Thursday, July 11, 2019

Teacher's Union Sues the Department of Education over PSLF Denials

Image result for bait switch

In a development that surprises absolutely no one who is a follower of the scamblogs:

For 10 years, Baker, who was a public school teacher in Tulsa, Okla., checked in with loan servicing companies and was told she was on track...[b]ut it turns out that her $76,000 in student loans didn't get forgiven. Baker was finally told she was in the wrong type of loan. If she'd known that at the beginning, she could have switched loans and ended up qualifying. But she says nobody ever told her.

Whelp, it looks like a lot of people don't get told a lot of things, be they teachers, police offices, or even lawyers, for that matter (unfortunately, the plight of attorneys involved in public service jobs did not seem to figure into the story, probably due to the fact that teachers, fire-fighters, and police officers probably garner more sympathy).  And $76,000 is no small sum of money, let alone the six-figures many law graduates carry. I wonder if the courts will consider public school teachers "sophisticated consumers" as well in the ongoing litigation.

The teachers union lawsuit alleges that the Department of Education "knows of — but completely disregards — repeated misrepresentations made by [student loan] servicers to borrowers who are attempting to qualify ... resulting in unwarranted denials of loan forgiveness."  In other words, people like Baker aren't given the right information or advice, and many end up in the wrong types of loans or repayment plans and get unfairly disqualified...Navient, one of the nation's largest loan servicer companies, is not commenting on the lawsuit. But the company said in a statement to NPR, "We understand the frustration borrowers face in navigating a complex federal loan program, which is why we consistently advocate for policy reforms to simplify the system."

And so the finger-pointing begins in earnest between bureaucratic government agencies and their quasi-governmental-sub-contractors.  If only people had known that PSLF was not a "done deal" at the time it was instituted, perhaps warned others to not bank on this in making their decisions to attend higher education...

Oh, wait.  Our own Antiro at the time was bringing up this issue and the other sources that were commenting on it, back in 2014, a good five years before PSLF was to "come due":

Hilariously, the WSJ reports that the Dean of Georgetown Law, Bill Traenor, says that the government's forgiveness programs are not influencing G-town's tuition, which is approximately $50,000 (don't forget the high CoL that comes along with living in Washington D.C.).  Georgetown once proclaimed that "public interest borrowers might not pay a single penny on their loans—ever!", on their website.  According to the WSJ, G-Town has been "steering" its graduates into public-service jobs "as part of its Jesuit mission."  We have data on how many people are in G-Town's public-interest program: 432, up 60% from 2 years ago.

Yep.  This was just one of many examples of the Law School Cartel handing out PSLF pipe-dreams like candy.  Don't worry about the debt, kids, Uncle Sam will take care of all that for you (somehow, someway...), especially when there is liberty and justice that needs doing!   Now, sign here.

Here's hoping that this suit will finally bring attention to these programs, and, as Navient so graciously stated, help "simplify the system."  Because nothing says loan forgiveness is here for you like having to sue to properly administer and enforce the program.

Snake oil that the Cartel was more than happy to advertise at the time, so long as it brought people in. Odd that the Cartel does not appear to be falling all over itself to help fix this issue.  As teachers and others are now learning what law grads learned the hard way, the attitude is "Let the graduates make their claims and chase a broken system, we got ours."  

0Ls, pay heed.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Trojan horse of "diversity": scamsters win, racialized people lose

Not so long ago, many law schools would not admit racialized people at all. Texas Southern University was hastily founded in 1946 as the "Texas State University for Negroes" so as to create a pretense of a "separate but equal" university for Black people alongside the white University of Texas (see Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 (1950)). The Supreme Court unanimously saw through the ruse and refused to countenance it. (Today, incidentally, Texas Southern still has not strayed far from its Jim Crow roots: most of the class is Black, only 10% is white, the median LSAT score for last year's entering class was an appalling 144, and for the past two years the law school has been subject to the ABA's censure and directives for remedial action.)

Long after formal segregation was abolished, many law schools showed little interest in racialized people. But the spate of toilet law schools over the past decade has changed that. Nowadays scamsters from toilet law schools today portray themselves as champions of "diversity". They would have us believe that the toilet schools' abysmal, if not non-existent, standards of admission afford racialized people an opportunity to enter the legal profession. That so-called opportunity, however, comes with a poor chance of passing the bar exams, dreadfully low rates of employment, and a whopping price tag.

