Shares of Strayer Education Inc. (STRA) reached a new 52-week high of $74.21 on Nov 23. The stock pulled back to end the trading session at $73.38.
Prescient and powerful, the film foreshadowed the likes of Bill O’Reilly with its ‘mad as hell’ protagonists and the climate of American anger that birthed TrumpDoes this sound familiar? “The American people are turning us off. They’ve been clobbered by Vietnam, Watergate, the inflation, the depression. They’ve turned off, shot up … the American people want someone to articulate their rage.” And how about this? “There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT, and ATT and DuPont, Dow, Union-Carbide and Exxon. The world is a business … it has been ever since man crawled up out of the slime.” Related: Four films that predicted the rise of Donald Trump Continue reading...
Former District of Columbia public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee is on the rumor list for Donald Trump's Secretary of Education. (Fellow insistent public school "reformer" Eva Moscowitz apparently doesn't want the job.) Rhee's record as chancellor, pushing public charter schools and private school vouchers, and aggressively fighting against the D.C. teachers' union, brought her to national attention, and won her fervent admirers and detractors, as well as an infamous Time magazine cover. Little known, however, is Rhee's interaction with the controversial for-profit college industry. This industry's record, and efforts to hold it accountable for abuses, have been at the forefront of education policy debates in the Obama years. The next Secretary of Education will be faced with the fundamental question of whether to continue efforts to improve protections for students and taxpayers, or instead to accede to demands to reverse course -- demands from big for-profit colleges and from some Republicans on Capitol Hill like incoming House education committee chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC), a long-time recipient of industry campaign contributions. In June 2012, Michelle Rhee addressed the Las Vegas annual convention of APSCU (now called CECU), the largest for-profit college trade association. In advance of her speech, Republic Report expressed concern that, unless Rhee used the opportunity to sharply criticize her hosts, her appearance would look like an endorsement of an industry where many schools offered a toxic mix of deceptive recruiting, high prices, and weak programs, leaving many students -- veterans, single parents, and others -- jobless and deep in debt. At the time, the industry was getting $32 billion a year in federal taxpayer aid but was being investigated for fraudulent practices by a bipartisan group of more than 20 state attorneys general. Rhee responded with an article in The Huffington Post asserting that she indeed was "willing to tell [the APSCU attendees] the hard truths they need to hear" -- that "many" for-profit schools have "poor records." That the "problem" with the for-profit college sector "is that too many of its schools are failing students, and no one is being held accountable." She said he would "tell the for-profit colleges that they need to do a better job of making sure their students are getting a good education, are graduating with meaningful degrees, and are able to do so without being saddled with unreasonable debt." And if a school is "failing," then "it should be shut down." Rhee wrote that "Some of these schools seem to be engaged in downright malicious behavior, cravenly taking advantage of students." She cited an investigation by the Government Accountability Office that documented repeated cases of deceptive recruiting by for-profit colleges. And she praised the "gainful employment" rule issued by the Obama Administration to hold schools accountable for consistently leaving students deep in debt -- a rule that APSCU and its member schools have waged a ferocious lobbying campaign against. Republic Report praised that response, but we wanted to make clear to Rhee that the bad actors she was describing were not some fly-by-night schools in a strip mall someplace -- they were (and still are) many of the major enterprises that make up APSCU. We urged Rhee to look attendees in the eye when she told those hard truths. The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the nation's largest coalition of civil rights organizations, sent Rhee a letter in advance of the speech expressing disappointment that she had agreed to speak at APSCU. (The letter quoted one of my articles for Republic Report.) APSCU refused to allow Republic Report to cover its Las Vegas meeting, but we were able to obtain an audio recording of Michelle Rhee's remarks. You can listen for yourself, but we didn't hear the kind of frank criticism she had promised. (The first 25 minutes are mostly about her experiences with public K-12 schools, but after that she addresses the for-profits.) Instead, in her prepared remarks, and in a Q&A with APSCU bosses Art Keiser, CEO of Keiser University, and David Pauldine, then the president of DeVry University, Rhee soft-pedaled any concerns she might have had. Rhee said that there were for-profit colleges in the room "doing incredible work." She said that such schools should seek to ensure that lower-performing schools do better. She asked the schools who "aren't where they need to be" in terms of performance to "work harder, knowing what's at stake." Rhee did say that "we all lose when we allow people who are not doing right by our students to continue to operate." But she said that colleges should set high goals for graduation rates but seek "apples to