GAO’s Intentional Distortions Drove DOE’s Gainful Employment Regulations

By Lanny Davis

"Facts are stubborn things, and whatever our wishes, our indications, the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." — John Adams, second President of the United States

"Get the facts, or the facts will get you. And when you get them, get them right, or they will get you wrong." — Thomas Fuller, noted 17th-century English churchman and historian

This is good advice for Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. I have already written three prior columns about why the "gainful employment" (GE) regulations are unwise, carelessly worded, ignore the fact that they will hurt more than anyone else minority and lower-income students who predominantly attend career colleges at the worst possible time. See these columns here, here and here.

Now in the last several weeks, we have a brand new fact — a shocking fact: The Government Accountability Office (GAO,) once considered the one institution in Washington that is above politics and cannot be influenced to fulfill anyone’s ideological agenda, on August 4 published an intentionally distorted report to put career colleges in the worst possible light.

And we also now know a second fact: that the Department of Education (DOE) has relied heavily on this GAO report to defend singling out almost exclusively career college programs to be subject to the draconian GE regulations — and is not applying them equally to not-for-profit and public colleges.

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