Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Rocky Vista University, Founders College's med-school counterpart

We have updates about for-profit Objectivist school Founders college thanks to tireless ARCHN commenter Behemoth. Halifax county local paper News and Record has the scoop. The trouble this time stems from CEO Tamara Fuller's outstanding debts and unpaid taxes. But, Objectivists don't ~*~believe~*~ in taxes. They're special snowflakes who are too above paying taxes to the government and little people.

Rocky Vista University in Parker, Colorado will be the first for-profit osteopathic medical school when it opens this fall of 2008. The school's founder Mr Yife Tien is also the manager of the for-profit medical school American University of the Carribean. American Medical News and the Journal of American Osteopathic Association have news and opinions.

My opinion on these for profit, diploma mill schools is that they are desperate and pathetic. There is an entire cottage industry structured around pushy, overachieving parents and kids straining to get into medical school. The amount of money and time one spends trying to get into medical school is highly inversely correlated with said person's actual ability and chance of getting in. But these people just won't take the hint and realize they aren't cut out for it. There are plenty of cunning investors such as Mr Tien eager to make a killing on these poor suckers. Other institutions of the multimillion dollar medical school admissions industry include private and Kaplan-affiliated MCAT classes and professional application preparers. Also, everyone knows that only people who can't cut it in continental US or Canada goes to the Carribean or other foreign medical schools.

On this same note, I don't see why every profession under the sun needs to be validated by a string of letters to tag on your name. Why should "doctors of osteopathy" get to use the appellation Dr. be admitted to medical practice when they're not real medical doctors? Why do pharmacists and psychologists need a PsyD or PharmD doctoral degree? Even massage therapists are now LMT (Licensed Massage Therapists). Slutting for sleazebags in a sketchy massage parlor or hotel is now dignified with a professional sounding title. The cumulative effect of this trend will be to dilute the meaning and respectability of having a real academic degree and render it meaningless.

Education isn't what it used to be. With initiatives like No Child Left Behind, even tertiary education is now seen as a need and right rather than a privilege earned by the deserving. The only advantage of having people stay in school longer pursuing bullshit degrees is that it keeps them out of the workforce, thus preventing flooding of the job market and unemployment.

And while we're on the topic of for-profit universities, Nathaniel Branden's psychology PhD is from the California Graduate Institute, which is unaccredited and not affiliated with any university, as Jeff Walker reports in The Ayn Rand Cult.


David said...

Uh - the LMT tells you (the consumer) that the person in question is not someone "[s]lutting for sleazebags in a sketchy massage parlor or hotel."

Rather, they are someone who has spent a lot of time, money, and effort in learning how to actually massage muscles and tendons therapeutically, which is why they are "now dignified with a professional sounding title."

You're other points were pretty spot-on tho'.

Wells said...

If your average Joe could get a good job with nothing more than a high-school education, there would be no pressure on the colleges to admit everybody under the sun. The job market is the engine of degree inflation, the rest of us just gotta live with the suck.

Also PsyD's earn their degrees, psychology is hard work. PharmD's however do something that a machine will be doing in 10 years. Any Pharmacists out there, you need to get out now.

Moony said...

I like your passion, Meg, even if the unnecessary attack on sex workers was distasteful but, hey, some of us are proud of being sluts!

Jay said...


What did education "used to be", exactly? To my knowledge, the public school system has always produced mediocrity. Didn't some recent study show that 1 in 3 high school sudents can't place the US on a map?

Only a government-protected monopoly could survive such abysmal failures. As Founders is proving all too well, private businesses must produce results. Seems like that's the answer to the education dilemma: a private, results-accountable market.

Neil Parille said...

I believe that osteopathic doctors are real physicians for the most part. Where I live, an osteopathic doctor who is out of state gets licensed in-state as an "MD."

Kelly said...


Public education did used to be much better, and it is much better in many other parts of the world. Ours in the US is currently in terrible shape. It's true we could adopt "a private, results-accountable market", or we could look to other very good public systems like thats of Japan, or Canada.

