Honest and Empty

“There will always be some leaders who choose to manage for the short term … particularly when they hold the highly liquid equity stakes that the leadership of private-sector institutions sometimes receive as part of their compensation. This isn’t a theoretical issue; it has happened.”

Andrew Rossen, quoted in ‘Change.edu’ and the Problem With For-Profits by Robert M. Shireman

I work in the proprietary sector, and I think that Rossen is correct. You cannot offer huge salaries and bonuses for short=term profitability and expect executives and managers to think long-term. In such a situation, as Shireman rightly points out, “The temptations to do ill are unrelenting.” Interestingly, Shireman calls Rosen’s ideas both “refreshingly honest” and “empty.” It’s hard to disagree.

What I don’t like about Shireman, though,  and other critics of the for-profit sector, is that they do not go far enough. This is a systemic problem of neoliberalism’s relentless market religion. It’s certainly true that our sector of the education system needs strong regulation.  At this point in history, though, it should be obvious that the entire system, profit or not, needs similar reforms.

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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