-size-fits-all answer to all our problems.

  10. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @4 And then there’s the questionable value of those “degrees” when people do graduate. A “degree” from Phoenix University just doesn’t have the same clout in the job market as a degree from Harvard, the University of Washington, or South Seattle Community College.

  11. 12

    YellowPup spews:

    There is a good Frontline doc on this:

    If it’s much easier to make money by admitting students than by educating them, business logic dictates that you are going to focus the most attention on admissions and fixing how you measure student success to get the best possible results.

  12. 14

    ArtFart spews:

    As a matter of fact, Fairview Fanny’s Sunday edition contained a well-reasoned but highly impassioned plea from WSU’s former president for the state to give a higher priority to funding higher education. He claims that tech-dependent employers like Boeing are choosing to expand outside the state not so much to use cheaper non-union production labor, but they’re finding that they have to recruit more and more engineers from elsewhere. It’s worth noting that while South Carolina isn’t noted for its universities, it is awfully close to Georgia Tech and the cluster of colleges around Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill.

  13. 15

    ArtFart spews:

    @3 Cyn, that’s a load of shit. All experience of the last century has shown that privatization leads to monopolies and collusion, not competition–and certainly not “excellence” except by the sleaze-bag Tom Peters redefinition.

  14. 16

    Rujax! Reminding MISTER Cynical-ASS-Klown that the jesus threw pricks like him out of the Temple. spews:

    13. Mr. Cynical spews:

    Headless lucy–
    My pleasure–
    Here you go-

    And here is another–

    Overwhelmingly, the outcomes favor Private over Government Schools.
    Get into the detail Headless, before you simply dismiss because you have already made up your mind. It’s overwhelming.

    11/29/2010 at 11:08 am

    There’s no right-wing anti-American Worker/anti-America argument that MISTER Cynical-ASS-Klown that can’t be suopported by some specious bought and paid for study.

    The genius bought his GM stock yet??

  15. 17

    brian holt spews:

    Getting rid of teachers is possible, even with tenure. Merit pay is unnecessary and unreliable in education (as it stands now).

    The quick reason is that there are no accepted and reliable means to measure “learning”, and so instead, and often, an “objective” measure of ‘graduation rate’ is used.

    But ‘graduation rate’ as a measure of education quality is an indirect measure at best, and so should not be used for teacher evals. There are just too many factors of influence that happen in between the ‘teacher’ and ‘graduation.’

    Tenure does make it more difficult to fire someone, but at it’s core tenure is merely due process.

    Due process for being let go for good reasons and not political or personality differences.

    So, if an administrator has reasonable evidence that a faculty member isn’t doing their job, or not doing it well, AND the faculty member has been given an opportunity to improve, and the process of cataloging this process has been transparent to other faculty, the faculty member may be fired.

    It’s a humane way to go.

    But it requires that administrators have time, money, and resources to take the time to perform frequent good-faith evaluations.

    And none of what I’ve said above constitutes a belief that educators can’t improve their craft. We should, and I believe that the vast majority do, improve their skills and effectiveness.

  16. 18

    One Down spews:

    Er, duh. If a business (“for-profit college”) gets their primary revenue from tuition, their motivation is to increase tuition. If you can’t do that for a given year, you extend the number of years a person is a “student”. Their goal isn’t to educate you, their goal is the make money. Whether it’s iPads, Snuggies or college, a for-profit business has one goal, to make money. Since their revenue is from keeping you a student, it’s in their interest to keep you in college as long as possible. Whether or not you learn anything has NOTHING to do with their profit, so that would receive the lowest (if any) priority.

    Basic society infrastructure (education, police, fire, military) can NOT be run “for profit” as it completely 100% corrupts the entire mission of the organization. If the military runs “for profit” they will attack ANYONE they can simply to make more money (in contracts). That would be crazy right? (cough)

  17. 19

    Daddy Love spews:

    Cynical’s studies do not even look at whether the private entities they measure can even be scaled to the magnitude of public shools enrollment, or whether they can achieve similar results at that scale.

    I am guessing, though I don’t have time for an exhaustive analysis right now, that the private shools being studied do not compare apples-to-apples to public schools in terms of the enrollment of special-needs children, the poor, or ethnic and language minorities.

  18. 20

    Daddy Love spews:

    And, of course, Cynical would reject the results an NEA study out of hand, because you KNOW those people have an agenda.

