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Michelle Rhee
Michelle Rhee (Hyungwon Kang/Reuters)

For-profit colleges are major drivers of student loan debt, and in many cases are outright scams, aggressively and deceptively recruiting students who are likely to drop out after accumulating lots of debt, and who will face poor employment prospects even if they graduate. Continuing to siphon up so many student loan dollars requires political clout to ensure that the government doesn't regulate the for-profit college industry; that's why Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) gets so much campaign cash from the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, for instance.

The APSCU is holding an upcoming convention, at which the featured speaker will be George W. Bush, who Republic Report notes is:

[...] an appropriate speaker, in a sense, because his Administration’s deliberate actions made it easier for bad actors among for-profit schools to engage in a decade of waste, fraud, and abuse that has earned them billions in profits but has left many former students deep in debt and without job prospects.
Bush has done his damage and is mostly resting on his laurels these days. The same can't be said of the APSCU's "additional speaker," though. It's Michelle Rhee, who is apparently not content with jetting about the country working with Republican governors and legislators to eviscerate public K-12 education but wants to expand her reach to the college level. Republic Report's David Halperin argues that the lesson to take from her participation is that:
If you’ve been on the fence about Rhee, not sure if she’s a sincere reformer with real results or a union-busting elitist aimed at replacing public education with charters, private schools, and online learning companies, you may find cause to jump off the fence now. By speaking at the annual meeting of the most cynical group of “educators” ever assembled — Wall-Street owned businesses that enrich their CEOs and ruin students’ lives at taxpayer expense and then hire armies of lobbyists to protect their privileges — Rhee has made her preferences very clear.
For those of us who have long been off the fence, there has to be some grim satisfaction in Rhee cementing her move from being a plausibly bipartisan threat to public education to an easy-to-marginalize right-wing hack.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:02 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I've never been on the fence about Michelle. (12+ / 0-)

    The scandal of for-profit "colleges" ought be enough to convince anyone that for-profit K-12 is not a good idea.

    The GOP ... Government of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%

    by Azazello on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:13:04 PM PDT

  •  Reform = robbery; thanks Laura (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laura Clawson, swansong50, chimpy

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:19:38 PM PDT

  •  Bush crawls out of the 19th hole to take a huge... (10+ / 0-)

    ... fee from one of the dirtiest, sleaziest, most exploitative industries in America.


  •  Figures! More money for Wall Street, more (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HugoDog, a2nite, swansong50, chimpy, alizard

    debt  for the rest of us.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:35:43 PM PDT

  •  Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst is advertising in CT (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpy, alizard

    to influence ed reform here.  

  •  Ah, now I see the connection (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, jmaps, alizard

    between "college and career ready" and the rheeformers.



    This is something that's been worrying me all year.  There is a huge push to get low income urban high school students in my district to apply for colleges.  That's a good thing, right?

    What's been worrying me is what is left out -- financial literacy training, understanding what it takes in terms of effort and work habits to succeed in college, and what it's going to cost them if they don't.

    Every senior in my district has to apply to three colleges as a graduation requirement.  They go on field trips and get all excited about going to college.

    Last spring when one class very unexcited about doing an assignment, I tried to put it in dollars and cents terms, why it is important to do well in high school.

    I wanted them to see how much it would cost them if they had to take a class over or had to take a remedial class that wouldn't count toward a degree.

    I asked, "What is a credit hour? How much does one credit hour cost at the local community college?  How much does it cost at the local branch of the state university?"


    Since I tend to believe more in confederacies of dunces than I do in conspiracies, I was worrying that we were inadvertently raising a generation of lambs for the slaughter.

    Now I'm not so sure.

    Light is seen through a small hole.

    by houyhnhnm on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:37:08 PM PDT

  •  Bush & GOPers never met a govt program (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, foucaultspendulum

    they could not abuse to enrich themselves while poinitng to their abuse as example of government's inability to do anything right. The creaiton of for profit colleges to admit non college level, student loan eligible students for the sole purpose of  helping themselves to the student's loan.

    Truly the worst foks in the US, GW Bush & friends.

  •  All true (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo, VTelder

    but the corporate ed reform agenda is a bipartisan affair.  That Rhee is showing her true colors reflects not just on her, but on the countless Democratic officials who have joined with her to advance the corporate ed reform agenda.  

    Education is one area where voting for Democrats solves very little.  Rather, Democratic mayors, governors, along with Arne Duncan, have to be challenged.  

    Politics is the art of the possible, but that means you have to think about changing what is possible, not that you have to accept it in perpetuity. @DavidKaib

    by David Kaib on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 08:50:07 AM PDT

  •  Why do for-profit schools succeed anyway (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, NogodsnomastersMary

    The US has the most diverse and accessible higher education system in the world, from great community colleges to state universities to the best private institutions. For the life of me I can't see why anyone would need to attend a for-profit school at all.

    •  They succeed because public schools are demonized (9+ / 0-)

      and defunded and for profit schools lie about how great they are.  Long story short, the right has been systematically defunding and destroying public education and then using the fact that it is failing as an excuse to privatize education on all levels.  They do the same with everything.  This is their plan for Social Security and medicare, etc.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 07:14:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For-profits spend a lot more on advertising too (4+ / 0-)

        Just watch the commercials for them. Take a class online on your own time instead of wasting time in a classroom. Complete a class in 5 or 9 weeks instead of 16. Finish your degree in 2 years instead of 4. Students who sign up for for-profit classes are being sold a fantasy of an easy, convenient education that gets them the college degree they need to get a successful career. The reality, of course, is very different but by the time they find out, it's too late.

    •  And we no longer have the most accessible (5+ / 0-)

      higher education system.  It is failing and broken.  California is going down the drain fastest.  Before Occupy the media ignored the constant protests.

      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 07:17:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  $89,000 for 4-year degree in interior design (3+ / 0-)

      At The Art Institute of California. Olympia Snowe's husband is Chairman and former CEO of the company that runs that school.

      Truthout has had a couple of articles recently about for-profit colleges.

      Bipartisan Political Elite Implicated in For-Profit Education Fraud  

      On Friday, April 13, 2012, Courthouse News reported a class-action lawsuit by students filed in federal court against the Art Institute of California and its owner, Educational Management Corporation (EDMC). As reported in Truthout, Sen. Olympia Snowe's (R-Maine) husband, former governor of Maine John McKernan, is chairman of the board of EDMC and a former CEO of the company.  The company also faces an $11 billion false claims lawsuit by the federal government and 11 states.

      The lead plaintiff in the class-action suit, Chinea Washington, claims The Art Institute of California, Hollywood, led her to believe that federal grants and loans would cover the entire $89,000 cost for a bachelor's degree in interior design.

      In November 2011, after three years of study, Washington was provided notice by the "college" that she had reached the federal loan/grant aggregate limit of $52,340 and that it would cost $37,000 to complete the degree. Washington dropped out with $52,160 in debt. Because The Art Institute's credits are not transferable, Washington has been swindled out of $52,000 and three years of her life.

      The only way to describe $89,000 for a four-year degree with non-transferable credits from a non-academic college is as a fraud and a swindle, and that characterization possibly fails to convey the frustration and downright victimization students like Washington must feel.

      These schools certainly sound predatory. I can't believe a school like this is worth $89,000.
  •  Check out the tweets... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, Laconic Lib

    ...on the convention page:


  •  So Doh! Rhee Me (4+ / 0-)

    very very angry

    Response: If you "got it" you wouldn't be a republican

    by JML9999 on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 07:21:44 PM PDT

  •  what happens in Vegas... (3+ / 0-)
    Annual Convention Lodging Scam Alert: BEWARE!

    At least two companies have been calling APSCU 2012 Annual Convention registrants and exhibitors luring them to book hotel rooms through them. This effort is in no way sanctioned by APSCU and interferes with APSCU’s existing contracts with hotels to secure adequate room space and favorable group rates for Convention participants. Further, the hotel has informed APSCU that it does not have a block of rooms held for these groups.

    The two known companies are: National Travel Associates and Convention Expo Travel. The scams may be operating under other names, as well.


    slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

    by annieli on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 07:26:08 PM PDT

  •  Rightwing Does Not Mean Non Democratic Party nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, Laconic Lib

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 07:31:05 PM PDT

  •  Laura, Ms. Rhee and shrub are "birds of a feather" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, Laconic Lib

    I've been waiting for someone to post a diary.  A little birdie tells me that their relationship (Rhee/shrub) is old news.

  •  they do have funny tweets (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NogodsnomastersMary, Laconic Lib
    Word on the street that a degree conferred by Bazooka Joe is superior to those issued by ACC, Kaplan, or UPX. #APSCU2012

    slutty voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare." 政治委员, 政委!

    by annieli on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 07:37:57 PM PDT

  •  OK, I hate to do this (0+ / 0-)

    "not sure if she’s a sincere reformer with real results or a union-busting elitist ..."

    When person X calls person Y an elitist, I stop listening to person X. This is not a defense of Rhee.

