In my opinion, this sort of thing calls for the mother of all blogger ethics panels (via):
On Sunday, policy makers, higher education watchers and ordinary readers opened their newspapers and Web browsers to an editorial endorsed by the Post’s staff board that took a stance that could’ve come right out of Kaplan’s playbook.
After disclosing the corporate link — noting that the paper is owned by the same company that “owns Kaplan University and other for-profit schools of higher education that, according to company officials, could be harmed by the proposed regulations” — the editorial bashed the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed rules, voicing concerns about access for low-income and working students, and worrying more broadly about how the country could meet President Obama’s higher education goals without for-profit colleges.
“When I first saw it, I thought, ‘Wow, this is really surprising,’ ” said Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, which has been a strong advocate for the government’s toughened regulatory approach to for-profit higher education. “Not just to see the Post editorializing on this issue, but to look at what the board is saying.”
Why on earth would the money-losing branch of an educational testing company that runs for-profit schools think they could get away with editorializing in favor of for-profit schools?
This is all going to get worse when the VeriGoogle news consortium starts telling us what a terror net neutrality is.
You’re going to have to reference the long-standing “Evil / Stupid” debates on that one.
Honestly, why not? The WaPo has a nice big bully pulpit. They’re going to use it. Is this really any worse than running pro-Iraq War editorials by folks on the payroll of Big Oil and the military industry? I mean, the GOP just got a $1 million check from FOX News. I think the era of polite editorial discretion has long since come to an end.
Kaplan owns a newspaper, and by god Kaplan is going to use it.
Welcome to the dystopia we were told about back in high school English class. Couldn’t they at least have the decency to dispense the Soma before letting lose this post-capitalist hell?
kommrade reproductive vigor
Look, just because WaPoo stands to lose by this regulation doesn’t mean it can’t give a fair and balanced opinion of this regulation. I mean, it’s not like the Post has ever come up with a cock-eyed scheme like this:
So they should get a pass for this one-time complete collapse of ethics.
Damn, almost got through that with a straight face.
Both/and, remember. Both/and.
Yes, it’s a conflict of interest. Clearly disclosed in paragraph 2. Not seeing the problem here, exactly.
As a result, for-profit schools could see federal aid—and their profits—decline if their loan repayment rates fall below a threshold proposed by the DOE.
The report late Friday came after the DOE in late July proposed rules intended to measure how well for-profit schools train students for “gainful employment” in a recognized occupation.
The proposed regulations would affect most for-profit and vocational programs of nonprofit schools. But for-profit schools, many of which derive more than 80% of their revenue from federal student aid, are expected to feel the brunt of any penalties as their students tend to take on a higher debt burden.
Let the market speak! For itself. In self-interest.
Second day of classes here at the University, and I stopped by the Kaplan table in order to get some info on the GRE and LSAT. I won a free tanning session at their prize wheel, which caused a certain amount of hilarity between me and the kid manning the table (I burn at the rumour of sunlight). I gave them my info, and got a brochure detailing their overpriced prep courses. After reading it, I am sure that I will never use Kaplan.
What I want to know is, what’s the graduation rate of students in Kaplan’s football program(s)?
Oh look! It says right next to this blog entry that I can get my degree at the University of Phoenix! I hear it’s an excellent school.
Then they should simply register as Kaplan lobbyists and get to work.
As everyone knows there’s a complete wall between the business-oriented ownership of newspapers and the editorial and news departments.
We know this because they tell us, and because people who have doubted this are fringe hippies and forget the polls which say that the newspaper employees are mostly liberals and that’s why the ownership of news corporations have no influence whatsoever on content.
Cause most people have no fucking clue what “Kaplan” is.
Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther
the money-losing branch of an educational testing company
Ouch. Said the former reporter. Who once-upon-a-long-time-ago was a correspondent’s assistant for WaPo’s Jerusalem-based reporter.
The truth – she hurts….
There has never been a newspaper in history (worked in them for 30 years) that did not editorialize and slant its news stories in favor of its owners’ business interests. The Post is just more pompous about it.
Culture of Truth
Trouble with being for-profit is they expect you to make money. When will WaPo go the way of Newsweek?
Why on earth would anyone be surprised? Did they think that Kaplan had shame, or something? Have they actually read the Post’s OpEd page?
Hey, I’m not saying walk across a bridge that a University of Phoenix engineering student built, all right? But people who work their way through those courses have done a heck of a lot more than a lot of people in this country to better themselves. Anyone who can see something like that to the end should be encouraged to continue their education and get an accredited degree, of course. And, no, I’m not a graduate of Phoenix. I just have met a couple here in Dallas, where Phoenix has one of their actual campuses where students can attend class.
Ahem. Looks like I need another Venn diagram.
As an employee of Kaplan, I feel dirty reading this.
I’ll just try to remind myself that I’m doing it to a) earn some spending money for myself, and b) to help students get into business school. I’ll try not to think of how I’m enabling the WaPo editorial board.