    It would be funnier of it weren’t both transparent and clueless.

  19. 21

    Daddy Love spews:

    April 5, 2010
    Philadelphia charter school mismanagement

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reported today that a soon to be released report says charter school mismanagement appears to be widespread in 13 Philadelphia schools investigated. In one case, a charter school building was doubling as a nightclub on weekends, but the story details many other areas of mismanagement, including high salaries for charter operators and principals that appear unrelated to the size of the school or the salaries of teachers, incomplete or missing records and conflicts of interest.

    The story highlights the need for more accountability and perhaps better oversight by the school district.

  20. 22

    Daddy Love spews:

    Many charter schools enjoy good reputations. But scores of them continue getting education dollars despite records of low student achievement and financial mismanagement. A yearlong investigation by the Orlando Sentinel found that the state’s lack of oversight has allowed students to fail academically and charter operators to profit from their relationships with the schools.

    Four in every 10 Florida charter schools were ungraded last year, raising questions about whether these privately operated schools are being held accountable.

    While charter schools statewide received $1.5 billion of tax dollars over the past three years, nearly half had financial arrangements with their directors and employees that would not be allowed at regular schools.

    Escambia Charter near Pensacola made about $200,000 by hiring out students to clean roadsides — and the school falsified attendance records, course schedules and grade reports.

  21. 23

    Daddy Love spews:

    Texas has 206 charter schools, and 93 of them are in hot water for bilking the state out of millions of dollars by overcounting their enrollment. At $5,400 a pop, a few imaginary students here and few not over there, and before you know it, you’ve enough for a new Suburban with longhorns on the front.

    In the chart here provided by the Dallas Morning News (click it to enlarge and enrage), we see that $9 million of the $23 million owed to the taxpayers is from those boarded up “academies of learning” that were intended by the Business Roundtable to be the for-profit, or non-profit/w corporate tax credits, solution to educating the poor in America. Another $14 million is owed the State by those “excellence” outfits still in operation. And if this is what the State knows about, can you imagine how much is really being stolen?

  22. 24

    masaba spews:

    This issue has been addressed in print many times before.

    I remember reading that people were taking out $40-$50K in loans to attend cooking schools (Le Cordon Bleu, specifically), only to find when they graduated that the skills they learned could net them jobs as busboys or sous chefs earning $10 an hour.

    The sad part is that the executives of these for-profit universities are becoming millionaires by selling snake-oil, and that in many cases they are defrauding the taxpayers as well as the students.

  23. 25

    Daddy Love spews:

    I’m guessing that one cannot believe all of the data that comes from publicly funded charter and/or private schools.

  24. 26

    Bobblehead spews:

    Not that I’m a fan of privatizing education, but one thing to consider on the six-year graduation rates is that for most of the for-profit colleges the clientele are not full time students, but rather students that have full-time jobs and only attending college in the evenings. This usually results in students only taking one or two courses per quarter vs. three or four courses per quarter in public college.

    I got degrees from a public college and a for-profit college and it took me twice as long to get the degree from the for-profit college than it did the public college because instead of taking three or four courses a quarter like I was at the public college, I was only taking 1 or 2 courses.

  25. 27

    rhp6033 spews:

    Two experiences from people I know:

    A couple of years ago the state enacted new requirements for conselors. A lady I know, who has served as a counselor for decades, could be “grandfathered in”, but chose to go to school to get the credentials necessary for a license under the new rules.

    She chose a private college which I won’t name here, to get her master’s degree. But at the end of two years of coursework, she was informed by the college that the “faculty committee” had decided she wasn’t quite ready to earn her degree (despite passing all the classes), and required her to re-take the second year – at full tuition. She could refuse, of course, but then she wouldn’t get the degree, after wasting two years of time and tuition. She chose the extra year, and got the degree, but was pretty upset at the experience. Of course, the college documents she received at the beginning of the study meantioned briefly that a faculty committee would decide whether to award her a degree, but she assumed that was a formality if she passed all the classes. She also found out that although the college had said less than 10% repeated the second year (when she inquired), actually about 2/3 of her class also had to repeat the second year. Nice way to skim an extra year’s tuition out of the students.

