University of Phoenix is Not Icarus — Twenty Ways to Leave Your Exploiter

DV is great, but not an interactive, real-time blog with up-to-date weigh ins from commenters, editors and writers. So, I will experiment. Scroll down to find the most recent updates below as they come in today.

My piece — not really MINE – is below — University of Phoenix Rising and Immolating and What Ya Gonna Do About It? So, while I am looking for work, editing two pieces of writing from PhD’s, and working on a article I am writing for modicum pay, I will add comments as they come to me via email. Here are some — one on the Phoenix and the Other on the Dog-Paddling to Bedlam article, here.

Paul,

Thanks for the space to air this debacle.  I have emailed the SEC about the allegations of Insider Trading and they are supposed to get back with me soon.

In the meantime, we need to educate and agitate people about the economics of opportunity costs.  That is,

  1. Why does the federal government give billions to University of Phoenix when community colleges are struggling?
  2. Why does the federal government pay for-profit schools who exploit veterans and working class people by providing substandard, high cost education?  

We must also explain to people why taming (or destroying) the Phoenix is necessary, because Apollo Group has set the bar for higher education in the US: for low teacher wages, substandard education, low graduation rates, hard sell marketing and advertising to vulnerable people.

Finally, we need to find out who is still investing in Apollo Group and consider pressuring them to divest in Apollo Group and other for-profit education corporations.  Who are the institutional investors and what are their interests?

Here’s the Senate Report on Apollo.  It’s a worthwhile read that includes funding sources, questionable business practices, including information on the SEC investigation of insider trading.

http://www.help.senate.gov/imo/media/for_profit_report/PartII/Apollo.pdf

In solidarity and empathy,
Dahn

Okay, here are two sequentially — I will just list the first name, thank you very much Carnivore, NSA, Homeland Security, Zuckerberg, Google, and the US Government for and acting with USA Corporation Inc.-slash-Mafia:

Paul,  your writing is incredible.  I’m chastened, and my self-righteousness is a trivial copout to my inaction.  Thanks for reminding me.  How awesomely fearless was Gandhi.  And I also am grateful for the unknown person who first coined the phrase “speak truth to power.”
Best Wishes,
Jim
Then, my response –
Jim, you are so kind and a life line in this morass called the World Wide Web. Gracias. Some have said my titles and words are teetering on Don Juan and Carlos Castaneda magical fungi-induced realism. I wonder if all that time I spent in Chihuahua and Oaxaca and Yucatan did that to me permanently   Tomorrow, fortunately for a part-timer from NJ who has been pretty despondent as a 58 year old sociology college teacher on the outs, I will be posting a patchwork article on the U of Phoenix, that for-profit model that is the bane of many people’s existence. Not much of my writing, but still, an important topic that just hit the news around UoP’s lack of accreditation validity.

Speak Truth to Power is Quaker, 1800’s –
 Our title, Speak Truth to Power, taken from a charge given to Eighteenth Century Friends, suggests the effort that is made to speak from the deepest insight of the Quaker faith, as this faith is understood by those who prepared this study. We speak to power in three senses:

  • To those who hold high places in our national life and bear the terrible responsibility of making decisions for war or peace.
  • To the American people who are the final reservoir of power in this country and whose values and expectations set the limits for those who exercise authority.
  • To the idea of Power itself, and its impact on Twentieth Century life.
 
Take care, Jim . . . . Keep being and singing to the power of memory.
 
Paul

Then, Jim’s follow-up —

It just seems like we are all going through what the Cherokees went through when they won in the Supreme Court the right to keep their lands, but the Prez never enforced their decision.  Then the Georgia militia went all Nazi and it became the Trail of Tears.  When the Executive branch effectively abdicates its enforcement duties, bad things keep happening.  Those third way Dems you refer to are surfing a political tidal wave when their mandate from the base was to put people to work- with them- building breakwaters.  I just want to know how moral it is that Capital can take the fruits of Labor and claim ownership of it, all the way to the battlefields.

More coming when and if I get anymore.

Do we see a theme here?

Go to Inside Higher Education and comment on this sad state of affairs. Great pro-adjunct faculty comments, and some even bigger emotional sinks tied to the anti-people comments —

 

Arrested Development, Contingent Edition
February 10, 2013 – 9:06pm Lee Bessette

Over Christmas, I had the pleasure of meeting up with some old friends. Many of them are also married and have young families, which is both nice (as we are all exhausted and can swap stories and support one another) and weird (one particular friend, I’ve known since we were eight, another 13; somehow not only did we survive, but managed to find mates and procreate).  Growing up, I was fortunate that I had a ton of really, really smart friends. In high school, we were in all the enriched classes together. There was never any question about us going to university, the only discussion was what our major was going to be and what schools we could get into and afford. We were bright, motivated, and supportive of one another.

Unsurprisingly, all of these really smart friends went on to become really successful professionals in some form or another. Some went to graduate school and some didn’t (that any of my friends went to graduate school tells you something about my group of friends). But all of them have been working for at least ten years at their profession (either for the same company, for themselves, or at different places). To hear them talk about their jobs is to hear them complain not only about bad bosses and meetings, but also about being the boss, or at least being in charge of projects, a group of other employees, and the added burden of having increased responsibilities. We laughed about how we used to not even be trusted to drive after dark. Now, we have houses and mortgages and kids of our own.

