Cooking the Cooked-up Fake-u-cation

You Don’t Need No Stinking Job for a College Degree 

Oh, no, what’s the axiom? When you are pissed off, and then dash off an email quickly, WAIT before hitting “send.” Cogitate, ruminate, pontificate, throw some runes, look for a sign in the contrails, and drink plenty of Yerbe Mate.

Then, open up that email (never ever write it in the Outlook box – do it on word processing program), re-read, and, ahh, then, you will discover the evil and missteps in your logic and emotion, and, alas, the one-time pushback note will then be quickly deleted with the press of a mouse.

Okay, so I don’t take my own advice, or that general managerial class mumbo-jumbo seriously. Heck, this is a blog, where almost anything goes. So, instead of working on a piece about urban planning and land use planning and the 10,000 people a day in the USA who turn 65 and who might be in need of alternative modes and multi-modes of transportation options, including Active Transportation, I will just hit hard at the fight in the school yard.

My own fight. Scary, considering Linh Dinh’s “Postcard from the Edge, err, THE End of America” series, the latest one on those kick-ass Knowledge Workers, AKA, IT wunderkinds, or Jeff Bezos-Sells-Dildos-for-a-living-and-makes-a-billion-bucks wannabes.

San Jose, Los Gatos, Silly-con Valley?** 

When is Short-term, Long . . . Term, Terminal?

That magical five-month period of partial employment, or rather, unemployment in the real world while making due with freelance jobs and that all-but-gone “unemployment insurance.” UI, which we just never want to talk about in mixed company because it’s sort of like, well, admitting to a mental illness or publicly transmitted-able disease.

The economy is doing so good now – and thank you very much NPR and all your goofy affiliates of cultural and pop junk lovers who call themselves journalists even though they know nothing about real story telling and truth seeking and deep thinking.

Now that it’s been cleared up by the left and the right that it’s a dog eat dog world, buckle down, the jobs are  there . . .  just suck it up and live the life of Consumopithecus Anthropocene because that is our duty in this War on Terror, War on Drugs, War on Education, War on Public Goods, Places, Services, Workers and John Q and Jane R Public!

Even the New York Times weighs in — ** 

THE American economy is experiencing a crisis in long-term unemployment that has enormous human and economic costs.

In 2007, before the Great Recession, people who were looking for work for more than six months — the definition of long-term unemployment — accounted for just 0.8 percent of the labor force. The recession has radically changed this picture. In 2010, the long-term unemployed accounted for 4.2 percent of the work force. That figure would be 50 percent higher if we added the people who gave up looking for work.

Long-term unemployment is experienced disproportionately by the young, the old, the less educated, and African-American and Latino workers.

While older workers are less likely to be laid off than younger workers, they are about half as likely to be rehired. One result is that older workers have seen the largest proportionate increase in unemployment in this downturn. The number of unemployed people between ages 50 and 65 has more than doubled.

The prospects for the re-employment of older workers deteriorate sharply the longer they are unemployed. A worker between ages 50 and 61 who has been unemployed for 17 months has only about a 9 percent chance of finding a new job in the next three months. A worker who is 62 or older and in the same situation has only about a 6 percent chance. As unemployment increases in duration, these slim chances drop steadily,

College? You say, what, man? It is a brave world of work, now that even college teachers, as declared by Alternet,  are part of the 9 (they couldn’t be surprised enough to hit the top 10?)  surprising jobs that pay shit! We know that taking care of kids, the old, the DD, students, all of that, it’s worthless, or, a kind of job you have to have a calling for, no money needed, please. Alternet:

The top 25 hedge fund managers continue to take in close to a billion dollars per year each, on average. As Les Leopold noted, it would take a middle-class family 47 years to bring in what they make in just one hour. What value do they add to our society? Well, when they’re not wrecking the global economy, they’re pricing people out of the housing market and ripping off small investors.

As for the rest of us, the reality is that a disproportionate share of the jobs being created in America since the crash are low-income McJobs. According to a study by the National Law Employment Project, low-income jobs represented 21 percent of the total lost in the crash, but 58 percent of those added during the recovery ( PDF). In contrast, 60 percent of the jobs lost in the downturn paid a middle-class wage, but they’ve only made up 22 percent of those added during the recovery.

Here they are, the 9 jobs that would surprise any Kock-cock Bro that they pay THAT much? Around $22,000 a year? Better get more of that payroll tax going!

  1.  Regional Airline Pilots
  2. Adjunct Professors
  3. Home Health/Psychiatric Aides
  4. Ambulance Drivers and Attendants
  5. Veterinary Animal Caretakers
  6. Childcare Workers
  7. Cosmetologists for Dead People
  8. Gambling Dealers
  9. Models 

Well, how telling is that top 9 list, and really, at some point, the gag us with the spoon has to apply to guys and gals shilling their pretty superficial stuff on the internet, like Joshua Holland. I guess he’s doing okay in that Top 9 category. I am sure.

Well, here are my comments – remember, I am looking for work, writing up cover letters, researching a dozen companies a day, answering questions, doing the pre-tailored stuff just to be one of 200 applicants for one job that rejected me today, and then, another, well, that would be 400 applicants. I, of course, did not get to take a dip into that final pool (of applicants) – something about adjunctivitus. They might even be organizations – non-profits with all sorts of schmaltzy vision and mission statements – who help the homeless, the disabled, the ex-felons, the-about-to-be-homeless, the-guaranteed-to-be-homeless-and-suicidal, what have you, but they STILL ask probing questions about “how many months have you gone unemployed” and “if we contacted your last employer, what would he/she say about you leaving the company.” Oh, this is the nice stuff. I’ll write another column on the other crap, like demanding credit reports, FBI-style background checks over 10 years or more of your life, etc.

