Thursday, November 28, 2019

ICE Catches Hundreds of Fake Students At Fake University

By Professor Doom

     I sometimes wonder at sheer size of the fraud in our higher education system. I can think of no other business which can immediately attract hundreds of students, even when the business explicitly states it is a fraud.

      But a fake university can do this, no problem:

ICE arrests 90 illegal immigrants in a sting operation using a fake university

--It’s more like 250 students total.

      This isn’t even the first time this sort of thing has happened, I just usually don’t mention it because it’s not about the student loan scam directly. The student loan scam indirectly makes these fake universities so easy to run because it’s allowed such a high level of fraud that the whole world knows the U.S. has a severe fraud problem in higher ed.

       Consider the marketing strategy of this fake university:

The fake university told the students they could be enrolled in their school to get into the United States on student visas and then never attend the school as part of a “pay to stay” scam. 

       It’s amazing how the news story here is the ICE arrest, but I see so much more. Our higher education system has such a reputation for fraud that the above sounded plausible, not just to one fool (easy enough) but to hundreds of them. 

       That said, I appreciate the efficiency of ICE; instead of guarding the border, they just put up an ad and reel them in:

Only 10% of the 250 students caught in the sting had to be deported by Customs and Border Protection. The remaining 80% self-deported after being caught.

      While getting these fake students out of the country is something…what’s to stop them from just getting into a different fake school? It’s not like ICE has a monopoly on opening up fake schools, after all.

       What about the other 10%?

The remaining 10% have their status tied up as they contest their deportation to the Executive Office for Immigration Review, claiming the situation is entrapment.

     Good luck with that. Seeing as the school was pretty up front about being fake, I’m not sure “entrapment” is going to fly, since not every lawful citizen will simply leave his country just to join a fake school (part of the definition of entrapment is getting a lawful citizen to do something he would not ordinarily do).

       In addition to the clear evidence of how thorough the fraud in higher education is that “we’re a fake school, come sign up” can catch hundreds of fake students, there’s another aspect to the story that the media seems to not see:

Several celebrities and Democratic politicians have decried the situation, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The New York congresswoman claimed ICE should be abolished, a proposal she has suggested before.

Actress Alyssa Milano also posted a tear-filled video expressing her outrage with the situation.


      Yeah, whatever. The whole “NPC” meme is how these people never seem to be able to change their script. On the face of it this story is about fake students coming to a fake school to get “student visas,” and these chuckleheads stick to the script of protecting all illegal immigrants, always, for all time. Just once I’d like a report to ask them is there is any activity an illegal immigrant can engage in which they would consider deplorable…I suspect they’d condone bloody murder, at least of U.S. citizens.

lizabeth Warren


This is cruel and appalling. These students simply dreamed of getting the high-quality higher education America can offer. ICE deceived and entrapped them, just to deport them.

     No Pocahontas, the university was very up front about being a fraud. 

      I just wish instead of creating fake schools, our government would put a bit more interest in shutting down fake schools, but I understand always that our rulers will only go after low hanging fruit.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Helms defended the operation, saying, "Their true intent could not be clearer. While 'enrolled' at the University, one hundred percent of the foreign citizen students never spent a single second in a classroom. If it were truly about obtaining an education, the University would not have been able to attract anyone, because it had no teachers, classes, or educational services."

     Wait…not having a classroom makes a place a fake school? But what of all the 100% online schools? I’d love to hear this guy’s definition of “teachers” and “classes,” because I’ve seen many fake teachers and fake classes as well which would pass no definition of a legitimate college education.

President Trump has tried to push stronger immigration policies since taking office but has not come close to deporting as many illegal immigrants as President Barack Obama.

     It’s queer how the above little detail never seems to make the news, instead we all get endless rants about how bad it is that Trump is doing it. Obama did more of it…but that was OK. Much like the endless “Trump puts babies in cages” garbage ignores that it was an Obama policy (and a good one since it cut down on child rape), most people just don’t know the whole story.

