Bad Morals: For Profit Schools That Just Won’t Say No!

! آآخ ! يآربّ توفقنــآ آ آ وتيسسسسّر لنـآ آ آ الاختبآرـآت

You would think that, with all the negative attention focused on for-profit schools these days, they would be rushing – or at least trying – to clean up their acts.  But these tigers just can’t change their stripes.  Their desire to enroll more and more students – and then keep them in school paying tuition – still rules.

Today’s news has a report that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found for-profit schools cheating again.  (The new report is here.)  Last time the GAO acted, it conducted a sting operation that found that every for-profit school it investigated committed some kind of recruiting misconduct.  (The report, which was revised after fierce industry criticism, is here.)  In response to the original GAO report, the for-profit schools doubled down on their spending on lobbyists.  The bet paid off.  The lobbyists were able to convince Congress to enact watered down measures to curb recruiting fraud.

This time, the GAO conducted a sting aimed at identifying bad practices once the students were already admitted to the schools.  This is important:  getting the student in the door gets the revenue stream started, but if the student drops out quickly, the revenue doesn’t last long.  So, schools are as interested in keeping their student s in school as they are in enrolling them in the first place.

The new GAO report proves the point.  GAO planted students in selected online schools.  When their teachers gave tests, some of the plants provided material taken directly from their textbooks.  In other words, their answers were obviously plagiarized, and the teachers even recognized the plagiarism.  Another student plant supplied photos of celebrities and politicians in response to an essay question.  Did the teachers discipline the students?  NO!  Why?  Well, let’s look back at that revenue stream.  Failing a student, or worse yet, expelling them for misconduct, ends the stream for that student.  That’s how I would explain the latest misconduct the GAO found.

The schools that failed in the sting were not identified.  But keep a sharp eye.  The bad practices aren’t limited to bricks and mortar schools, and they don’t end once students are admitted.  They just keep on coming.

Creative Commons License photo credit: ķbяίyά 3şнί8ħ

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