This AlterNet “feed” is almost a caricature of itself these days. This little “Top Ten (err, 9) List” is bastardization, weak-kneed blog posting, un-journalism, and just more of the same superficial treatment of very serious and systemic problems largely brought to us by both political gangs and all those NPR-loving, J. Stewart-hugging, Obama-squeezing fake liberals and fake union-supporters.

Adjuncts, uh? We are also called precarious and contingent, road scholars, freeway fliers, and migrant workers. Some of us teach circles around tenured faculty, who in many cases have facilitated this four-tiered academic system — many call it apartheid of education. We have the degrees, a hell of a lot more experience than prissy PhDs who got tenure track for life jobs with little OJT and in the trenches experience. Some of us teach at prisons, in companies, one-on-one in language schools, at community colleges, state four-year schools, private schools, and, big time schools like the Ivy smear of Georgetown University, Harvard, what have you.

Read Ginsberg’s Fall of the Faculty on administrative bloat.

Read Ulrich’s Brave New World of Work on the part-timing of the workforce and how that shining neoliberal bank vault in heaven is all for those One Percenters and their 19 Percenter gals and guys fueling the greed and felonies.

But, all 1.5 million of us in the 4000 plus colleges and schools who are at-will and part-time or contingent, we have no unions coming together and supporting a national union drive for us all. And there are many more part-time people in education hidden in the cracks — coaches, music teachers, even HR and admin types are going part-time.

Why are we, and then tens of millions of other workers in the USA precarious? Why does NPR glibly report this morning with happy voices that more and more employers are loving the part-time work they are offering so we don’t get ACA coverage — Affordable Care Act (sic)? Then, NPR, again, this morning, happily reports on the whizzes in computing and efficiency who want more out of an 8-hour day by monitoring us. Then, of course, with a little help of ProPublica, NPR, again, this morning, barely reports on undocumented workers getting the quadruple shaft working in Amerika. Forced to use PayDay check cashing, charged to go and come back from work, have to have Medicare and SS taken out of paychecks . . . and on and on.

In reality, these little superficial stories go nowhere and point to the superficiality of what the internet brings us. More-more-more Twinkies for sure. Creamy, empty, with a shelf life of a hundred years and relevancy of three nano-seconds.

Top 9 surprisingly low paid professions my foot. The entire country, the 80 percent of us who have collectively about 7 percent of the country’s wealth, we are being screwed and tattooed by the vanguard, and these dead-end stories just put salt in the wounds because there is not CONTEXT, no LARGER frame, NO POWERFUL narrative. Just listings.

Go over to the clearer and wilder side, please — Some of us lowly paid adjuncts also work on informing the public, for free, no fanfare, real stories:

http://dissidentvoice.org/2013…

http://dissidentvoice.org/2013…

 Then,

We have to risk the perfect credit scores and arrest. It’s got to be on the ground, in their faces. No revolutionary anything will happen on the Internet.

Just wondering how many out there are willing to get busted? It’s scary, yes, I know. We need a nationwide adjunct faculty union — that is where the last battlefield is being bloodied — education. Read the crap coming out of higher education:

Chronicle of Higher Education (another DC-based conservative rag)

http://chronicle.com/section/H…

Inside Higher Education (another DC-based conservative electronic rag)

http://www.insidehighered.com/

You’ll get a bead on what we face not just in education, but with our culture and youth being bankrupted into Consumopithecus Anthropocene status.

The attack on education is the last leg of democracy chopped and burned. Media sold out. Senate is dead on arrival. Executive branch is a sham. Judicial Branch — blighted. US military industrial machine– well-oiled for empire.

At least, at the NAACP meeting, we see this sort of action. And we all have to risk it — get busted, stop paying, start standing down.

Anger is rising. Yesterday, an NC-NAACP group, eight of whom are ministers, held a vigil to protest the GOP-backed legislative program of decimating unemployment benefits, gutting public education, shoveling money towards the rich in the form of tax giveaways, refusing federal Medicaid expansion, and a bill requiring voters to present photo ID, an old tactic for suppressing the black vote.

According to Raleigh’s WRAL, the ministers, along with other activists, surrendered to North Carolina General Assembly police officers outside the Senate chambers “after an hour of prayer and song directed at what protestors called a regressive Republican agenda.” They may be charged with breaking building rules, second-degree trespassing, disorderly conduct and failure to disperse.

The song choices of the protesters included the civil rights standard, “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round,” a message which underscores the regressive nature of Republican policy-makers who wish to turn back the clock. In a statement, Rev. William Barber, president of the NC-NAACP, said “the decision to engage in civil disobedience is not one we take lightly.” He noted, however, that “extremists are acting like the George Wallaces of the 21st century. They are pursuing a cruel, unusual and unconstitutional agenda reminiscent of the Old South. What happens in North Carolina does not stay in North Carolina. It has national implications. North Carolina is ground zero in a national struggle to defend democracy for all.”

Then,

Yikes, I think all my years working in environmental and social justice movements, from Arizona to Belize, to Vietnam to Seattle, well, as an adjunct, as a precarious worker, as a male, and as a revolutionary, I think about so many factors to why so many people fear and give up.

I had a radio show, on community radio, and even those cohorts (some of mine) thought that I was just wrong for community radio — too in your face, too opinionated, whatever. The reality is, hmm, for two years, one hour weekly, I got on Jeremy Scahill, David Suzuki, Winona LaDuke, Bill McKibben, and countless others — many were scientists, wonks, and such.

One hour, mano y mano. And, of course, James Howard Kunslter. I think what I have found is the absolutely effective shifting baseline syndrome in neutering calls to action, and the very real agnotology. I write about these a lot.

But, the bottom line is that there are many-many complicated factors pushing all these problems on our lap now. Some we just do not want to admit to.

In any case, thanks for at least hitting the link provided. If you want to hear two really good interviews, try John Francis and Kunstler, here:

http://www.downtoearthnw.com/s…

Also, Tim Flannery, he’s here — too. Good luck.

