Is American Higher Ed Screwed? Conservatives Try to Privatize College As Tuition Soars
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In November, Arizona voters approved a referendum banning affirmative action in state universities. The referendum was the work of black conservative activist Ward Connerly, head of the so-called American Civil Rights Institute which has now successfully passed such legislation in five states. Florida also banned affirmative action in 1999.
Meanwhile, students turned away from overcrowded community colleges are enrolling en masse at for-profit institutions like the University of Phoenix and the Washington Post Company-owned Kaplan University, which have drawn intense scrutiny from the Department of Education for using shady recruitment techniques to lure the poor deep into debt with few job prospects. California community colleges actually explored contracting out classes to Kaplan, a plan that was shelved after protests from faculty and students. These universities actually are profit-seeking corporations. With more cuts and business partnerships on the horizon, public institutions may not lag far behind.
Daniel Denvir is a journalist in Philadelphia.