Learning is a noble pursuit, but the ancient Greek text is one of the few places where the Socratic Method survives. Sanctioned political doctrine of required thinking is the mainstay in today’s august temples of purification. Forget about a classroom, the curriculum core of New Age studies has no room for the classics, much less instructions into the process of thinking itself. Except, of course for the need to electronically check off the loan applications and assign grants to the business office. In the end, university is big business and developing intelligent graduates happens as an afterthought, if at all >> College Education Economics has become a black hole for most students. Even wealthy families bear a heavy burden to ship their offspring to an experience that continually produces diminished cash flow benefits to offset the costs. Parents know there is a profound disconnect. However, when attempts for making significant changes to the way the higher learning cartel does business, the usual suspects ride to the rescue of the established order.
Jordan Weissmann in a Slate article, Smash the System?, slams Senator Mike Lee for proposing "A dangerous plan to make college cheaper by busting "the college cartel." What else would you expect from a DC Metro and Associate Editor at The Atlantic? Nothing is more important than defending a failed system and attacking innovative ideas on how to re-create a viable and relevant education model. Quoting Mr. Weissmann,
"In January, Lee introduced legislation that would give states a major role in the accreditation process. The bill has nods of approval from potential presidential contenders Marco Rubio, who has his own proposal on the issue, and Paul Ryan, who dedicated a little-discussed section of his anti-poverty plan to "shaking up the accreditation status quo."
The hope is that once Washington breaks the hold of today’s accrediting agencies, new, high-tech approaches to education can flourish."
Nor dare challenge the sacred philistines of detached inculcation, might be a more appropriate title.
Over a year ago, the Washington Examiner looked at the Higher education is a government-created cartel and focused upon how the Federal Government exerts dominance over the accreditation process.
"The Department of Education has deputized eight regional accreditation entities that serve as gate keepers for the entire higher education industry. If you are not approved by one of the Department of Education approved eight regional accreditation agencies, then none of your students can qualify for Pell grants or federally subsidized student loans. With the federal government alone pumping almost $30 billion into higher education every year, if a school is not approved by a regional accreditor, it is essentially dead."
Why is the issue and control of accreditation of such importance? Even the most naive believer in the ritual of dunking your sheep into the college culture wants to obtain some kind of gradation certification, in the end when the money runs out. Accordingly, the Federal Government uses their time test method of bribes and sanction to shape the kind of education expected from the degree mill. Inducements of low cost loans to the students and embargos to any institution of higher learning, who dares waver from the accepted low standards of fleecing enrollees.
Debating if it is worth the investment to jump through the hoops of perpetual financial indebtedness, for the implied promise that future earning power will be the reward has certainly come into doubt in the last few decades.
Going back twenty-five years, Professor Thomas J. DiLorenzo wrote the Americas OPEC: The Public School Cartel, which describes the monopoly of state and local public school districts. When he cites a case in point of how the public schools have been a cartel designed primarily to benefit the public school bureaucracy, not the public; he could substitute the corporate trust of allied Association of American Colleges and Universities in place of public schools. The primary difference is that government schools primarily operates for the benefit of teachers unions, while a federation of colleges and universities lobby for their own profit advantages in complete cooperation with the federal government.
The parents and students are stuck with the bill, just as the property owner gets to pay their school tax. The only saving difference is that attending higher learning sessions are voluntary, if you have the courage to ignore all the guilt-ridden advertisement that pushes ill equipped and confused students into financial ruin, paying for overpriced and useless schooling.
The cartel of higher learning has infected the minds of "PC" conditioned meatheads. Government bureaucrats love pushing innocent adolescents into circumstance of useless education so the acclimation process adapts them to working their lives at minimum wage.
It is crucial to separate the academia component of an educational school with their financial planning and business operations. Courses vary in content and quality depending on the skills and dedication of the instructors. However, the fiscal stability and future expansion opportunities often depend upon perpetuating the myth of the indispensible necessity of becoming an alumnus.
More families become aware of this hoax and start searching for other alternatives. Teaching, once was the staple and primary purpose of renowned traditions, now are shifting towards research as reported in the UK, Universities putting research before teaching. Major US research institutions grow into closer associations with government projects and their accompanying budgets. Distinction between the gift of teaching falls short to the science of commercialization or defense.
As long as the student loan bubble keeps expanding, the windbags in the liberal press will keep defending the inept higher education establishment. The true accreditation one seeks to learn comes from the success from your own learning experience, not from some, hand- picked government board that has a budget increase when additional student loans are booked.
If cartels are bad in business, they are even worse when run as a tag team effort between universities and government. Accreditation is a state matter and the federal government has no lawful authority to curtail competition in higher learning.
James Hall – August 27, 2014
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