Le Cordon Bleu – One Giant Pot of Shysters,  Schemers, Robbers

Well, this all leads me to my day, today. I made a follow up phone call, since most prospective employers do not even send out an automatic “Hey, thanks . . . we received your application . . . we will be in touch” kind of salutation.

Yes, you can see here all the University of Phoenix railing here – **. And rightly so, because the private education model is not only infecting that little bit of the higher education market, but all the colleges and universities now are full of the syphilis of sycophants working for hedge fund pukes, banks and the likes of Walton, Gates, Murdoch, Pearson Publishing, Washington Post’s Kaplan, and of course,   all the other for-profit thieves in the world.

Including, drum roll, Education Management Corp. We are talking about all sorts of schools (sic) including Le Cordon Bleu culinary arts (sic) schools, to include, well, why not put the Wikipedia thing up?

The organization operates over eighty campuses with approximately 77,600 students enrolled. Schools owned by CEC are located throughout the US, Canada, France, and the United Kingdom and offer doctoral, master’s, bachelor’s, and associate’s degrees, as well as diploma and certificate programs.

Okay, so CEC does not own the so-called “art institutes” –  they are a division of Education Management Corporation (EDMC), the United States’ second-largest organization owning for-profit colleges. Again, Wikipedia

Hell, even 60 Minutes did a piece on the CEC’s fraud:

Rep. Maxine Waters, who represents the poorest district in Los Angeles, isn’t so sure [these for profits bring anyone any where near out of the poverty they started life in] .  For the past 15 years, she’s been the industry’s most persistent critic.

“I have seen young person after young person who simply wanted to get trained for a trade, for a job, get ripped off,” says Waters.

Why hasn’t anything been done? “These private post-secondary schools are very sophisticated in its politics, and they actually have members of Congress who protect them,” she says.

Over the past two years, career colleges and lending institutions that benefit from government-backed student loans handed out more than a million dollars in campaign contributions to members of the House Education Committee. Half of that money went to the committee’s two ranking members: Chairman John Boehner of Ohio and Buck McKeon of California. Both declined requests for interviews.

“I don’t believe that they would be a $1 billion company in 10 years, if it weren’t for the federal government loan programs,” says Tami Hanson, who was once the national manager in charge of student placement for all of Career Education Corporation’s campuses in the United States.

Hanson, who was fired a few months ago, was one of more than 50 current or former employees with whom 60 Minutes spoke at more than a dozen schools. All had variations of the same story.

What was the corporate culture like?

“All about the numbers, all about the numbers,” says Hanson. “Getting students enrolled, getting students in the seats. Keeping students in the seats, getting them passed enough to graduate, and then trying to get them any job we could.”

But getting students any job they could did not necessarily mean getting them jobs they were trained for. And she says a job placement could mean just about almost anything.

“It may be that, you know, they end up placing them folding T-shirts at the Gap at a fashion, as a fashion grad — which is fine, but not what they were promised in the beginning,” says Hanson.

“And a job they could’ve gotten without paying $15,000 or $30,000,” says Kroft.

Actually, it is more like $30,00 $60,000 and $80,000 depending on the program, says Hanson.

Le Cordon Bleu, via Portland, via Chicago, via scam-scam-shame

So, this little rant, this thing that I should have put aside for 24 or 48 hours, is a message to one of those profiteers, those for-profit schools, and, specifically, one of the middle men, the so-called educational director.

His name is Matt, and he is 40-ish, proud of his environmental sciences degree from a college in Colorado, but now he programs classes, including the college level classes, for Le Cordon Bleu in Portland, part of the behemoth of CEC. He said he doesn’t even have a chef’s background, but the students and staff call him Chef Matt.

You see, part of my training and background is education on every level. I answered an ad from one of many on-line job sites, for English faculty in downtown Portland. I took an on-line personality test through their Career Builder admin section of the Chicago-based CEC. I interviewed by phone with a Career Builder rep, and then I went into town, after jumping through hoops, and interviewed with a big fellow called chef DJ. He was standing in for his boss, Mr. Matt.

DJ was weak as an interviewer, a nice guy, into photography, and about to go in for hip joint replacement. He was a real chef. Showed me around the joint. In downtown Portland, near a food cart enclave in a parking lot. The building they are in is also a new Target about to come to downtown and wreck havoc on local, independent businesses.

Not Skills, Not Experience, Not Pedagogy — We Need Warm Body Watchers, err . . . Snatchers

I do well in interviews, since I teach interview skills, cover letter writing and resume building as part of my 79 hats as an educator. Note: those 80 hats as educator, plus 99 hats I wear as writer, journalist, planner, community development guy, and the list goes on, well, that hat fetish is my demise when it comes to pencil pushers, managerial types, careerists, and lock-step corporate broom pushers.

Well, I also am personable and connect with students, and working class types. I did. However, the interview wasn’t enough, because instead of canceling my interview that was supposed to be with Matt but Matt was out sick so this DJ, about to go on two months leave for hip surgery, interviewed, looking at the email Matt had sent him on what to cover, well, I was asked by Matt to come in the next week.

I did, and again, I was great in the interview. I could tell something was up because, a, I had way too much experience teaching English and teaching a wide variety of student body types, and, b, I was too innovative, and, c, I was asking about the books, curriculum for composition courses, and, d, about the pay.

This guy said he didn’t know what the pay was. Can you believe that, CEC, the millions upon millions the company has bilked from US taxpayers and students, and, no talk about money? I’m thinking $1500 a class. Matt couldn’t say. Pay is not important to adjuncts. Find your way to the campus, good luck with parking, and have a nice split schedule – just hang out or make two or three round trips. Pay? You have a dry place to hang out for 12 hours. Pay?

The big deal was that I got out of DJ by accident the fact that culinary school does not pay off,  and that many students are in need of triage and remedial work, and, that many are down on their luck, graduates of the school of hard knocks, and, have prison and addiction issues. And, most are in debt and have jobs in the restaurant industry already to make rent.

