Well, this is starting to get interesting. All the spotlight on ALEC is really paying off. This is not only a Washington Post story, it's a for-profit college industry story. (Our ALEC backgrounder is here.)
David Halperin at the amazing Republic Report (my emphasis and some reparagraphing):
Republic Report has learned that the Washington Post Company’s Kaplan for-profit college division, was, last year, a member of the controversial business advocacy group the American Legislative Exchange Council. Other major for-profit education companies also joined ALEC.Remember that ALEC's role in "education" is what drew the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to ALEC as well. Stripping down public education and feeding on the bones must be a major ALEC attraction. Here's Halperin on this:
Republic Report has obtained a July 2011 document showing Kaplan Higher Education and other for-profits as members of ALEC’s Education Task Force. This morning, in an email message to Republic Report, Mark Harrad, Vice President of Communications at Kaplan, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Washington Post Company that includes Kaplan Higher Education, wrote, “A unit of Kaplan was a member of ALEC for a one year period, which ended in August 2011.”
For-profit colleges are the ultimate special interest. Many receive around 90 percent of their revenue from federal financial aid, more than $30 billion a year, and many charge students sky-high prices.We reported over a year ago on for-profit colleges — "For-profit colleges fight back against gov’t attempt to make them deliver education". A great many are simply vultures. Doubt me? Click and read.
In recent years, it has been fully documented that a large number of these schools have high dropouts rates and dismal job placement, and many have been caught engaging in highly coercive and deceptive recruiting practices.
Yet when the bad actions of these predatory schools got publicly exposed, the schools simply used the enormous resources they’ve amassed to hire expensive lobbyists and consultants, and to make campaign contributions to politicians, in order to avoid accountability and keep taxpayer dollars pouring into their coffers.
Because ALEC specializes in enacting law at the state level, it makes a perfect place to end-around state investigation into their predatory business model:
Much of the action on for-profit colleges takes place at the federal level, where the money comes from, but states are increasingly taking an interest in protecting their residents from predatory practices – through accreditation of schools, investigations of fraud, and other oversight. So for-profit colleges have come to ALEC to seek influence at the state level.The Republic Report article has more, including a list of major for-profit education players with ALEC ties.
ALEC is deeply involved in the "Stand and Fire" laws associated with the Trayvon Martin shooting, and the Washington Post Company's secret membership in ALEC raises many questions:
ALEC, which advanced model laws on Stand Your Ground, the provision that could influence the outcome of George Zimmerman’s criminal case for the killing of Trayvon Martin, and on Voter ID, which makes it harder for low-income people, people of color, young people, the elderly, and the disabled to vote.Halperin has more; please do read the rest.
Why did the Washington Post Company, whose CEO proclaimed that Kaplan was committed to aiding the disadvantaged, support through Kaplan an organization that was doing these things?
And why hasn’t the Post disclosed in its coverage of ALEC that its Kaplan division was recently an ALEC member?
The public ALEC lists are fascinating (feel free to click). The non-public list, even more so. Excellent work.
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