Sticking on the topic of for-profit colleges for another week. There may have been some disagreement over the positive outlook on these schools in last week's blog, but they do seem to be holding up, even in a slow economy. At least the one where I work doesn't appear to be short on prospective students. Anyhow, I'd like to dig back into some older articles over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I'll be tackling the usefulness of teacher tenure, as well as the idea of running schools like businesses -- good or bad idea?
By Jim McGrath
Because of its business model, some may question the reason for governmental scrutiny being placed on for-profit colleges. To fully understand the breadth of the argument from either side, there are several topics to take into consideration.
Scope of the Market
Without question, the for-profit, or proprietary, college industry is a growing business. According to an October 2010 Washington Post article, one of every 10 postsecondary students is now served by this sector of the education market. The report states that roughly 25 percent of federal Pell grant funds go to for-profit school students. In terms of the amount of federal financial aid being dispensed, a December 2010 article from the Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader notes that the share of money received has increased from $4.6 billion in 2000 to $26.5 billion last year.
Another number to consider is 225. This represents the percentage growth of enrollment at 14 publicly traded for-profit college chains between 1998 and 2008, according to a study conducted by the St. Petersburg Times last December. Since 1998, the number of students in these proprietary schools has now reached 1.4 million.
Need for Government Income
According to the same Times study, the for-profit college industry depends on public money, much of it financed from the federal government. In fact, 80 percent of the income collected by these schools is in the form of student loan aid. While representing 25 percent of student borrowers, for-profit students also account for approximately the same percentage of funds borrowed. In short, one-quarter of federal funding goes to students enrolled in proprietary schools. This may explain the concern from the government as to how useful this money is being spent.
Because much of the federal government student aid money is going to for-profit college students, lawmakers at the local and national levels have started to emerge with questions about the usefulness of this type of spending. On the other side, proponents of proprietary education have stepped up their efforts to deflect these criticisms, through the use of advertising campaigns, hiring of lobbyists or position pieces in educational journals and newspapers.
Response from the Obama Administration
Over the past several years, states have put more restrictions on for-profit schools, including acts which make them adhere to the same accreditation standards as non-profit colleges. For example, in Virginia, all non-profit and for-profit colleges are now required to adhere to the standards set by SCHEV (Schools and Colleges of Higher Education in Virginia). This upgrade of accreditation standards, which became required in the late 2000’s forced several for-profit schools to close its doors. Others chose to change their business model, changing their brand name and offering only two and four year degree majors, while dropping its certificate programs. Many adjusted their curriculum to emulate the semester model used by public institutions, thereby allowing for an easier transfer of credits for students who wished to pursue higher education at a four-year school after graduating from the proprietary school.
However, lawmakers in a number of states have noted the higher loan default rate of for-profit school students when compared to their non-profit brethren. Federal data acquired for the Washington Post article show that 11.6 percent of for-profit borrowers default within their first two years, as opposed to six percent from public colleges and four percent from private, non-profit institutions.
Because of this new concern, the Obama administration has taken notice. While continuing to recognize for-profit schools as a way of educating American students and achieving the goal of having the highest percentage (by country) of graduates by 2020, Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education, has agreed to meet with for-profit school owners on a number of issues. According to the Post, among the issues to be discussed will be the plan to implement several rules requiring more disclosure from the schools, especially on topics such as graduation rate, issuing federal aid based on job placements among graduates and prohibiting recruiter payment based solely on the number of students enrolled. Duncan promises flexibility, but says that his department wants to “get it right.”
The for-profit education sector is rapidly growing, but can be expected to face more governmental regulations in the coming months. These new mandates will primarily address the issue of federal financial aid being tied to a school’s job placement rate and requiring for-profit schools to disclose graduation rates. Also, according to a Washington Post article from December 2010, there may be reinforcement of a federal law which prohibits school recruiters from being paid solely based on the number of students they enroll.
In spite of several concerns, including a taxed status and lack of state funding, the future of for-profit, or proprietary, schools looks bright for the foreseeable future.
