Title

Trace Urdan Pushes Back on ‘The OPM Industry and the Biden Administration’

“… naïve and poorly informed.”

September 2, 2020
 
 

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Trace Urdan, managing director at Tyton Partners, occupies an interesting place in the higher ed marketplace for ideas. Trace has been able to carve out an intellectually rigorous and well-informed set of pro-market ideas around postsecondary education. His Twitter bio reads, "I follow [the] education industry professionally. I am a passionate believer in the constructive role of private capital in driving education innovation."

In a series of tweets, Trace pushes back on the recommendations that I put forth in my piece "The OPM Industry and the Biden Administration."

Due respect Josh, but this is terrible advice. It suffers from being naïve and poorly informed. Becoming an industry focused the target, "reaching out to critics" has been tried and failed because there is no good faith on these issues (yourself excepted), and…

…investing in research presumes those dollars won't be seen as tainted. FP schools tried all this and more and it was nearly useless against the power of a useful political foil.

The only viable defense is forcing school partners to take the field before it's too late. They are hiding and they cannot. When Barmak pens an op-ed in the Post you will know they have awoken. And if there is any "investing" at this point it needs to be with lawyers and flacks.

You apparently trust everyone's earnest good faith expressions. For OPMs that would be a terrible mistake.

I am grateful to Trace for being willing to say what he thinks. I hope others in the OPM ecosystem (scholars, company leaders, professional association heads, OPM customers, etc.) follow Trace's lead.

We need to find a way for those of us who disagree about online program management companies' impact on higher ed to listen to one another. Maybe we can even find a way together to infuse some data-driven research into this conversation.

What do you think of this conversation that Trace and I are having across social media platforms on OPMs? Can you find a middle ground? Is there a constructive way forward?

Let us know what you think of how the OPM industry might approach a Biden administration Education Department.

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