The value proposition of for-profit education

When tax dollars are involved, and our country is going deep in debt, it’s time to re-evaluate what we are investing in.

I can already hear a few readers saying the government shouldn’t be involved in education at all, and I can hear others complain about our failure in Ohio to come up with a legal funding model for K-12.

The real question may be: Do the jobs of the future require more classroom education or is on-the-job training a better solution? After all, you don’t need a culinary degree to work in chain restaurants.

The lengthy article in the New York Times today discusses the questionable practices of many 2-year for-profit trade schools:

One fast-growing American industry has become a conspicuous beneficiary of the recession: for-profit colleges and trade schools.

At institutions that train students for careers in areas like health care, computers and food service, enrollments are soaring as people anxious about weak job prospects borrow aggressively to pay tuition that can exceed $30,000 a year.

But the profits have come at substantial taxpayer expense while often delivering dubious benefits to students, according to academics and advocates for greater oversight of financial aid. Critics say many schools exaggerate the value of their degree programs, selling young people on dreams of middle-class wages while setting them up for default on untenable debts, low-wage work and a struggle to avoid poverty. And the schools are harvesting growing federal student aid dollars, including Pell grants awarded to low-income students.

via The New Poor – For-Profit Schools Cashing In on Recession and Federal Aid –

Considering that the middle class is all but disappearing (unless you work for the government) should we reconsider government support of these programs?

In the last 20 years I’ve watched tuition outpace inflation at every single school except our crown jewel, Sinclair Community College. However, they too have forgotten their mission- expanding out to provide the services we invested in to communities that are stealing from our tax base.

There has been much talk about education reform in this country, but most of it is pure lip service. We’re still operating on a 180-day school year- a hold-over from our days as an agrarian state. We’re still not mandating computers for every student- even though every job known to man in this country requires computer literacy these days. Instead of chasing after better post-primary education, maybe our goal should be improving our K-12 first?

For today’s Dayton Grassroots Daily Show, Greg Hunter and I discuss this issue- including the role “Trade Unions” used to play in building the workforce of the future.


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