ALEC and for-profit education have been making headlines in recent weeks, ALEC because of the current Progressive campaign against their involvement in voter ID laws and stand your ground laws, and for-profit education for the looming crisis of student debt.
But what many don’t realize is that ALEC is largely responsible for this disaster in the making. Kaplan University, one of the largest for-profit college corporations, was a member of ALEC up until August of 2011. According to the Washington Post Company, which owns Kaplan College, they dropped their membership last year, and was a member of the organization just one year.
But during that year, Washington Post CEO, Donald E. Graham, intensely lobbied the Obama administration after their efforts to curb abuses in the industry by cutting off federal funds to for-profit institutions that didn’t meet specific criteria, as the industry has been proven rife with controversy, including allegations of fraud and predatory recruiting practices, enormous drop-out rates, and horrible job-placement rates, all in addition to their skyrocketing tuition. With the help of ALEC, however, Graham successfully managed to force a weakening of the restrictions, which were eventually adopted by the Department of Education, and which go into effect this year.
The Obama administration’s new “gainful employment” regulation is a disappointing stumble on America’s path toward regaining the global lead in college attainment.
The abuses of career colleges have been well and repeatedly documented. But the final, watered-down rule does not do nearly enough to curb these abuses. It provides students and taxpayers with only the most meager of protections against an aggressive industry bent on exponential growth and ever-escalating profits. In the end, the 436-page document is little more than an a la carte menu of ways these institutions can game the system.
The Young Turks recently discussed this very issue on their program (video below), but expressed wonderment at the reach of ALEC, noting that they’re not just behind “stand your ground” laws, but every area of law known to man.
Yes, they are, and we’ve been saying that here at The Stew for almost a year now. But let’s just conduct a quick refresher on what we mean by every area of law. ALEC operates by introducing “model legislation,” legislation that is written by their corporate members then disseminated to the states through ALEC politicians, and they have introduced model legislation on any and all of the following areas:
- Worker’s Rights
- Property and Auto Insurance
- Telecommunications & IT
- Tort Reform
- Rights of Injured Americans
- Corporate Liability
- Social Safety Net
- Voter’s Rights
- Federal Power
See what I mean by every area of law? For-profit education is just the tip of the iceberg for this organization, which I think it could be safely said, wants to rule the world.