Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Student Success Stories Ignored

WASHINGTON, DC (September 29, 2010) – In advance of a new round of expected criticisms of career colleges by Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin at a planned Thursday hearing, more prominent Democrats and progressive advocates are asking for fairness for students of private sector colleges and universities.

In a letter sent today to Harkin, Coalition for Educational Success spokesperson and former Clinton Administration Special Counsel Lanny J. Davis said that the Senator’s overly broad criticisms of career colleges along with proposed U.S. Department of Education rules, would likely have a disproportionate negative effect on disadvantaged students’ access to higher education, especially the lower income and minority students who predominantly attend these colleges.

Davis, a long-time supporter of Senator Harkin’s, asked the Senator to try for more balance and fairness in the planned presentations at Thursday’s hearings.  “I hope that you will not, in fairness, ignore the millions of private sector college student and graduate success stories and not allow one witness with unproven allegations to testify without permitting another witness at the same table at the same time to provide a contemporaneous factual rebuttal.  I respectfully suggest that to do otherwise would be unfair–and inconsistent with all I have observed in your public service over the years,” said Davis in the letter to Senator Harkin.

Davis joins more than 80 members of Congress, including dozens of prominent Democrats, who have voiced their concern over proposed Education Department rules heavily promoted by Harkin, which would limit college access and choice for minority and poor students.  Just this week, progressive Democratic Senators Roland Burris, Herb Kohl and Bill Nelson asked for reconsideration of the proposal.  Leading groups in the African-American and Latino community have also added to the growing chorus of opposition.

More than 2 million students will enroll in career colleges this year, seeking a direct path into the job market by expanding their skills and knowledge.  The overwhelming majority are non-traditional students – full time workers, working parents, minorities, workforce returners and veterans.

Forty-three percent of students at career colleges are minorities and sixty-five percent are women.  The schools graduate nearly double the proportion of minority students when compared to other institutions.

“In the worst economy in a generation, we need more minority and underprivileged kids in college, yet some in Congress and the Obama Administration are considering new regulations that will create obstacles instead of opportunities,” said Davis.  “Underserved students, more than any others, depend on private-sector colleges.  Proposals being discussed will have dramatic consequences by denying choice and access to students, impeding skills training to fill open jobs in the workforce and choking innovation in higher education.”

From http://ed-success.org/press-release-concern-over-criticism-on-private-sector-higher-education.php

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THE OBAMA administration is considering rules that could sharply limit the availability of for-profit colleges to American students. The government is right to fashion reasonable regulation to discourage fraud or misleading practices, but it would be wrong to impose rules that remove an option that is especially useful for poor and working students.

Readers should know that we have a conflict of interest regarding this subject. The Washington Post Co., which owns the Post newspaper and washingtonpost.com, also owns Kaplan University and other for-profit schools of higher education that, according to company officials, could be harmed by the proposed regulations.

But our feelings about career colleges, as the for-profits are often called, are consistent with our editorial policy on education more broadly: that is, the more options available to parents and students, the better. Particularly among some Democrats, that’s not always the prevailing view. But for the most part it has been the philosophy of the Obama administration, which is why an effort to narrow choice in this area would be inconsistent as well as misguided.

In a speech on higher education in Texas this month, President Obama noted that getting more Americans into — and successfully out of — college is an economic imperative. “It’s an economic issue when the unemployment rate for folks who’ve never gone to college is almost double what it is for those who have gone to college,” Mr. Obama said. “Education is an economic issue when nearly eight in 10 new jobs will require workforce training or a higher education by the end of this decade.” But the president noted that in college completion the United States has been “slipping. In a single generation, we’ve fallen from first place to 12th place in college graduation rates for young adults.” He vowed to reverse that trend.

Read the rest of the article at – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/21/AR2010082102468.html