There are a number of reasons for optimism. Topping the list is demand. President Obama has set a goal of making the United States the largest producing nation of college graduates by 2020. In a May 2010 speech, Education Secretary Arne Duncan echoed Obama’s wish at a policy forum sponsored by a for-profit college, noting the “vital role” that such schools play in training students for jobs. With a tight economy forcing job seekers to acquire new skills, the availability of for-profit colleges remains an appealing option.
One of the reasons for the appeal is the flexibility offered by for-profit institutions. Many of the students who enroll in proprietary schools are adults who work full-time jobs while maintaining families and raising children. The for-profit schools have found success by catering to the needs of the working adult, offering options such as flexible scheduling and online courses. In many cases, an associates or bachelors degree can be earned in less than the two or four years proposed by non-profit colleges. Students can attend school without sacrificing job income or time away from their families.
Another advantage which the for-profit school holds over its non-profit competitors is its status as a business entity. Unlike a public non-profit school, which is largely funded by state supported income, the proprietary school is in direct competition with other schools and must function in a businesslike manner to maintain success. Schools that fail to progress are destined to lose potential students to competitors, similar to any other business. Because of this, for-profit schools are forced to bring a more innovative approach to the educational arena. By introducing new degree programs and course offerings, the for-profit school remains on the “cutting edge” of education.
Because of its business model, for-profit colleges should also remain successful in the future because of their ability to properly utilize funds. Most of the for-profit schools are not required to channel money into athletic programs, student life activities and other non-academic interests. The money received by a proprietary institution is budgeted with a higher percentage geared toward servicing the educational needs of its students.
For-profit schools have gained success and acceptability because of their commitment to vocational training. While adhering to their state educational standards, which have become more stringent, the proprietary school serves its students best by offering specific vocational programs in fields such as paralegal training, medical assistance, and aviation maintenance, which allow a student to train for a specific career rather than a general field. This degree track allows students to complete the requirements in a shorter amount of time, but ready to enter the job market with the skills necessary for their chosen career. This trend should continue in the near future as there are still many students looking for the specific training offered by for-profit schools.
For-profit schools will face challenges in the future. Some of these challenges will come from within as proprietary schools directly compete against each other for students. Other threats will develop as non-profit colleges, facing their own budget cuts, begin to emulate some of the educational models which have been successful with the for-profit schools. However, with more Americans seeking educational alternatives, coupled with an executive administration committed to helping more adults earn college degrees, the future of for-profit schools looks optimistic.
Big boys basketball game in the Bay Rivers District last week. Working on a couple of articles on for-profit schools for next week.
By Jim McGrath Thursday, January 13, 2011
The Falcons entered the sports complex of the “Big Orange” in a precarious position within the Bay Rivers District. Several recent losses had left the team mired in eighth place, battling a 3-5 district mark.
On the other hand, Tabb was soaring among the elite AA teams in Virginia, opening the season with a 10-1 record. Even a pair of close losses to Bishop Sullivan and Walsingham had barely affected the Tigers' ranking, with the team maintaining a third place statewide status in the most recent VirginiaPreps.com Division 4 poll.
But within the first few minutes of last night’s matchup on Big Bethel, it was obvious that Tabb was ready to bring a heaping load of intensity and York was ready to match it.
With the Falcons down 5-2 early, York’s sophomore sensation Brandon Harvell stole an errant pass and rushed down the court en route to what would have been an easy layup. Except he was fouled by Tabb’s Patrick Corbett. Hard. As the vocal York crowd roared its disapproval, the equally vocal Tabb crowd cheered a strong and decisive defensive play from Corbett. In the meantime, Harvell calmly sank both free throw attempts and the teams resumed business.
In the end, intensity was the word of the day. Both teams missed many open jumpers, but followed after the potential rebounds with abandon and vigor with four, sometimes five, players jumping simultaneously after the bouncing ball.
Throughout the game, the lead changed hands. Twice before the end of the first quarter. Five more times before the end of the half. As the teams went into the locker room, underdog York was clinging to a 26-25 lead.
Then it got interesting.
Two free throws early in the third quarter by Chase Gibson bumped the cushion to 32-28, but neither team would lead by more than six for the rest of the game. Each thrust by one team resulted in a parry from the other. As Tabb’s Quinlin McCormick drove to his left for a layup with 15 seconds remaining in the quarter, the margin had been cut back to one, 36-35.