      So while all most folks will get from this story is how “Orange Man Entrapped Students With Fake University,” I insist the real news here is how our higher education system is so degraded that a fake university advertising itself as fake had no problem at all getting hundreds of students…it probably would have taken in more fake students, but it’s competing with other fake schools, or at least schools which also allow fake students. 

      The other real part of the story is the wide swaths of our own government support the fraud in our higher education system.

      But yeah, all the news outlets are saying is that ICE caught some students in a sting, without really understanding how and why this kind of sting is so successful.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Atheists Pay To Not Have Prayers? Seriously?

By Professor Doom

     One thing about being a cancer/modern medicine victim, I sure get lots of people praying for me. I figure God/Jesus/Whoever already knows about my situation by now, but I still do nothing to discourage people from doing what they want to do, especially since I figure there’s no harm in it (even as I consider the possibility that repeatedly whining to God might infuriate him, but I digress…).

     A recent study of prayer caught my eye, because it had a few interesting results. I know, most studies are fraud now, and I have my doubts about some of their conclusions, so I must add my own thoughts:

Prof: ‘Welfare of atheists/agnostics is reduced” by prayers of others

      It’s so nice to have a study coming out of higher ed that isn’t about how white people are evil, or how milk/haircuts/studying/whatever are RACIST, isn’t it? Even if the results are arguable, at least it’s not simply shouting. Let’s look at the setup:

The study was conducted by rounding up various victims “shortly following Hurricane Florence” and giving them each their standard pay plus $5. Participants were then given the option of paying to receive or not receive thoughts and prayers from Christian strangers, non-Christian strangers, and a priest.   

   A real study should always discuss the methodology, the better to allow anyone who feels like it to replicate the results. There’s a big issue with reproducibility in science right now, with well over 50% of serious studies NOT reproducible. In other words, when you hear the results of some study, you now are better off not believing it. You could toss a coin, and have a better chance of getting accurate results of the study, at least for studies conducted in the last, say, 30 years or so.

       But if you know the methodology of the study, at least, with 482 Christian/agnostic/atheists involved, you could do a comparable study yourself and see if you get the same results.

Christian participants questioned were willing to pay $4.36 on average for a prayer from a Christian stranger, while they were willing to pay $7.17 for a prayer from a priest

       The above sure sounds legit, at least insofar as one might expect a priest’s prayers to be more valuable. The pricing strikes me as a little high. If I paid over $4 for everyone who prayed for me, that’d be approaching the kind of loot modern medicine has made off their many failed treatments on me.

      And what of the unbelievers?

But the “nonreligious” group containing atheists and agnostics were actually willing to pay people not to pray for them, $3.54 for a Christian stranger not to pray and $1.66 for a priest not to pray.

      Now this, this is fascinating. If you don’t believe, why would you be willing to pay people not to engage in the pointless behavior? Moreover, why would you be willing to pay less for a priest (whose life, from the unbeliever’s point of view, is devoted to pointless behavior) to pray for you? A priest’s prayers should have no more value than anyone else’s from this point of view, after all.

       At the risk of patronizing the gentle reader, I point out the above could be taken as evidence that even the unbelievers do, in fact, believe…it’s about the only reason they believe a priest’s prayers would be more valuable (or have “less negative value, if you want to be particular), after all. Or perhaps I’m reading too much into this:

Nonreligious people would pay $0.33 for a “thought” from a nonreligious stranger but were willing to pay $2.02 for a Christian stranger to keep them out of their thoughts…


     The above really strikes me as implying that “nonreligious” is a misnomer, and a more accurate description would be “antireligious.” Again, under the belief that none of it matters, a thought from a nonreligious stranger should be worth every bit as much as a thought from a Christian. But these folk are willing to pay extra for Christians to not to even think about them.

      Or perhaps I’m not the only one to worry that, much as a parent might get angry with a child who cries too often, so too might God simply choose to smite those who are getting sent to Him far too many appeals…

       I’ve long accepted that I see things very differently than most, and thus it doesn’t surprise me that the researchers reach different conclusions:

…concluding that this disparity suggests that thoughts and prayers could harm nonreligious people.