DJ, and then Matt, reiterated a fact – most culinary arts graduates – what, more than 50 percent – end up out of the field of cooking and restauranting  four years after  graduation from CEC’s fak-e-du-cation.  We are talking about 20 to 60 K, thousands of dollars, into debt, and, the end result? Well, a full-time job in a restaurant, in the kitchen or up front, well, they are rare, not stable, and pay minimum wage. That means two or three jobs cobbled together, a huge student loan debt, and, well, skills in a program that charges up the ass, and, now that CEC is getting accredited for state college AA certification, well, they have these college classes, like the ones I was asked to teach, or interview them in order to get the green light to teach. They are scams, and need their accreditation yanked and big fat bloody noses for all these geek and gross middle men and women. Like Chef (sic) Matt,

Read below old news and new news on CEC, law suits, just general ire with this model of fak-e-ducation.

At-will, Terminator Gene — One False Move, Hasta la Vista, Baby

How dumb of a system is it, and they hire adjuncts, folks like me, and chefs, too – part-time, no benefits, no commitment, at will, and, just these deliverers of information. No nuance, no creativity, just follow what Chicago sets forth as correct curriculum for each course, even though the Chicago boys are full of shit.

SO, I call this guy, Matt, today, on my way to an interview to work as an instructor for DD – developmentally delayed/disabled adults. Interview was right next to the CEC LCB. I saw a couple of chefs-to-be catching a smoke outside, and a few scampering from the 60-odd food trucks amassed in a square.

He hemmed and hawed, and did not have the professionalism to apology for not getting back, for not saying yes or no about classes, and, to be honest, he was the sleaze of that age group, from that state, someone who is education director for an outfit that rips off students, rips off us, US taxpayer, and then has the nerve to tell me, “Well, nothing in June – like I said – but maybe July . . . .”

Of course, guys like this Matt from Portland Le Cordon Bleu are the problem, now – the littlest of little Eichmanns –

The greatest crimes of human history are made possible by the most colorless human beings. They are the careerists. The bureaucrats. The cynics. They do the little chores that make vast, complicated systems of exploitation and death a reality. They collect and read the personal data gathered on tens of millions of us by the security and surveillance state. They keep the accounts of ExxonMobil, BP and Goldman Sachs. They build or pilot aerial drones. They work in corporate advertising and public relations. They issue the forms. They process the papers. They deny food stamps to some and unemployment benefits or medical coverage to others. They enforce the laws and the regulations. And they do not ask questions.

… and, gosh, I keep coming back to this Chris Hedges essay, and it is tough putting so much important critical thinking and writing on the shoulders of a mole like Le Cordon Bleu’s Matt, Mr. Chef, Mr. I-Am-Not-Sure-How-Much-We-Pay-Adjunct-Precarious-At-will-Cogs-In-My-Company’s-Machine. But, hell, there is not Hell, so it’s all journalistic and blogging karmic fun, no!

Here is Matt, and legions of Matts, and the Le Cordon Bleu think tank idiots, and those pigs at the top of corporations who call it downsizing or reduction in force and making the labor pool more efficient, when in fact, it’s FIRE, DUMP, SACK, Kick To the Curb.

Hedges:

These armies of bureaucrats serve a corporate system that will quite literally kill us. They are as cold and disconnected as Mengele. They carry out minute tasks. They are docile. Compliant. They obey. They find their self-worth in the prestige and power of the corporation, in the status of their positions and in their career promotions. They assure themselves of their own goodness through their private acts as husbands, wives, mothers and fathers. They sit on school boards. They go to Rotary. They attend church. It is moral schizophrenia. They erect walls to create an isolated consciousness. They make the lethal goals of ExxonMobil or Goldman Sachs or Raytheon or insurance companies possible. They destroy the ecosystem, the economy and the body politic and turn workingmen and -women into impoverished serfs. They feel nothing. Metaphysical naiveté always ends in murder. It fragments the world. Little acts of kindness and charity mask the monstrous evil they abet. And the system rolls forward. The polar ice caps melt. The droughts rage over cropland. The drones deliver death from the sky. The state moves inexorably forward to place us in chains. The sick die. The poor starve. The prisons fill. And the careerist, plodding forward, does his or her job.

It is tough, talking to someone like Matt, in charge, called Chef Matt by students. Not the sharpest pencil in the package, but, he is part of the careerists detritus, the ass kissing folk who keep the system going, the exploitation hot and heavy, the rip-off artistry relevant and all those people crushed in their hopes to be better humans, grow communities, grow economies, raise a family, and do well by their duties as citizens.

University of Phoenix, Kaplan, NPR — Schools, Yards, Fights

Before I list out some CEC complaints, let’s do the Phoenix again, Apollo, University of Phoenix, as you have seen here!

From Dahn

I.

Paul,

It’s worse than you know.  Washington Post (Kaplan’s parent company) also owns significant shares of Corinthian.

If you look at the plummet in stock prices over the last year to four years, there may be mergers/consolidation in the future.  This could make the one’s that do survive (e.g. University of Phoenix, or foreign corporations) even stronger.
Right now, it looks like the educational services industry is becoming mainly owned by banks and hedge funds.  As I previously mentioned, states, teachers and public service workers are also involved directly or indirectly through retirement funds.

II.

Apparently University of Phoenix targets Native Americans as well as veterans.  This is shameful.

Source: **

Military or Government Billing Plan

If you are a government employee, U.S. Armed Forces veteran or active-duty military personnel, University of Phoenix may directly bill your organization for your educational costs. To directly bill the military, you must be determined eligible by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The Military or Government Billing Plan does not include Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30) benefits.

Tribal funding

Several American Indian tribal nations provide funding for the tuition of a student who is a recognized member.

For additional information on tribal funding, please contact our Tribal Relations department at ** 

II.

