This week Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings launched an investigation into private sector, for-profit schools. The specious reasoning he uses to justify this is that students attend for-profit schools using federal tuition aid. The Baltimore Sun reports:
Cummings, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, sent letters to 13 schools requesting their senior executive contracts. The Baltimore lawmaker said he wants to determine whether salaries, bonuses and other compensation are tied to student performance.
Wait, what? Tying compensation and bonuses to student performance? Perhaps Mr. Cummings would like to propose that sort of metric for government run schools as well? The bosses of the big teachers’ unions would respond to that like vampires to sunlight.
The federal government providing college tuition to anyone apart from perhaps veterans is a questionable use of taxpayers’ dollars to begin with. Arguing that students choosing to spend those dollars at for-profit schools gives the federal government the authority to dictate their executive compensation practices is downright absurd.
“If the American taxpayers are funding the majority of these schools’ operations, I believe we have the right — not only do we have a right, but we have an obligation — to understand how our money is being used,” Cummings said during a speech Monday at the AFL-CIO headquarters.
What’s wrong with this picture? If it is true that the “majority of these schools’ operations” are being funded by the American taxpayers then what Cummings and his cohort are obligated to do is justify to the taxpayer why they are spending so much money paying for people’s tuition in the first place. The problem, if there is one, lies not in the private sector decisions but in the dubious policy of using federal funds to pay for students’ educations.
What truly is galling about this government overreach is that public and private universities are left out. How much federal tuition aid gets spent at schools who crank out deadbeat “occupy wall street” protesters with useless degrees? How much do those universities’ presidents, professors and coaches make? What are their pensions when they retire?
Thankfully someone is pushing back against Cummings’ presumptuous intrusion into private sector practices. Brian Moran, interim chief executive officer and president of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), called Cummings’ probe “just more politics.”
“This appears to be just more politics and unfortunately fails to acknowledge the important role private sector colleges and universities have in educating non-traditional students to compete for jobs in a very difficult economic environment,” Moran said in a statement sent to The Hill.
In this “very difficult economic environment” I’m betting that for-profit DeVry University’s degree in Small Business Management & Entrepreneurship is a better investment than Columbia’s degree in African American Studies or perhaps Princeton’s degree in Slavic Languages and Literature, both of which I imagine consume federal dollars.
Cummings said there are studies have found that chief executives at for-profit colleges “consistently make much more than their counterparts at public and nonprofit schools.”
When compared with public and nonprofit schools, “for-profit companies spend a smaller percentage of their funds on student education, reserving more for marketing, advertising, recruitment and other non-education expenses,” he said.
The for-profit companies need to do things public schools don’t in order to stay in business. Personally, I have degrees from both a public university and a private, for-profit university. In my experience, the latter put far more effort into realistically preparing students to enter the workforce in their chosen fields. Of course that’s anecdotal and proves nothing but, the relative quality of the education isn’t really the underlying problem here. The selective overreach by left wing Democrat politicians is.
The White House is encouraging their thralls to be snarky to their “friends” on the other side of the political spectrum. Why? Because it’s “fun” apparently.
Of course we can be reasonably certain that snark isn’t the primary motivation here. As White House Dossier points out,
The Obama presidential campaign is launching an effort to collect Republican email addresses by inviting its supporters to submit information about their Republican associates to the Obama 2012 website.
The effort could help the Obama campaign build a database that would enable it to target Republican voters during the general election campaign. But, more perniciously, it could also become part of an Democratic effort to influence Republican primary voters to select a candidate Democrats think Obama could most easily defeat.
I personally don’t count many left wing Obamatons among my close friends so I doubt anyone I know would claim that I inspired them to give their money to a failed Marxist president who is projected to raise one billion dollars in campaign funds for the 2012 election. (A billion would buy a lot of health insurance for poor people or pay a lot of tuition, wouldn’t it? Just sayin’.)
I’m not sure how I’d feel if I got a notification that I inspired someone to give to Obama. I’d probably laugh, knowing what little good it would do the Obama campaign to spam my email address. I’d probably welcome it as a reason to write a follow up to this blog post and chalk it all up to another laughable strategy like “Attack Watch” or “Fight the Smears.”
If you are stupid enough to give your money to the Obama campaign, please put me (human AT anthropocon DOT COM) down as your inspiration so I can see what sort of chicanery they perpetrate with it. Thanks.
From Frederick News Post staff reporter Bethany Rodgers:
“With the recent news about Congressman Roscoe Bartlett’s longtime chief-of-staff preparing to run for Congress and the Democratic party’s cynical and corrupt redistricting plan to oust Congressman Bartlett, I felt it was time for me also to start an exploratory committee for Congress,” Mooney said in a prepared statement. “We cannot let Congressman Bartlett’s seat be taken by a tax-and-spend liberal like Rob Garagiola.”