A Black lawyer with a JD from Michigan lifts the lid on the scamsters' invocation of "diversity" as grounds for lowering the passing score on California's bar exam. As he says, any sincere effort to increase the diversity of the legal profession must start with analysis of the causes of the problem and the best ways to address it, not with scam-fostering proposals such as "Let's lower the passing score!".

It's true that the bar is insufficiently diverse in terms of race and certain other criteria. But that does not imply that the passing score is too high. The whiteness of the bar stems from systemic inequalities and racial injustice—the same factors that have led to the monstrous racialization of the prisons and many other manifestations of racial oppression. Address it by correcting those inequalities, not by persuading the authorities in California to license more toileteers of whatsoever race.

Nor is it appropriate to lower the passing score on the test just because few people taking the test are passing. The score should be set at an appropriate level, and anyone arguing to lower it bears the burden of giving sound reasons. The scamsters seem to "argue" that the various Black people upon whom they have been preying should be admitted to the bar just because they are there. But that's no argument at all. The very purpose of the bar exam is to protect the public by ensuring a minimum level of competence. There may be nothing wrong with the passing score even if every single candidate fails.

Nor should California be played against other states. That's the child's tactic of going to Daddy in hope of a "yes" after Mommy said "no". Why should it matter that West Virginia or Missouri has a lower score? Perhaps California is the only state with a proper standard. Or perhaps even California's score is too low.

White scamsters are cynically perverting "diversity" for their own profit (figurative and literal). Racialized people, don't fall for their ploy.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

On Student Loan Journalism, the Warren/Sanders Proposals, and the LSTC's Private Hell

We know what has caused the student loan problem: college (and, as relevant here, law school) tuition costs have increased dramatically faster than indicated by CPI, post-degree wage growth, or any other comparable measure of inflation; the federal government carelessly writes loans without realistic underwriting criteria; and consumers have been stripped of bankruptcy as an option for a poor financial decision.

Given that reality, the best political solution we've come up with is income-based repayment, which is basically a softened Chapter 13-style repayment plan for one debt in that you pay what you can and the remainder is eventually discharged.  A better solution might be simply restoring bankruptcy rights as people have suggested for some time.  Another prospective solution might be to either regulate loan origination by limiting tuition increases or by removing the government entirely and letting the free market scoff at paying ludicrous tuition rates for lackluster degrees.

(The LSTC would also propose retroactively recalculating due student loan balances based on CPI, issuing credits and taxing educational endowments for the deficiencies, but that would be, one suspects, politically unfeasible.)

I was all set to rip on Elizabeth Warren's unnecessarily convoluted and weirdly devoid of rational justice plan when, this morning, Bernie Sanders went whole hog and suggested a freaking student debt jubilee.

Lord, what did we do to deserve this fresh hell?

Do I want student debt relief?  Yes, and I would benefit to varying degrees under either plan (tax issues aside for a second), but what the hell?  The system as it exists needs rational, forward-looking, cohesive reform, not ludicrous, empty headed hip-thrusts at vacuous Millennial populism by elder statespersons who should know better.

We need bankruptcy rights.  We need IBR free of any tax bombs.  We need lower interest rates.  We need credit bureaus and financial institutions to feel security that the full amount isn't going to ever come due because Congress changed its mind.  We need an out when the government's been paid its fair share.  We need educational institutions to bear the systemic costs of what we all know but the law can't say was fraud...

At the same time, Warren and Sanders are just playing the hands dealt to them.  The arguments around student loans have become so polarized that the second any kind of reform idea emerges forth, one of two results invariably happens:
  • Some jackass who owes like $15k won't shut up about how oppressive their student loans are and cheers wildly; and/or
  • Some jackass whines that money borrowed has to be repaid, students knew what they were doing, the taxpayers shouldn't be on the hook, "but I ate canned soup for 5 years to pay mine ASAP," etc.
My private hell is populated with nothing but people from both camps and then I spend eternity trying to reason with them while "Come On Eileen" and "You Can Call Me Al" play on constant loop. 

As with many issues, our journalism about the student debt crisis blows.  When they focus on the debtor side, it's almost invariably Boomer-triggering anecdotes, often with gaudy headlines that bury the lede.  Then there's the pie-in-the-sky solution subgenre and the ubiquitous live-at-home-and-give-up-coffee subgenre.

