Shake your money maker

This is genuinely troubling (via):

The Washington Post company is most identified with its newspaper, the Washington Post. But in fact its biggest source of revenue is its Kaplan subsidiary. Kaplan, in turn, is primarily identified with test prep work.

[….]

Fairly reasonably, the Obama administration has proposed that taxpayers stop subsidizing programs with dismal performance rates. That way educational entrepreneurs at places like the Post will have to work on making sure they’re delivering some real value to their customers. Also quote reasonable, the Post would prefer to keep on getting free money from taxpayers and thus “spent $350,000 on lobbying in the third quarter of this year, more than any other higher-education company.”

But what’s more, Donald Graham has personally “gone to Capitol Hill to argue against the regulations in private visits with lawmakers” and just to make the full scope of his interest in the issue clear “[h]is newspaper, too, has editorialized against the regulations.” Meanwhile, it looks like the new GOP majority in the House of Representatives has decided that taxpayer subsidies to low-performing for-profit colleges like Kaplan is one of the forms of wasteful government spending they like. And presumably every member of congress is now on notice that the city’s most influential newspaper is prepared to go to bat for its corporate partners.

As national newspapers become increasingly unprofitable, it may be that their only value is as a source of prestigious-sounding propaganda in the service of the money-making branches of the conglomerates that own them.

24 replies
  1. 1
    jacy says:

    You’re just noticing this? It’s the wave of the future, self-publicizing diploma mills. You don’t even have to make a weekend trip to Central America to get a degree anymore!

    I tell you, someday Mike Judge will be hailed as a modern-day Nostradamus. Unless we’re all living in caves and eating our neighbors, which is a distinct possibility.

  2. 2
    Joe Beese says:

    Fairly reasonably, the Obama administration has proposed that taxpayers stop subsidizing programs with dismal performance rates.

    I’m on board.

    First up: Defunding the Pentagon.

  3. 3
    Citizen Alan says:

    Wonderful. The Foxification of the American Media continues.

  4. 4
    Dexter says:

    I initially read the headline as “Shake your monkey maker”.

  5. 5
    Zandar says:

    “As national newspapers become increasingly unprofitable, it may be that their own value is as a source of prestigious-sounding propaganda in the service of the money-making branches of the conglomerates that own them.”

    Also the sun is generally hot and made of fusion.

    Next thing you know they’ll be doing that with niche cable stations and internet news sites.

  6. 6
    Blackfrancis says:

    OT but wow.

    Boy howdy, Google has done it now! The company’s special Veterans Day logo this year, you see, features a mysterious crescent shape. And you know who loves crescent shapes? The Muslims. Yeah, some people are actually upset about this.

    http://gawker.com/5687649/does.....u#comments

    My head hurts from hitting it against my desk. Perhaps these people were edumacated at Kaplan?

  7. 7

    This might be a good place to insert a good word for 2-year community colleges. They can offer everything that Kaplan does, they are accredited, they have good instructors, they are cheaper than the private schools, and they even offer online classes. Win-win-win, etc.

  8. 8
    BGinCHI says:

    I’m moving to Nigeria where they have less corruption.

  9. 9

    @Blackfrancis:

    Google:

    Lots of snark in the comments.

  10. 10
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Blackfrancis:

    Google is the schach that Ror’d. I see a teeny debil’s horn o_O

  11. 11
    Blackfrancis says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Community colleges can be a great thing (disclaimer: my s.o. works at one as a psych Prof.) cheaper, and a great bridge to a four year school for many unconventional students.

  12. 12
    El Cid says:

    This is impossible.

    As national newspapers become increasingly unprofitable, it may be that their own value is as a source of prestigious-sounding propaganda in the service of the money-making branches of the conglomerates that own them.

    I have repeatedly been told that there is an impenetrable wall between the news and editorial departments and their advertising departments and overall ownership.

    Therefore, this cannot be a problem and there will never be a conflict of interest.

  13. 13
    jacy says:

    @BGinCHI:

    I’m moving to Nigeria where they have less corruption.

    For a nominal fee, I can introduce you to a prince I know there. Connections, I haz them.

  14. 14
    Bullsmith says:

    The Washington Times has been a massive money loser since day one. But not only has it helped push Washington further and further right, it has seemingly transformed the Rev. Moon from a scary cult leader to a pillar of the American establishment, able to inject his chosen talking points directly into the veins of mainstream media.

    Money well spent.

  15. 15
    BGinCHI says:

    @jacy: This sounds promising.

    First though, if you could send me $100,000, so that I could secure an even bigger fortune for you, through my law firm Cheatham & Howe, that would be most agreeable.

    Plus, diamonds.

  16. 16
    Cris says:

    @Blackfrancis: One of the tweets on that Gawker post is from Ruben Bolling. There must be shenanigans afoot.

  17. 17
    Tom Hilton says:

    Meanwhile, Olbermann had Howie Kurtz on yesterday to scold him for donating money, and Kurtz scoffed at the notion that the people at the top of the corporation have any influence on the news. That’s crazy talk!

    Unmentioned by any of them: the fact that Howie’s wife is a Republican consultant.

  18. 18
    Rick Massimo says:

    Fairly reasonably, the Obama administration has proposed that taxpayers stop subsidizing programs with dismal performance rates. That way educational entrepreneurs at places like the Post will have to work on making sure they’re delivering some real value to their customers.

    They really won’t rest until every single aspect of American society that actually WOULD benefit from free-market competition is under the direct control of the government and every aspect that should be kept out of the marketplace is completely unregulated in any way.

  19. 19
    R-Jud says:

    Regarding the for-profit universities in general, there was a piece on Gawker today by Joe Cook discussing how the NSA trains a lot of its workers at these places.

    Another Department of Defense operation, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which is the U.S. military’s “official combat support agency for countering weapons of mass destruction,” has sent staffers to Kaplan University, Strayer, and University of Phoenix as well, according to records.

    So you have these companies eating up our tax dollars in loans for average Joes AND adding to our already catastrophically bloated defense spending by charging the DoD to train people. Woo-ha.

  20. 20
    Steve Finlay says:

    My “moonlighting” job is at Kaplan Test Prep. Actually, Kaplan can’t do anything that a 2 year community college does, because we don’t offer any degree or diploma programs. The only thing that we do is prepare you to write ADMISSION tests. Our performance in that area (which is measured by what scores the students get when they write the tests) is actually very good. But it does not mean that the students learned anything about what they are GOING to study after they get into whatever school they are admitted to.

    Maybe the US government gives subsidies to this kind of teaching, but I doubt it. I would think that a private school has to offer some sort of diploma, certificate or degree before it could get any money.

    One of the frustrating things about working at Kaplan is watching the Washington Post suck up our profits, rather than investing them in making our courses and materials better. Those of us who teach for the GMAT can figure out financial statements, and the WaPo statements show that Kaplan contributes about 200% of the company’s profits. I don’t think that Stanley, God rest his soul, would be happy about this.

  21. 21
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Steve Finlay:

    I hate to break it to you, but your parent company does, in fact, run for-profit schools that people can get student loans to attend.

  22. 22

    My girlfriend read this article earlier and told me about it. She wrote this in response, not only to the article, but also about the consumer model of education in general.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Steve Finlay says:

    Thanks, Mnemosyne. I stand corrected!

Comments are closed.