This is an interesting misconception, and one that I know for a fact is not true. There is usually a strong separation between the publisher and the editorial(read: news) side of the business, but not so much the editorial (read: opinion) side of things.
I had one editorial page editor tell me point blank that the publisher of the local metro daily would not allow any editorials to run that were against his pet project (some kind of highway that would make his commute quicker).
Give the coupon to your black friend and send him back to the table to accuse them of racism and not wanting minorities to attend their university.
Record it for YouTube for our amusement.
“Oh but honey, colored people tan too. Glenn Beck had a whole five minutes on it.”
Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther
@arguingwithsignposts: (I think El Cid was being sarcastic).
@Joseph Nobles: Remember those licensure threads from yesterday? UofPhoenix isn’t accredited by the national engineering accrediting body. None of their graduates can sit for the licensing exam. Without a license, you can’t sign off on plans, and without an accredited degree you’d never get hired at a firm that designs bridges.
Thankfully, nobody in the US would be able to walk over a bridge designed by a UofPhoenix engineer.
@morzer: Quit screwing with my fun!
Don’t say I didn’t warn you when the nice lady with the bouffant hairstyle explains who tans best in front of the Kaplan hordes of large, cornfed linebacker types with “Jeebus hearts me mostest” tattoos.
@Emily L. Hauser/ellaesther:
Oh, I know he was. But I also know that there was a large grain of truth to the perception (and its being promoted by the news corps.), and just wanted to share my personal anecdote about why it’s not true. ;)
OK, so now that the conflict has been disclosed, everyone can evaluate the Post editorial in proper perspective. That’s how disclosure is supposed to work, amirite?
Sure, the Age of Glenn Beck is all about detachment, reason, fair and balanced evaluation of the evidence.
The Other Chuck
Shouldn’t the free market decide that sort of thing? People should just be able to freely choose to not walk on bridges that collapse!
Given the enormity of the WaPo’s conflict of interest on this issue, the ethical thing to do would have been to give equal space for the opposing viewpoint.
Paraphrasing everyone’s mother:
“Now, Morzer, just because millions of people have become mouth-breathing morons doesn’t mean you have to be one, too.”
I think I could almost come up with a business plan.
There’s apparently thousands of people wasting time in graduate schools without any hope of finding tenure or a job in their field when they’re done. On the other side, there’s apparently enough people who want to finish their college education but want to do it online and therefore are willing to pay U of Phoenix an exorbitant sum of money to do so.
So why not hire those newly minted phd’s, who have no where else to go, at a decent salary (less than a professorship but enough to let them keep working in their chosen field), utilize open source or free (as in beer) software to link students and teachers together (Skype, Moodle for the course management software, OpenOffice, etc.), and an honest online university could be created that would be not only cost-competitive with even state schools but could also run a profit. Infrastructure and end user costs could thus be kept at a minimum.
Students would be thrilled, those now-employed liberal arts grad students would be slightly less bitter, everyone wins.
@The Other Chuck: Don’t give me that liberal claptrap. In libertarian narnia, the government wouldn’t be involved in such matters and everyone would build their very own bridge over the river to the specifications that they deem necessary.
Wait, what? Did you say “WaPo” and “ethical” in the same sentence?
I think that under the Secret Uncodified Rules of Balloon-Juice Epistemological Calvinball, Volume 3, Chapter 21, Clause 19(c)(2)(iii), I am required to laugh out loud at you.
@burnspbesq: Yeah, well, some our mothers actually watch Glenn Beck. Now what kind of fucking advise do you think I’m getting?
Paraphrasing everyone’s daddy:
Advice which you are entirely free to ignore?
posted in wrong thread
Couldn’t we just trade them to the Taliban for a good wide receiver and an established nose tackle or so?
That would be the business plan of all those state universities which already have such online entities as just another one of the academic colleges. Such as the large research public university for which I work. And which is accredited. Though we don’t offer any engineering degrees or education (except post-grad) or other egress which require lots of complex and hands-on work through it.
Oh, and it costs less than exorbitantly expensive diploma mills like U of Phoenix and your degree has a name that people admire rather than one they snicker at.
Amanda in the South Bay
Actually, I don’t think U of Phoenix even has the kind of majors that people get who design bridges-civil, mechanical engineering and architecure aren’t offered.
The for-profit universities did fill a gap when needed, back when traditional universities were basically unwilling to deal with nontraditional students.
I think (hope) that traditional universities have improved things enough that nontraditional students can now get their degrees without having to resort to a for-profit school that will work with their schedule.
Because, if you ever listen to the U of Phoenix radio commercials, they strongly emphasize that you can get your degree on nights and weekends, and that’s still a big part of the appeal for a lot of people who can’t quit their jobs to go back to school.
Raises a couple of issues. The rule shouldn’t be that they can only weigh in if they come down on the right side, it would have to be that they recuse themselves from editorials on issues in which the company itself has a stake in the outcome. That strikes me as problematic because of the ownership situation of many media/news companies. NBC and GM, ABC and Disney, the Post and Kaplan, the list goes on and on. Seems like that’s the heart of the problem.