20 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2017
    1. Union organizing is extremely important not because it directly impacts higher education, but it affords workers different and better choices. And when workers feel less insecure in their labor arrangements they are much less likely to take on a high risk credential.

      I am not talking about a return to the union heyday. That day was pretty racist. But the union future being built? I like that jam. It's critical to managing the excesses of credentialism.

    2. TANF (which was created during the Welfare Reform Act of 1996) lead to an expansion in for-profit colleges that don’t provide the education that people need and put them into debt they can’t get out of?

      I wanted someone else to write this. Sara Goldrick-Rab says everyone is waiting for me to write it. Well, crap.

    3. That’s what workers are feeling, and they’re feeling it at the same time that wages have stagnated, so they have less money to pay for anything, the costs of things like healthcare (which in the short term can seem a little bit more critical than education), and things like taking care of elderly parents and navigating the inevitable cost of living life. Workers are feeling that, and they are angry. And they should be angry. Because our politicians and our political system has not done a good job of protecting us against those changes.


    4. You would think so, except for how one of the consequences of the typical American worker becoming more efficient (which we have become, mostly through developments in technology) is that employers no longer have to rely on the workers’ development of skills to keep them efficient. Workers have become more expendable than they were thirty or forty years ago. If the worker is more expendable, we don’t need to worry about developing their skill set. We need the technology, and we need to train the workers on how to manage that technology on the ground in real time, but we don’t need to develop in our workers the capacity (for example) to develop new technology.

      I am still reading and processing new literature but I think I have a lot to say about the discourse emerging around technology change and job loss. The efficiency issue isn't about labor being replaced by technology, exactly. It's how the efficiency also narrows job training in ways that makes it more profitable for firms to off-load workers than it is to train and develop them.

    5. They say things like, “This wonderful trend is happening in the United States: we have produced more high school graduates, but because of how we have produced them—through unequal K-12 schools—fewer people are qualified to go to college. And isn’t that great for us? There are people who have graduated from high school who aren’t prepared for college. That’s wonderful. We can enroll those people. That means we’re a good economic investment for you, the potential investor.”

      And this is why liberals hate me a little. Its also why sociology mattered to the conversation on for-profit higher education. The issue is decoupling higher ed from k-12 absolves too many well meaning folks.

    6. That’s one of the things that I hope my work does, is shift the conversation away from everybody in these schools being predators preying on vulnerable students. The more disturbing story is the truth, which is that even when the people in these institutions think they’re doing a good thing, because of the way the institutions are set up, they are still preying on people.

      A lot of criticism of Lower Ed comes from my argument about this. I stand by it even though I may be in the minority of people who think that this rationalized form of economic oppression is far more interesting than the Wild Western version with good guys and bad guys.

    7. What they say at for-profit colleges is, “We will only train you for a job, because that’s what matters.” When you say that, though, we have a really concrete way of measuring whether or not you are delivering on what you promised. Do you get your students that job you promised them? That’s the problem that for-profit colleges have. We have a really clear way to measure if they are successful or not.

      The one thing I am almost 100% certain about is what I have learned from figuring this out: the worst thing traditional higher education could do is get in an arms race with market-based credentialing orgs over job training. Even if we win, we lose. Because the market abhors quantifiable measures of education despite what rich people tell you. They hate it as evidenced by what they don't pay for it. We would undermine our unassailable taken-for-grantedness by narrowing our focus in these ways. I believe in practical arts but not in a vacuum.

    8. I think so. The promises are lofty, no matter where you go. Traditional not-for-profit education promises all kinds of things. “We’ll change your whole life! We will teach you how to be an informed, critical-thinking citizen!” Whether we always manage that depends on who you ask and what data that you like. But with for-profit colleges, the real problem is the nature of the promise that they make. It’s just as lofty, but it’s also more concrete.

      You can't tell but this is my dissertation: how do for-profit colleges become legitimate?

    9. So your question, Chuck, was how we know that people know what they know.

      Here's what credentials do. I was basically pulling on everything I've read for a decade for this answer. LOL This is: Randall Collins, Blau and Duncan, Jerome Karabel, David Bills, David Brown, etc etc http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0276562411000060

      Never ask me this question again in real time. I'm never gonna top this. Never. Won't even try. Just gonna direct you here.

    10. This is one of the really brilliant moves that the for-profit college sector has done, the sleight of hand of saying “customer” instead of “student.” We understand a “student” as someone we’re all collectively responsible for. We’re responsible for the health, well-being, and development of students. We think of “customers,” however, as being on their own. Buyer beware. And if you make a poor decision, hey, customers have to learn.

      What the consumer or market model does to higher education isn't just gut public good. It also promotes ambiguity where for-profit actors thrive.

    11. There is no for-profit college sector without access to federal student aid money.

      You'd have some schools ( the majority of small for-profits not participating in student aid programs) but you wouldn't have a SYSTEM or sub-sector.

    12. It’s another way that we haven’t managed the problem well—but I won’t say that accreditation is the issue. Accreditation is a really weird thing. People who bring it up don’t always really know how accreditation works. When we say a school is or should not be accredited, we generally mean: is it a good school? Is it high quality? And that’s a little different from what accreditation does in practice.

      I recently told a Senator (that's a humblebrag btw) that ironically the one thing that the public learned from decades of cyclical information campaigns about for-profit colleges is the word "accreditation". Not what it means or how it works. Just the word. In some ways, that's worse than not knowing the word at all.

    13. would say, “All colleges are for-profit.” What makes the place where you worked, Technical College, or University of Phoenix, different from Harvard or Northwestern? TM: I hear that one all the time. I now actually tell people: “I promise you I’ve heard that joke. You don’t have to do that one for me anymore.” All schools are for-profit. I get it, I do.

      Please stop telling me this "joke".

    14. Because that shift happened, and because of our belief that the way to address the problem was to provide more market opportunities instead of more public social safety supports, it was a perfect opportunity for profiteering from the for-profit colleges.

      Great interviewer questions allow succinct answers. This is as tightly as I'm ever going to say this.

    15. “new economy”

      The term puts in a lot of work. It's a nod to the bubble-cycle of the 1990s that starts the era I describe in the book (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_economy) but it is also a nod to the work being done by many organizations and movements to reimagine economic norms and the social contract (see: https://www.thenation.com/article/new-economy-movement/ )

    16. the secretarial school

      I continue to be fascinated by these. See: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1468-0432.2012.00587.x/full

      You won't find a more rabid group of alumni than those of Catherine Gibbs Secretarial Schools. It's a fascinating case study. I'm always down for reading more, if you've got it.

    17. but you point out that for-profit colleges have been around for two hundred years

      There are a few competing histories on the "oldest" for-profit (or "career" or "proprietary") school. Great agreement on them being old, though. See Kevin Kisner for a good brief history https://www.amazon.com/Main-Street-Wall-Transformatin-Profit/dp/0787985287

    18. Thank you so much, Chuck, for welcoming me to hell.

      See, I got to cuss.

    19. printed with permission. Edited for space and readability.

      When AntiDoTe asked me about transcribing, I said, "sure!" But I was thinking, "that's le cray cray". I do qual work. Transcription is WORK. This much transcription? Is a lot of work. But transcriptions help so much with spreading word, especially for folks using assistive technologies. So thank you for this.

    20. Transcribed from the 11 March 2017 episode of This is Hell! Radio (Chicago

      Let's start with how much fun this interview was. Thanks and shouts to the team at This is Hell! Radio. Huge bonus: I got to cuss on the radio.