Mike Tracy, Art Institute of Orange County Teacher, Fired For Not Forcing Students to Buy Pointless E-TextBooks

Categories: School Daze
miketracy.jpg
Mike Tracy
Students usually bear the brunt of increasing tuition and soaring textbook prices at schools and universities. But now a teacher is paying the high cost with his job.

Animation Professor Mike Tracy was forced to resign last night from his post at the Art Institute of California - Orange County because he refused school administrators' requests to use a textbook in his class.

Tracy considered the $50 e-textbook "redundant" and "irrelevant" for students taking his Photoshop class in the fall term. In July, he took his concerns to the U.S. Department of Education, the California Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. But the pressure on him to pick a book for his class only escalated.

President Gregory Marick gave Tracy an ultimatum in a letter last Tuesday, August 10.

"As you have been previously informed, you are required to utilize an eBook from the list..." read the letter. "Failure to comply with this directive will result in your immediate termination of employment for insubordination."

Tracy never used a textbook previously for his class, and he didn't see the value in using one now. But losing his job for that was unexpected, he said.

"This was a complete anomaly, and completely shocking to me," he said. The school president terminated him six weeks before the summer term ended.

Tracy worked in the animation business before he moved on to teach digital media art at the for-profit school for nearly 12 years. Many of his students said he was an excellent teacher. One of them, senior Justin Nouget, launched a Change.org petition calling on the institute to reverse its stance on Tracy and mandatory textbooks. So far it has collected 2,598 signatures.

As of press time, the Art Institute did not return requests for comment. 

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11 comments
tvol
tvol

@txtbks whoa, that is crazy!

lorirossartist
lorirossartist

SHAME ON YOU ART INSTITUTE. 

YOUR ALLIANCE WITH EBOOKS IS CLEARLY A CONFLICT OF INTEREST. 

PUTTING PROFITS AHEAD OF GIFTED TEACHERS AND FINANCIALLY STRUGGELING STUDENTS IS JUST WRONG. 

 WHAT A SAD LOSS FOR HIS STUDENTS. 

BUT HEY, EBOOKS WILL KEEP MAKING MONEY RIGHT!

MikeHeXt
MikeHeXt

@GustavoArellano theyre worse than that. The books are a small part. The big scam is they keep milking Fed $$ thru poor http://t.co/AKDChqri

tylerkinkade
tylerkinkade

Well we lost him everyone. He was fired yesterday. 

 

" I received the official termination notice via fedex last night. It was there when I got home. Whatever progress I was making toward some sense of normalcy instantly evaporated when I read it. One of the points that Marick makes in his termination is that I have- and I quote_ "...actively sought to use our students to protest on your behalf, disrupting the learning environment for your own pursuit." I can only hope that, as a human being, he doesn't really believe this in his heart of hearts. I also hope that you all can accept my assurance to you that disrupting or causing harm to any of you was the farthest thing from my mind. Far from it, I feel that the policy I was fired for, despite Marick and EDMC proclaiming to the opposite, injures students, at the very least, financially, aside from all of the academic freedom issues.In terms of disrupting the learning environment, the corporation could have easily held their fire for another six weeks and simply, quietly terminated me at the break, thus avoiding a much greater damage and disruption than the one this precipitous action has caused. Now, for you, I think this is finished. I thank everyone for their passion, their support and their encouragement. Go back to your work and resume thinking about your education and your futures. I still sincerely believe that there is a great value in the things you have learned and will learn at the Art Institutes. The dispute that I am involved in is not about that. Please don't allow this situation to confuse your goals or stifle your enthusiasm for our profession. We embarked on the study of entertainment art because we wanted a life for ourselves that has meaning and is fun- and it doesn't matter how or where you do it, all that matters is that you do it!I will continue to work, from my end to get this injurious policy modified. I am also looking forward to the time, hopefully in the not too distant future, where I can resume my life and start getting to the next chapter.Please feel free to call on me any time you think I might be of service to you. With much love and affection,Good luck -- Mike" 

MidBrown
MidBrown

The instructor did what works in the classroom, hands on, direct connection with students.

AI is horrible with MONEY...MONEY...MONEY instead of bringing the world more artisans able to promote their works professionally world-wide.

I bought their empty promises hook, line, and sinker. I have the life-long debt burden due to capitalizing interest rates that provide their shell companies with payments, and no active oversight. 

I sincerely hope that this professor gets their job back to finish helping those students learn their trade, and that management loses all their bonuses to the students and this professor.

Thank you Mike for what you do for our students! 

 

gonzovier
gonzovier

This particular Art Institute is notorious for this kind of behavior.  He is not the first well respected instructor they fired for their own unethical reasons.  What do you expect from a For-Profit school that is being sued by the US Government for 11 Billion dollars!   

 

The truth is, most of the good teachers who were there during the start have either left or been pushed out.   Sadly, it’s full of yes men and women who are more than willing to be a sales rep for the company then advocates for the students.  The fact that they fired this instructor for disagreement over their book marketing policy demonstrates what comes first.

 

Profit, Profit, Profit, this place is a cash cow!   Oh wait did that slip out.   Close your eyes and pretend we are a small private college only concerned for your son or daughters education.  Pay no attention to the 40 other schools in the EDMC chain, our ties to big banks, our multiple lawsuits and plummeting stock value.  We are just a little private art school in Orange County…it’s in our brochure so it must be true.

ianacreate
ianacreate

@RaquellyKel @ocweekly yes. He is a great instructor that stood up for the right thing. Ai is over charging students. Now with books too.

tomyboyrichard
tomyboyrichard

@tylerkinkade

Typical corporate behavior.  Why is it that only in America corporations never feel they need to be reasonable or apologies when they do something wrong.  We accept this as normal but it dose not work like that in other places in the world.  If this were to happen in Japan, the very top guy would actually publicly apologies for bringing on disgrace to the company.  Some of them even commit suicide of the shame.  Their auto industry pass ours because they respected with the line worker did and implemented their ideas from there up not top down. 

 

But over here, it's deny, deny, deny, blame the victim, spin the story.   If corporations are people, that person would be diagnosed with a personality disorder of a Psychopath.  Look at the behavior in the letter, it's literally the definition.  They sent him a termination in the mail?  Really how cowardly.  That is like a bad date texting you the day later you got  herpes!

GTurner
GTurner

 @ageofknowledge 

There aren't any exorbitant pensions at this school. This is a private for profit school.

Any excuse to rant against the government. Here you should be ranting against a greedy business that calls itself a school but who's main objective is profit, not quality education.

 

MikeHeXt
MikeHeXt

@GustavoArellano yeah dont get ripped off. Youll end up 100k in debt & no way to pay W/ no degree

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