When he was governor, Ed Rendell called his policy secretary, Donna Cooper, "the conscience of his administration."

Is Rendell - now nine months out of office - bucking his conscience?

In a letter to the editor that ran in yesterday's Inquirer, Rendell criticized a recent op-ed piece written by Cooper - now a senior scholar at the Center for American Progress Action Fund - that was critical of for-profit colleges that push expanded student enrollment that leads to high loan default rates.

Rendell serves on the board of a group called the Foundation for Educational Success (In her column, Cooper described the Coalition for Educational Success - which we are assuming but haven't confirmed to be a related entity - as a leading lobbyist for for-profit schools).

In his letter, Rendell fired back said his organization has adopted policies to help curb some abuses. Among the efforts: ensuring students get information about program costs and career outcomes and setting standards allowing students to withdraw in 21 days with no federal loan debt.

"These standards represent a significant protection for students, a fact Cooper simply ignores," wrote Rendell.

Ouch.

"Instead of being critical of the board's work, Cooper should help to ensure that all prospective students are aware of the board's standards and approval list."

Double ouch.

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