MINNEAPOLIS — An education crisis largely orchestrated by neoconservatives in both the Republican and Democratic Parties, has left some of the country’s oldest and most prestigious public universities struggling under deep cuts and severe budget shortfalls.
Although these cuts are driven mostly by conservative think tanks, the changing face of education isn’t just about austerity. It’s no coincidence that some of the deepest cuts have come against social sciences, the humanities, and the arts — all subjects that are traditionally the target of some of the GOP’s harshest critics. And despite these staggering cuts, football coaches continue to earn massive salaries.
Simultaneously, thanks to rising tuition costs and a poor job market, students are struggling under record-breaking levels of debt. It’s an economic bubble that some predict could burst with devastating effects similar to the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis.
Our old friends at Wall Street are ready to step into the gaps created by the neocons’ cuts, offering a new form of education that treats learning as a commodity and students as consumers. Neocons in Congress have argued for allowing more for-profit universities to receive accreditation, while the “Investing In Student Success Act” would see students become indentured servants of big corporations in return for their education.
To learn more about the devastating effect this is having on young people’s futures, I am joined today by Steve Mims, the writer and director of “Starving The Beast,” a 2016 documentary about the privatization of public education that premiered in March at the SXSW Film Festival. I asked him to explain how think tanks like The Heritage Foundation want to transform education, and what’s really wrong with more for-profit colleges?
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