    The second experience was when my daughter was looking at colleges after she injured her knees while rowing on a scholarship at a university back east. She came home to finish her education, and had several applications out to various schools, but one private school was “recruiting” her really hard. She asked me to talk to them, and they said they had a graduation rate of about 85%, and a job-placement rate among graduates of almost 90% within six months of graduation. But the more I quized the “counselor”, she admitted that most of those they counted as having jobs were actually anyone who took any job in any field, or became self-employed, within six months of graduating. If they were working flipping hamburgers at McDonalds, the school counted them among their placement rates. And to make matters worse, over half of those whom the school counted as being employed were actually “self-employed”, meaning they were picking up any odd job they could get. Fortunately, my daughter was admitted to the Univ. of Washington, so she didn’t have to seriously consider that institution.

  26. 28



    WADR .. you are just wrong about “Charter Schools.”

    Across the US, select schools, run by committed coalitions of parents, alumni and teachers excel. Look at any list of the best schools.

    Seattle is not on that list.

    I think the confusion here is about very different parts of the charter school concept:

    1. Unions: Most Charter Schools want the authority to determine who their teachers are. Unions object to this. However, the rules for the Obama admin “Race to the Top” require that unions and districts find agreement in this before they can apply. WA state flunked.

    2. Curriculum: many public school admins believe in a concept that “all children can learn.” Like most code words, this phrase isa cover for the idea that all kids fit one mold and that all kids can be taught in the same classroom. Often, as in Seattle, this appears as a form of lowest common denominator where the focus is on bringing up the bottom while neglecting talented kids or kids with the
    social commitment to succeed.

    Charter schools enable parent/student choice while opening up opportunities for kid whose parent can not make THEIR choice by moving to Hunt’s Point of Mercer Island.

    3. Diversity: Charter schools also offer opportunities for cultural diversity in a public environment. Many parents … African American, Chinese, Native American, highly educated academics, lovers of hippydom, have quite reasonable ideas about the focus of THEIR kids school.

    Charter schools allow these foci to be developed, again within a public school.

    4. Achievement at the lower end: The concern here is that choice will leave behind those kids whose parents do not have the motivation to choose a charter school or the money to move out of Seattle.

    This is a valid concern BUT it makes the assumption that children belong to the state, esp. those children who can not afford to move or got to private schools.

    The advantage of charters OVER moving or private schools is that the charters ARE open to ALL kids. The charters also offer the School District an opportunity to market the choices to parents who might not consider these.

    5. Taxes: If, as Goldy seems to want, we lock down the public schools the loss will not only be kids, it will be money. If the SPS are the domain of only those parents and kids who do not want or can not afford to choose how their kids learn, the remainder ..aka voters .. will not support the schools.

  27. 29

    Emily Litela spews:

    Following Cyn’s threads leads to the cato/conserve blog. So, in reality, you only cited one source – although you tried to make it appear as though it were two. My concervo/dishonesty meter immediately began to flash.

    “Would large-scale, free-market reforms improve educational outcomes for American children? THAT QUESTION CANNOT BE ANSWERED BY LOOKING AT DOMESTIC EVIDENCE ALONE.”

    The reason that it can’t is because the author’s bias cannot be supported by evidence in the U.S. – which, incidentally, is what we are talking about. Is the situation worldwide the same as in the U.S.?


    So why muddy the water with extraneous information that obfuscates rather than illuminates?

    1- The comparison in the U.S. is between the ‘free market’ schools (those who do not leach their profit from the public sector), the charter and religious schools, and the public schools.

    a- Main Difference from Public Schools: – Truly private (and charter and religious schools) control who gets in their schools. Behavioral problems and impaired students are generally not accepted. This changes the study if not accounted for (Skews the data).

    2- When the above mentioned factor is taken into account, public schools are very competitive with private schools – often surpassing them

  28. 30

    ArtFart spews:

    @24 “I remember reading that people were taking out $40-$50K in loans to attend cooking schools (Le Cordon Bleu, specifically)”


    A friend of ours recently quit a well-paid, secure job and moved to San Francisco to attend the one there. Now she’s running herself ragged going to school by day and working as a restaurant hostess at night (her boyfriend works, too) and I really don’t know how much they’ve borrowed.

  29. 31

    rhp6033 spews:

    I’ve been concerned about teaching to the lowest common denominator, but charter schools and private schools tend to err on the other extreme, leaving large swaths of student population to be handled by “somebody else”.