Jay said...


True, but there is the ever-present issue of the government dictating what kids learn. I see that as a major problem.

Kelly said...

Jay, I agree that it is a problem, but most likely a problem that can eventually be dealt with. But if we went to a fully private school system the majority of schools would probably be religious, and some of the most affordable schools traditionally have been religious. Then you have the problem with schools not teaching the same things, not teaching decent science classes, and a host of other issues.

Jay said...


I have that concern as well. However, there are some encouraging signs of non-religious private schools cropping up and succeeding. Lisa Van Damme's academy is the first thing that comes to mind. No propoganda, no faddish theories that were hatched on some grad student's thesis paper (anyone remember "Whole Reading") just solid, engaging, eye-opening heirarchical learning that teaches a child to use his mind.

Kelly said...

I've only seen a little on the Van Damme academy, but it does seem like a very good institution, and it is a good model. It's also very expensive, so it would not really complete with low cost religious schools in a free market. And there is nothing stopping the adoption of van damme principles in public schooling.

Wells said...

You guys do know that the state is always going to be involved in education some kind of way. Four reasons in no particular order

First; Someone has to educate tomorrow's defense contractors, weapons designers, intelligence analysts, diplomats, US attorney's office people, military officers, investigators, ect, ect, ect. It's a matter of national security that we have some education.

Second; This is a democracy. People are supposed to vote for candidates, and in some places for amendments and even legislation. We all know (probably from experience) what happens when too many dunderheads have the vote. The best way to eliminate dunderheads is by educating people so they don't become dunderheads.

Three; Education has been state subsidized since the beginning of civilization. The University of Virginia has been a state school since around the start of the Republic. Even in medieval Europe, when there wasn't a tax for schools, there was still the tithe. What happened when you didn't pay your tithe in 1500? About what happens when you don't pay your taxes now, you go to jail.

Forth; An Education is expensive, benefits people other than the person receiving it, and cannot be appraised by someone who doesn't have one. These attributes mean that government intervention in some kind of way is necessary to keep people from getting ripped off and to encourage people to get an education so that society benefits.

Now, all that argumentation is not to say the America does it right, or that the government needs to produce educations (with public schools). I would go as far as to say that privatization is in order, along with subsidies for studying certain disciplines and also truth in advertising regulations.

Jay said...


I appreciate those points and would like to address them in order.

1) You are right that tomorrow's contractors, attorneys, doctors, and intelligence analysts need to be educated. However it does not follow from this that they wont be educated without government force. I often ask people: do you really think if the public schools closed, the market would not respond? Do you really think they would price education so high that no one could afford it? No - because that would kill their market. Just as the free market gives us weapons to fight wars with, it would give us minds to use them.

2) I could not agree more on this point. You said yourself: we know from experience what happens when dunderheads vote. Why do we have that experience? Because we have voters educated by a stagnant gov't school bureaucracy. You'll never stop everyone from becoming dunderheads, but a results-accountable school is far more likely to cultivate intelligence than schools that actually get more money when they fail.

3) There's a new Demotivator design on that reads: "Tradition - Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid." Before the US was settled, poor people couldn't own property since the dawn of civilization. Turns out that wasn't the best way to do things, either.

4) Education is probably the most personal experience that there is. Learning how to think and see the world in a way that makes sense to you, and choosing your own course. How can you talk about it as something we need to engineer so that "society benefits?"

The problem with things like vouchers is precisely that the state stays involved. No one spends money on something without retaining control. I would be OK with vouchers for a limited time - say, a 50 year phaseout of public schools to help transition to a private system. But after that, we should buy education the same way we buy computers, vehicles, and (for now) health insurance.

Meg's Marginalia said...

It's cute seeing all of you defend your favorite professions. I don't have anything against whores, "massage therapists", osteopaths, psychologists or pharmacists; I just don't think they need a title to make them feel special.