Harvell opened the fourth with a steal and layup, hoping to set the tone for his team. However, Tabb clawed back, making one of two free throws on successive possessions to make the score 38-37. After a York miss, 6’3” senior Cy Cole buried a three-point jumper from the left corner, giving Tabb a 40-38 lead. Another Cole bank shot upped the lead to 42-39. With 3:24 remaining in the game, Will Baggett drained two free throws after a Harvell foul to make the score 46-41, Tabb. After Quinton Martinez made one of two from the charity stripe, junior Joseph Nelson responded with a basket and with 2:36 to go, the Tigers had opened a 48-42 spread.
But the Falcons fought back. Branson Tew buried a three-pointer from the left corner, halving the deficit. Tabb looked to take their time to set up a good shot, but Shaq Rodney was fouled and made one of two. 49-45. A Martinez drive and basket cut the lead to two. Then, Tew stole a pass and drove for a layup to tie the game at 49. Each team exchanged a pair of baskets and the game headed into overtime, tied at 53.
The teams exchanged the lead a couple of times in the first three minutes of overtime, but the outcome was almost decided with 44.7 seconds remaining. Clinging to a 56-54 advantage, Falcon guard Taylor Kinney was fouled by Joseph Nelson, his fifth.
Despite the vocal pressure from the boisterous crowd, Kinney swished both free throws and the four point lead looked to hold.
Tabb’s Baggett disagreed with that assessment and responded with a three-point basket to make the score 58-57 with thirty ticks left on the clock.
York hoped to hold the ball for one last possession, but Rodney fouled Martinez with 17.4 seconds left. The junior made the first shot, but his second attempt bounced off the front of the rim, giving the Tigers one last chance.
Tabb passed around the perimeter, looking for one good shot as time ran out. With six seconds left, Baggett gave his best effort from the top of the key, but fell short and a timeout was called with York in possession.
Immediately off the inbound pass, Rodney fouled Martinez again. But this time, Martinez made the first shot and watched the second roll in from the front of the rim to give the Falcons a four point lead. Tabb scored at the buzzer, but it wasn't enough to grab the win.
When asked about the importance of the win, Falcon coach Jeff Slade noted the importance of the local rivalry and added, “anytime you win against a (Tabb coach) Doug Baggett team, it’s huge.” Reflecting on his team’s possible resurgence, Slade added, “we have five losses within the district. Even though we’re in eighth place, there are some teams with four losses that we're looking up at.”
With the win, York improves to 6-6 (4-5 in the BRD), while Tabb has now lost three straight and drops to 10-4 (8-2 in the BRD). Martinez led the Falcons with 16 points, while Cole paced the Tigers effort with 15.
York (6-6, 4-5 BRD) 16 10 10 17 8 - 61
Tabb (10-4, 8-2 BRD) 14 11 10 18 6 - 59
Our great leaders come from every walk of life. Football season is about to end, and with the Redskins out of the playoff picture, us diehards like to watch the John Riggins show on cable and yearn for yesteryears. Here is a profile I wrote on Joe Gibbs - Hall of Famer and arguably the Skins greatest coach ever.
It is difficult to compile a list of the greatest leaders in sports without giving serious consideration to Joe Gibbs. Gibbs is unique among his peers. As a football coach in the 1980’s and 90’s, he won three Super Bowls as the coach of the Washington Redskins. Only Pittsburgh’s Chuck Noll has won more (4) NFL titles. New England’s Bill Belichick and the late Bill Walsh of the San Francisco 49ers also won three. But Gibbs had the unique accomplishment of winning each Super Bowl with a different quarterback (Joe Theismann -1983, Doug Williams - 1988, and Mark Rypien - 1992).
After the 1992 season, Gibbs retired. Like many ex-coaches, Gibbs made a move toward broadcasting, but there was a surprise behind his story. While most coaches retire from the burnout of 16-18 hour days, Gibbs had other ideas. In 1993, to the surprise of many sports fans, he announced the formation of Joe Gibbs racing, a venture into the competitive, and increasing lucrative, NASCAR auto racing series. Unlike the NFL, the Winston (now Nextel) Cup series begins its season with its most important race, the Daytona 500. In their first major race as a team, Gibbs Racing and its driver, Dale Jarrett captured the Daytona race, an amazing accomplishment for any racing team. For a brand new team without a first tier driver, this was a phenomenal feat.