I left these reunions unsettled. I felt like a failure compared to how successful my friends have all been. We were all so smart, and we were all destined for great things. Why do I feel like somehow things went differently (and not in a good way) for me? I am just as smart and capable as they are, so why am I in this situation? I thought at first it was because of the money; they make a lot more money than I do. But it was more than that, more than just the money. I chose to be an academic, to forgo the “big bucks” (but does it have to be so much smaller?). No, there was something else bothering me about my situation when I compared myself to my friends.

Now, before you get into a critique of this comparison, stating that this is apples and oranges, I would say that my friends have a wide variety of jobs: nurse, engineer, technical writer, event planner, accounts manager, government employee – the works (except for teacher; not one of them became a teacher). They love their jobs in varying degrees; for some, they’ve found their calling, for others, they’ve found work that both pays the bills and doesn’t absolutely drive them insane. These are friends from both school and swimming. I am comparing apples to oranges to bananas and grapes, but in my mind, we all grew up in the same fruit basket. I spent my formative years comparing myself to them, for better and for worse. We all did.

We all grew up together, and then I went away. And in my absence, they all kept growing up while I didn’t. Sure, on paper, we look exactly the same in terms of where we are in our lives, but the biggest difference between where they are professionally and where I am is that they are treated like adults in their workplace. They are rewarded for doing good work not only with promotions and higher pay, but also with increasing amounts of responsibilities, new and different tasks, and the respect and recognition that comes with that.

There are few such rewards for contingent faculty. Those who are paid on a per-hour basis don’t get any recognition at all for the job they do, just the same crappy contract semester-by-semester. Or not. Do more than what was asked, and you will just be asked again, at no extra pay, and punished if you refuse. There was a discussion recently on an adjunct listserv about how the research/publication successes of adjunct faculty are rarely celebrated or even acknowledged. We are also losing control over what we teach in our classroom, with increased standardization, particularly in the lower-level general education courses that so many of us teach.

We are in a state of arrested development, professionally. If so many of us appear at times to behave “like children” it is perhaps because the institution increasingly infantilizes us. I’m not saying we all deserve promotions and raises and added responsibilities (or that we all want them), but we should have the opportunity to earn them if we show ourselves able, instead of being punished. Are their other jobs that treat their employees like crap, disrespecting them and grinding them down? You bet.

But I also bet that those jobs don’t require you to have a bachelor’s degree, let alone advanced ones.

 updated at — 12:53 PST, Feb. 27, 2013 

 Paul,
Here’s the link to Apollo Group’s 8K and 10K reports (*).  Yahoo Finance also has a list of Apollo’s institutional investors. It looks like a significant amount of capital may come from retirement funds, including T.Rowe Price, Vanguard, and Fidelity.  I wonder, how many teachers are (indirectly) invested in the demise of their own profession, complicit in undermining their successors?

Source: Yahoo Finance 2-27-2013 (*)

Top Institutional Holders

Holder Shares % Out Value* Reported
Yacktman Asset Management Company 7,458,859 6.66 156,039,330 Dec 31, 2012
Pzena Investment Management, LLC 7,145,678 6.38 149,487,583 Dec 31, 2012
Clifton Park Capital Management LLC 6,909,900 6.17 144,555,108 Dec 31, 2012
Vanguard Group, Inc. (The) 5,870,709 5.24 122,815,232 Dec 31, 2012
AJO, LP 5,792,900 5.17 121,187,468 Dec 31, 2012
Herndon Capital Management, LLC 4,594,422 4.10 96,115,308 Dec 31, 2012
Bank of New York Mellon Corporation 4,176,900 3.73 87,380,748 Dec 31, 2012
State Street Corporation 3,953,935 3.53 82,716,320 Dec 31, 2012
FMR LLC 3,568,232 3.18 74,647,413 Dec 31, 2012
BlackRock Institutional Trust Company, N.A. 3,434,110 3.06 71,841,581 Dec 31, 2012

 

Top Mutual Fund Holders
Holder Shares % Out Value* Reported
Managers AMG Funds-Yacktman Fund 3,300,000 2.94 69,036,000 Dec 31, 2012
Fidelity Series Large Cap Value Fund 2,959,621 2.64 56,795,126 Nov 30, 2012
Managers AMG Funds-Yacktman Focused Fund 2,705,000 2.41 56,588,600 Dec 31, 2012
Vanguard/Windsor Fund Inc. 2,426,325 2.17 48,720,606 Oct 31, 2012
Vanguard Mid-Cap Index Fund 1,386,188 1.24 40,268,761 Sep 30, 2012
Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund 1,381,822 1.23 40,141,929 Sep 30, 2012
Price (T.Rowe) Value Fund 1,185,000 1.06 34,424,250 Sep 30, 2012
John Hancock Classic Value Fund 1,099,922 0.98 21,107,503 Nov 30, 2012
Vanguard 500 Index Fund 926,558 0.83 26,916,509 Sep 30, 2012
Vanguard Institutional Index Fund-Institutional Index Fund 914,936 0.82 26,578,890 Sep 30, 2012

In solidarity,
Dahn

Paul Kirk has been a journalist since 1977. He's covered police, environment, planning and zoning, county and city politics, as well as working in true small town/community journalism situations in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico and beyond. He's been a part-time faculty since 1983, and as such has worked in prisons, gang-influenced programs, universities, colleges, alternative high schools, language schools, as a private contractor-writing instructor for US military in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Washington. Read other articles by Paul.