This is a letter I sent in email recently to Instapundit about an article on Education lobbying and Higher Ed. While the piece was mainly on Higher Ed/For-profit schools, the ramifications for K-12 can’t be denied. I felt it needed to be shared with a bigger audience, so I am publishing it here on my blog.
Dear Professor Reynolds, I hope you are well. I spotted this article and thought of the Higher Education bubble immediately: “The Disturbing Reason Higher Education Lobbying Groups Are Supporting For-Profit Colleges” The tug of war between getting public funds and accountability of higher ed institutions is not new, however, in this article those who were quoted all come from current or former Obama administration member. Some are now lobbyists being hired to attack for-profit colleges. It may look like straight up ‘fair share’ tactics, but there’s another side to this. Excerpt:
“The higher ed lobby doesn’t want any accountability—they want money, and they want money without limitations, without restrictions, without accountability to anybody outside the academy,” said David Bergeron, who served as Obama’s acting assistant secretary for post-secondary education before joining the Center for American Progress, a Democratic think tank that’s close to the administration. “What that has led to is very poor performance by our institutions—graduation rates are alarmingly low, and employers are becoming increasingly concerned that the employees they’re hiring out of the academy don’t have the knowledge and skills they require,” Bergeron said.
Note where Bergergon works now and his comment about skills and employees. This is not just about attacking for-profit schools on accountability, it’s about lining up workers and the system to provide them. It’s arguably about promoting Free community college. Community College needs to be expanded, because it is going to be overloaded by ‘Common Core graduates’. Center for American Progress has been a major supporter of Common Core. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given Center for American Progress $6,448,809 million since 2009. Most of these grants are expressly for promoting Common Core, but a few are directed at Higher ed. Like this one in 2014 for $800,000:
“to improve the lives of low and middle-income Americans by developing and disseminating progressive policy ideas to improve postsecondary access, affordability, and quality”
I don’t want to take up too much more of your time, but this excerpt is also worth noting:
The more likely motivation for the traditional schools is that it gives the lobby strength in numbers in challenging the administration’s other regulatory actions, said Amy Laitinen, a former higher education adviser in the Obama administration who is now at the New America Foundation. Traditional college groups are upset about, among other things, the tightened standards for credit hours, which determine how much student aid the U.S. awards to students. The Department of Education’s inspector general found that accreditors were allowing colleges to inflate credit hours, but the higher education lobby said the tightened standards will stifle distance-learning courses.
New America Foundation is a frightening coalition formed specifically to influence legislation at the national level. They (New America Foundation) have an education policy arm. We live in bizarro world where a non-profit like New America, (made up of politicians and policy wonks) which gets money from other non-profit groups tied to major for-profit groups in order to attack for-profit schools. I wrote about New America Foundation at the end of one of my Da Tech Guy articles, The Clinton Core Standards:
In addition to NCEE, another group tied to Hillary Clinton should be on the radar: The New America Foundation (NAF). NAF is a 501(c)3 that was started in 1999 by Ted Halstead and Steve McColl and whose board includes Jonathan Soros. After weeding through their site, the main purpose of NAF is to influence national Education policy at Congressional level; they’ve already spent millions on lobbying. NAF, while mostly politically focused and is indisputably a Left leaning organization, NAF also has formulated ‘education policy‘ goals. Some of the more visible backers include Bill Gates, George Soros and the Tides Foundation, Microsoft, Home Depot, Rockefeller, DISH Network, Google, Facebook, Arianna Huffington and the U.S. Dept. of State. Watch the “Welcome To New America” video. You won’t have to go far into it to see Mrs. Clinton. The clip of ‘former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’ promoting NAF comes right after Senator John McCain’s glowing testimonial. Stick around, you’ll see Van Jones too.
Thank you for your time, I hope what I shared wasn’t too incoherent as I am only on my first cup of coffee. – AP Dillon