Pot, Meet Kettle

When I was a kid and I tried to get one of my three sisters’ in trouble, usually by complaining about something that I had just done myself, my mom would always say, “That’s the pot calling the kettle black!” I have to say that whenever I read about the for profit education industry, where I work, that’s my first reaction each time. Pot, meet kettle.

I shouldn’t complain about investigative journalism, of course, and a piece like, “On For-Profit College Boards, Knowledgeable Insiders” ought to help to keep management and the administration honest. Sunshine, as the cliche goes, is the best disinfectant. On the other hand, the tone of the piece is a little too breathless and shocked, as if these practices were a surprise or innovative.

OMG! There’s a revolving door between industry and the government agencies that regulate them! Academia likes to think that it can keep its hands clean by burying its head in the sand. So the trustee system, long dominated by corporate power, is only rarely discussed. The for-profit sector is only responding as the higher education system has always responded to the threat of regulation.

This sort of investigative journalism should be extended into a broader exploration of the way education works in the U..S. I’d like to see the Chronicle investigate how traditional schools have used their own revolving doors to avoid regulations that would curb the use of contingent labor or that would slow down inflation in tuition or control administrative salaries or…

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn’t want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so.

I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com.

I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that ‘at’ symbol] writinginthewild.com

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