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.


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!

Leave a Reply

8 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
JesseGreg HunterjstultsDrexel Dave SparksBruce Kettelle Recent comment authors
Notify of
Shortwest Rick
Shortwest Rick

Great post David, excellent synopsis Greg.

Bruce Kettelle

I suppose I should consider starting Trotwood University.  Sounds like it could be pretty pofitable. 


One of my close friends is a teacher in one of the nearby northern New Jersey school districts. She works in the public school system so, of course, she is a union member, although, personally, she is a pretty solid political conservative. This makes for some truly shocking behaviors and attitudes within a single person. For example, my friend has remained in the same school, in the same district, for her entire career. Holding several masters degrees and being a very intelligent person, she quickly grasped the essence of succeeding in a union-controlled environment. In a single word- seniority. Thus, she has never contemplated moving to a closer school system. She currently earns the maximum allowable compensation for her work, yet she is not even 50 years old. Her cash compensation puts her, on an annualized basis, well above the US average. She only has to work 9 months per year. On top of the cash compensation, she has enviable pension and medical benefits. […] This didn’t make a significant impression on my friend. She asked the enduring, rhetorical question of why those who teach our children aren’t worth more than they currently are paid? When I carefully offered an alternative view of education, free of unions and mandated public school monopolies, I was greeted with incomprehension. When I suggested specialists like my friend, free of unions and monopolies, could organize into special schools priced to offer premium services, she simply said that the low-priced teachers would always be hired before the more expensive ones. She simply had no grasp, I believe thanks to her union brainwashing, that quality commands a premium. When I noted that unions penalize the best teachers, like her, and protect the least competent, she was silent. […] It’s no wonder the US has looming debt and deficit problems. At local levels, we’ve allowed ourselves to make government a better paying career than the private sector. Now, your and my friends include people who live off of our taxes. So when we want to pay less for less government, we’re forced to feel that’s a bad… Read more »

Drexel Dave Sparks
Drexel Dave Sparks

It’s not the size and structure of the public education system, it’s the military:


RealNews not so new:

Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Military-Industrial Complex Speech, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

Thanks Mr. Stults and yes that Union either needs to figure out why it’s message is not well received or it is OVER!  The data seems to becoming clear that there are specific steps that teachers can take to become great teachers and one of the ways to break the Union into getting their house in order is performance based teaching.   I was totally unaware of the data suggesting that Teacher Performance CAN be tied to Student Testing.  Direct Correlation Speaks, but it seems unfortunate that Teachers lack the ability to understand the Scientific Process.  Not for long!  The wind is blowing against the levys and the Union!  Shape up or Ship Out!


Could we stop pumping tax dollars into education? Yes, at all levels. And by the way, I would love to have a debate about the Appalachian’s being the model of free market primary school education.