Also, I think a two-tier system is the way to go for both healthcare and education. There will always been a niche for demand of private services, but it is inhumane to deny someone an education or basic healthcare just because they cannot pay. On the other end of the spectrum, it is ridiculous to expect total equality and have everyone go through the same public system. It is also unjust to force those who can afford and deserve better services to have to suffer through an overloaded public system (such as in the UK and Canada).

Wells said...

Hello Jay,

Gotta address the counterarguments. Same order as last time

1) In response to your questions 'Do you really think if the public schools closed, the market would not respond?' and 'Do you really think they would price education so high that no one could afford it?' I would answer that what would happen is that the cost of certain disciplines would sky-rocket due to the nature of the people you would hire to teach them. Other disciplines's costs would fall through the floor. Take Mathematics and Women's Studies for example.
To hire a math professor, you have to convince a doctor of mathematics to take a job at a college. That person could work for General Electric, SAIC, AirBus, the NSA, etc. The list of high-paying companies and government agencies goes on and on.
To hire a women studies professor, you have to convince a doctor of women's studies to take a job at a college. This shouldn't be too hard, since there's no other work out there.
Naturally, the price of a math degree would go up. Even independently of the number of people who want to study math, because the underlying costs of labor would no longer be subsidized.
The price of a women's studies degree would go down since the price floor was taken away.
I would argue that this would drive poorer people out of math. Supply and demand wouldn't serve to create a price for math instruction that most people could afford because the price of people who teach math is affected by more than just what people who want to learn math are able to pay.
Even if the schools were completely privatized, the government would still have to pay for some people's education. For instance, people grow up wanting to be 007. However, most intelligence people end up being Q. Intelligence agencies the world over get stuck with the training bill for the difference.

2) Not much disagreement here. When people fail, there should be consequences. Especially in education where there are no mulligans for students. Rewards for schools that fail have only made things worse.

3) Some things are tradition because 'We have always done it this way (without thinking).' *Silent part of sentence in parenthesizes. Other things are tradition because it actually works, and has worked for some time. Still other things use to work, but don't anymore. Slavery was stupid, Euclidean Geometry has always worked, and calvary charges use to work but don't any longer. There are parts of education in all three categories. Theology degrees were never a good idea, Times Tables are in indispensable part of learning math and always have been and always will be, One Room School Houses were a good idea in 1800 but I wouldn't organize a school like that these days.
The Question is Is State Sponsorship of education a dumb idea in the first place, a good idea that just happened to have been invented a long time ago, or an idea who's time has passed? You probably already have guessed how I'm answering this question.

4) Education is the most personal experience there is. I won't argue there. However I would also like to add that educated people benefit those around them by being educated. For instance, you're an educated person, and instead of typing some insult in all capital letters, you took the time to read my argument and attempt a refutation. My ego is pleased, even though you did successfully refute point two (You could go even further and argue that the organization that educates people on how to vote and the organization that governs the people should probably be different). Yea I benefit, but do I pay? With a completely free market, No I do not, I ride for free. But with what we have now, Yes I do, kind of, I pay the feds, and the feds pay people to go to school. If the feds can get everybody to be well educated, then they are going good work, worthy of tax dollars.

Most of what the market has done is simply amazing. As I look around my room I see exactly one thing procured by the government outside of the free market. It's a picture of a warship (and the warship was probably made by General Dynamics). There's still no magic in markets though. The market is just another tool. If there are better fitting tools, those are the tools that should be used.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

From: Mary Eva Cassada ****@****.com
Date: March 1, 2008 9:59:07 AM EST
Subject: your help sought!

We spoke over the Christmas break when you were home and I was working on earlier newspaper stories about Founders College and Berry Hill.

I understand that there have been some changes at Founders. What does this mean for you and the other students? Are students
just packing up and going home?

Any help you can give me would be much appreciated.

I may also be reached at xxx-xxxx.