apples" comparisons for accountability -- which echoed APSCU's own talking point that the low graduation rate of many of its members is acceptable given the many low-income students who enroll. Although she claimed in her article to support the Obama Administration's gainful employment rule, Rhee did not urge APSCU to drop its opposition to that rule -- or its pending lawsuit against it. Nor did she ask APSCU to drop its objections to President Obama's executive order aimed at protecting U.S. troops and veterans from predatory recruiting practices by for-profit schools. Nor did she tell them that some for-profits are engaged in "downright malicious behavior." The APSCU group that Rhee addressed has included many of the industry's most troubled companies, such as the now-shuttered Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech, as well as Education Management Corporation, Kaplan, Career Education Corporation, DeVry and Bridgepoint Education, all of which have since faced law enforcement investigations for deceptive business practices and other misconduct. APSCU also included ATI, which was shut down by the Justice Department in 2013 for systematic fraud, and FastTrain College, whose CEO was sentenced to eight years in prison in May 2016 for defrauding the government. Four years after Rhee's APSCU appearance, APSCU, and indeed much of the for-profit college industry, are in freefall. The industry has seen its enrollments plummet, and its companies now collectively face investigations from 37 state attorneys general and multiple federal law enforcement agencies. It is still, however, getting some $20 million a year in taxpayer money, and the many predatory companies remaining in the sector continue to enroll students and ruin their lives. Notwithstanding his own troubling interlude running the unaccredited Trump University (which did not take taxpayer money), a President Trump who is truly committed to fighting against waste, fraud, and abuse with taxpayer dollars needs an Education Secretary who will continue the efforts to hold predatory for-profit colleges accountable for misleading, overcharging, and under-educating students. Michelle Rhee seems to be in that vein in terms of K-12 education: She has built her career on the concept of shutting down underperforming, bad schools. Yet when it came to the for-profit college industry, she went to Las Vegas, got paid to address a room full of operators of such schools, soft-pedaled her concerns, and instead offered praise. As Secretary, faced with relentless lobbying by for-profit colleges and their paid allies on Capitol Hill, which course would Rhee take? This article also appears on Huffington Post. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
As we walked down my Washington DC block on election eve, before the returns starting coming in, a stranger in a darkened doorway suddenly addressed me and my friends. "Are you ready," he asked tauntingly, "to drain the swamp?" A few hours later, the remark seemed ominous. But of course, just days after, it has proved to be ridiculous. Because Donald J. Trump, who promised his working class supporters he would fight for them, seems to be building an administration dominated by the same revolving door corporate lobbyists who have made our nation's capital a corrupt cesspool. Politicians from both parties have used the phrase "drain the swamp" to express their contempt for a system controlled by special interests. Running an outsider campaign, Trump embraced the metaphor, tweeting in October: "I will Make Our Government Honest Again -- believe me. But first, I'm going to have to #DrainTheSwamp in DC." The pledge to clean up Washington likely solidified Trump's support, especially among white working class voters. Like Bernie Sanders, Trump appealed to many Americans who believe the economic system is rigged, that policy is dictated by the wealthy. I believe Hillary Clinton has been committed to economic justice. But some voters saw her as a symbol of the insiders who have gotten richer in an America that has left many people behind. It didn't help that many of Clinton's campaign advisors, bundlers, and vocal supporters were revolving-door influence-peddlers for oil and gas companies, Wall Street banks, predatory for-profit colleges, multi-level marketing scams, sugary drinks, and other special interests -- people like Tom Nides, Heather Podesta, Steve Elmendorf, Anita Dunn, Ed Rendell, Lanny Davis, etc. But by Thursday, Trump's working class / outsider facade had been torn down, and it was clear that his transition operation was stacked with Binders Full of Lobbyists. The list of potential Trump cabinet members had been revealed to include lobbyists and executives of big corporations, such as former senator and coal industry lobbyist Jim Talent and oil and gas CEO Harold Hamm. Meanwhile, his transition team, as recounted by the New York Times, includes: Michael Catanzaro, a lobbyist whose clients include Devon Energy and Encana Oil and Gas, holds the "energy independence" portfolio. Michael Torrey, a lobbyist who runs a firm that has earned millions of dollars helping food industry players such as the American Beverage Association and the dairy giant Dean Foods, is helping set up the new team at the Department of Agriculture. Michael McKenna, another lobbyist helping to pick key administration officials who will oversee energy policy, has a client list that this year has included the Southern Company, one of the most vocal critics of efforts to prevent climate change by putting limits on emissions from coal-burning power plants. Martin Whitmer, who is overseeing "transportation and infrastructure" for the Trump transition.... He is the chairman of a Washington law firm whose lobbying clients include the Association of American Railroads and the National Asphalt Pavement Association. David Malpass, the former chief economist at Bear Stearns, the Wall Street investment bank that collapsed during the 2008 financial crisis, is overseeing the "economic issues" portfolio of the transition, as well as operations at the Treasury Department. Mr. Malpass now runs a firm called Encima Global, which sells economic research to institutional investors and corporate clients. [Jeffrey] Eisenach, as a telecom industry consultant, has worked to help major cellular companies fight back against regulations proposed by the F.C.C.that would mandate so-called net neutrality -- requiring providers to give equal access to their networks to outside companies. He is now helping to oversee the rebuilding of the staff at the F.C.C. The triumvirate of politicians most associated with Trump have also been in the game. Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani presides over a law firm that lobbies on behalf of fossil fuel industries -- oil, gas, and coal -- and that has been at the forefront of efforts to strike down in court President Obama's climate change regulations. Ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich has worked for, among others, the mortgage giant Freddie Mac, advising its lobbying team, although he preferred to call himself the company's "historian," and he has shilled for the disgraced predatory for-profit college industry. Chris Christie, meanwhile, while still the governor of New Jersey, has held a series of meetings with Washington trade groups and lobbyists on behalf of Trump, in one meeting reportedly reassuring banking lobbyists that while Trump had endorsed reinstating the Glass-Steagall law, according to CNN "Trump is often open to changing his mind when he gets input from people with expertise." Most striking was this analysis, offered to the Times, from the always folksy and always ridiculous Trent Lott, the former Senate Republican Leader and now a lobbyist for a wide range of corporations: "Trump has pledged to change things in Washington -- about draining the swamp. He is going to need some people to help guide him through the swamp -- how do you get in and how you get out? We are prepared to help do that." Blatant lies and deception have always been powerful currencies in Washington, but Lott's statement is hard to top: one of the highest paid revolving door lobbyists in the city -- who resigned from the Senate a few weeks early in order to avoid new government ethics legislation -- offering to guide Trump in cleaning up Washington. Lott and his firm, Squire Patton Boggs, received $1.44 million over four years, ending in late 2015, to lobby for the for-profit college trade group APSCU, which has included in recent years many of the industry's most troubled companies, such as Corinthian, Education Management Corp. (EDMC), ITT Tech, Kaplan, Career Education Corporation (CEC), DeVry, and Bridgepoint Education. APSCU also included ATI, which was shut down by the Justice Department in 2013 for systematic fraud, and FastTrain College, whose CEO was sentenced to eight years in prison in May 2016 for defrauding the government. The head of that now heavily-discredited trade group, former congressman Steve Gunderson, who has thundered against the alleged "ideological bias" of the Obama Administration (actually bias against the deceptive practices in his industry that have ruined the economic futures of veterans, single mothers, and others seeking a better life through education), seems to be over the moon about the Trump victory. Trump's campaign was one long con, directed by a candidate experienced in pitching non-existent condo resorts, a multi-level marketing company selling "video phones," and the fraudulent Trump University. Now it should be clear to all that the one redeeming aspect of Trump's platform -- the commitment to fight against the special interest dominance of Washington -- was just one more lie. So we're left with an unfit president who is ready to instead accelerate the corruption of policy by big money. Since the GOP leaders in Congress also are under the thumb of the business interests that fund their campaigns, the outlook for federal laws, regulations, and enforcement is bleak -- in terms of slowing climate change, fighting pollution, protecting against financial, consumer, and education scams, and much more. What we will have left -- in addition to the authorities of some public-minded state attorneys general -- is something pure and simple: the truth. Our media outlets -- from the Times and Wall Street Journal, to bloggers like The Intercept's Lee Fang and the team at DeSmog, to the brilliant John Oliver and Samantha Bee programs -- will be essential. Investigative reporting about corporate abuses -- scam lenders, scam colleges, scam marketers, defective products, toxic spills -- can educate consumers, investors, and voters, and make it harder for Washington to behave so badly. Activism can carry those truths forward, along with truths about racial injustice, abuse of immigrants and LGBT communities, sexual assault, and all the other stark concerns raised by the rise of Trump. This article also appears on Republic Report. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
ITT Corp. (ITT) posted adjusted earnings of 58 cents per share in third-quarter 2016, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. However, the figure was down 7.9% from the year-ago tally of 63 cents.
