“A very good business opportunity”: the Ohio higher-ed giveaway

An ITT Technical Institute for-profit college location in Chantilly, Virginia on July 6, 2014. Photo Credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar/ Sipa USA
An ITT Technical Institute for-profit college location in Virginia. Photo Credit: Kristoffer Tripplaar/ Sipa USA

This is a complicated story but it’s important if you care about higher education in Ohio and higher-ed trends across the US. University of Akron’s President Scarborough had/has a bold plan to expand the university into satellite campusus—some outside the state—by taking over ITT Tech (the for-profit failure). How would he run them? By outsourcing the work and slapping the U of Akron name on the label.

Now it looks like the outsourcing plan involves a contract with Pearson (just as Ohio public schools abandon Pearson’s crazy-expensive and unpopular PARCC tests after only one year) and that state players at the highest levels—Kasich’s office, Ohio Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger, President of the State Senate Keith Faber, Attorney General Michael DeWine, John Minor who heads up Jobs Ohio, Senators Portman and Brown and Akron’s Congressman Ryan—consulted in the “transaction.” Vinny Gupta, head of the Ohio Board of Regents, “referred to the deal as ‘a very good business opportunity for all the partners at the table.'”

Kasich and these other politicians supported a deal in which Akron, a school in scary decline after huge cuts by its new president, would invest in a sketchy business proposition to take over failing for-profit campuses. And Kasich appoints the members of all Ohio universities’ boards of trustees.