Paul,

Corinthian is a steaming pile of sh*t at so many different levels. Source — **

But we cannot forget the target, Apollo Group.  Shoot down the Phoenix and the rest of the flock will fall with it.

We have been having a slow-motion meltdown in higher education if you haven’t noticed.  One way to salvage the higher education system (and the education system in general) is to reduce the tens of billions of dollars that have been going to for-profit schools.  And University of Phoenix is the model, the trendsetter.  Shoot down the Phoenix and others in flock will fall with it.

Is the College Debt Bubble Starting to Crack?

“This industry tends to move on lockstep, as the companies are little-differentiated, giving potential to the same marketing pitch and providing the same areas of study.“

Source: Why Online Ads Won’t Save These Educators

Seeking Alpha is jumping on the dump for-profit education stocks.   Source — **

Apollo Group board member Sally Stroup (and former Bush Higher Education official) has been a leader in the deregulation of for-profit predatory education. And this form of corporate deregulation is seriously damaging higher education.

Dissent Magazine

Washington Monthly 

Okay, back to basics – a later blog will cover the National Propaganda-PR-Petroleum-Pharma-Pesticide Radio daily scandal. It is a puke-filled morning listening to the local affiliate and the national ones do their drivel, their drone-impressions, their pro-corporation kiss ass, and, in many ways, it’s one of the Best Pro-Zionist Media Sources Money Can and Does Buy. Journalism?

Diane Ravitch blog **

 Some media organizations would barely survive without their educational arms. The parent company of The Washington Post, for example (which also owns Slate.com, Foreign Policy magazine and other media properties) relied on its for-profit education subsidiary, Kaplan Inc, for 62% of its revenue in 2012.

In these cynical times you might not be surprised to learn that News Corp, The Washington Post Company and Pearson are hugely conflicted in their education coverage.

But then there’s NPR.

What’s not just surprising, but actually shocking, is how far pro-school privatization interests have been able to infiltrate and corrupt the reporting at supposedly left-leaning NPR, and its affiliate public radio stations.

Consider a new NPR local news project called State Impact, which NPR describes as a “local-national collaboration between NPR and station groups in eight states that reports on state government actions and their impact on citizens and communities.”

In January, State Impact published an interview with Greg Harris, the Ohio director of Michele Rhee’s pro-charter school astroturf group StudentsFirst to promote a “report card” that the group released rating Ohio’s state education policies.

State Impact reporter Ida Lieszkovszky had nothing but praise for StudentsFirst, describing it as “a group looking to improve education through increased accountability for teachers and principals, more financial transparency in schools, and enhanced power for parents, is grading states on their education initiatives.”

StudentsFirst gave Ohio a C-, largely because the state did not “evaluate”—aka fire—teachers based on “performance” and limited the number of total charter schools that could be opened. In fact, StudentsFirst gave most states Ds or lower for not firing unionized teachers, for not being nearly pro-charter enough and for not scrapping their “outdated pension systems.” (California got an F, while NSFWCORP’s home state of Nevada got a straight D.)

Lieszkovszky took StudentFirst’s discredited pro-charter blather at face value, and was even nice enough to embed the full report card at the bottom of the article. She also fed the StudentsFirst rep anti-union questions during the interview…stuff like this:

Q: Some of the measures that you mentioned, like tying teacher pay to teacher performance, are things that the teachers’ unions in the state really don’t like. How much of this has to do with unionization in these states?

The interview also included a link to a NPR State Impact profile page for Michele Rhee that reads like it was crafted by Rhee’s publicist, describing her as a crusading reformer trying to “build a national movement to defend the interests of children in public education.” The profile makes no mention of the controversy surrounding Michele Rhee’s reform tactics, which have been discredited in a series of test-score cheating scandals.

NPR might describe State Impact’s coverage of StudentsFirst as “news reporting” but at times it feel closer to outright shilling.

So, why would public radio be so willing to gush about groups like StudentsFirst and their pro-privatization agenda?

For the active link to the piece Diane references –

The Poor Old Alex Jones Issue :: April 24, 2013

Et Tu NPR? By Yasha Levine

Not only was NPR’s Conan doing a fluff piece on a corporate front group bankrolled by two of the radio network’s major funders, without disclosing this conflict-of-interest to listeners. But the sole expert invited onto the program to talk about these issues, was also being paid out of the same bucket, and he wasn’t saying anything about it either.

Anti-trigger parents were grasping at straws, and felt totally alone. Local teachers couldn’t help them; they were afraid to even talk. The union told them to stay quiet because it was afraid of legal action from Parent Revolution. Anti-trigger parents say that, in the end, the only real help came from California’s teachers union, but even that was mostly restricted to legal advice on how to properly collect statements from parents so that Parent Revolution would not be able to challenge them in court.

“We got no real help from anyone,” said Lori. And that included the press, which tended to smear anti-trigger parents as union stooges and thugs out to intimidate low-income minorities into submission. LA Weekly ran a series of particularly nasty articles, specifically attacking Lori for doing the bidding of corrupt teachers who care more about “cushy union contracts” than their students’ education. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial features editor (and son of raging neocon Douglas Feith) David Feith published a string of pieces attacking the efforts of anti-trigger parents to push back against Parent Revolution’s astroturf campaign. Feith smeared their genuine grassroots organizing as a “systematic and legally questionable pressure campaign waged against parents” on behalf of the “hostile unions” and the “education establishment.”

Lori started to feel surrounded by intrigue. She says, “I would do these interviews with these people and reporters and journalists and bloggers. Anyone that would call I would talk to because I need to get this information out because people need to know this. And then I’d get the article and I’d be like this has nothing to fucking do with what I said. I got to the point when I started thinking, do they — and by they, I mean Parent Revolution — do they own everything? Do they own the fucking editors, do they own the newspapers?”

Lori’s paranoia-sense was not that far off the mark.