Screw these people.

The problem with all of these sub-styles of journalism is that they take what we know is a systemic problem caused by the intersection of well-meaning policies creating a bad outcome and transform it - or reduce it - to a personalized, dig-your-own-hole, bootstraps, etc. problem.  Journalists, both educated and amateur, often deliberately seek the personalization, the pathos, the Dickensian aspect or whatever. This situation calls for more, or, at least something different.  At a minimum, journalism should've learned from the housing crisis how to report on broken financial systems that incentivize bad consumer behavior. 

That financial crisis wasn't about Raynette buying a 500k home in Vegas with no income any more than this one is about Raynette's kid spending $300k on a social work degree.

There are decent deep dives out there, but too often they seem to get bogged down in partisan politics or pandering to the audience; e.g., the WSJ article I just linked has the following paragraph:
The Obama administration also heavily promoted income-based repayment programs...This severed the link between the value of students’ education and how much they could borrow, providing a huge incentive for schools to raise tuition, since taxpayers would pick up more of the tab. Enrollment in these programs is one big reason that the government’s costs for student loans are exploding.
Yeah, Bub....this is an political issue, for starters.  That link between value and borrowing was already severed and schools don't care about repayment because they get the money upfront.  Enrollment in IBR-style programs is irrelevant to the government's costs (which are dynamic projections, anyway, that change if current outlays on tuition were brought down or income to people in repayment would increase...as it often does over time) because the alternative, generally, is default, which means higher administrative costs being thrown at debts that would likely go uncollected - the funds simply aren't there.  If these idiots think IBR "costs" the government any money, someone should actually report on what the default rate would look like if IBR went away.

Anyone want to report on that?  Anyone?  

The real frustration, of course, is that the Dickensian portraits, when they come, are only one-sided, like reading Great Expectations with half the subplots missing.  Only rarely do these articles actually go after that group of antagonists, the policy-makers and the school administrators, many of whom absolutely knew what they were doing. 

Because despite saddling millions of people with funny-money debts, no one wants to even suggest the f-word outside of those few truly awful for-profit colleges.  It's a shame, because the real story of student debt isn't that Johnny carries $250k - it's that an American college or two had the audacity to charge Johnny $250k and he's not licensed to perform niche surgery.

Why don't the anecdote articles ever call out the schools that bilked the subject sucker?  Why don't the "I gave up utilities to pay my loans" pieces not typically mention the institution partly responsible for lowering the standard of living of alumni?  Why are people proud of paying off student debt like it's a race, anyway, and why are those articles newsworthy?  Why, when the federal government took over loans, did it not heavily regulate the costs of attendance or the marketing of admissions materials? 

Oh, and here's one:  How can Bernie call out Wall Street while proposing what is, in effect, a massive bail-out of Big Education's malfeasance and, in many cases, fraud on the federal taxpayer?

It's regrettable that Warren and Sanders go straight to these bandage-style post-hoc debt forgiveness solutions that play directly into the well-worn "personal responsibility, ddddderp!" narrative so easy for journalists and editors to exploit for hits and social interaction.  They could lead in awareness regarding the root of the problem in the event "free college" doesn't pan out (and it won't).  

But successful politicians also need a partner in the media and it would sure be nice if the press high and low quit leading readers down a primrose path of reinforcing the lazy readers' preconceived notions.  When framed correctly, there is a lot we could agree on (like if you owe $20k and make $60k+, get bent), just as with the underlying issues of the housing crisis, but it means we need journalistic skepticism towards not only the weary debtor but the institutions that created the debt, and loud enough for the butthurt ramen-eaters to hear.

You would hope that good journalism wouldn't even be necessary to stop the nonsense and discuss real, plausible solutions that Republicans may get behind - things like qualified Ch. 13 bankruptcy or making all student loan interest tax deductible - but we live in the world we've created and damn it I think I hear "It's Raining Men" and it's kinda hot, now that I think about it.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Thomas Jefferson School of Law loses accreditation

Today the ABA revoked the accreditation of Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The notorious über-toilet had long been in the throes of death. More than half of its graduates last year were unemployed ten months after graduation, and another sixth or so were marginally or tenuously employed. Enrollment of first-year students plummeted last year to 59, an unsustainably low level. Students paid $50k per year in tuition, but only a quarter of those taking the bar exam last year passed. The school had even lost its financial stability, thanks to declining enrollment and such foolish decisions as the construction several years ago of a ridiculous $90M building that it had to vacate last year in favor of cheap rented office space.

