Thursday, April 10, 2014
Marked for Life
I don’t know Dr. Generals, and I don’t know if he’ll be successful at CCP or not. But I do know that simply writing off a significant chunk of the last generation of academics wouldn’t be smart and wouldn’t be fair. If anything, cross-sector experience could be an asset, especially in administration. Status anxiety is unbecoming in an open-access sector. If we’re going to move forward, we’re going to need to get over ourselves.
For-profits set off a rent-seeking red flag for me. I've read and heard a lot of stories from former for-profit faculty. Stories about how they were told that X% of their people needed to pass each one of their classes, and if that didn't happen they were going to be fired. So the faculty passed people who didn't learn anything, and didn't care to learn anything, because the faculty wanted to keep their jobs. There are other stories from workers who spent all day telemarketing potential students, and workers who walked into homeless shelters trying to enroll people in for-profit colleges. Then I look at the numbers, and for-profits suck up a disproportionately large amount of federal loan debt, while their students struggle to find work. Here's a statistic from your book: for-profits account for 12% of the undergraduate population, but they consume 25% of financial aid money. It's hard not to look at the entire thing and see it as a scheme to extract rent from the government.
I don't have any objections to for-profits that produce more value than they extract, but most for-profits in their current form don't seem to do that. And so I'd be really nervous about someone from a for-profit upper-level (post-dean) administration coming to work at my community college.
And that's not to say that there isn't rent-seeking in the public sector. I've worked with a lot of tenured professors in the past that I thought were complacent and not interested in producing anything of value. But if I'm looking at resumes and I see that someone took a leadership position in not producing anything of value, then I don't want that person at my community college.
The for-profit sector is, as you have noted on multiple occasions, essentially a mafia con, laundering Federal student loan money. Should people who have worked there be considered for jobs in non-con-related areas? Sure. Maybe they got sucked in and want out.
But PRESIDENT? Of a COMMUNITY COLLEGE? Do we really think that a person who was a high-level level administrator to be considered for President in a mafia con is a good match for CC culture?
That seems . . . unlikely. Yes, it's a strike against. It should be.