Wednesday, February 27, 2013

How Does Drug Testing TANF Recipients Create Jobs?

The Indiana General Assembly is in session. Whenever state legislative assemblies are in session, there seems to be a contest over who can be the absolute worst at legislating, and our Assembly certainly gives the others a run for the money.

The Indiana House passed something that died off last year. They overwhelmingly passed a bill that would randomly test recipients of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) for illegal drugs. If they fail the drug test, they can continue receiving benefits while getting treatment. According to the IBJ, cost of treatment would be left to the TANF recipient.

As I wrote two years ago, similar efforts in Florida showed that TANF recipients had a lower-than-average rate of illegal drug usage than the general population. Florida also cost a lot more than any money that was saved. And the legality of the Florida law has been put in question, with a US Court of Appeals saying that no "special need" has been shown to justify suspending 4th Amendment rights for TANF recipients.

For an assembly that is supposed to be all about jobs, education, and the economy, I fail to see how legislation that specifically is designed to punish poor people for being poor advances any of those goals. I also don't see why this is allowed to proceed when many other groups of people who get money from the State of Indiana one way or another are not given similar treatment.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why is University of Phoenix recruiting at Ivy Tech?

The words "University of Phoenix" usually aren't followed by anything worthy of praise in the academic world. It might be that their accreditation is in jeopardy, or that their recruiters used strong-arm sales tactics to get students, or that they're closing 115 locations. The state of California has even cut off state-based financial aid to the University of Phoenix, and many other for-profit educational organizations, because of their low graduation rate and high default rates.

So why is Ivy Tech, an institution set up for Hoosiers to get into (or in my case, back into) higher learning, allowing a paper mill like University of Phoenix to set up shop and recruit students on campus? I saw it at the Lawrence campus this morning.

It is not uncommon for any number of trade schools, universities, and even employers to set up booths at any number of colleges or universities, or to attend academic fairs. Especially at a college that has a lot of people that will need to transfer to a university at some point to finish their degree.

But by letting them onto the campus, Ivy Tech is lending some amount of credibility to them. Credibility that they neither have earned or deserve. They exist only to leech off of government loans and grants to give their shareholders a profit.