     And so we wander back into grievance culture, where literally everything a person does, no matter how piffling, ultimately results in harm to someone. I disagree with the conclusion, of course, and acceptance of the above conclusion could well lead to court cases and damages, years from now. Yeesh.

       I’m not kidding about the consequences of the above conclusion:

…these findings prove that Christians “benefit from” prayers from others but that “the welfare of atheists/agnostics is reduced by such gestures.”

--emphasis added.

      Prove? That’s some powerful language, and I assure the gentle reader no such proof has been provided. At best, it is shown there is a belief that benefit is granted, a belief that welfare is reduced. Of course, you can’t claim damages from a personal belief, while proof of such damage is a different matter entirely.

      While I can nitpick about conclusions, the fact remains is this is the kind of thing that is done by legitimate researchers (even ones confused about what “prove” means), and even if it’s a piffling study, all we’re looking at is a few hundred people filled in some bubbles on some easily graded survey, so a minimal cost, almost certainly less than what my insurance company was charged for the 5 minutes I spend talking to the latest specialist after traveling for many hours to meet him…

        I'm about to go in for yet another surgery, with no expectation of it helping to accompany the certainty that it's going to hurt quite a bit. For everyone granting me prayers, I thank you. Even if such triggers God’s wrath, I’ll take such comfort as I can in that while he’s venting on me, another is being spared, at least for a time. I tend to think the same way about letting the next doctor hack into me.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Trump To End Obama’s Anti-White Campus Policies

By Professor Doom

    It’s really interesting just how much changed during the Obama era, from health insurance to “acceptable” corruption like Biden, to campus policies.

    One such policy concerned encouragement of colleges to admit students strictly based on “Diversity” concerns, so that more “minorities” would be admitted even if, purely based on academics, other students were more deserving. I put “minority” in quotes because Asians never benefit from this, despite being as much, or more, of a minority in many schools.

     Like so many Obama policies, Trump seems determined to reverse it:

Trump Administration to Strike Down Obama’s Anti-White College Admission Guidelines

     The article I’ve linked to above has a helpful chart showing academic readiness for Michigan in various subjects, broken down by what we refer to as “race”:

--Like I said, Asians really get the short end of the stick by not getting “minority” status.

     I remind the gentle reader that roughly 70% of high school graduates immediately move on to college. If colleges were really operating honestly, this high a percentage could not be possible, since well under half of high school graduates are ready for college.

According to the report, the Trump administration argues that the 2011 and 2016 Obama guidelines—which give universities the right to select black and Hispanic applicants with lower scores before whites with similar or higher scores—serve to “mislead schools to believe that legal forms of affirmative action are simpler to achieve than the law allows.”

     I must also point out that these racist policies are not really helping the supposedly disadvantaged among us. Around 50,000,000 have student loans now, loans which cannot be paid off by students who went to college despite having little academic ability at best. The phrase “Democratic Plantation” exists for a reason, as this policy (among many others) really seems to exist to trap kids into a form of slavery, in this case debt slavery.

      Of course, the lower scores are merely a reflection of racial differences in IQ and ability, and have nothing to do with “white racism,” as the fact that many Asians in America score as high, if not higher, than whites, and they are also excluded from the “affirmative action” program even though they are not white.

     Not many sites dare to say things like the above, as it contradicts the narrative that anything besides racism could possibly be responsible. Asians spend far more time studying, after all, so there is an explanation here beyond the ever-so-contentious “intelligence.”

     Asians, incidentally, have been fighting the racist admissions policies, especially at top tier schools. It’s something of a tough lawsuit, but a plausible one since Obama’s policies contradict established law:

In fact, the Justice Department  has recently been investigating a complaint by more than 60 “Asian-American” organizations that say Harvard University’s policies are discriminatory because they limit the acceptance of Asian students on precisely this basis.

The Justice Department joined Students for Fair Admissions, the group behind the case, which has urged the disclosure of “powerful” evidence showing that Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Harvard is violating Title VI of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.

