Pots and Kettles

As someone who works in the for-profit higher education, I am often dismayed at what happens in my little corner of the economy. I think our industry emerged in an economic culture that was far too unregulated and far too greedy. I think we need more regulation and I think that our industry doesn’t need to be so narrowly focused on short-term profits. We share all the problems of modern U.S. capitalism, in other words.

I am also often dismayed at the way problems in the for-profit sector seem to be used as cover for the more profound problems in the public sector.  These problems are dwarfed by the exploitation of adjunct labor, bloated  administrative salaries, the weakening of tenure, the corruptions of big college sports, and the rise of student debt, to name only a few, that have characterized the public sector for the last three or four decades.

These problems in the public sector are more profound because they set the standard for the culture at large.  For-profit schools will come and go– that’s the nature of a market– but without a democratic, service oriented public university system we might not have a democracy or a functioning economy at all. I think, too,  that the for-profit sector will not flourish without profound reform in the public sector.

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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