Wake Up, Virginia Democrats


    Brian Moran denies the reality he represents an industry that preys on the unfortunate. He defends businesses promising outcomes that are highly improbable; betraying the goodwill and trust of the American people. As their agent, he facilitates what is de facto fraud. Where’s the outrage from Virginia Democrats? Here’s mine.

    Benson Rollins wants a college degree. The unemployed high school dropout who attends Alcoholics Anonymous and has been homeless for 10 months is being courted by the University of Phoenix. Two of its recruiters got themselves invited to a Cleveland shelter last October and pitched the advantages of going to the country’s largest for-profit college to 70 destitute men. – Business Week

    What we have here, is a state party chairman who shamelessly defends an industry that dredges federal funds by trolling for the homeless and despairing in an effort to siphon entitlements and grants you and I provide in the belief they may rehabilitate fellow citizens. What is more worrisome than Moran’s (and, thus, the DPVA’s) vulnerability to criticism for hypocrisy (because it will be hard to find a Democratic candidate who will defend these thugs) in the next cycle, is that Moran may lead the Party lurching backwards. Recall: Brian Moran unabashedly supports Virginia’s “Right-to-Work” laws. It all fits nicely: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.  

    This is about the heart and soul of the Democratic Party in Virginia. This is a moral issue. It is an issue of character. It is a conundrum for progressives who expect camaraderie and common purpose when among Democrats. Accepting any of the rationalizations for the for-profit “educational” sector is contrary to logic, good sense, and fairness. Fairness: something that used to reliably separate the two major parties. The for-profit “educational” sector is filled with oxygen thieves and charlatans. And the Democratic Party in Virginia, by embracing Brian Moran’s “leadership,” stands ready to march rearward in league with the Republican Party, away from the values that once distinguished it.

    “For-profit colleges took in $7.6 billion last year in Pell Grants — federal higher-education money for low-income individuals — more than triple the amount in 1998-1999, according to Education Department data. In the 2008-2009 school year, about 25 percent of the 6 million students who got Pell money attended a for-profit college, according to the department.” – Bloomberg

    Business Week points out that a real college education couldn’t deliver the elusive promises of these vulturine predators. In one case a recovering crack cocaine addict who has served several prison terms for drug offenses was in a shelter and looking online for work when she saw an ad that led her to the Web site of for-profit school ECPI College of Technology based in our very own Virginia Beach. She applied, passed a placement test, and started ECPI’s medical administration program last March. The mother of four is borrowing about half of the $23,000 tab from the federal government, with grants and scholarships paying the rest. ECPI officials are aware of her background. They “guarantee (her) a job in the field.” That is simply not realistic. Her history is a red flag for health-care employers. But ECPI President Mark Dreyfus said she has a shot because not all employers check backgrounds and she could process records in a back office where drugs aren’t accessible. …because not all employers check backgrounds…; a threshold confession that her background is a barrier to employment in the field the “institution” accepted her for admission.

    …schools see nothing wrong with reaching out to the disadvantaged. “We don’t exclusively target the homeless,” says Ziad Fadel, CEO of Drake, which also sends recruiters to welfare and employment agencies. “We are in a community that is low-income and happens to have a lot of people on welfare.”

    Brian Moran has the “right-to-work” for whomever he desires; family to feed, bills to pay, all that. That is not the issue. It is quite possible that he believes the drivel he delivers about for-profit “education.” That further disqualifies him if he does, by the way. The issue is that if the DPVA can hold him up as a representative, it can accept the tarnish of his associations. If it can do that, it can betray any or all of its constituency.

    In the end, Benson Rollins didn’t succumb to Phoenix’s hard sell. He is taking a class for his high school equivalency degree and hopes to study law enforcement in college. For now, he would like a job so he can pay child support for his one-year-old daughter, whom he rarely sees.

    The Phoenix recruiters, he says, failed to mention a critical point: He would have to take out a government loan at 5% to 7% interest to pay the $10,000-plus annual tuition. “I’m in a homeless shelter, and money is hard to come by,” Rollins says. “It’s not worth going to school to end up in debt.”

    The facts point to Benson Rollins being stronger, smarter, and truer to his values than Brian Moran. Or maybe Brian Moran doesn’t hold Democratic values. Maybe the DPVA should invite Benson Rollins to Virginia.