      I wish them luck in their case, but it’s a distraction. The question for me isn’t Obama’s policy per se, but why didn’t our schools respond with outrage at being encouraged to violate the Civil Rights Act? The primary answer as I see it is the “leaders” of our system saw this as an opportunity to grow, grow, grow, the schools some more—at the expense of saddling certain minorities with crushing debt.

The Supreme Court most recently addressed affirmative action admissions policies in a 2016 case, voting 4 to 3 to uphold what it called a “race-conscious” program at the University of Texas at Austin—but which was in fact just another anti-white program.

     That’s a narrow, narrow, victory for racism…I can see why a certain party is very concerned at the change in make-up of our Supreme Court.

      Another odd trend in higher education (and daresay the media) is the pro-Islam movement. Trump seems to be working to end that as well:

Trump Admin Tells UNC, Duke to Revise Islam Program or Lose Taxpayer Funds

      Now, I’ve nothing against Islam any more than I have what’s being defined as “minorities,” but it’s clear something fishy is going on here:

According to the Department of Education, the program offers very few, “if any,” programs focused on the historic discrimination against religious minorities in the Middle East, and lacks balance, focusing on the “positive aspects of Islam” while having an “absolute absence” of a similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity and Judaism.

     Much as I noted courses on Marxism focus on the utopian promises while “de-emphasizing” (an understatement) any discussion of what invariably happens under Marxist regimes, it seems a similar modus operandi is in effect here. Of course, I again wonder how such one-sided discussion became part of an education (as opposed to indoctrination).

     That said, I’m not real wild about government offering direction on how things should be taught. The protest against government interference here, which I would normally support, tells me that Trump’s administration has the right of it, as much as I hate making such an admission:

Henry Reichman, the chairman of a committee on academic freedom for the American Association of University Professors, reacted to the Education Department’s letter by referring to it as, ironically, “political correctness” enacted by the “right-wing.”

“Is the government now going to judge funding programs based on the opinions of instructors or the approach of each course?” asked Reichman. “The odor of right wing political correctness that comes through this definitely could have a chilling effect.”

     Oh, stop being coy here, just call him a NAZI and be done with it. There’s an informal rule that all internet arguments eventually devolve into one side calling the other a nazi. An important corollary to that rule is that whosoever cries NAZI first automatically loses the argument.

     I trust that soon the rule, and the key corollary, will soon be extended to the cry of “right wing” as well. It can’t happen soon enough for me.

     The key issue here is taxpayer dollars are being blown on “education” into a system which taxpayers themselves don’t want. If Trump can indeed shut this down, this gives hope that perhaps, someday, student loan money won’t continue to flow to schools far more interested in indoctrination than education. This, too, can’t happen soon enough for me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

More Questions About Higher Ed Answered

By Professor Doom

       So I’m looking at a list of “17” (actually more than that) questions about higher ed that a former Poo-Bah of higher ed now asks…he’s out of the game, so he can afford to ask questions which would cost the job of a lowly one such as myself to ask.

If we were building from scratch, would we make almost every program the same four-year duration? 

     The student loan scam, the answer to most questions about higher ed, is responsible for the above question as well. Easy student loans have led to a huge rise in tuition. This rise has led a plethora of “job training” degrees, to the point that we have degrees in the bowling industry, degrees in how to be a DJ, degrees to be a hotel manager, and so on.

      Universities were never intended to be jobs training centers, they were intended to be centers of education. It doesn’t take 4 years to train someone to be a DJ. If tuition were low, it wouldn’t be so bad, but at today’s prices? Yes, now it’s fair to ask why a kid should pay $100,000 or more to learn how to operate a CD player.

How should we think about hybrid curricular options—that is, the mixing of new forms of pedagogy with old—that might be available to us?

     Here the Poo-Bah is asking about online coursework. So much of online education is absolute fraud that, seriously, we should just end it. This would greatly increase the legitimacy, the value, of degrees. 