Parent Revolution might not own the press, but the people and companies who fund groups like Parent Revolution and stand to profit from school privatization, well . . . they quite literally do own the press. Sometimes they are the press.

Among the major investors in privatizing education is Rupert Murdoch.

It was Murdoch’s 20th Century Fox that put out “Won’t Back Down,” Maggie Gyllenhaal’s parent trigger film bankrolled by Phillip Anschutz, the right-wing oil billionaire who funds everything from anti-gay ballot initiatives and Christian Identity, to teaching creationism in schools. Anschutz is also a major backer of ALEC, the right-wing lobby group that pushed through the “Stand Your Ground” vigilante laws that resulted in Trayvon Martin’s murder. ALEC is also spearheading parent-trigger laws in states across the country.

Murdoch recently announced his plans for aggressive expansion into the private primary education sector, saying, “When it comes to K through 12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed.”

Murdoch’s News Corp media empire is vast. The Washington Post Company — which owns The Washington Post, Slate.com, Foreign Policy magazine, among other news media holdings — relies heavily on its for-profit education subsidiary, Kaplan Inc, which generated 62% of the company’s revenue in 2012. Then there’s The Financial Times and The Economist, both of which are owned by Pearson, a multinational mega-media company that’s also heavily involved in private education.

Incidentally, all three companies have been members of ALEC’s pro-charter Education Task Force, which has been at the forefront of the effort to enact legislation to privatize public education in states all across America.

Source – **

Okay, Okay, back to the for-profits –

First, EMC, and then, Le Cordon Bleu — AKA CEC

 August 8, 2011

By Josh Keller

The U.S. Justice Department and four states accused the Education Management Corporation in a complaint filed in an existing lawsuit Monday of improperly paying recruiters and fraudulently securing more than $11-billion in federal student aid.

Prosecutors said Education Management pays its recruiters solely based on how many students they enroll, which would violate the Higher Education Act’s ban on incentive compensation. The government allegations were filed as part of a whistle-blower lawsuit by two former employees that the Justice Department joined in May.

“In practice, the sole factor that determines changes to the compensation of admissions personnel is the number of students the admissions employee recruited during the previous 12 months,” the complaint says.

Prosecutors said that Education Management, the second-largest for-profit college company by enrollment, had illegally received more than $11-billion in student aid since it adopted its compensation policies in 2003. California, Florida, Illinois, and Indiana joined the complaint. The company owns Argosy University, the Art Institutes, Brown Mackie College, South University, and Western State University.

The claims are “flat-out wrong,” a legal adviser to Education Management, Bonnie Campbell, said in a written statement. The company’s compensation plan complies with federal regulations by paying recruiters based on five “quality factors” in addition to how many students they enroll, Ms. Campbell said.

“The complaint is wrong in its claim that EDMC disregarded the quality factors in the compensation plan,” Ms. Campbell said. “EDMC worked rigorously to ensure that the plan was properly implemented companywide.”

The largest for-profit college, the University of Phoenix, paid $78.5-million in 2009 to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit that accused the college of improperly compensating recruiters. Other for-profit colleges have faced similar complaints.

…more ….

In a rare move, the U.S. Department of Justice will join in a whistle-blower lawsuit brought by a former employee of a college owned by the Education Management Corporation, which is accused of illegally obtaining federal student aid by paying its admissions recruiters commissions based on the number of students they enrolled. The company, which operates Argosy University, South University, Brown Mackie Colleges, and the Art Institutes, also disclosed on Monday that it expected several states to join the lawsuit as well. According to Bloomberg News, the suit, which is still under court seal in Pittsburgh, is different from another whistle-blower suit  filed against the company by a former South University employee.

…Then, from someone on Rip Off Report, taking on Cordon Bleu, CEC, Matt’s place!

This is a warning to anyone considering attending any of the Le Cordon Bleu schools. This was once a prestigious culinary school but, is now owned by a company named Career Education Corporation, a for profit company.

The school will accept anyone who is approved for student loans, even convincing students to obtain additional loans, as Stafford Loans won’t cover the entire tuition, if you don’t get any grants as well. They break the tuition up, instead of giving you a total amount, in an attempt to get the students to not worry about having to pay the money back. They provide students with bogus amortization tables, leaving them to believe they have to pay back far less than they actually will, once interest comes in to play.

Here are the facts about tuition at this school. Even if you receive a full Pell Grant, which is highly unlikely if you are working at all, you will owe a total of about $31,000. After interest, using an income contingent plan, if you are making about $30,000 per year, you will end up paying around $50,000 in total for your Le Cordon Bleu education. If you think you are going to become a chef at a top notch restaurant, after finishing up at the school, you have a reality check coming. Yes, you will notice some students come back to help promote the school and participate in different activities with the school. What you don’t know, is these people came from wealthy parents, and had the money to go and open their own restaurants or, had connections before even attending the school, and were already working in a good position when they attended.

For the normal students, you will be lucky to find a $10 per hour job in the industry. It’s more likely that you will move on to a different profession, just to be able to afford the hefty debt the school left you with. Thought you might own a house one day soon? You can forget that, if you default on those federal loans. Also, don’t forget the fact that the restaurant industry isn’t doing so hot right now. There are layoffs galore all across the country. Many places have also cut back hours, making nearly their entire staff, part-time employees.

My girlfriend attended the Le Cordon Bleu which calls itself Miami located when it’s actually in Miramar, and she got sucked in by the school. Fortunately, I looked in to the school, and she pulled out before throwing our future down the drain with unaffordable, pointless debt. Can you believe that after she spoke to an adviser at the school, telling them she wanted to pull out, they actually told her teachers. What a breach of privacy. Two different teachers gave her extra credit points the following day and, gave her a lot of praise, recommending she stay at the school.