Mary Eva Cassada
The News & Record
South Boston, Virginia

This comment was posted by someone other than Mary, and neither Mary nor I know who posted it. Therefore, it has been edited to remove Mary's personal contact information.

comment edited by Meg

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot.. You obviously don't know what you're talking about. First of all DO's ARE REAL DOCTORS. They have all the training that MD's do. They have four years of intense academic and hospital training in med school, followed by residency in their specialty. They do the SAME residencies as MD's. Getting in to DO schools requires a screening process. As for Rocky Vista, it is accredited and recognized, and just b/c it's for profit, doesn't mean there aren't stringent standards for it. Otherwise, it would not be accredited. You obviously have a chip on your shoulder about something regarding doctors. So go get your facts straight.

Meg's Marginalia said...

Why bother with having a different degree, then if DO and MD are really the same thing? And why do most if not all doctors prefer to go to MD schools and only go to DO schools as backup?

Anonymous said...

Wow Meg. I would be careful whom you are so carelessly calling whores. Heaven forbid your future calls for the need, of say a cardiothoracic surgeon with 15 years of so called wasted educational time, and lets hope its not an "osteopath" sucker like you claim.

You question why there are two physician training paths in the US. If you spent any time educating yourself in the matter you would find out. Your fingers clearly work so I encourage their exploration You may even find out that there are two paths towards a license to practice dentistry (DDS & DMD). Maybe half of them are whores too.

Sometimes I am just amazed at the audacity of people that claim to know so much about something they know NOTHING about. Heck, you should run for congress. You'd fit right in. (and I'm an MD not a DO student)

Anonymous said...

LOL..I will certainly agree with that remark. Osteopathic docs have an unlimited license for the practice of medicine in all 50 states. D.O.'s comprise roughly 20% of all physicians and surgeons on active duty in our Armed Forces. D.O.'s are to be found in considerable numbers on the teaching staffs of diverse and well known medical facilities ranging from The Cleveland Clinic to my home states medical school (The University of Missouri.) I am almost embarressed for you Meg to see such nonsense you have posted on the internet. Why did you not start a dialogue on something about which you know something about. Backpedaling when confronted with the facts with a statement (Unsubstantuated) that most people would rather be M.D.'s makes you sound even sillier as it does nothing to back up your original assertion that D.O.'s are not entitled to be called physicians in the U.S. Health Care system. This is an opinion with which the vast majority of M.D.s concur. About why there are 2 separate degrees to begin with would require more latitude than allowed here, but you probably would not understand it anyway. You need to contact the A.M.A. immediately with your information so they can revise their stance on Osteopathic Medicine. Assuming of course that you have the academic credentials to be taken seriously by anyone about anything.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to clarify to the public for all those who wasted their time reading this article that D.O.'s are medical doctors. They go through the exact program and schooling as M.D.'s PLUS MORE. They are privelaged with learning how to heal their patients by not just taking 30 seconds to prescribe a medication, but using their hands to help your body heal itself. D.O.'s are NOT "bone doctors". They are DOCTORS. They have to pass the same exams that every other doctor does, they go through the same residencies that every other doctor does, and they can specialize in any field. To make such outrageous claims that D.O.'s are not doctors is ignorant. Please do your homework next time before you make such claims.
I'd also like to add that it's sad that somebody like Tien who decides to open a non-profit school has to taint the reputation of such wonderful doctors such as D.O.'s.

Mark said...

Hi Meg,
Have to add my voice, too: DO's are real doctors. You find DO's in every medical specialty, even though the focus is primarily on general care. This last Christmas when my father-in-law was rushed to the emergency room, his physician was a DO. The emergency room I volunteered in last year had several DO's. My sister-in-law's brother, an MD, said he was competing with DO's for residencies, etc., etc. They're pretty well-established now as very effective physicians. Many hard-core osteopaths are almost worried that their losing their distinction from MD's!

Anonymous said...