      Online coursework can still exist, of course—just make it free, and schools could (and to an extent already do) validate online work by administering tests to the student in person.

Will most extant institutions survive the coming ed-tech disruptions in roughly their current form? Which types of schools are most vulnerable?

       Most schools are already in danger of ceasing to exist, but it’s not due to tech disruption. Our “leaders” in higher ed have assumed the amazing growth in the student base from the student loan scam would lead to continued amazing growth, and have expanded accordingly, expending every penny they have and then some.

       Trouble is, changing demographics and the growing realization that higher education is overpriced have put an end to that growth. The schools which will survive are the ones that invested or saved their student loan loot wisely…not many.

      The schools most vulnerable to being destroyed are those that grew most explosively, sacrificing all integrity in the name of endless growth. Their reputations are negative, and the time will come when students will simply stop coming…or just go to a legitimate school.

Given the likelihood of more demand for education from mid-career students, fed by the ongoing technological disruption of the workforce, will the expanded supply of mid-career education come mostly from existing elite schools, existing non-elite schools, non-schools becoming schools, or newly created schools?

     I don’t accept the Poo-Bah’s “given” assumption here. Yes, there is a steady trickle of demand there, but the costs involved of going to college are such that, if the employer really wants the employee to have those skills, it will make more sense to just train the employee while on the job.

Educational supply is concentrated in the North, but a disproportionate share of the growth in the college-ready student population is in the South. How will this geographic misalignment shake out, and are there implications for us or our primary competitors?

     It should shake out in the obvious way: the lowest quality, overpriced schools in the oversupplied areas will shut down, and schools will spring up in places where the market is not serving the people well.

       The student loan scam is the only thing supporting the oversupplied areas now, and its sad that higher education has our universities referring to each other as “competitors.”

Should we have more differentiated types of faculty roles? In particular, should we create new tracks for faculty members who are able to harness technology to teach hundreds or thousands of students…

     Faculty already fill plenty of roles, and technology should not be harnessed to allow classes of “thousands” of students. The Poo-Bah has several questions about faculty…but only one question at all about administrators (next). I greatly question why we need more administrators than faculty on campus…

How have our student-teacher and student-administrator ratios changed in the past two decades—and how do we measure the benefits?

      He should know this information. Student-teacher ratios are basically flat, student-administrator ratios have gone down, due to the ever increasing legions of administrators. The benefits of the latter should be measured in size of the student debt, increase in open admissions policies, increasing tuition, and decreasing on-time graduation rates. Seeing as increasing the administration has led to failure on all these levels, we need to stop asking questions and start firing wide swaths of the legions of irrelevant bureaucrats on our campuses.

How much of the president’s time should be spent articulating a vision or strategy, versus directing the university’s operations, versus fundraising?

     Vision for Excellence planning needs to end, it’s a waste of time; there might be some minute value, but nothing compared to the profound levels of navel-gazing which is done now.

      I can’t speak to fundraising, but Poo-Bahs can easily make $500,000 a year “leading” a small school, even though they almost never have even the slightest impact on a single student’s education. Perhaps that could be a factor in an educational leader’s job? Not even a question for the Poo-Bah here, but eliminating the position entirely would in a sense guarantee a half million or more dollars being “donated” to the school every year, and few Poo-Bahs can claim responsibility for personally raising that much (and even if they did, it’s all just going into their own pockets by way of that salary…).

If the state’s community colleges could be folded into our system, would you want them? Why or why not?

        The community college as “precursor to university” should be shut down, it’s been such a thoroughly massive failure that no other action makes sense. Yes, I know there are exceptions, but each exceptional student can be matched to thousands of failures. The money saved from the shutdown should go towards university scholarships…the good students will still get their chance.

      Now, if community colleges could be re-tooled as purely jobs-training program centers, that’s an idea, but not a question being asked here.

State regulators now often refer to the transition into college as “grade 13.” Is this a good thing?

     State regulators think this way because the Federal student loan scam brings in so much money that they’re pretty motivated to force as many students just getting out of high school (i.e., grade 12) to go into college (the next grade everyone is forced to take).