Although Gibbs made another unsuccessful foray into the NFL, his record as a football coach and racecar owner is unparalleled. He is one of a very select group to have led a team to a championship in two separate endeavors. He has also accomplished this while leading a diverse group of personalities, as bold and brash as Joe Theismann or Tony Stewart, to the low-key and cerebral, such as Jarrett. Along the way, he has shown the capacity to change strategies to help his team’s situation. In football, his Redskin teams were known as a run first, pass later offensive attack during his early years, but may be best known for a Super Bowl record 35 point outburst during the second quarter of Super Bowl XXII against Denver. This barrage of points was due to a heavy passing attack, which was considered to be very unlike Coach Gibbs.
When deciding on a subject, it seemed more sensible to focus on a more traditional type of leader, like a CEO or a general. However, Coach Gibbs has always fascinated me because of his demeanor as a leader in two sports best known for their speed, fast pace and violence. Race drivers have died from accidents and even Theismann’s career ended on a gruesome note, as Giant linebacker Harry Carson landed on his leg during a sack, causing one of the most disgusting breaks ever seen on live television, illuminated by the slow motion replays.
In spite of his environment, Gibbs is a very quiet, low-key individual. He is not a man of few words, but unlike many of his coaching colleagues, all of them could be repeated on television during the family hour. Gibbs is notorious for his religious upbringing, his devotion to Christ and his squeaky clean language. In an interview from the early 1990’s, one Redskin noted that the worst word he ever heard out of Gibbs’ mouth was “buns,” uttered during a halftime pep talk.
Fortunately, Gibbs has been generous in offering his views about leadership and life success. His book, “Game Plan for Life” begins with a large dose of humility from its principal author. Says Gibbs,
· “But despite what a few sportswriters and a kind business associate or two have said along the way, I'm about as far from being an intellectual as you can get. I was a P.E. major. You know, physical education: ballroom dancing and handball!”
He goes on to note that it should be no surprise that his name is Joe, as he is as average as any other man, and aside from three Super Bowl wins and three NASCAR championships, he is really not much different from anybody else.
Gibbs’ two greatest leadership traits are determination and integrity. As a coach, his nights at Redskins Park were long and legendary. The story of the coach sleeping in his office three nights a week are true as is the story of Gibbs taking a nap on the locker room floor right before a crucial playoff game. His integrity is based on Christian-centered beliefs.
In terms of leadership theory, Gibbs adheres to two main focal points. He emphasizes the importance of having a game plan. In his model, the coach contrasts his former position as the guy on the sideline with the white pad in hand to one of his crew chiefs on the NASCAR circuit, also noted by a headset and white drawing board. He believes in making the plan and most importantly, sticking to it.
However, Gibbs’ leadership theory also is contingent on working with the best people available. He notes the importance of finding the best man for the job. While not a gender friendly term, he is quick to note that he is known for his work with men on the football field and the racetrack. He believes in giving the man a plan and allowing him the opportunity to see it to completion.
This ability to lean on others has worked best with the skills model. Gibbs’ teams have been well known for their ability to adjust on the “fly,” whether it was during halftime of a football game, or in the pits at Darlington. One theory behind the Redskins to reach the Super Bowl during Gibbs’ second stint suggested that the shortening of halftime from 15 to 12 teams affected his team’s ability to make adjustments. The art of making a quick adjustment is problem solving at its best. Because it involves everyone’s input, the style would best resemble Team Management on Blake and Mouton’s Leadership Grid.
The personal qualities that attribute to Gibbs’ success are rooted in his religious convictions, but his loyalty to colleagues and devotion to family cannot be overlooked. Looking at the old Redskin coaching staff from the first and second Gibbs eras, there were a lot of the same coaches, even though Gibbs went 12 years between jobs.