This school is now all about making money. Please do not waste your time, or cause debt that will destroy your future, by attending any Career Education Corporation owned schools. You are better off going to a either a city or state college to pick up an Associates or even a Bachelors. Go out and find a job at a restaurant, and work your way up with the degree as a fallback. These schools do a great job at exploiting people who feel they aren’t smart enough to obtain regular degrees. They even prey on young people. I found out that one young girl at this school is only 16 years old. Her credit is going to be shot before she is even 18 years old, and she still won’t be able to find a better paying restaurant job after attending this sorry excuse for a school.

Beware Career Education Corporation owned schools and do yourself a favor and read up on them. They also own AIU, which is currently on probation again, and in jeopardy of losing its accreditation. Don’t let them take advantage of you. You can do far better.

As an ex-employee of Career Education Corporation and graduate of CTU Online, I can only say bad things about CEC.  Buyers beware!

Career Education Corporation owns several schools that treat their employees, faculty, staff and students with little regard – all for the sake of enrollment and graduation numbers.  I dealt with many levels of unhappy customers, so I speak from experience and not mere speculation.  AIU, AIU Online, CTU, CTU Online, IADT and IADT Online are only just a few of the schools that over promise and under deliver – as taught by the infamous corporate office.

If you are considering any of these schools, please, please, please do your research and become fully aware of what you are about to embark upon!

Then a Chronicle of Higher Education Report, “Pawns for Profit”: **

“We were supposed to keep students in the classroom by any means necessary,” says Luccia Rogers, a former professor at Career Education Corporation’s Collins College, who says the college fudged grades and forgave repeated plagiarism—claims that the college denies. “It was all about keeping people in the seats to keep the federal money coming in.”

James Watson, who taught at the college for 17 years before he was laid off in 2006, said faculty were encouraged to tell students they could make up all of the work they had missed, even if they had been absent for weeks. If students were at risk of failing, professors would give them extra-credit assignments to bring their grades up. Twice a semester, the campus would hold “make up days.” Faculty members would roll out carts piled high with folders containing all the work students had missed that term.

“We were expected to bend over backwards to make sure every student passed,” said Mr. Watson, who is not part of the lawsuit. “The pressure was solely and completely on us. It was not on the students’ shoulders.”

When students failed, it was because “we had not done enough to motivate them,” he said.

CBS News, anyone? **

 

“I don’t believe that they would be a $1 billion company in 10 years, if it weren’t for the federal government loan programs,” says Tami Hanson, who was once the national manager in charge of student placement for all of Career Education Corporation’s campuses in the United States.

Hanson, who was fired a few months ago, was one of more than 50 current or former employees with whom 60 Minutes spoke at more than a dozen schools. All had variations of the same story.

What was the corporate culture like?

“All about the numbers, all about the numbers,” says Hanson. “Getting students enrolled, getting students in the seats. Keeping students in the seats, getting them passed enough to graduate, and then trying to get them any job we could.”

But getting students any job they could did not necessarily mean getting them jobs they were trained for. And she says a job placement could mean just about almost anything.

“It may be that, you know, they end up placing them folding T-shirts at the Gap at a fashion, as a fashion grad — which is fine, but not what they were promised in the beginning,” says Hanson.

“And a job they could’ve gotten without paying $15,000 or $30,000,” says Kroft.

Actually, it is more like $30,00 $60,000 and $80,000 depending on the program, says Hanson.

Paul K. Haeder lived one-year in Seattle working for "the" SEIU (Service Employees International Union), the largest private sector union in the USA (in their pro-Obama PR materials), to organize adjuncts in Bezos-Boeing-Gates land, after having worked as a communications, language, composition, writing instructor of the freeway flyer variety in El Paso for the University of Texas, the El Paso Community College, language institutes, Park College, the US Army, La Tuna Federal Correctional Institute, Packard Electric in Juarez, New Mexico State University, and several cities in Mexico. In Washington State, he taught at Gonzaga University, Spokane Community College, Spokane Falls Community College. He's job hunting -- at that golden age of 56 (and counting down) ... just what the progressive-left-of-center non-profits in the Vancouver-Portland “area” want (NOT). He can be reached at: paul@dissidentvoice.org. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.

3 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Paul Haeder said on May 3rd, 2013 at 9:26am #

    From Indeed.com — Whoops, LCB in Portland is looking for faculty!

    Chef Instructor (Former Employee), Boston, MA – February 19, 2013

    Pros: co-workers

    Cons: pay scale, bad decisions by corporate, lack of support for instructors

    This company is a joke. Churn out the students even if they can’t grasp basic culinary. Employees are treated like dirt ant there is a huge turn over of instructors. The hiring is done by salary not quality or experience. the program is watered down and management shoots from the hip on all decisions.They seem to have the do as I say not as I do mentality. Beware this company won’t last long the best a job with LCB can be is a stepping stone to something better.

    Two:

    Instructor (Former Employee), Chicago, IL – October 19, 2012
    Pros: free foodCons: everything
    LCB and its parent company CEC have taken a major hit in enrollment for several reasons including an extremely high student loan default rate and a low quality of education. Working at LCB you cannot help but feel guilty at the knowledge that you are profiting at what is ostensibly a diploma factory. The majority of students you see will not “find an exciting new career in the culinary field” but more likely continue on at whatever greasy spoon they slave at daily long after graduation. Add to this a complete lack of inter-corporate or even inter-campus communication, a general arrogance from the culinary instructors, a sort of schoolyard politics that pervades even the simplest interactions and what you’re left with is a terrible work experience, one I hope you avoid.

    MORE NEWS –

    http://blogs.laweekly.com/squidink/2011/02/le_cordon_bleu_lawsuit_banks.php

    New developments in the class action suit against Le Cordon Bleu have emerged – now it’s not just the parent companies being sued, it’s the banks as well.
    As we reported in October, a class action suit is pending against Le Cordon Bleu’s parent companies alleging fraud, claiming the school promises prospective students they’ll become chefs, but that most graduates are unable to obtain that position.

