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Deducing Bias

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PBS/Frontline’s College, Inc. believes it’s masterfully crafted an editorial that hacks away profit-based schooling with a snow shoe but accidentally opens its own achilles on the way to the washroom. PBS has a water-tight tactic where it makes very good arguments that nobody could disagree with. In this documentary, we get all these:

  • Private universities pick up the excess demand for schooling.
  • Private universities offer loans to students, and sometimes students can’t pay off these loans.
  • If private universities breach contract, they should be sued.
  • Private universities cannot operate without money.

If you replace “private” with “public” above, everything is still true. This is a good sign. PBS and I have some sort of theory on education that we can agree on. You’d think PBS has a winning formula here, but their documentaries start getting kind of snowy at the 20-minute mark. They introduce people who came upon hard times, corporate malfeasance, etc., all meant to stir up emotion but not enough to make much of an argument, which translates to junk food education. I’d expect these documentaries to pop up at 3am on Cable Access 27, but as we know, PBS is big.

So how could PBS make such a sad argument against private education and still retain its popularity? (If you watch the documentary and can’t decipher how PBS feels about private universities, please stop reading and don’t come back here. Things rarely get simpler than this.)

Induction into this is so convoluted and thick, with so much room for debate about where PBS gets its funding and who its donors are, that I don’t want to bother. Actually, I don’t need to. We’ll just deal a hard, twisting punch to the sternum: PBS opposes private universities because PBS depends on funding from donors who opposed private universities. You can deduce this by noting PBS’s CHSPE-level argument against private education and measuring how far this argument spreads. The further the spread, and the worse the argument, the more funding it requires from people who want to propagate that argument. Obviously these people have money, or else the documentary wouldn’t be featured on my XBOX.

The donors have one thing in common: they oppose private education’s lack of accreditation. Accreditation is what’s passed down from the civil servants so that universities will produce the correct type of students, primarily more civil servants. And we all know that once your civil service is really starting to grow, the best thing to do is keep growing it. Private schools that expand the private sector are no help in the mission, especially when they’re out-competing the public schools in every way. That’s when the civil service put the brakes on private universities to stay ahead, and PBS is one of many vehicles for that.

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Written by xout

August 4, 2010 at 12:21 pm