      The reality is the average freshman reads at the 7th grade level, and most “college” coursework is no better or different than what the students already learned “for free” in the public schools. 

     Now they just go into debt for it.

How should the university balance advancing the educational attainment of the state’s current residents against addressing the state’s long-term workforce needs?

      Well, universities could let community colleges become pure jobs training centers, and then universities could focus on education. By breaking things apart like this, each aspect of state education services could focus on doing a better job within their own domain, instead of both universities and community colleges competing with each other to offer the same products.

Setting aside “more money” and “more predictability” around state funding, what should a university system want from governors and state legislatures?

      This is a hard question, and I can’t conceive of a Poo-Bah with sufficient imagination to ask for anything besides MOAR. 

      If it were up to me, I’d ask state legislatures to start shutting down schools, starting with the for-profits who’ve done so much harm, then moving up the food chain until they get to the legitimate schools, if any. This would free up funding for schools which spend their money wisely, do good for the citizens, and increase the value of degrees in general…it’s too good an idea to ever be implemented in our government, alas.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

A Retired Poo-Bah Asks 17 Higher Ed Questions. Here Are Answers…

By Professor Doom

      The “global warming” scam has been running for 20 years now. Back when it started and people were buying into it, I tried to point out obvious issues, such as clear evidence the climate was warmer during Roman times…and clearly the climate didn’t change because the Romans  weren’t driving around in SUVs. It did little good, since everyone would point to “published research” or supposed consensus amongst scientists saying that we were all doomed, and would likely be dead before 2010, if not sooner.

      A curious thing happened since then: as scientists retired, they became far more outspoken against the claims of global warming…with no longer being paid to believe in global warming, they didn’t believe.

     The same thing happens in higher ed. It’s obvious we need to ask some serious questions about what we’re doing in higher education (and education in general)…but the people running education don’t seem to see anything wrong with our system at all.

      A current senator used to be a college president. Now that he’s no longer reliant upon higher ed, he suddenly is asking the questions I’ve asked more than a few times in this blog:

17 Questions Every College Should Be Asking

       He has an extensive preamble before getting to the important questions and I want to highlight a few of the things he has to say:

Our oldest kid is a senior in high school, so like a lot of American households, our whole family is visiting campuses and comparing colleges.

      Keep in mind how far removed this guy is from the typical American. Anyone else out there both financially and leisurely capable of taking the whole family to visit multiple campuses? There really is a caste in our country which takes private jets to tour college campuses. You’re not in it. He is.

…it is decreasingly clear what purpose a four-year degree should serve when technology is changing the nature of work…

     Yeah, no kidding. Thing is, a university degree was never intended for “the working class,” but the student loan scam slammed pretty much everyone on to campus. So now the question that never needed to be asked is now being asked: “of what use is this degree to the working class?”

       I don’t want to sound elitist, but not everyone is going to get white collar jobs, even if everyone is now going to get a mountain of debt which supposedly will be paid for by such jobs. Maybe we shouldn’t put everyone into higher ed? Then we wouldn’t be asking what job a degree is for…

Today’s graduate will typically change not just jobs but industries three times in his or her first decade post-college.

     See, this is something that education might be helpful for, since a big part of education is learning how to learn. That’s something you’ll want to have if you’re going to be changing jobs regularly. Today’s reality that you’re not going to keep a job with a regular paycheck is true enough, but it’s also today’s reality that loan payments need to paid regularly…the system is still broken as long as student loans exist.

       So let’s get started on the senator’s questions, and see how often “student loans are the problem” is part of the answer.

Tuition consistently rises faster than inflation—why? Does tuition increase because costs are up, or are costs up because universities can increase prices?

     Well, that was quick. It’s well known that student loans are the key reason tuition rises. The loans are “for tuition,” not for a set price, so…why doesn’t the Poo-Bah already know the problem here?

     Off to the next:

Could we possibly slow our cost growth? Should we plot a scenario with five years of flat tuition?

