The Regulatory Ecosystem

I can understand the cliche business fear about regulation and red tape, although in my experience private rather than government red tape is much more of an issue. I don’t have a small business, of course. Still, I suspect that in many if not most cases the hassles of dealing with the government pale beside the hassles of dealing with ordinary commercial firms, particularly the large ones.

So I think that regulation is in general a good thing. It’s how we got all sorts of benefits, from the weekend to the end of child labor to seat belts and ever higher (if still too low) gas mileage. The right has done everything in its power, of course, to make regulations seem by definition illegitimate. That means that there have been almost no regulatory oversight in for-profit higher education.

Actually, there’s too little regulatory oversight in public higher education either, in everything from labor policy to tuition to nepotism. That’s another story. A regulatory system, in any case, is more than simply a set of rules and laws and guidelines. An effective regulatory system has to have teeth, too, in the forms of fines and, maybe especially in the U.S., lawsuits.

So as the Congressional hearings begin to suggest something of the regulatory system being proposed for for-profit higher education, it’s good to see that the rest of the regulatory ecosystem is beginning to come alive too. The website needs a face-lift, but “Higher Education Issues” is a great place to watch the emerging legal action both for students as well as faculty.

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 I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation