Reading about Senator Tom Harkin's investigations into for-profit higher education reminds me of the leeriness I had when I got a teaching job at a FP here in the Twin Cities. I had forgotten that leeriness, but if I ever needed a reminder, I get one every day at this workplace. I had a student say she may have $70,000 in student loan debt, a fraction of mine. When she said this, I had to bite my tongue from saying, "It's about $300 a credit at the community colleges."
The below comment parallels a lot of the feelings I have on the subject. I would phrase the final argument differently: not only do the corporate managers not care if people are learning or not, if it was more lucrative to teach students ignorance and lies, they'd jump at the market demand.
Oddly enough, I was doing some work after a recent class, and a prospective student was being shown around by an admissions representative. "Many of our faculty work in their industries as well," he said. Interesting way to "sell" adjunct-contingent status to prospects. I just started watching Glengarry Glenross; at the FPs, the action is in the marketing, admissions, and financial aid departments. Faculty are a necessary evil.
I work in a for-profit college. Firsthand experience. We faculty have less and less say over curriculum. We lack autonomy and a say over the pace and character of our work. If it's alienating for faculty it is definitely less than the best for students. When the for-profits proclaim that they are taking power away from faculty and giving it to students, that is not just a euphemism. It has recently been shown to be a lie.
They are actually disempowering students largely by deprofessionalizing faculty in order to shift power to management, a Wall Street demand. Wall Street cares not a whit whether students are learning, thinking and being "drawn forth," educationally speaking. Wall Street looks at short-term margins.