You may remember that my June 28th post reported on some of the fire and brimstone being directed against the education industry sector in the business of running colleges and universities. Generally speaking, these institutions are aimed at adult students, generally offer their courses and programs where significant components can be completed online, and are typically aimed at providing students with flexible means of completing academic courses, certifications and degrees. They are often generally lumped into the category known as "for-profits".
In recent weeks there have been a lot of shots taken at the for-profit education industry: Frontline "exposed" College Inc. Investors have howled that for profit education is the next sub-prime crisis. Congress has held hearings.
Frankly, I have been a little concerned about the vitriol being aimed at my for-profit institutional brethren in recent weeks. Lots of broad brush strokes being used to swipe. So I was particularly interested in these remarks from Russ Poulin, my WCET colleague, that come from a posting he distributed to our members this afternoon. (Note: yes, I have done some editing. For space, not for substance):
"We ALL need to be paying attention.
"If you have not heard about it, there are several links below to coverage of the U.S. Senate’s hearing last week regarding for-profit institutions. I could not make it to DC for the hearing, but I followed the tweets and watched most of the testimony online. Committee Chair Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa raised concerns about the growth in for-profit institutions and some of their practices.
"My concern is that there are times when those testifying painted with a broad brush. Some for-profits have engaged in questionable activity, but not all. Worse yet, there are times where all online education is lumped in as having the same dubious practices.
"I agree that regulation to stop the ‘bad actors’ needs to be considered at this point. All of us in the WCET family are for integrity and stopping fraud. What we do not want are regulations that punish the innocent more than the guilty.
Thank you Russ. You're right. WCET will stay on top of this.