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In a TV interview on Friday, Larry Earle, the CEO of shuttered San Antonio-based for-profit Career Point College, gave the game away about what many for-profit colleges are all about. Defending his closed school against findings by the U.S. Department of Education that Career Point had engaged in financial aid fraud and mismanagement, and facing lawsuits filed by a growing number of his former students, Earle told an interviewer, "None of my salesmen have ever been accused of lying to students." WATCH (at 15:00). For-profit colleges are supposed to be, um, colleges, and they generally refer to the people who speak with and enroll students as "admissions representatives" or "admissions counselors." The whole bad rap on these institutions focuses on how they use deceptive and high-pressure sales tactics to get students to enroll -- that they act like "salesmen" (or "used car salesmen") and refer to students as "starts," "pieces of business," and even "asses in classes," rather than focusing on the students' best interests. For the Career Point CEO to refer to his admissions team as "salesmen" shows what this is really about. But allegations of misconduct at Career Point actually focus more on financial aid practices than on salesmanship. On October 13, the Department of Education wrote to Earle, recounting that Career Point had informed the Department that it illegally held on to $4.6 million that should have been returned to students or to the Department, and informing Earle that the Department was putting the school on "heightened cash monitoring" status and requiring Career Point to post a $10 million letter of credit. In response, Career Point issued a "Closure press release" announcing that "the College's management has been forced to discontinue operations." The release defends the company's record and blames "this very hostile government climate against for-profit schools." It adds, "the Department of Education chose not to give the College a chance to fix its problems and instead chose to effectively terminate the College.... in light of the actions by the Department of Education, we had no choice." The Texas career college trade association, and the national association, CECU, which claims Career Point as a member, each issued statements also blaming the Department of Education for Career Point's closing. The statement by CECU head Steve Gunderson was characteristically bombastic and self-pitying: When will this end? When will someone in this Department stop the incredible assault on career schools, which puts thousands of students on the streets with debt and no degree, while literally destroying the lifetime work and investment of families serving their community's workforce needs? ... Schools are being intentionally closed. Students' career hopes are destroyed.... In fact, the Department of Education did not "terminate" Career Point College. In light of the company's admission that it had kept nearly five million dollars that belonged to students and taxpayers, the Department took the prudent and appropriate step of requiring the company to post a letter of credit equal to 25 percent of the school's annual take of federal student aid of $40 million -- so money might be available to pay the school's obligations in the event of further financial mismanagement or abuse. When for-profit giants Corinthian Colleges, in 2015, and ITT Tech, a few weeks ago, each shut down after facing multiple investigations for fraud and after receiving hundreds of millions and even billions in taxpayer dollars each year for decades, each announced it was broke and declared bankruptcy, leaving defrauded students and taxpayers, not to mention employees and other creditors, out of luck. In light of this reality, larger letters of credit are absolutely appropriate where there is evidence of financial mismanagement or fraud. Career Point, in fact, told staffers by email on Friday that it was "unable to fund your payroll this week." Can't make payroll the week of the shutdown? Where did the hundreds of millions of dollars that taxpayers sent to the school over the years end up? In the new lawsuits, attorneys for students allege a range of improper practices by Career Point, including failing to apply federal aid to student accounts, pushing students into expensive private loans, and even charging students for meetings with the school's financial aid office. The suits also allege that Career Point staff have been shredding company documents, and last Thursday a Texas state judge granted a temporary restraining order directing Career Point not to destroy documents linked to the students who sued. In fact, students and former staff have made multiple complaints regarding Career Point to the Texas Workforce Commission and the U.S. Department of Education (and to me) going back several years. In his TV interview, Earle said, "The college, except for a few employees, did nothing wrong." This article also appears on Republic Report. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
Department of Education officials have destroyed a long-established chain of postsecondary schools, ITT Tech, over allegations of wrongdoing. Through administrative decisions that ignored the rule of law and the great deal of harm, they made the closure of this large chain inevitable. This exemplifies "administrative law" at its worst.
My easy-like Sunday morning reads: • Pizza, the unsung agent of the robot revolution: An inside look at the robots taking over Amazon, DHL, Ocado, Mercedes… and Domino’s? (Ars Technica) • A Whistle Was Blown on ITT; 17 Years Later, It Collapsed (New York Times) • This finance major wanted to get rich so he went into sales… Read More The post 10 Sunday Reads appeared first on The Big Picture.
After the government-induced collapses of high-profile for-profit colleges such as Corinthian and ITT Tech, at least one education company has decided it wants to stay ahead of regulators. DeVry Education Group, which operates the eponymous for-profit college along with a slew of other proprietary schools, recently announced that it would [...]
SKIN IN THE GAME: Make Colleges Pay Loans If Their Graduates Can’t. When the U.S. Education Department shut down ITT Technical Institute at the beginning of the fall semester, some people saw it as just desserts for the for-profit college. Given ITT’s relatively low graduation rates, alleged use of deceptive job placement figures in its […]
ITT Inc.'s (ITT) Enidine brand recently announced that its proprietary vibration absorption technology will be deployed in Textron Inc.'s (TXT) subsidiary, Bell Helicopter.
The collapse of for-profit education giant ITT Technical Institute has brought renewed scrutiny upon accreditation agencies, the private organizations which determine which schools are eligible for federal student aid. ITT Tech’s accreditor, the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS), will likely see its recognition revoked in response to [...]
ITT Tech abruptly shut down its 130 campuses earlier this month, leaving 35,000 students without a degree and 8,000 employees without a job. But if you were paying attention, the school's demise shouldn't have been a total shock.