Georgia & North Carolina for profit college deregulation tied to ALEC

 

In an article written for Truthout.org, entitled: How North Carolina’s Shock Doctrine Artists Are Resegregating Higher Education, I describe how in 2010, an alliance of conservative republicans took over the North Carolina legislature for the first time in 100 years and are now busy implementing legislation which can be traced back to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).  The article specifically looks at how the NC state legislature has weakened the licensing and regulation of for-profit colleges by wiping out public regulation of the for-profit college industry by shifting power and control of licensing and regulation to a new private board created to rubber stamp licenses and allegedly ‘regulate’ the burgeoning industry (http://www.truth-out.org/how-north-carolinas-shock-doctrine-artists-are-resegregating-higher-education/1329494334).    

ALEC is not simply a front group for corporate interests; it is actually a working group of corporate heavyweights that are bent on buying legislation.  ALEC hosts meetings in fancy hotel ballrooms where flies in legislators, lawyers, and lobbyists from across the country to sit together to draft model corporate legislation for use in states throughout the nation.  ALEC then gives the legislation to participating ALEC legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, who then bring these proposals and legislation draft bills home and where they introduce them in statehouses across the nation as their own unique ideas and crucial public policy innovations.  They do this without disclosing that it is really a cabal of corporations and their silk-backed lawyers who have crafted and voted on the bills (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Education_Task_Force) to enhance corporate control.

Now, not surprisingly, we find that the state of Georgia is currently enacting a law to weaken the licensing and regulation of for profit colleges (http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-government/bill-would-change-rules-1357601.html).  This, right after a new law was recently passed in North Carolina that also deregulates the industry. 

The new House Bill, known as Georgia HB 792, seeks to deregulate for-profit colleges (http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2011_12/sum/hb792.htm) by providing that for-profit colleges which are accredited and have been in Georgia for five years be released from paperwork requirements that some colleges must file to renew their licenses to operate in Georgia.  The colleges would still have to pay annual fees to the Nonpublic Post  Secondary Education Commission, which authorizes for-profit colleges and other schools (http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-government/bill-would-change-rules-1357601.html). About 300 ‘for-profit’ institutions are currently under regulation by the state’s Non-Public Post Secondary Education Commission.

News of the bill, HB 792, comes on the heels of news from the Georgia Public Broadcasting, reported back in October of 2011, that the number of ‘for-profit’ colleges is not only growing in Georgia, but so too is the number of student loans in default at those schools (http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/morning_call/2011/10/loan-defaults-growing-at-for-profit.html).

As reported in Truthout:

“For-profit trade schools and colleges represent a system of educational facilities populated mostly by low-income minority students, who are recruited because of their eligibility for Pell Grants and Title IV student loans.

These schools are characterized by high student debt, low graduation rates and degrees which are generally viewed as inferior in the job market, where program cost is three to five times the price of community colleges, and 50 percent of tuition goes to marketing and profits.

For-profit colleges represent a separate and unequal educational system, a racist proposition, which turns the clock back 60 years on Brown v. Board of Education” (http://www.truth-out.org/how-north-carolinas-shock-doctrine-artists-are-resegregating-higher-education/1329494334).

ALEC stooge behind new Georgia bill

The new Georgia law that seeks to deregulate for-profit college and university licensing and governance is the political baby of republican Representative and bill sponsor, David Casas.    Casas happens to be ALEC’s education chair ( http://www.alec.org/task-forces/education/) and the ALEC educator of the year (http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=David_Casas). 

Since his election in 2010, Casas who is a hawk when it comes to school privatization, has managed to get himself on the Subcommittee on Charter Schools, and the Subcommittee on School Choice.  He is also the vice chair of Education for the state (http://www.votesmart.org/candidate/biography/31401/david-casas) where he works assiduously to privatize education in all areas.  For example, Casas voted for HR 1162 which was introduced in the state legislature on January 25, 2012.  The bill authorizes the State to approve Charter Schools. 

Much like Senator Tom Apodaca and Reprsentaitve, Thom Tillis, from North Carolina (ALEC bought and paid for politicians who sponsored and shepherded through the North Carolina bill that turned over the licensing and regulation of for-profit colleges and universities to private for-profit operators of colleges and universities), Casas’s other votes in the legislature also represent reactionary attacks on women, public education, working people, the poor and newly arriving immigrants.  For example, Casas voted for a law to impound the vehicles of undocumented immigrants who commit traffic infractions.   

Like Apodaca and Tillis from North Carolina, Casas’s is an ALEC Manchurian candidate. 

Are the following for-profit educational companies behind the ALEC efforts to deregulate for-profit colleges in Georgia?

The following for-profit educational companies had lobbyists in and/or made campaign contributions in Georgia in 2010:

Apollo

(http://www.followthemoney.org/database/lobbyistclient.phtml?lc=101179&y=2010&s=GA#llink);

Bridgepoint

http://www.followthemoney.org/database/lobbyistclient.phtml?lc=139151&y=2010&s=GA#GA

Education Management Corporation

http://www.followthemoney.org/database/lobbyistclient.phtml?lc=104076&y=2010&s=GA#GA

KaplanUniversity

http://www.followthemoney.org/database/lobbyistclient.phtml?lc=113489&y=2010&s=GA#GA

Interestingly, Apollo & Kaplan also had lobbyists in North Carolina in 2010.  Based on the lobbying activities in Georgia, one could certainly conclude that the for-profit educational industry is busy buying politicians and political influence in the ‘peach state’ much like it did in the ‘tar-heel’ state. 

It looks more and more like for profit colleges are using ALEC and their coin-operated politicians to fashion new state laws, especially in the south, that actually weaken oversight of the for-profit educational industry.  The North Carolina law was not a random/ isolated law but must be seen as the continuation of an ALEC strategy to turn the heat off of for-profit colleges by re-regulating the industry in favor of those who operate for-profit colleges.  

We can expect that the for-profit college and university controversy will be swaddled in lobbyist cash even more than it has been and could spread like a cancer to other states that already have or are considering adopting legislation to reign in the for-profit predatory industry. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Print Friendly
 
Censored News

Share this Post

 

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Related Posts

About the author

Dr. Danny Weil is an investigative journalist, author and public interest attorney who practiced public interest law for more than twenty years and has been published in a case of first impression in California.He now lives in Ecuador.

 
  • Bojo

     The  North Carolina bill was sponsored by Apaodaca. The Georgia bill by Casas.

    Both Casas and Apodaca are members of  ALEC’s education task force.

    The two bills are related

  • The Truth Ferret

    I am disgusted & outraged by this! What can we do to stop this? I know more states will now jump on the bandwagon!

    • Weilunion

      We need to organize, Truth Ferret.  In our communities, workplaces, organizatins etc.  The right wing is highly organized and will not give up without a struggle.  If we expand public education, make college universally accessed, then we will take away the market for these predators.  It is like health care: if there was Medicare for all there would be no private health care companies.  Let’s fight to protect public ownership of the means of educational production for if not, then we will allow private pike to enter a public lake.

  • Pingback: U.S. House votes to deregulate for-profit colleges | Dailycensored.com