The ABA has demanded a "teach-out" plan whereby those few students still at Thomas Jefferson may complete their degrees. Reportedly Thomas Jefferson intends to appeal against the decision. By doing so, it may be able to defer the submission of a "teach-out" plan. The appellate process could extend into the autumn.

Nonetheless, Thomas Jefferson is done for. It would not have been viable even with another class of 59 first-year students, and now presumably most of those few people who may have been admitted for the coming academic year will look elsewhere rather than gambling on the highly improbable survival of a toilet law school that has lost its accreditation on multiple grounds. Thomas Jefferson has apparently obtained accreditation from the state of California, but that is far less attractive than ABA accreditation. A state-accredited (or unaccredited) Thomas Jefferson would probably attract even fewer students and would certainly have to lower tuition dramatically from the current sky-high level of $50k per year, in part because its students would have less access to student loans or other financial aid. Thus Thomas Jefferson has little hope, with or without ABA accreditation. Count it dead.

I expect Thomas Jefferson to cancel the entering class à la Arizona Summit. Then it will quietly close, whether it carries on with the threatened appeal or not.

Which law school will be the next to die? I'm betting on the Western State College of Law, but Florida Coastal and Appalachian are other strong contenders.

The real Thomas Jefferson was a fan of French wine. Old Guy is going to open a bottle of good Bordeaux tonight in celebration of the demise of another über-toilet law school. My colleagues in the anti-scam movement are welcome to come over for a glass.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Why tiny law schools cannot survive—and what that means for many an über-toilet

A law school needs a certain minimum level of enrollment. One study of the feasibility of a law school in Alaska (kudos to Law School Truth Center for the reference) cited an estimate of 75 students per year, which was more than twice as many as any law school in Alaska would attract.

Indeed, 75 is probably close to the minimum for any law school pursuing or maintaining ABA accreditation. A law school of that size might bring in $6M or $7M per year and would probably spend that much or more. Without a hefty subsidy (possible for a public law school), large donations (unlikely), or an unusual source of income (bake sale, anyone?), it could not operate for long with substantially lower enrollment.

Quite a few law schools enrolled fewer than 75 new students last year:

Appalachian, 50
Ohio Northern, 51
Concordia, 59
Faulkner, 59
Thomas Jefferson, 59
Florida Coastal, 60
North Dakota, 62
District of Columbia, 64
South Dakota, 71
Liberty, 72

(In addition, Penn State Dickinson and Southern Illinois each enrolled 76.)

Of the ten law schools listed above, all are toilets: nine are in Tier 6, by Old Guy's standard, and the other (Liberty) is in Tier 5. Seven of them have seen enrollment plummet from more than 100 new students per year earlier in the decade. Just a few years ago, therefore, all of them should have been financially viable; a few were even big profit centers, such as Florida Coastal, with 808 students in 2010, and Thomas Jefferson, with 422. Today, however, they are all marginal at best, and some of them are known to dip deep into the red ink.

The three law schools that have not suffered sharp declines from manageably high levels of enrollment all have special circumstances. North Dakota and South Dakota receive subsidies from their respective states. Concordia was established only in 2012 and never has had more than 75 students. Its parent university expected much higher enrollment. Perhaps the governments of the Dakotas will continue to waste money on their respective über-toilet law schools, but Concordia University cannot afford to sustain its über-toilet at a loss for many more years.

To consider the viability of these tiny law schools, let's look at an example. At Appalachian in 2017, total revenue was only $3.5M, with 128 students. Tuition that year brought in $2.3M; the rest came from gifts, grants, contracts, and investments. Expenditures, however, stood at $5.4M, which is more than half again as much as income. That spells bad news, particularly in light of Appalachian's endowment, which was only $4.23M at the end of fiscal 2015 (down 7.55% from the previous year).

How can Appalachian make up an annual shortfall that two years ago came to $1.9M? Consider that the average tuition paid was only $18k per student, although the nominal rate was over $30k. It would thus take well over 100 additional students, or some 35 per class, to save Appalachian. That represents a sudden 70% increase in enrollment. Even with that dramatic and unrealistic increase, Appalachian would not be in the black for three years to come.

