Why Inside Higher Ed Faces a Dubious Future
The full text of Halperin's article is available here.
Fredrik deBoer is a doctoral candidate in rhetoric and composition at Purdue University. He has given me permission to re-publish a post to his personal blog that he made on the Quad Partners' purchase of a controlling interest in Inside Higher Ed. I think that he cogently and succinctly delineates the main concerns that everyone should have:
Of course, the former and new primary owners of Inside Higher Ed are bending over backwards to reassure everyone that the change in ownership will have no effect of the publication's editorial emphasis and content. But the conflicts of interest that Fredrik deBoer describes as possibilities seem very likely to become certainties given the background of Quad Partners founder Lincoln Frank.
In May 2012, David Haplerin wrote another article that focused on Frank. The article, "Aggressive Subprime College Industry Lobby Group Ratchets Down For Now," was published on the website Republic Report. The full text of the article is available at: http://www.republicreport.org/2012/subprime-lobbyists-giveup/#sthash.xl0Kjn0t.dpuf.
It turns out that Lincoln Frank has not just been an outspoken critic of regulation of for-profit colleges. With Avy Stein, the CEO of the Education Corporation of America, Frank co-founded the for-profit advocacy group, the Coalition for Educational Success (CES). Halperin's article follows up on a piece that was published in The Hill, describing the massive decline in the CES's lobbying expenditures from 2011 to 2012:
In retrospect, it seem clear that the CES anticipated the negative attention to the for-profit industry that was almost certain to accompany and follow the release of the Harkin Report on for-profit colleges and universities. In that context, expending large sums on lobbying would have been foolhardy.
Moreover, given the very substantial investment that Quad Partners has just made in Inside Higher Ed, one cannot help but think that the leadership of the CES came to the conclusion that it might be much cheaper and more effective to counter the criticism of the for-profit industry by purchasing a controlling share of one of the leading higher-education publications than by directing those monies toward lobbying.
But even if Frank did not have the connection to the CES, this change in ownership would be very problematic for Inside Higher Ed. Over its history, Inside Higher Ed has made considerable efforts to provide independent and credible coverage of issues in higher education. Indeed, it has acquired sufficient stature to cover all sectors of higher education, from community and technical colleges to top-tier doctoral institutions, with equal credibility.
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