Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thoughts on For-Profits…again

Let me start by sharing this article I read today:

“For-Profits' Fundamental Difference”

“WASHINGTON -- Let's stipulate up front that Bob Shireman is anything but an objective observer of for-profit higher education. For much of President Obama's first term, he made life a living hell for colleges in the sector through his aggressive pursuit of new regulations designed to ensure they were preparing their graduates for "gainful employment."”

“As Shireman explains it, for-profit colleges are fundamentally different from nonprofit ones because their owners -- be they shareholders for publicly traded companies or board members for privately held ones -- reap personal financial gain if the institution grows in size or increases its profits.”

“The personal profit incentive that owners of for-profit colleges have increases the chances, Shireman argues, that the institutions "compromise student and public needs in pursuit of growth and profit." While Shireman notes that "nonprofits have problems, too," -- questionable levels of student learning, rising tuitions and student debt, etc. -- he is not shy in asserting that for-profits perform worse, citing the colleges' higher debt burdens and default rates, among other things.”

“And it is for that reason, he argues, that for-profit colleges need more regulation "to better direct the profit motive toward socially optimal ends."”

Whether you agree with For-Profits or not, they are educating people and giving access to higher education like never before.

Where is this kind of scrutiny in the For-Profit prison industry?

“Private Prisons”

“Over the past four decades, imprisonment in the United States has increased explosively, spurred by criminal laws that put more people in prison for longer sentences. At the same time, the nation has seen the rise of for-profit prison companies, which benefit from keeping more people locked up.”


Private prison companies, however, essentially admit that their business model depends on locking up more and more people. For example, in a 2010 Annual Report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) stated: “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by . . . leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices . . . .” As incarceration rates skyrocket, the private prison industry expands at exponential rates, holding ever more people in its prisons and jails, and generating massive profits.” 


“And while supporters of private prisons tout the idea that governments can save money through privatization, the evidence that private prisons save taxpayer money is mixed at best – in fact, private prisons may in some instances cost more than governmental ones. Private prisons have also been linked to numerous cases of violence and atrocious conditions.”


So where are the hearings, committees, and massive attempts at government oversight here?

What I am saying here is that we have our priorities wrong. Public and private universities should be working together, and perhaps if we fix these existing issues of this sector, people could actually come out of prison with some education.

Thoughts (please be civil and polite)?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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