In the War on For-profit Education, Reality is the First Casualty

Liberals will tell you they support freedom of choice, but they won’t tell you that freedom they are willing to extend you begins and ends with abortion. Try to exercise it in any other aspect of your life and they’re there, ready to pounce with some regulation or law forbidding you from moving forward with your liberty workout. It doesn’t matter to them what the impact is, they want what they want and they’re willing to step all over you to impose it.

The latest whipping boy in the crosshairs of these statists is the post-secondary for-profit education system. Odds are this battle won’t impact your life directly, but their attacks rarely do. They never attack the heart of that which they seek to control or destroy, they chip away at the edges until it no longer resembles that which it was. It still exists, but in such a way so as to no longer function effectively and eventually dies. Look at what they’ve done to off-shore drilling without so much as passing a law.

For-profit education is the choice for millions of Americans who, for any number of reasons, can’t or choose not to matriculate to traditional colleges and universities. The reasons vary – poor grades in high school, young children at home, etc. These schools serve mostly poor, underprivileged students who have very limited options. You’d think liberals would be for anything that helps the very people they claim to champion. But their rhetoric rarely matches their actions.

The assault on for-profit education has been happening for months now, and so has their hypocrisy. With a goal in mind, “Progressives” will go any length to achieve their goal. A freelance “journalist” named Rob Sgobbo wrote an “expose” on the evils of for-profit schools for the Village Voice on January 5th (here is a cached version). It was yanked down from the web two days later because Sgobbo, then a reporter for the New York Daily News (he’s been fired) was discovered to have invented characters and quotes in the piece, including a disgruntled student. When the facts don’t help achieve your goal simply make up facts that do.

That’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement, as with any industry. But to improve those improvements must be based on reality, not lies. The market and real journalists can do more by bringing problems to the forefront rather than blanket decrees by disconnected politicians and others with their own agendas.

Speaking of disconnected politicians and people and groups with their own agendas…

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) held a hearing on the subject back in July, based mostly on a fraudulent Government Accounting Office that was subsequently “corrected” after the initial furor of its bogus contents had subsided. And who did Senator Harkin employ as his “expert” witness to point out the evils of for-profit education? Someone with zero knowledge of the subject who stood to make a lot of money by diminishing the value of for-profit school’s stocks. Steve Eisman, a Wall Street short-seller, with no expertise in the field, testified and looks to have made a nice chunk of change out of the deal.

When the GAO quietly corrected their egregious errors in their report, the media was mostly silent. When Congressman Darrell Issa announced he was going to hold a hearing on how a GAO report could be so wrong, so misrepresentative of reality, the left-wing swung into action.

Rather than expressing concern that they had been working off of bogus data, they dismissed it and attacked Issa for bringing it up. Campus Progress, the “Progressive Youth” wing of the extreme leftist Center for American Progress (CAP), wrote:

But while Issa is delving into those who investigated the for-profit college industry, he is giving the industry itself, which is leeching funding from the federal government in the absence of adequate regulation, a free pass.

They’re basically saying that a report that has been significantly altered to negate the bulk of its negative findings should be ignored and Congress should just act on the original bogus findings anyway. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Forget about truth, forget about profiteering in the anti-education choice cabal, never mind that man behind the curtain.

But not every liberal group is on the “get the for-profits” bandwagon and give the “win at any cost” agenda a pass, some are interested in honesty.

First was liberal and former Clinton advisor Lanny Davis who called into question the conflict of having short-seller Eisman testifying before Congress. He was immediately and repeatedly attacked by the Campus Progress, who has no problem with Eisman making a buck off shorting for-profit schools.

CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, through a lawsuit, not any transparency, that Education Department officials were knowing working with Wall Street short-sellers “with no policy expertise” to craft legislation from which they stood to profit greatly. They’ve demanded an investigation into this practice and why the Education Department is working with them and “outside interest groups” (CAP?) to craft regulations to essentially destroy this industry.

CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said, “Education officials allowed Wall Street investors to insinuate themselves into the regulatory process knowing full well their main goal was to manipulate stock prices to make money.” Then she wondered “While certainly, there is reason to be skeptical of regulations crafted by Wall Street investors with no policy expertise working arm-in-arm with federal officials, the bigger question is where else is this happening? Logic dictates Mr. Eisman is not the only investor to manipulate agency processes for his own financial benefit.”

Congressman Issa appears ready to investigate just that – who did what, why and what did they get for it? – but that doesn’t seem to make a difference to many on the Left. Don’t expect Campus Progress to care, they have their agenda and they will keep chipping away until they get what “Progressives” want, limited choices and more control over people’s lives…for their own good.


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