Sunday, June 5, 2016

Donald Trump Carrying Out Vendetta Against Obama Over Trump University

Julianne Hing of The Nation writes that Donald Trump’s racist tirades against Judge Curiel deflect from the larger issue of for-profit colleges and universities.

It was a classic Trump move: create bogeymen out of thin air in order to prop up his self-imagined victimhood; home in on a person’s race or sex as the basis for his attacks; and then antagonize as a form of diversion from the matter at hand. That matter would be Trump University, the mogul’s real-estate courses that purportedly taught customers how to become like Trump, for as much as $35,000, or starting at the low, low price of $1,495. The lawsuit alleges that far from teaching students actual real-estate expertise, Trump ran a fraudulent business scheme.

Throughout the 2000’s, there were all these TV commercials from private universities saying how easy it would be to get your degree. One in particular showed this young lady at a job interview trying to convince the interviewer that she should have the job because she’s got a brilliant personality. Naturally, Donald Trump wanted to get in on the action.

Take, for instance, the 2010 Senate testimony of Joshua Pruyn, a former admissions representative for Westwood College, a for-profit chain of, at the time, 17 campuses. Pruyn was technically an admissions advisor, but in reality his position was that of a glorified sales rep. “During the interview, we were taught to portray ourselves as advisors looking out for the students’ best interests and ensuring they were a good fit for the school. This fake interview would allow the representative to ask students questions to uncover a student’s motivators and pain points—their hopes, fears, and insecurities—all of which would later be used to pressure a student to enroll,” Pruyn testified.
The for-profit schools industry targeted people of color, poor people, and veterans because they more likely to be eligible for public financial aid like Pell Grants. This much-parodied Everest College commercial should be very familiar with anyone who watches daytime television.

Donald Trump, of course, used these tactics to get people to sign up. No money? No problem; all you had to do was max out your credit card. The instructors were handpicked by Donald Trump (false) and you would get in on all his secrets about selling real estate. The catch was that if you had a lot of questions you couldn’t figure out, you had to sign up for even more expensive courses.

One episode on The Apprentice showed the low opinion Donald Trump has about higher education. He ordered his two teams to teach a class — that was the only instruction or guidance they had. I’ve always maintained that either you connect with a student or you don’t. But having gotten a teaching degree, I can say for a fact that you can’t always go into a teaching setting and expect to be good at it. Neither group scored particularly well; one group picked a good topic but botched up the lesson; the other picked a bland topic but presented it really well. You have to know the law, you have to know how to manage your students, you have to know how to prepare and assess, you have to know how to maintain discipline. And even with 4-6 years of preparation, your preparation does not cover every possible situation that can occur.

I submit that Donald Trump flirted with the White House in 2012 and is running now in part because he has a personal vendetta against Obama over this issue. After 2010-11, the President began cracking down hard on these private universities, the year after he got in on the action. Some private universities are good, but others are just in the business of taking your money. I submit that if they are not willing to do the hard work of proving that they offer value to the student in return for their money, they should not be in business.

Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, while their plans are not perfect, offer improvements on the present situation. Both are far superior to Donald Trump and his plan to fleece people out of their money through more outfits like Trump “University.” Hillary Clinton’s plan:

Students should never have to borrow to pay for tuition, books, and fees to attend a four-year public college in their state under the New College Compact. Pell Grants are not included in the calculation of no-debt-tuition, so Pell recipients will be able to use their grants fully for living expenses. Students at community college will receive free tuition.

Students will do their part by contributing their earnings from working 10 hours a week.

Families will do their part by making an affordable and realistic family contribution.

The federal government will make a major investment in the New College Compact by providing grants to states that commit to these goals, and by cutting interest rates on loans.

States will have to step up and meet their obligation to invest in higher education by maintaining current levels of higher education funding and reinvesting over time.

Colleges and universities will be accountable for improving outcomes and controlling costs to ensure that tuition is affordable and that students who invest in college leave with a degree.

We will encourage innovators who design imaginative new ways of providing a valuable college education to students—while cracking down on abusive practices that burden students with debt without value.

A $25 billion fund will support HBCUs, HSIs, and other MSIs serving a high percentage of Pell Grant recipients to help lower the cost of attendance and improve student outcomes at low-cost, modest-endowment nonprofit private schools.

Hillary’s plan is not perfect because it expects states to contribute. This could lead to another situation down the road where states could refuse to pay their fair share, and the courts agree with them similar to what happened to Obamacare. Also, Hillary’s plan to have students work 10 hours a week could create a lot more competition for jobs, meaning that many would be left out — and still be saddled with debt when they leave college. A lot depends on the college and class, but some courses are particularly rigorous or the concepts are completely foreign, making it challenging for certain students to balance work and classroom instruction.

While Hillary’s plan would cover community college and room and board, Bernie’s plan would cover tuition.

Bernie introduced the College for All Act, which would “eliminate the $70 billion dollar tuition costs at all 4-year public colleges and universities.” To qualify, states would have to foot 33 percent of the bill (the federal government would sponsor the rest) and take various steps to maintain or increase expenditure on improving opportunities for students and faculty.

He would also pay for it with a Robin Hood Tax on financial speculation. Like Hillary’s plan, Bernie’s plan would risk Republican governors and legislatures opting out for political reasons like they are with Obamacare, leaving millions in the lurch. In other words, both plans would make headway, but would not completely address the problem of student debt.

On the other hand, both plans would be light years better than what Donald Trump would offer. He would abolish the Department of Education completely.

Trump didn’t go into detail of what he meant by local education or how to educate the children from South Carolina and New York, but he’s fairly certain that he would rid the country of the Department of Education.
For what it’s worth, the Department of Education might be marred down in bureaucracy like other government departments, but it still has significance. From early education to student loan reform to watching over for-profit schools and how well students are treated, the Dept. of Ed certainly has its place. It’s how low-income students receive Pell grants and how we keep track of school performance. Some federal oversight is needed when it comes to a benchmarked way of monitoring education in America.
Trump also failed to mention, or wasn’t given an opportunity, how he would regulate or monitor education in this country. Likely believing that principles of the free market will work for education, his ideas surrounding education are far too lightweight at the moment to believe that a Trump presidency would be good for students in America.

So, Donald Trump would not regulate it at all. Let the free markets decide. That would allow Donald Trump to restart Trump University and let it run rampant since there would no longer be a US Department of Education to regulate them. If George Bush fleeced the treasury of trillions to pursue his personal vendetta against Saddam,Donald Trump would not only fleece the treasury, he would fleece all of us through Trump University and other such outfits.

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