Just a quick hit to remind everyone that while the criminal investigation of Trump and co. widens, they’re still pissing on us at every opportunity, and calling it rain.
So how’s this: it’s going to be legal again/stay OK for profit-making higher ed to rip off their students/protect the banksters:
The U.S. Department of Education is hitting pause on two of the Obama administration’s primary rules aimed at reining in for-profit colleges.
Department officials said they will block a rule, set to take effect next month, that clarifies how student borrowers can have their loans forgiven if they were defrauded or misled by their college. The plan was first reported by Inside Higher Ed Wednesday.
The Trump administration will pursue a do-over of the rule-making process that produced that regulation, known as borrower defense to repayment, as well as the gainful-employment rule. The latter holds vocational programs at all institutions and all programs at for-profits accountable when they produce graduates with burdensome student loan debt.
Given that college debt is one of the most iron-clad ways to crush upward mobility, this is another move by Trump and the grotesque DeVos to ensure that the current class structure in the United States remains intact.
Putting this in the long view: the GI Bill, followed by the prioritization of public higher education in the 60s by leaders like Governor Pat Brown of California and Governor George Romney of Michigan, put first class advanced education and training within reach of an unprecedented amount of Americans. The retreat from that ideal led by (mostly but not exclusively) Republican state governments, beginning with Reagan in California and then in the White House, have incrementally narrowed that opportunity. Now, the combinatio of cost and constraints on access meant that the debt involved makes higher education as much or more a burden as it is the engine of a better life.
Today’s Republican party is just fine with that. DeVos is not an outlier; this isn’t on Trump, or only on him. The idea that higher ed (or education in general) is a business in which students are the product on whom to make a profit is utterly destructive of either a democratic ideal or any plausible concept of social justice. And it is the core tenet of today’s radical conservatives calling themselves members of the Party of Lincoln.
One last thought: I had dinner last week with a Democratic Party senior statesman. He told me that in his view we’ve made the mistake of thinking better policies are argument enough for elections. They’re not; we surely know that now, right?
Instead we have to convey something more, the framework in which specific good policies can work. DeVos’ current obscenity gives us a hint as to what that might be. Republicans throw obstacles in the way of Americans making better lives. Democrats are — and we should say so as loud as we can — the party of opportunity.
At least that’s my take. I know it’s hardly original. But whatever the particular frame you may favor, I think one of our biggest needs right now is to find a way to both describe and be (ever more) the party that can lay claim to affirmative allegiance, and not just the true fact that we are better than the other side. Your feeling?
(Oh — and happy Father’s Day, all. This thread should be open enough to tell us your plans, completed or still in prospect, for the day. Mine? Pick up one of the rib-eyes on sale at Whole Paycheck today, and smoke it in the Weber egg.)
Image: Winslow Homer, The Country School, 1871