Appalachian could instead increase tuition by 70%—to more than $60k, a level surpassed by only a dozen law schools of the Harvard, Columbia, Michigan, and Cornell variety. That strategy too seems unrealistic, although Cooley, charging $53k per year (and most students pay full fare), seems to be getting away with it.

How about borrowing the money? No creditor would lend it when Appalachian obviously could not pay it back.

Can Appalachian sell assets, such as its campus? After all, it does have a pretty brick building, complete with billiard tables in the basement. I haven't bothered to investigate the title to that land, but anyway I find it hard to see who would buy it. What, after all, could be done with it? It's located in tiny Grundy, Virginia, four hours' drive from even a small city such as Asheville, North Carolina. And if a buyer were found, the law school would need new quarters, which would also cost money—and entail a costly an inconvenient move, almost certainly out of the area.

Is there any other way to come up with $1.9M? Selling souvenirs at the bookstore can hardly bring in that much. Appalachian might pray for a donation, but its relatively unaccomplished alumni might not have much money and in any event might be disinclined to give much to their dying über-toilet law school. Might the state give privately held Appalachian a grant? I doubt it. Appalachian appears to be controlled largely by the McGlothlin family, one of whose members is the dean. It would be a poor, and suspicious, recipient of public funding.

Would any institution take Appalachian over? Appalachian has made overtures to various obscure colleges. But why should they want a failed law school that loses a couple of million dollars a year?

I conclude that Appalachian has one foot in the grave. Only a miracle could save it. I doubt whether it can last even two more years.

And much the same is true of most of the other schools on that list. Florida Coastal and Thomas Jefferson have shown signs of imminent shuttering, and some of the others must not be far behind. Liberty, with 72 1Ls last year, may appear to be an outlier on this list; however, it actually brings in very little money: 12% of the students get free tuition (some are even paid to attend!), 74% get discounts of 50% or more, and most of the rest also get a discount. Even by very generous estimates (using discounts of 50% and 10%, respectively, and ignoring the payments made to some students), revenue from tuition cannot exceed $1.3M per year for the entering class, or about $3.9M for all students. That does not cover payroll and benefits for a dean, 23 other full-time professors, 9 adjuncts, and the rest of the staff, never mind Liberty's other expenses.

North Dakota and South Dakota can last indefinitely, if their respective state governments are willing to sustain them at a loss. Better would be to admit that neither of those two large, sparsely populated states needs a law school of its own. Merge them and call them Dakota Law School. Build the school to straddle the border if necessary, perhaps between Ellendale, North Dakota, and Frederick, South Dakota; then each state can lay claim to it. Better yet, close both law schools down and cut a deal with the government of Minnesota so that students from the Dakotas can get their tuition their subsidized by their respective states. The law school at the U of Minnesota also depends on subsidies that the state is tired of paying, so this sort of deal might benefit all three states.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Here's Your Feasibility Study, Shreveport

To make up for posting to the wrong blog yesterday, I'm now going to rip on the idea of a law school in a third-tier metro area, which is somehow an idea people are still discussing in 2019.

As Old Guy mentioned earlier this month, Shreveport, Louisiana, is actively exploring getting a new law school, or maybe a branch of Southern, whatever, who cares.  Earlier this week, the Louisiana House voted - 98-0 - for the Board of Regents to study the viability of a law school in Shreveport.

In other words, for now at least, they're seeking a feasibility study. Well, why can't we do that here and simply save the legislature some money?

As we know from the Indiana Tech experience, feasibility studies can be rigged by white collar salespeople desperate for a law school, leading well-meaning idiots down a path of disastrous idiocy.  Okay ideas go 50-48.  Atrocious ones, 98-0.

In contrast, consider this well-reasoned feasibility study for a potential law school in Alaska from 2004, which found that the entire state would only produce about 56 qualified law school applicants each year, not all of whom would necessarily want to attend law school in Alaska since Harvard is still in Massachusetts and people still want to go to places like USC.