    My cat doesn't understand macroeconomics or death metal; but he's loyal and I love him.

    by lilnev on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 07:38:12 PM PDT

  •  Bush and friends (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Mitt/Ann Romney Vulture Capitalists/GOP/Tea/Libertarians want to bring USA a new country called chaos and a new politic called anarchy

    In a Romney presidency with a GOP Congress who do you think they'll put on the Supreme Court? What will happen to your grandparents' Medicare and Medicaid or to children with pre-existing conditions? - V. P. Joe Biden

    by anyname on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 07:42:47 PM PDT

  •  First they Robbed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VTelder, NogodsnomastersMary

    the Parents with Fraud Mortgages.
    Now they Rob the Children with Fraud Education.

    The Criminals Like to Claim that Government Can't Do
    Anything Right. They Prove that Claim EVERY Time they
    Get Elected.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 07:52:43 PM PDT

  •  Believe it or not, the head of the Virginia (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Virginia Victory, davidinmaine

    Democratic Party, Brian Moran, is Executive Vice President, Government Relations and General Counsel at APSCU.  This is the equivalent of  the head of the Republican Party of Virginia simultaneously leading the AFL-CIO, Greenpeace, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, or NARAL. That, of course, would never happen, yet the chair of a major Democratic state party can simultaneously hold a top leadership position in an organization that systematically scams the taxpayer, rips off the government, and harms the lives of veterans, minorities and poor people.  Well, alrighty then...

  • (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and they don't mean first in a good way.  

    And I wonder.  If you have a for-profit venture, someone has to make a profit.  

    Why is putting taxpayer money in the hands of a corporation dedicated to making money a wiser ECONOMIC investment than say investing in the best teachers, arts and sports programs, after school programs, infrastructure...

    And, it would seem to me the whole...profit will incentivize them to do a better job may not really hold when it comes to an issue like this.  How much "shopping around" is any district or any parents, especially in poor areas, really going to do..or be able to do..How much accountability is there..really...

    just thinking/sh

  •  For-Profit College Lawsuit may be why Snowe Retire (4+ / 0-)

    Olympia Snowe's husband is chairman of the board of directors of EDMC and former CEO of what is the second-largest owner of for-profit colleges in the country. In her latest Financial Disclosure form she says they have  investments worth between $2 million and $10 million in EDMC.

    The company is being sued by the feds and 11 states and the District of Columbia for falsely reporting to government officials that it was not basing recruiter salaries on incentives, which is an illegal ploy the for-profits have used to increase enrollment. The lawsuit seeks to recover a portion of the $11 BILLION the company received in student aid since 2003.

    Here's the link to the article from The Sunlight Foundation.

    Truthout had this article on Thursday - this, unfortunately, seems to be bipartisan:

    Bipartisan Political Elite Implicated in For-Profit Education Fraud  

    It cannot be stated strongly enough: for-profit colleges could not engage in the ongoing exploitation of students and theft of federal money without the direct cooperation and assistance of the federal government in what can only be termed an immoral economy. The same forces that demonize everything government does or attempts to do are busy feeding from the government trough. The hypocrisy is untenable, the federal subsidies unfathomable and the lack of criminal prosecution unconscionable.
    The industry successfully lobbied the administration and got them to water down rules they proposed to curtail the abuses.
    The industry's lobbying was so well-financed and well-coordinated that it altered the view of what was possible inside the Obama administration: The focus shifted from seeking to craft the strongest rule to instead making do with incremental progress, avoiding the sort of action that would trigger congressional intervention aimed at protecting the industry.
  •  The very first time I'd ever heard Rhee (3+ / 0-)

    I was onto her. I think it was a 60 Minutes profile they did of her some years ago. There was something fake and insincere about her that belied her clear attempt to look like a tough-as-nails reformer. She seemed way too self-assured, way too cocky, way too self-righteous and angry, to seem like a real reformer to me (at least in a progressive sense). She looked like yet another soulless hyperambitious fast tracker who steamrolled through anyone or anything who stood in her way. I.e. a female Rahm.

    It bothers me that Obama has praised such people and even hired some of them. In and of themselves their neoliberal "reforms" don't work. But even worse, they come across as not caring if they work, but rather as people on the make, in it for themselves, not any cause. Corruption has taken a more sophisticated form these days, but it's still corruption: putting your and your friends' interests above those of he people you're supposed to serve.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 09:43:42 PM PDT

    •  The whole wave of these charlatans (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib

      that came to the fore largely attached to the Democratic establishment as "reformers" or "moderates" from Rhee and Rahm to the likes of Rick Warren pretty much gives away the game.  For years those of us who saw through these corporatist hucksters were dismissed and derided as "purists" while the likes of Rhee and Rahm were hailed as "pragmatists".  Now we see the Dem Power Center scuttling away from these individuals one by one, but at no time admitting any ideological error in repeatedly aligning with them against the obvious interests and expressed views of core Democratic constituencies.  In other words, the Dem Power Centrists still embrace the ideological convictions that led them to bond with the Rhees and Rahms and Ricks.  The names and faces may change, but the Power Centrists will continue to subscribe to the Thatcherite maxim that "There Is No Alternative" to rightist reformism as the hegemonic order.

