Archives for posts with tag: For Profit

Corinthian Colleges, a for-profit chain of colleges that has been under federal investigation, closed its doors and apparently is out of business. This is a shame for the 16,000 mostly low-income students who were lured to enroll and promised a good job. But it is good news to see a predatory venture go under.

These must be the remnants of the Corinthian chain, because last December, the U.S. Department of Education allowed the corporation to sell most of their campuses to a debt collection agency with no experience running colleges.

Congress and the U.S. Department of Education should have cracked down on these institutions long ago, but they hire the best lobbyists in town, from both parties and continue to offer a cheap version of “education” that makes money for them and rips off students. When Senator Tom Harkin was in charge of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, he tore into the for-profits, but to no avail.

They make so much money in their business, that they can afford to hire the lobbyists who protect them but not their students.

This is what the New York Times wrote about the industry’s ability to dodge regulatory controls:

The story of how the for-profit colleges survived the threat of a major federal crackdown offers a case study in Washington power brokering. Rattled by the administration’s tough talk, the colleges spent more than $16 million on an all-star list of prominent figures, particularly Democrats with close ties to the White House, to plot strategy, mend their battered image and plead their case.

Anita Dunn, a close friend of President Obama and his former White House communications director, worked with Kaplan University, one of the embattled school networks. Jamie Rubin, a major fund-raising bundler for the president’s re-election campaign, met with administration officials about ATI, a college network based in Dallas, in which Mr. Rubin’s private-equity firm has a stake.

A who’s who of Democratic lobbyists — including Richard A. Gephardt, the former House majority leader; John Breaux, the former Louisiana senator; and Tony Podesta, whose brother, John, ran Mr. Obama’s transition team — were hired to buttonhole officials.

And politically well-connected investors, including Donald E. Graham, chief executive of the Washington Post Company, which owns Kaplan, and John Sperling, founder of the University of Phoenix and a longtime friend of the House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, made impassioned appeals.

In all, industry advocates met more than two dozen times with White House and Education Department officials, including senior officials like Education Secretary Arne Duncan, records show, even as Mr. Obama has vowed to reduce the “outsize” influence of lobbyists and special interests in Washington.

As I wrote just a few weeks ago, “The burgeoning of the for-profit college industry has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars, sent many thousands of students out into the world with shoddy educations, and made a few people very rich.” No one is doing the perp walk, unlike the Atlanta educators. When we will see these sleazy operators go to jail for theft of government money and theft of services to students who were cheated of an education?

Good news–no, great news–from York City, Pennsylvania! Because of the district’s fiscal problems, exacerbated by state budget cuts (a designed crisis), the state appointed a receiver who wanted to turn the entire district over to a for-profit charter chain. A lower court upheld the state’s decision. However, an appeals court overturned the state takeover. This fortunate event reflects the change at the top, as Governor Tom Corbett was defeated by Tom Wolf. Corbett was bent on budget-cutting and privatization. Wolf is not. Corbett and his receiver were set to hand all the schools in York City over to Florida-based Charter Schools USA. That won’t happen.

Ending almost five months of uncertainty about who will control the York City School District, an appeals court in Harrisburg on Wednesday put a stop to the state’s push to appoint a receiver, someone who would’ve had almost all of the school board’s powers.
The order filed in Commonwealth Court throws out a judge’s previous decision appointing David Meckley as the district’s receiver, along with the appeals of that ruling. That comes after the attorneys for the state, district and other sides met earlier this week after a hearing and filed an application asking the court to end the case.
On Dec. 1, the Pennsylvania Department of Education filed a petition in the York County Court of Common Pleas asking a judge to appoint Meckley as the district’s receiver. As receiver, Meckley, the district’s state-appointed chief recovery officer, would’ve had all of the school board’s powers – with the exception of levying taxes.
The state had argued that the York City School Board did not follow Meckley’s instructions, including his request to turn the district’s buildings into charters. The judge granted the state’s petition to appoint Meckley as receiver at the end of the December, which the district almost immediately appealed.
Meckley resigned as chief recovery officer on March 13, saying he could not move the district forward as Gov. Tom Wolf was opposed to turning its buildings into charters.
Carol Saylor, who previously worked as a superintendent of a school district in Lancaster County and has almost 40 years of experience in education, has since been appointed to replace Meckley as chief recovery officer.