Coach Gibbs was assisted in his quest to become a successful leader with the help of some quality mentors. His best-known assistantship came with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he became a disciple of the offensive system used by head coach Don Coryell. Coryell’s system, nicknamed “Air Coryell,” was the precursor to today’s West Coast offense. Although Gibbs added a pounding running game to the system, he could adjust and alter his system to pass first, when the circumstances and personnel allowed. Gibbs was also surrounded by great by a great football team owner in Jack Kent Cooke, and a quality general manger with Bobby Beathard. Although Beathard and Gibbs often had differences in which personnel to draft or trade for, they agreed often enough to develop and maintain a strong team, one that went 140-65 over a 12-year period. In fact, during the players’ strike of 1987, the free agents drafted by the two allowed the Redskins to win all three of their games without their regular players, including a stunning upset of the Dallas Cowboys, who had seven of their players come back to the team for the game. The Redskins success during the strike was the basis for the movie “The Replacements” starring Keanu Reeves.
It is easy to determine the rewards that Gibbs has earned from his success as a leader. Three Super Bowl wins have translated into three Super Bowl rings and a lucrative coaching salary. After his first retirement, Gibbs signed on as an analyst for CBS Sports and earned five figure sums to speak to groups of businessmen. His net wealth is not known, but the cost of starting a NASCAR team is known to cost $10-15 million dollars. It is known that when Gibbs returned to the Redskins in 2002, his contract as for five years and $25 million.
Yet, like most great leaders, Gibbs had to make great sacrifices. In his case, the main sacrifice was family, but only for the first part of his career. Between July and January, Gibbs was known to sleep in his office three nights a week, and was notorious for his response to a question about Oliver North during the 1988 Iran-Contra hearings. Gibbs had no idea who Lt. Col. North was. His wife Pat had to accept the role of both parents, lugging sons J.D and Coy to football practices and other activities.
In later life Gibbs evened the score. When he formed Joe Gibbs Racing, he was determined to make it a family affair. In doing so, he made one son the president of the company, and the other took charge of the racing division. Gibbs still serves as CEO of Joe Gibbs Racing, but defers all business decisions to his sons. It was his inactivity with his own company that allowed him the time to come back and coach the Redskins for four years recently.
In 2009, Gibbs had retired from football again and decided to collaborate with his fellow leaders in football and business to brainstorm ideas on what makes for a successful life. This meeting of the minds turned into the book “Game Plan” and was published earlier this year.
Summary from the recent championship games from a local pee-wee footbll league. From wydaily.com and 92.3 Tide Radio
By Jim McGrath
The future of high school football on the Peninsula was on proud display last Saturday as the Peninsula Youth Football Association (PYFA) hosted its annual Super Bowl at Wanner Stadium in James City County.
The league, now in its 51st year, has expanded from a four-team York County league to an organization with 61 teams representing 14 leagues from around the Peninsula, as well as Gloucester. In all, over 1,600 athletes and nearly 800 cheerleaders participate in what the league likes to call the “Best Game in Town.”
As evidenced by Saturday’s action, the product is a success. Over 1,000 fans were in attendance at the final game in the junior division between the Back River Patriots and Gloucester White Knights. From the enthusiastic supporters of Back River banging thunder sticks together to the phenomenal rendition of the National Anthem and halftime cheerleading shows, the game had all the energy of a Bay Rivers playoff contest. And the level of football was surprisingly high from a team of 12-14 year olds, featuring high school sets on offense, flea flickers and precision passing rarely even seen at high school games.
In that final game, Back River rallied behind a rugged defense to withstand a late White Knight rally and defeat the Gloucester squad 12-0. Cole Walker and Ethan Bryce scored for the Panthers who finished the season undefeated at 12-0. With the loss, Gloucester finished its season with an 11-2 mark.
In other action, the 10-11 midgets age group saw a mild upset as the Williamsburg Green Hornets (12-1) defeated a previously undefeated Patriots team from Yorktown 14-6. The Hornets took an early 6-0 lead, but just before halftime, the Hornets Malcom Lee followed a wall of blockers to break away for a 63 yard touchdown run. An early second half Patriot fumble was recovered by Caden Darber at the Yorktown 11. Three plays later Rashaun Jones plowed in for the touchdown. The Patriots finished the season 11-1.
Other champions included the Back River Panthers, who defeated the Williamsburg Hornets 20-0 to capture the Mite (6-7) division, while the Poquoson Bulls won the Mighty Mites (8-9) crown with a hard fought 13-6 win over Yorktown.