Rounding up for convenience, Alaska has approximately 740,000 people.  At the 2000 census, it had 630,000, so it is gaining about 6k a year and the estimated population in 2004 would be around 654,000.  Using crude math, that means one qualified applicant for every 11,500 residents or so.  Nationwide, incidentally, there's currently about one admitted law student for every 8,000 or so people in the general population.  As we all know, however, there's too many darn people going to law school, so that number is probably high.

In any event, using the 75-student minimum number cited by the Alaska report, to support a law school, there would need to be an untapped population of 600,000 at an absolute minimum (this is approximately Wyoming's population, and it barely supports a law school dedicated to one single state) and more like 850,000 to a million.

Do we have that in Shreveport?  Nope.  The metro population for Shreveport, Louisiana, is around 450,000.  To get into the range of even minimum law school demand, you have to expand the population radius to include places like Longview, Texas (65 mi., 45k) or Texarkana (70 mi, 40k).

But neither of those places will really feed directly into a new 5th-tier school in Shreveport.  Longview residents can get in-state tuition at Texas public schools and Dallas (a two-hour drive away) fills most law school demand by itself with Southern Methodist, Texas A&M, and - now - UNT-Dallas (which was built in 2009, in part, to serve this area!). Texarkana is similar but on the Arkansas side it is just two hours to a state school that is more established and in a better location.

No one is moving from a nicer city to attend law school in freaking Shreveport and no one is fretting about driving two hours to law school instead of one.  It's not keeping a single person from going to law school currently, so building a law school in Shreveport would suck demand from schools like UNT-Dallas, UA-Little Rock, Southern U., Loyola-New Orleans, Mississippi COL, and similar places.

It's particularly egregious when you look at the in-state competition's admission scores.  In 2018, LSU's hypothetical 25th percentile student is at a 150 LSAT/3.16 GPA. Loyola's is at 148/2.89.  Southern's is at an offensive 142/2.55.  If there's anyone in Shreveport (or Monroe or Alexandria) with the chops for law school, they can currently get more than enough in scholarship money to make attending one of these places worthwhile and that's before we consider the Texas schools.  At a minimum, these paltry scores tell us there's no qualified in-state candidates being rejected or anything; that teat is milked..
 "If you look at points south between Baton Rouge and Shreveport and west between Dallas and Shreveport and north between Little Rock and Shreveport and east between Jackson and Shreveport we have one of the largest geographic regions in the country without a law school," Glover said.
Good God. Alaska (663 sq. mi.) has no law school.  There's no law school anywhere in eastern Montana or northern Wyoming.  There's no law school in northern Michigan, Wisconsin, or Minnesota.  There's no law school in Nevada outside of the very southern tip. A large swath of the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas is completely devoid of any law school.  Western Texas has no law schoolat all.

Yet El Paso survives, same as Reno/Carson City, Mobile/Pensacola,  and - yes - Shreveport.  Colorado and Wisconsin - these are sizable states with more than 5 million people each, okay? - do just fine with two law schools. Arizona, at 7 million, should have only two.  Louisiana doesn't even have five million and it's already got four law schools, two of which objectively suck and a two of which are weak sisters to their southern peers.

Shreveport?  Shritttttt.  The city's not really growing and if it's made it this long 2019 is not the time to build.  If you come up with a feasibility study that says otherwise as to organic law school demand, the countdown to an Indiana Tech-like fate is on, because you're boarding a cruise speeding towards an iceberg even faster than the one boarded by the sophisticated consumers enrolling at Loyola or Southern with a 145 LSAT.

So I'm looking forward to this feasibility report and its exorbitant price tag, because it's either going to take 30 pages to repeat the above or be an incredibly, stupendously expensive lie.  And you know, that's sorta fun either way.

Friday, May 17, 2019

ABA trivially raises standard for accreditation; toilet law schools wage war against bar exams

Overriding strident opposition from its scamster-dominated House of Delegates, the ABA has finally forced through a namby-pamby amendment to its Standard 316. The former standard provided various means by which a law school could retain accreditation, notoriously among them "having at least 70% of its graduates pass the bar at a rate within 15 percentage points of the average first-time bar pass rate for ABA-approved law school graduates in the same jurisdiction for three out of the five most recently completed calendar years". Under the revised standard, at least 75% of those of a law school's graduates who take a bar exam must pass within two years. A law school that fails this standard has two years in which to come into compliance.

The new standard takes effect immediately.

