News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Regents: the coyotes watching the foxes raid the henhouse

When the state Department of Education canceled Its contract with the Mid-Central Educational Cooperative to administer the multi-million dollar federal grant for the Gear Up program, it proposed turning the administration of that grant over to the Board of Regents.  Which it did.  There were murmurs of approval in the press and the internet posts, as if the problem with the wasteful and apparently greed-syphoned dispersal of those funds was solved. 

A number of stories and letters bloomed forth extolling the virtue of the program and  the people who delivered it.  When it comes to the people who actually deliver programs to students that benefit them and help them advance to a more accomplished status of education,  those people are for the most part diligent and effective.  But trying to redeem a program on the basis of their honest, productive  work misses the point.  The  Mid-Central administrators set up a layer of incorporated sub-administrators to insure that the trickle-down theory was in operation.  Instead of seeing that a healthy, clear and steady stream of finances flow down to the delivery points of the Gear Up program, it set up an apparatus of diversion that directed the money to  executive basins, which allowed only a measly trickle through to the intended recipients of the program.  It fully committed the program to being run like a business, which meant that the CEOs, or those who think of themselves as such, would capture a  large portion of the cash for themselves and their sycophants who assisted them in the capture.  

This is not to say that all of those who oversee educational programs connive ways to serve their greed.  Many are after power and the prestige of having a bevy of underlings to fuck over, to put the motive most precisely.  They are the ones who deeply resent the idea of being equal to those over whom they rule.  

When people say that educational enterprises need to be run like a business, they are setting up the justifications which lead to the exercise of power and the raiding of treasuries.  Their rationales are listed on an internet site which purports to list those values and philosophies which distinguish capitalism from communism.  Those distinctions are:


  • Driven by free enterprise 
  • Wealth distributed unevenly 
  • Class distinctions: upper class, middle class and working class 
  • When people compete against one another, they achieve greater things 
  • Some people have more than others because they make better use of their abilities 
  • Governments should not interfere with the rights of individuals to make their own living 
  • The government should interfere in the economy as little as possible 
And that leads to the reasons why putting the Regents in charge of administering the Gear Up grant is absurd.  Perhaps, duplicitous.  The Regents are the ones who set up the mechanisms for the EB-5 scandal.  In 1991, they established the Center for Excellence in International Business at NSU, which puzzled the state's faculty and most of the administrators on sister campuses.  Then in 1994, the Regents incorporated the South Dakota International Business Institute, which became the facility for raising the EB-5 funds and the schemes those funds were to finance.  A university had become an arm in the activities which, according to the preachers of predatory, anti-demoractic capitalism, serve their ideology and their motive.  

So, now the designers and advocates of that scheme are the overseers of the federal Gear Up funds.  

First of all, there exists a philosophy of honest capitalism in which businesses compete to create the best goods and services for the consumer.  But according to the canons of predatory capitalism, as listed above, businesses should be allowed to compete without government interference in the  generation of wealth by any means it devises,  even when the money it is after comes from the government .  Predatory capitalism's primary need is to refute the principles of democracy.  

In the 1980s when Gov. Janklow purged the Board of Regents of anyone who represented education at its delivery point,  he stacked the board with people who saw professors and other teachers as the working class that needed to be ruled by the overclass.  

After this coups,  I was on the negotiating team for the faculty with the Board of Regent.  Their side had a member from the business office of the Regents who constantly complained that the faculty thought it had a mission and place in society different from the rest of workers.  Explanations that all professions have rules of ethics and procedure and specially defined relationships with their clients that guide their responsibilities were dismissed by him as pretenses.  He represented the Regent's philosophy and attitude toward their professors and their institutions,  which was that the essential goal of education was to prepare docile, obedient workers to make the job of ruling by the overclass easier.  The underlying notion was that higher education was to further the schemes of capitalism, making no distinction between democratic enterprises and those of predatory and parasitic classes.

So, the body which created an entity within the higher education system for the function of advancing predation and parasitism of educational funds is now in charge of  the Gear Up grant.  

At one time,  I thought that South Dakota higher education could be improved if the Regents were elected rather than appointed.  But a plurality of the electorate clearly believes in running education like a business.  If students have no other opportunity,  I point out that there are people of competence and integrity at the delivery points of education.   But if they want the knowledge and experience of an education committed to the democratic principles in our nation's founding documents,  they should look elsewhere than the institutions under the direction of the state's educational bureaucracy. In South Dakota where  they are likely to to get caught up in one of its fraudulent schemes.  

1 comment:

Kathy Tyler said...

Totally agree. When I saw that the BOR was taking over GEAR, I just about cried. Thanks for the post.

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