I guess Meg did not go to Journalism school to write posts like this. She figured, why go to school when you can pretty much post anything on the web without any knowledge or research.
DOs are doctors, they go to school for 4 years after their bachelors degree, and then intership & residency, take the board exams like MDs. Only difference is that DOs learn OMM along with the regular medical education.

I guess Meg is "one child left behind"

Anonymous said...

I would say from you're sarcastic and narrowly directed comments you really have no idea what you're talking about. DO or MD are both recognized by the US as professional degree's... in fact most DO schools require higher mcat and gpa's for entrance!

Check your facts before slamming fields of professional individuals.

Anonymous said...

I recently applied to RVUCOM and ONLY RVUCOM. Your assessment seems very bitter and ill informed. First you call it pathetic. Why is it pathetic to offer a service (education) to consumers when their is obviously a demand for it (3500 applicants to 150 seats)? This is the basis of capitalism, is it not?

Next you imply that if it's for-profit that makes it a degree mill. One of the oldest and THE LARGEST med schools, by degrees issued, is Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Their tuition is nearly half of RVUCOM and so are their standards. They are by all definitions a degree mill and NOT for profit.

A D.O. is an M.D. degree andthensome. Everything a DO learns is congruent to an MD, however, DOs are instructed in osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) which is the basis of chiropractry. Instead of investing a metaphysical stigma to the practice, DOs use empirically tested techniques. Futher, DOs have the ability to apply to and partake in DO residency programs and MD programs. Over all more options than an MD, which can only do MD programs.

Why do med school applicants apply to DO schools only as backups? Yes, the average DO school matriculant's GPA and test scores are lower. But, is a good competent, passionate, and empathetic future doc only the sum of their scores? On the other side of that, lets go back to supply and demand. Most people have not even heard of DOs. When they hear/think "doctor" MD automatically comes to mind, thus 90% of students never hear of osteopathic medicine until their sophomore or junior year in their pre-med degree. Thus, most will only apply to MD schools. If you have 90% of the pre-med community applying to MD programs that's going to drive the competitiveness up.

It's obvious from any writer who would slam a DO as not a doctor obviously has never visited a DO.

Though, honestly, I was apprehensive about applying to RVUCOM because of it's for-profit status. But, after thinking about it, if it's accredited (which it is) then my degree would carry the same weight as any other graduate. Also, since there is so much scrutiny around its status, then wouldn't that drive the faculty/admin/board and owner to make sure that the curriculum is superior?

After reading your blog I wanted to think you were a republican with your big-headed myopic belligerent banter, but that wouldn't make any sense considering most republicans recognize the benefits of for-profits. To put it simply, I think you're one of those idiots who opens their mouths w/o thinking or researching.

Dr. Diploma Mill said...

Dear Meg,
As a member of the inaugural class of RVUCOM, I would like to applaud all of the D.O.-supporters/informers that replied to your ridiculous comments. While their comments were sharply accurate, you could not have been more wrong. I would say your comments were insulting but the ignorance detracted from your credence. Then I saw that you make jewelry for a living…and it all made sense! You judging physicians is like a congenitally deaf person describing what a piano sounds like to Mozart. That being said, I want to refrain from lowering myself to your status of spewing invectives at unsuspecting victims. All I wanted to say is this:
I have aspired to be a doctor since I was a very young girl. I was valedictorian (ugh, another label!) at 16 graduating from high school. I graduated undergrad (Bachelor’s degree- more labels!) Summa Cum Laude (all-As). I applied to, interviewed at, and was accepted to BOTH allopathic (M.D.) & osteopathic (D.O.) medical schools. I CHOSE to go to RVUCOM over other schools such as Baylor College of Medicine and others. I took all of the M.D. board exams, competed with other M.D. students for residency, AND matched to a top-tiered, highly competitive & respected M.D. residency. So SURPRISE! The moral of the story:
You should hope you never need the services of a doctor in my neck of the woods, because I may just have to act like you think I should…