Here is a message for Senator Tom Harkin and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP): Put an end to the senseless "kangaroo courts" on private sector colleges and universities, and start focusing on creating jobs so that our graduates have a place to flourish once they complete school.
Indeed, the very institutions that this committee has spent the last several months burdening with unrealistic and job-killing regulations are the same institutions that are preparing thousands of qualified graduates to fill openings in high demand career fields nationwide.
This predicament begs a very simple and serious question. Why not abandon these counterproductive hearings and start focusing on how Washington is going to work with the private sector to create jobs?
Today’s hearing, disguised as a “roundtable discussion,” serves no other purpose than to cast private sector colleges and universities in a negative light, and will undoubtedly feature the greatest hits of faulty and one-sided criticisms on these vital vocations schools and degree programs.
For example, one of the participants in the discussion, Robert Shireman, former deputy undersecretary at the Department of Education, is afounder of the Institute for College Access and Success, a group opposed toprivate sector colleges and universities.
Even more troubling, Shireman met with the infamous Wall Street short-seller Steve Eisman less than two months before the Education Department issued its first round of rules on private sector schools. And Eisman’s intentions couldn’t be any more dubious, hoping to persuade the Department of Education to single out these private sector schools with harmful and burdensome regulations, thus profiting off of the resulting decline of these institutions in the marketplace.
Maybe the committee should ask Mr. Shireman to what degree he has allowed Wall Street short-sellers to mold or influence policy for the U.S. Department of Education. In fact, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has already begun investigating other examples of the unseemly process upon which the new regulations were based.
The fact is that private sector colleges and universities play a vital role in training America’s current and future generations for the specialized jobs of the 21st Century. Additionally, these schools focus most on the job sectors that the economy happens to be adding most inthis difficult economic environment – areas such as health care, high-tech manufacturing, information technology and business management.
These schools also provide comprehensive online degree programs that allow working adults, parents and other nontraditional students the opportunity to advance their skills without having to sacrifice work or family obligations.
So instead of spending valuable time airing the concerns of only one side of an already slanted debate on private sector schools, lawmakers should take a look at the value these institutions bring to everyday Americans seeking career advancement and a brighter future which oftentimes, starts with a job.