    Of course, there’s no requirement that a parent who is unhappy with the public school system keep their kids in the system. They can send them to any number of religious or private schools, if they want to do so, and have the money to do so. If not, there is always home schooling.

    But the big push for charter schools, or more particularly for school vouchers, isn’t coming from the parents. It’s coming from the folks who cant’ stand the thought that there is federal tax money being spent if it isn’t going directly into their pockets instead. It’s the people who want to operate those schools, for a charge, and be paid from the federal tax money.

    It kind of reminds me of what happened a few years ago, when some guys came to my office and announced that they were from “the building” and wanted to see if I had any concerns about the janitorial services. They started asking me a bunch of questions. Were the garbage liners replaced each day? Were the blinds dusted every day? When I told them I was quite happy with our present janitorial services, they became quite persistent, asking me for any “suggestions for improvement”. It was then I noted that they weren’t writing down anything positive I had to say, but were quite ready, with pen posed, to write down anything negative I had to say. Obviouisly, these were salesmen from a competing janitorial company who were trying to use the guise of a “survey” to pressure management into changing the contract. I threw them out of the office, and informed the building management.

    I’m guessing that the folks who want to get their hands on our tax dollars for education are spending a lot of time generating such “complaints”, and making sure any problems in the schools are well publicized.

  30. 32

    Armstrong spews:

    SJ’s arguments are an amazing discognate mish-mash of strawmen, ad hominem attacks and pulling crap out of their ass.

    1) Unions are to blame. Wharrglegrrlg. I’m not sure why so many conservatives are anti-union to the point of pathological mania. Maybe a Union Boss with a thick Jersey accent stole their lunch money when they were on their way to band practice, but they seem to think Union Members are like catholic clergy and appointed for life and shipped around to different locations to diddle kids.

    2) It’s not the public school’s belief it’s their directive. They are bound by LAW to educate even the most difficult or unprepared student.

    3) Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaha!!!!

    4) So a charter school will accept all comers? They’ll never turn away a student because they’re “full” or a “Distraction from the learning environment?”

    5) You weren’t paying attention to the last election. Tax payers DON’T support public schools, because of the lies and crap people like you spread.

  31. 33


    @ 32. Armstrong

    SJ’s arguments are an amazing discognate mish-mash of strawmen, ad hominem attacks and pulling crap out of their ass.

    Leaving aside your lack of knowledge of grammar, you also ought at least to cite what >>I<< said rather than argue with some shibboleth.

    1) Unions are to blame.

    I never said this. Unions are, however, a part of the problem. That is why Arnie Duncan insisted n Unions and Districts applying TOGETHER for funding.

    2) It’s not the public school’s belief it’s their directive. They are bound by LAW to educate even the most difficult or unprepared student.

    Again, I never said anything else. BUT, they are ALSO “bound by LAW to educate” EVERY “student.” Driving the more able, willing and prepared students out of the District insures “the most difficult or unprepared student.” WILL be poorly served.

    3) Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaha!!!!

    Impressive point!

    4) So a charter school will accept all comers?

    Yes, if that is the law and if the kids pass the needed criteria. By the way, this is NOT limited to charter schools. Even the SPS jave programs that set criteria.

    They’ll never turn away a student because they’re “full” or a “Distraction from the learning environment?”

    Of course they will, as the SPS does NOW! BUT, the District CAN require a Charter School to have open doors to all kids .. the Stanton School does this NOW!

    As for “Distraction from the learning environment?” obviously SPS does that now too. While you are at it, tell me how you would feel about having YOUR kids forced to sit in a classroom where they can not learn because f the “distractions?”

    5) You weren’t paying attention to the last election. Tax payers DON’T support public schools, because of the lies and crap people like you spread.

    Read what I said.

    The google this:

    Seattle Public Schools Levy passing with 64% approval

  32. 35

    Emily Litela spews:

    SJ — Charter schools and private schools are under no obligation, Federal or otherwise, to accept handicapped students.

    Denying that is absurd. Do you think that the local Baptist private school or some charter school has the personnel and equipment to handle even one seriously physically or mentally challenged child.

    They don’t.

  33. 36

    MikeBoyScout spews:

    Funny thing about for profit education businesses . . . . . they profit more as the population of uneducated people increases. They can either educate the vast numbers of the uneducated, or scam them. One of those two choices requires hard work.

    What do our market economists believe is the wise economic choice for for profit educators?