This weak change may perhaps drive a few schools to stop scraping the bottom of the barrel for students. But it has already sparked reactionary struggle. Yesterday, presumably in anticipation of today's revision of Standard 316, various high officials from the following 13 ABA-accredited law schools wrote to ask the ABA to "convene a task force to work toward an appropriate outcome standard to determine fitness for the practice of law" and to offer to serve on the task force themselves:

Cincinnati
Cooley
District of Columbia
Elon
Irvine
North Carolina Central
Northern Kentucky
Oregon
South Dakota
Southern University Law Center
Texas Southern University
Thomas Jefferson
Western New England

The list reads like a veritable Who's Who of toilets and über-toilets. What do these exalted scamsters propose? They assure us that they "express no consensus view on an appropriate standard or outcome". Yet they add the following:

The precipitous decline in bar pass rates of graduates of ABA-accredited law schools in almost every state in the last ten years signals that the exams, themselves, may be faulty, that scoring may be improperly designed, or that other methods of determining fitness for the practice of law should be studied. We think an examination of how best to determine fitness for the practice of law will be fittingly complemented by the work of the NCBE Testing Task Force that is looking at the bar exam itself to determine whether it is “keeping pace with the changing legal profession.” While decline in bar pass rates might be addressed through a modified bar exam, additional solutions can be identified through an ABA task force studying the broader issue of an appropriate standard to determine fitness for the practice of law.

And there we have it. They blame the bar exams themselves for that "precipitous decline", and they propose to identify "an appropriate standard"—apparently the modification or outright replacement of the bar exams. Never do they suggest that the law schools could be responsible for any part of the decline. Well, the bar exams haven't changed much over the past decade, but the quality of the students at many an über-toilet has indeed declined precipitously. Consider the following illustrative data, which show for each year the LSAT scores (at the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles) and the rate of success on the state's bar exam for those graduates who took it in the year in question:

Cooley
2010: 144/146/151; 84.5%
2017: 139/142/146; 58.8%

Elon
2010: 153/155/159; 79.3%
2017: 145/148/150; 46.9%

Thomas Jefferson
2010: 149/151/153; 55.9%
2017: 142/144/147; 26.5%

On the other extreme, we have the following very different results:

Columbia
2010: 170/172/175; 97.7%
2017: 169/171/173; 97.7%

Harvard
2010: 171/173/176; 98.0%
2017: 170/173/175; 100.0%

Yale
2010: 171/173/176; 97.1% (New York, not Connecticut)
2017: 170/173/175; 98.3%

These data, admittedly not exhaustive, suggest a correlation over time between a school's LSAT scores and its rates of success on the relevant bar exam. If it be objected that the two groups of schools represent different states and therefore different bar exams, I can happily substitute the U of Michigan (same state as Cooley), Duke (same state as Elon), and Stanford (same state as Thomas Jefferson): the results are similar. And they offer no support for the groundless allegation of "faulty" bar exams or "improperly designed" scoring.

Now, it is true that correlation does not imply causation. But the data above give at least grounds for suspicion. Any serious investigation would look at the cohorts themselves and ask whether the well-established decline in the quality of the students at many lousy law schools had anything to do with the plummeting of those cohorts' rates of success on the bar exams. Common sense suggests that it did, and the data back that up. But of course the scamsters who live large off toilet law schools won't do anything that might jeopardize their fancily paid sinecures. Instead, they want to abolish the exams that expose their schools' utter lousiness—all while purporting to act in the public interest.

Appointing a "task force" packed with a baker's dozen of toilet law schools would be tantamount to setting foxes to guard the henhouse. With at most three exceptions, those schools are utter disasters. Why the hell should they get to decide on "an appropriate standard"? They have no meaningful standards! They certainly should not be able to springboard themselves into compliance with Standard 316 by supplanting the bar exams with some low threshold that even their sub-marginal cohorts might be able to cross.

While they scheme to neutralize requirements for maintaining accreditation, the über-toilets have almost three years to bring their graduates' rates of passing up to the 75% mark. Some of them might succeed by imposing a minimum LSAT score of 150 or more. That, however, would entail reducing enrollment to a small fraction of the current level, and many über-toilets could not survive so drastic a reduction. I therefore anticipate open warfare against bar exams, the LSAT, and other objective standards that lay bare the irremediable shittiness of many dozens of toilet law schools.