     While theoretically the answers to the above are “yes” and “yes,” the reality is student loans make such activity pointless. Why slow cost growth or plan for flat tuition when no matter what the expenses or tuition, the students are right there ready to make up the difference.

     Even with fewer students pouring on to campus, that just means you raise tuition all the more.

Is the student-debt crisis as bad as journalists claim? Will there be new pathways for students with limited financial resources?

      As bad as journalists claim? Wait, what? This isn’t the journalists’ fault, senator. Total student loan debt runs around $1.6 trillion dollars, the average graduation starts life $30,000 in debt. The later might not sound like much money for someone who has the time and money to take the whole family on junkets to visit various universities but, yes, it’s very bad for normal people.

…critics argue that most schools are content to compete with “identical mediocrity but better gyms.” For what, with whom, and on what dimensions should our institution compete?

     The answer here is a bit more subtle. The reasons schools are competing with “gyms” is two-fold. First, accreditation (the set of rules which allows a school to rake in student loan money) doesn’t care in the least about education…all a school needs to do is meet the minimum accrediting requirements there.

      Second? The school needs to attract students, and the “gyms” are being used as shorthand here for student amenities, which include climbing walls, lazy rivers, and, yes, gyms. 

       Because all schools equally qualify for student loans, there’s no particular advantage to being anything but mediocre, if that much.

What is quality, and how should it be measured? Are our programs rigorous enough? Are our students learning enough? Should we care about (and seek to measure somehow) their development outside the classroom?

      These are some hard questions but the student loan scam makes them all irrelevant, so let’s answer the last question first: the student loans mean schools have no skin in the game once students step off campus, so schools don’t care. Students generate the same revenue regardless of learning, so nobody cares about student learning. Student loans don’t care about rigor, so nobody cares if the programs are rigorous enough.

      Let me put this in an allegory. Suppose you sold candy bars, and you were guaranteed to sell 10,000 candy bars a year, at $500 each…even if all you did was put a lump of chocolate in a wrapper…a half of a lump would sell for just as much, just as often, for that matter. Why bother with the expense and effort of making anything better than that? That’s the issue with student loans/tuition right now, the baseline profit is so high, the baseline of effort accreditation requires so low, that there’s no motivation to improve higher education right now.

       What is quality and how should it be measured? This also doesn’t matter. The only thing that’s ever been measured closely in my 30 years of higher ed was how many students I was keeping in class…because that’s reflected in the student loan money.

      That’s the first five sets of questions the former Poo-Bah asks here…next time around I’ll address the rest.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Another Leftist College In A Death Spiral…And Why

By Professor Doom

     We clearly hit “peak education” a few years ago, and overall college student population has been dropping for years now. The for-profits have taken the brunt of this, though that’s more of a technicality—those schools are being regularly closed as frauds. Amongst the “legit” schools (and bear with me on that classification), the community colleges are losing students despite remaining open. They’ve lost around 20% of their student base in the last 5 years.

     Next on the hit list are the small liberal arts colleges. These schools were, historically, always in a fragile position. With only a few thousand students, they survived by having a good initial endowment and low overhead, keeping administrative costs down. Less historically, the student loan scam caused them (and every other school) to boom, in tuition if not in size. That huge influx of money could have been used to pay down debt, to focus on scholarship, to put them in a position to weather the incoming apocalypse which will occur whenever the student loan scam finally ends.

       Unfortunately, their small size made these schools particularly vulnerable to both the major problems affecting our schools: plunderers and ideologues.  Once only a few of these rascals get in, they open the door for their colleagues…a century of quality work can be annihilated in a few short  years as together they’ll work to destroy a school for their own personal ends.

