Now I'm wondering: When someone will conduct an undercover investigation of the practices of the Government Accountability Office? May I suggest that some students at a for-profit school form the investigation? The Washington Post reports that the GAO has had to make some "significant edits" to the results of their investigations of the for-profits. As far as I can tell, there isn't exactly a smoking gun here (the GAO is standing by its larger criticism of the sector) but it does more than make one wonder about the credibility of the GAO's reporting when there were some (misleading?) misrepresentations of the results in its own report.
From the Post (which, as we all know, is intimately tied to Kaplan University):
Now I know that nobody is perfect and therefore the need for revision doesn't necessarily imply malfeasance on the part of the GAO, but when you're doing an investigation purporting to show misleading advertising and even fraud, the first rule of thumb is that you do all that you can to avoid committing the same error you accuse others of committing. You're in a pretty bad spot when you ignore that principle and are left with the nicest interpretation being that you're
The revised report, posted Nov. 30 on the GAO Web site, changed some key passages. In one anecdote cited as an example of deceptive marketing, the GAO originally reported: "Undercover applicant was told that he could earn up to $100 an hour as a massage therapist. While this may be possible, according to the [Bureau of Labor Statistics] 90 percent of all massage therapists in California make less than $34 per hour."
The revised version states: "While one school representative indicated to the undercover applicant that he could earn up to $30 an hour as a massage therapist, another representative told the applicant that the school's massage instructors and directors can earn $150-$200 an hour. While this may be possible, according to the BLS, 90 percent of all massage therapists in California make less than $34 per hour."