      The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

      by ActivistGuy on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 09:56:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not so sure it's ideology (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Rather, I think it's more opportunism calling itself ideology for reasons of vanity, conscience and cover. These are some relatively smart and well-educated people who mostly grew up in left-leaning environments, who probably feel embarassed to embrace such obviously RW policies, and so they pretend that they're actually progressive, in a that post-60's "pragmatic" sense that's been cleansed of its unnecessary sentimentalism and purism. They also do this, I think, to be able to sell it to similarly self-deluded, vain and opportunistic supporters, who need to be lied to for appearances' sake. We're dealing with a whole cohort of socially liberal but otherwise fairly conservative people in their 40's, 50's and early 60's (i.e. boomers) who need to be lied to to live with themselves. Deep down, they're out for themselves, but closer to the surface, they are loath to admit it, so they invent this neoliberal nonsense about this being good if tough policy.

        I've been seeing through this nonsense since the 80's when I went to school with such types. This is a very vain, cynical, selfish and hypocritical generation.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 10:37:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Also, these schools are yet another example (5+ / 0-)

    and symptom of our now decades-long conservative/neoliberal transformation of our economy from one based on hard work, fairness and productivity (in theory at least) to one based on exploitation, oppression and feeding on ourselves. We make less and less, and instead just move money around in ever more sophisticated and elaborate ways.

    This economic model is based on wealth redistribution upwards, not wealth creation (let alone its fair distribution). Instead of making and selling things of real value, these people just extract wealth from people who do--or want to. These people are mining for money and leaving the economic slag heaps for us to deal with. And they clearly seem to enjoy it.

    We need to do something about this sickness. It's killing us.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 09:54:24 PM PDT

  •  How can anyone have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laconic Lib

    thought that Michelle Rhee was not a phoney. Obama where do you stand on privatizing education. Arnie Brown What a joke. Shame almost as bad as the republicans.

    "America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between" Oscar Wilde

    by angry hopeful liberal on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 10:21:10 PM PDT

  •  These people won't be happy until every... (0+ / 0-)

    ...function of government is outsourced but STILL PAID FOR BY THE TAXPAYERS and through indebting those, such as students, who use the so-called services.

  •  Here's an article from the NY Times (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NogodsnomastersMary, Laconic Lib

    But the angle said to them, "Do not be Alfred. A sailor has been born to you"

    by Dbug on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 11:20:55 PM PDT

  •  Michelle Rhee was never anything... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Minnesota Deb, Laconic Lib

    ...but a self-aggrandizing, union busting phony.

    It is amazing how many people she fooled.  Then again, those people probably wanted to be fooled.  It's so much easier to find scapegoats than solve problems.

  •  We have non-profit private schools (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Minnesota Deb, Laconic Lib

    in this country that are doing a good job.

    But, the CEOs of these non-profits only make $800k a year, unlike the CEOs of the for-profits who make $30-40 million a year. On the backs of the student loan and pell grant program, not to mention college students everywhere who have seen those programs cut because of the gov'ts massive losses.

    On the very pages of DailyKos, I have seen ads by Democratic congressmen blasting the Obama administration for wanting to end loans to for-profits.

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 06:45:15 AM PDT

  •  ms. rhee has been a scam artist for (0+ / 0-)

    many years. she scammed the DC public school system and, when they finally caught on to her act, she took it on the road. there is no confirmable, third-party evidence that proves any school or system, where ms. rhee was involved, showed any improvement as a consequence of her involvement, none. which, if you think about it, makes her the perfect republican.

    bob somerby was on to her when she was first hired as the DC School's superintendent, questioning the veracity of her purported bona fides.

  •  Rhee is NOT a surprise... (0+ / 0-)

    If the topic is the privatization of education, K-12 or otherwise, you can count on Rhee to be there. She is a chronic scapegoater, with her jaundiced eye on any form of educator unionization or tenure system that might protect educators from the whims of political pressure. And she learned all these horrible things about teachers in her brief three year stint -- yes, THREE years -- as an untrained "teacher" with Teach for America.  

    Oh, in case you're wondering, the records of her job performance at TFA have been lost. But she says she did a fine job. I'm sure she did.

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