  34. 37

    enough is enough spews:

    Shouldnt this be re-titled and called “The failure of lazy parents to teach and instill good study habits in their kids”?

    Just curious….it comes down to mommy and daddy and an intact family with responsible parents…PERIOD.

  35. 38


    @35. Emily Litela

    SJ — Charter schools and private schools are under no obligation, Federal or otherwise, to accept handicapped students.

    I do not think you are correct. Charter schools receive the same fed $$ as any other public school.

    Even if it were correct, the “charters” are contracts issued by the District and obvioulsy could address that issue.

    Our current system, in effect, imprisons kids who can not pay or can not move in whatever the SPS chooses to inflict on them. The result is that poor kids get no choices.

  36. 39


    @37. enough is enough \

    Shouldnt this be re-titled and called “The failure of lazy parents to teach and instill good study habits in their kids”?

    Just curious….it comes down to mommy and daddy and an intact family with responsible parents…PERIOD.

    ??? so you want to punish their kids? At the risk of being called a bigot and in the hope others will see this as intended in an ironic fashion:

    “How Christian of you!”

    Did you know who really created the AMERICAN idea that education=opportunity? Tom Jefferson working with Joseph Priestly. THEY saw that TJ’s words in the Declaration were meaningless unless kids had equal opportunity to an education.

    200 years later, we had made some progress. Now we are slip-sliding backass backwards to something Charles Dickens might recognize .. the class system.

  37. 40

    enough is enough spews:

    you can throw a kid with shitty parents and no discipline into the best school around…and all that will happen is that the kid will fail and drop out.

    in other words, its not the school sherlock, its the home.

  38. 41

    lauramae spews:

    I’ve worked in higher education since 1986. I’ve been at a flagship Midwestern research university, a land-grant research university and at present a public regional institution here in this state. I’ve worked in student affairs at each institution, primarily in financial aid.

    Most people who work in student affairs (academic advising, registration, student life, financial aid, etc.) have always found the practices of proprietary for-profit colleges deeply problematic. They have no motivation to retain students, but simply have a full “class” each year. It doesn’t matter that the class might be completely different from year to year as long as the enrollment is steady. Money from a new student is just as good as money from a returning student.

    As for the financial aid, well, the proprietary schools set it up to bilk students of all the cash financial aid they can get which includes loans and grants, leaving students with very little support for their living expenses. Financially stressed students don’t persist.

    For profits really depend on selling the myth that efficient college is 1)entirely about vocational training 2)that employers value the name of the degree–regardless of where it was earned and 3)there is an unlimited market for their very specific educational training.

    Non-profit colleges and universities–both public and private—are in the business of higher education because they have particular philosophies about the best way to serve the common public good. There are built in accountability measures in accreditation and alumni relations. For-profits are in the business to make as much money as it can off of the desperation of as many prospective students as they can trick.

  39. 42

    Deathfrogg spews:

    @ SJ

    “It is an axiom in my mind that our liberty can never be safe but in the hands of the people themselves, and that, too, of the people with a certain degree of instruction. This is the business of the state to effect, and on a general plan.”

    -Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1786. ME 19:24

    “And say, finally, whether peace is best preserved by giving energy to the government or information to the people. This last is the most certain and the most legitimate engine of government. Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them. And it requires no very high degree of education to convince them of this. They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

    -Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1787. (Forrest version) ME 6:392

    Thomas Jefferson was the primary influence on the development of PUBLIC Schools. Private education was the system they had in England, and still mostly is. This is the foundation of the class system, the aristocracy of wealth which Jefferson stood most vehemently against in everything he wrote concerning the development of the New Republic.

    He would be appalled at what the Teabaggers/Republicans and other anti-constitutionalists are doing right now. All they are doing is tearing down the foundation of the Country, while holding it up as something sacred.

    Teabaggers are fascists, period.

  40. 43


    @42 Deathfrog

    Good quotes from my man!

    The history taught by Beck U is on a par with Soviet and Maoist revisionism.

    That said, Jefferson would have been equally aghast at the idea of government forcing all kids into some lowest common denominator classrooms.

    A few years ago I did an informal survey of educational activists in the SPS. This included high level SPS admins. Virtually all of them had THEIR kids in private schools or, as is the case for Goldy, in a suburban school.
    Yet, these folks were very willing to tell me (I was then head of an SPS parent group) how OUR classrooms were to be run.

