Although the elimination of licensing and regulation is primarily a state and federal issue, it is something that can and should be addressed at the local level. The reason is that America has lost its competitiveness in many aspects of its educational system. I am in the unique position of having spent much of my life in education, as a student through high school, college and law school; as a drop out of two years of high school; as a career-field creator (the paralegal field and now the town attorney general); and as a proprietary school owner for 18 years, with full state and federal licensing and approvals for student loans. With all this experience I can tell you what's wrong with our educational system. It is the amount of regulation and licensing required for anyone to compete with the non-profit programs and courses offered by the universities and colleges throughout the United States. Colleges and universities are quite inefficient, and generally would not be able to compete and stay in business but for the state's protection by not allowing competing schools to open up, and by excessive, destructive regulation of the proprietary schools that somehow, stupidly, do get to open their doors. These proprietary schools are subject to so much wasteful, disruptive governmental oversight that the schools go out of business, leaving the colleges and universities free to sell their generally inferior educational product. We should look to India, which gave governmental financing to seven technical institutes, without any rules or regulations imposed by the government. These institutes, able to run without governmental rules or interference, became world-class schools for the teaching of programming, website design, website applications, and virtually everything else relating to computers, and their graduates are in great demand, whereas American graduates of computer training programs and courses are generally not as good. If education in the United States were made competitive, the country would have world-class educational instititutions all over the place pouring out graduates able to compete with the graduates of the more productive colleges and universities of other countries. Our schools in America have got to be free to determine what's best, instead of government regulators who really have no idea what they're doing or the damage they're causing. I saw it happening during the 18 years I ran my propietary school, and had to close the doors because of this excessive government regulation. The lack of a competitive education system benefits the professors of the colleges and universities because they are hired for life, when they get tenure, and it doesn't matter whether they are good as teachers. To protect their tenure, it is deemed necessary to prevent competition from the more flexible proprietary schools, through excessive regulation designed to put them out of business. In this way, the student loan money which they would other get will not go to the less efficient, more costly, colleges and universities, with students having to pay tuition and other costs that are far in excess of what they can repay out of earnings, creating generations of impoverished college graduates unable to obtain enough income from employment (at Wal-Mart or other employers) to pay back their student loans with interest, and thanks to the Bush II Administration are no longer able to eliminate their student loans in bankruptcy. I have dealt at length with this problem in my book (2004, self published) entitled Self Employment - To Avoid the Evil Economic Trio of Outsourcing, Globalization and Declining Standard of Living. Website for Self Employment Book.
As NYS Attorney General, I want to help local governments set up a low-cost, non-degree, unlicensed college to provide a sound education in the area at a price students and their families can afford. I have figured out that a person can run a school with tuition at $1-2 per class hour (i.e., 50 minutes) of actual instruction, or for the price of one package of cigarettes for every day (2-3 hours) of school. With a local, low-cost college equivalent program, everyone can have a college education, but without the high-priced degree. In my description of the planned chapters for my ebook Dropping Out, I state the following about my idea for an college equivalent program:
Valuable ideas will get started in DROPOUT communities, and be picked up by other such communities. For example. We can expect that a DROPOUT COMMUNITY will be the first community to set up an equivalent college to give equivalent, low-cost college education (and equivalency certificate) in the locality at low, co-op prices ($1 per hour or less for instruction, using buildings which can't be rented to others), and employers would pay to get first crack at graduates; colleges would teach the new DROPOUT economics. 16 hours of college instruction per week would cost the family $16 (or $32 per week if tuition were as high as $2 per instruction hour). Programs such as this would be picked up by other communities within months, creating the type of competition necessary to cure the nation's educational problems. The cost could be kept to a very low amount by using the local high school during evenings and weekends for the college equivalent courses. The cost of instruction will be about 1/10th as much as you might believe. For 18 years I hired highly qualified lawyers to teach legal courses in my paralegal school and they were paid (before deduction of withholding taxes) about $20 per hour, for various reasons including the desire to teach, the possibility of getting clients, the importance of the mission, and the number of hours per week of guaranteed work for them.
Colleges and universities have been training graduates for the large companies at public expense and at monopolistic tuition charges, and the large companies no longer want to employ the graduates. These $1 or $2 per hour college would train persons to become DROPOUTS or to work for DROPOUTS, where there is growth in the economy.
Local businesses could finance equivalency colleges, as a draw to bring in new homeowners (low tax basis with own free college system); homeowners would pay back business with purchasing power
My idea for a $1/hour college equivalency school would enable many high-school graduates and adults in the area to obtain a low-cost college education without having to take out any student loans. Although there would be no degree (because the school would not be a college or university having degree-granting authority), it would grant an equivalency certificate attesting that the student has the equivalent of a college degree. Local employers would understand this distinction and be very happy to hire "graduates" of the non-degree granting school especially upon learning that the "graduate" has no student loans to pay off.