     I’ve covered a few such schools dying this way, but a recent article mentions other reasons for the destruction of schools which should have been able to last a few more decades, if not centuries. It’s easy to see these other reasons are wrong, of course, but let’s get to it:

     Now, the title is general, but they focus on just a few schools, notably Hampshire College, established 1965. The article doesn’t clarify, but this school is fairly close to four other very similar schools, all charging major bucks ($40k or more a year, at least on paper) to educate students. This is another problem with higher education today: we have a glut. In addition to internet schools (of dubious quality, to be sure) offering their wares to anyone with electricity, just about every population center has half a dozen or more 4-year schools within 50 miles of it.

        The student loan scam has caused our schools to “institutionalize” growth of the pay and quantity of their administrators. That was fine in the past, but now that the potential student base is dropping, these schools are hitting a wall. The only way they can continue growth is to cannibalize students going to other schools, and that level of competitiveness just doesn’t generate the kind of profits necessary to support a huge leadership caste.

       Hampshire College, for example, has about 1300 students..and 115 administrators/staff. We’re basically looking at one “leader” for every 11 students. When one considers that many admin/staff are called faculty in order to keep the faculty/student ratio down (hi all library staff!), we’re looking at quite the excess of leadership there.

       The school has the other problem I discussed above as well:

Not too long ago, Hampshire was the kind of place where the average student was a lesbian with blue hair. But recently, it became the kind of place where the average student is a BLACK lesbian with blue hair.

      The Social Justice Warrior (SJW) takeover of our campuses is rough on the student base. If you love that stuff, youre set, but if not, you want to get off campus as soon as possible. Part of the reason for this is SJWs are never, ever, happy. Even if the whole school is infested, its not enough:

In Hampshire’s case, hilariously, the students condemned the place (which was already top 1% in SJWism) as a haven of racism and sexism and would approach kids on tours and tell them NOT to come for this reason.

      “Get woke, go broke” is a truism for  a reason, as a school infested with SJWs gets hammered coming and going. Imagine being not interested in “Social Justice,” going to this campus, and having one of the blue-hairs tell you what a horrible place this is. You’ll leave and go to the next school down the road.

      If you’re into SJW stuff, well, now you’re obligated to leave, because you don’t want to go to a “haven of RACISM,” right?  So, how fares recruiting on this campus?

Only 13 new students showed up at Hampshire this fall.

     Wow. Even an administrator should be able to “crunch the numbers” and see the place is doomed unless they scale back, and scale back sharply, eliminating every superfluous position (i.e., much of the administrative staff), consolidating as many positions as possible (e.g., having faculty with empty classrooms take over  the remaining administrative positions), and prepare to dip into savings to weather the oncoming drought (I bet that money is already spent on palaces and golden parachutes, however). I honestly don’t see how a school can lose 99% of its student base and survive without drastic action, although as yet the school hasn’t decided what, if anything, is worth doing.

      Have I mentioned how grotesquely overpaid admin is, considering how ineffectual they are?

      Anyway, the article somehow skips over the obvious issues of having more than one admin for every dozen students, there being far too many schools, and only barely touches on the whole SJWs destroy all they touch thing.

       On the other hand, the article mentions demographics: the U.S. just doesn’t have enough upper class people producing kids who can afford the skyrocketing tuition. Yes, this ignores the fact that the only reason tuition is so high is because the schools blew all the money on palaces and vice-presidents…tuition wasn’t this ridiculously high 30 years ago, after all. Honest, there really was a time when the campus president didn’t arrive in a chauffeured limousine, and was given a house on campus because that would save money on his salary. Now campus presidents have private jets…

       The article uses demographic projections to “predict” many school closings in the next decade or so, but honest, demographics aren’t nearly as core to what happened as the edu-fascist takeover. Many of the schools which will close opened in a time when the US population was much smaller.

     Strangely, the article says perhaps the schools can save themselves by importing “zillions”’ of Asians. While not as clearly wrong as the demographics claims, it’s still wrong. In times past, the “China problem,” where it was known that country could theoretically overwhelm our system, has long since been solved. The Chinese aren’t nearly so interested in paying a fortune to get into any school at all in the US, particularly schools which clearly care more about ideology than education.

       They can get ideology in their own country, and China is already expanding their own educational system. I sure hope they can learn from our mistakes….