    We spoke with Michael Louis Kelly yesterday morning of Kirtland & Packard LLP, the firm representing the LCB students, who gave us information on changes to the complaint. The claim now names Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, Dollar Bank of Pittsburgh and several other loan holders as defendants.

    Does this mean the plaintiffs think the banks are responsible? Not exactly. The suit doesn’t assert that the loan holders knew of any alleged fraud. The attorneys are naming them because they believe it will further benefit the plaintiffs should the claim succeed. Instead of simply receiving money in a settlement, by involving the banks, the hope is that the students have a better chance of being alleviated of their loans, as opposed to simply receiving a portion of money to put towards them.

    This decision was partly made based on the outcome of a similar class action suit waged against Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco. Those plaintiffs received approximately $110 million in retribution, but were not legally relieved of their loans, Kelly told us.

    In addition, should the class action suit fail, Kirtland & Packard has decided it will pursue individual claims, and have even set up a website for client intake. They have nearly 6,000 claimants already.

    And, from LA Weekly’s comments:

    These guys are crooks. I briefly attended LCB Boston; the most disorganized mess I have ever seen. The curriculum is a joke, instructors are useless, the administration doesn’t have a clue. Unfortunately, the arbitration clause in the enrollment agreement is preventing most students from filing suit, despite countless acts of fraud. The institutional payment plans are nonsense; anyone that borrowed money directly from CEC should be warned, the collections department will stop at nothing. If I wanted a job in culinary arts, I sure wouldn’t put that place on my resume.

    These for-profits are a drain on our education system; Something needs to be done beyond the GEA. Just look at CECs’ 10-K from 2010, how many millions were written off as bad debt? “mostly in culinary arts,” they knew full well their programs were crap. They are extrinsically motivated revenue machines. Education has no value if it means sacrificing any stockholders equity. Look how many pending suits there are for securities fraud. I hope this corporation is bankrupt after the wall street lawyers and SEC get done with them.

    Parents: Don’t let your CHILD attend a for-profit culinary program, they are useless. Do the right thing and put your foot down. Don’t co-sign loans. If you already did, know your rights, have a contract attorney look over the paperwork. Document EVERYTHING, CEC tends to “delete” important paperwork.

    Best wishes!

    Here’s a good report about the crap CEC and other are
    http://www.nclc.org/special-projects/state-inaction-gaps-higher-education.html

  2. Paul Haeder said on May 3rd, 2013 at 9:31am #

    From the report, listed above, as, “State Inaction: Gaps in State Oversight of Fro-Profit Higher Education.”

    The astronomical growth in for-profit higher education has exposed increasing numbers of students to rampant fraud and abuse. This report examines state oversight of for-profit schools, focusing on state regulatory structures and the levels of resources devoted to enforcement and oversight. The report also evaluates consumer protection laws, relief funds and other options available to assist students who are harmed.There are promising signs that some states are starting to exercise their legal authority to rein in for-profit school abuses and provide relief for students, but much more needs to be done. The report concludes with 14 recommendations to assist states that wish to better protect students and taxpayers.
    The Bad News

    1. Common problems with for-profit post-secondary schools include:Inflated or misleading job placement rates

    Manipulation of student grades and attendance records and

    Illegal recruitment practices

    2. In overseeing for-profit schools, many states:Lack appropriate staffing levels

    Have diluted and/or disparate resources

    Have conflicts of interest (e.g. members of the for-profit school industry comprise the majority of the supervisory board)Lack adequate funds that are dedicated to oversight and enforcement and

    Fail to provide easily accessible public information about schools (e.g. process to register complaints)Consequently, state oversight and enforcement of students harmed by for-profit post-secondary schools has been dismal to date.
    The Good News

    1. Some states are doing a better job of oversight and enforcement, even with limited resources.

    2. Many states have relief funds for defrauded students collected from for-profit schools who operate in the state.

    3. Most states have substantive legal recourse against fraud and abuse by for-profit schools if they choose to employ it.Every state and the District of Columbia has an unfair, deceptive acts and practices (UDAP) law

    Many states have additional consumer protection laws with separate provisions targeted at for-profit schools, including laws regarding disclosure, refund policies and prohibitions of specific practices

    Federal law requires states to help regulate for-profit higher education schools that participate in the federal aid programs

    Facts on States and For-Profit Higher Education Schools

    State Staffing: Down for the Count

    States with the highest ratio of for-profit schools to staff oversight:
    Delaware (87:1)
    Massachusetts (70:1)
    Oklahoma (110:1)
    Washington (187:1)
    Wyoming (125:1)

    Source: National Consumer Law Center phone survey, 2011.

    Students Buried in Debt ─ Often for Life

    Students at for-profit colleges are more than twice as likely to default on federal student loans as those who attend public institutions.Source: Project on Student Debt (September 2011)

    Taxpayer Dollars at Risk

    In 2010-2011, 9% of student grant aid came from state governments.

    Source: CollegeBoard, “Trends in Student Aid 2011.”

    Additional Resources

    Piling It On: The Growth of Proprietary School Loans and the Consequences for Students (January 2011)

    NCLC’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project

    About Us

    National Consumer Law Center® (NCLC®) is a non-profit organization specializing in consumer issues on behalf of low-income and other vulnerable people. Since 1969, NCLC has worked with legal services and nonprofit organizations as well as government and private attorneys across the United States, to create sound public policy for low-income and elderly individuals on consumer issues.

    NCLC’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project provides information about student loan rights and responsibilities for borrowers and advocates. The Project also seeks to increase public understanding of student lending issues and to identify policy solutions to promote access to education, lessen student debt burdens and make loan repayment more manageable. Visit

    http://www.studentloanborrowerassistance.org.

  3. Paul Haeder said on May 3rd, 2013 at 10:29am #

    Scabs need not apply –

    http://www.indeed.com/cmp/Le-Cordon-Bleu/jobs

    86 jobs and counting!!!!!!!!!!!!