    REAL choice (not vouchers) has to mean diversity that crosses income, real estate and (sic) ethnic barriers. As one more personal example, we chose this neighborhood because at the time the middle school options included a largely Chinese school. We felt this was a great opportunity for our kids. Naturally, the SPS closed the school because Chinese people are not an under served minority.

    Goldy’s views of the Charter schools arise largely from the union movement’s concern about its workers. Whatever one’s views of teachers as union members, that concern ought not to block parents, teachers and students. who wish to do so, from creating a divers marketplaces of choices within the SPS.

  41. 44

    Deathfrogg spews:

    @ SJ

    Only if those diverse choices are founded only in the facts of science, study, research and truth. REAL history, REAL science.

    Falsehoods founded in religion, faith or superstition are not to be allowed under any circumstances. Those are anathema to education. Thats what the teabaggers fascists are all about. They openly call for replacing science classes with bible classes.

  42. 45


    Deathfrog said

    “Thomas Jefferson was the primary influence on the development of PUBLIC Schools. Private education was the system they had in England, and still mostly is. This is the foundation of the class system, the aristocracy of wealth which Jefferson stood most vehemently against in everything he wrote concerning the development of the New Republic.”

    With one exception, I agree. England, like us, has an extensive public school system today. Moreover, Oxford and Cambridge are in all but name public since tuition is (or has been) largely subsidized by the state.

    What I fear is that England is moving backward and we are moving forward, both toward the pre WWII system of Victorian England!

    BTW, this topic is covered at some length at my new site, THE-Ave.US on our blog,

    Try this link

  43. 46



    I agree with your point and that is one MORE reason support charters and oppose vouchers.

    If this topic interests you, I think you will see more about it at The-Ave.US. We welcome contributors as well commentators. Each contrib has her or his own control over comments.

  44. 47

    Deathfrogg spews:

    Jesus, you really are that dense.

    Charter schools are private companies. Their first order of business is profit, which comes before anything else. They pay their teachers crap wages, they have a vested interest in seeing as many people shuffled through their system as possible at the least expense possible.

    The highest ranking members of the corporation and the primary stockholders get rich, while the smaller shareholders and employees get the shaft.

    No, I’m sorry, but schools MUST be paid for by the State (its in the State Constitution BTW) and maintained at the highest level of educational result, NOT efficiency. When you place some phony “efficiency” standard on something, there will aways be corners cut, corruption and malfeasance. There are too many scammers out there, and too many of them seem to be the biggest promoters of privatizing the system.

    The primary purpose of educational institutions must be to educate people, not to make money. Only the State has the wherewithal to run such a system. Private schools cannot serve this function without manufacturing results.

  45. 48

    ArtFart spews:

    It should probably be pointed out that not all for-profit institutions are completely horrid. I’ve had a number of “techie” friends who got their degrees from DeVry who were perfectly satisfied with the experience.

  46. 50


    sorry DF but you are VERY confused.

    It IS true that some Charter schools are contracted to private contractors. BTW there are also traditional schools and even districts run that way.

    It is NOT TRUE that Charter schools are all that way. Charters are often organized by parent-teacher groups who get the same money as all public schools but he administrative freedom to do things in their own way as long as they comply with certain things required by the district.

    The opposite philosophy is that central admins know more than parents, esp poor parents, and therefore can tell all schools how and what to do.

    Obviously there are compromises between extremes. Seattle, however, seems well into what I refer to as the opposite philosophy.

    The best example is our lack of centralized, specialized high schools. If you look at any list of the outstanding public high schools, you will see many with names like “science,” “baccalaureate” “latin,” etc etc. Whether these or charters or simply schools with a uniquye mission they offer ALL kids a choice our kids simply do not have.

    I have a question. Do you have kids in the SPS?

  47. 51


    @40 Walnut Hills sounds like a clone of my own secondary .. Boston Latin.

    I have argued FOR years that SPS needs a school like this. The left says that this is an “elitist” idea … but then most who say this move to Shoreline, send their kids to Lakeside, or skim off the best the Diocese offers.

  48. 52

    ArtFart spews:

    We put both of our kids through Catholic elementary school. One went on to Blanchet, the other to Nathan Hale. Both high schools were sorta-kinda OK, but neither was perfect. This more or less paralleled the experience of my wife and her sisters 20 years earlier.