Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
Jay Mathews, the Washington Post’s education columnist, writes a blog for the paper’s local section that is mostly about Washington, D.C.-area school news and politics, though he also writes thoughtfully on national education policy questions. Here is his challenge, though: A vital revenue source for the Washington Post Co. is Kaplan Inc., a test-prep company that branched out into owning and running for-profit online colleges. For-profit colleges, as Mathews knows, are a huge rip-off, targeting poor and minority students with deceptive and aggressive marketing, then burying them in loan debt and barely graduating anyone. The for-profit college sector has come under fire from the government for basically being an elaborate scheme to reap government-subsidized loan money, and the industry has responded with a massive, well-funded lobbying and public relations campaign. This post that Mathews published yesterday seems depressingly like a part of that campaign.
It is headlined “5 reasons for-profit colleges will survive,” and it seems like the author isn’t particularly thrilled to be writing it:
Enter Andrew S. Rosen, Kaplan’s chairman and chief executive officer, with a new book called “Change.edu: Rebooting for the new talent economy.” Who does Rosen think he is, extolling the virtues of for-profit schools while his company faces such threats?
I wasn’t sure I wanted to read the book or write about it. As a 40-year employee of The Post, anything bad I say might seem too little too late, and anything good would be taken as trying to protect the company. I was glad Rosen agreed his company had messed up. He did not shake my feeling that profits and teaching are a bad mix, but I did learn things I needed to know.
Despite the industry’s troubles, Rosen convinced me that for-profit educational ventures are here to stay. People who feel as I do will have to adjust to that.
Emphasis mine. Then there are the five reasons, which basically read like they came directly from a Kaplan press release. (“For-profit schools are less of a drain on tax dollars than non-profit or public schools.”) From this specific press release, perhaps.
It’s the tone of a sort of strongly encouraged attitude-adjustment that makes this whole thing even more depressing than the usual defensive for-profit college propaganda that the Post editorial board publishes in the Opinion section. “People like me may want for-profits to disappear,” Mathews writes, “but that is not going to happen.” Well, his bosses certainly hope so!
Bonus sadness: This comment, which comes after a small torrent of anti-Kaplan vitriol:
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @pareeneMore Alex Pareene.
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.