Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of for-profit college Education Management (Nasdaq: EDMC) scored an A today, rising as much as 12.3% on strangely anemic trading volume.

So what: Private schools are booming today in general as the Senate Education Committee advanced revisions to the No Child Left Behind act last night. If approved, the 1,000-page bill would lower the performance standards for teachers and schools.

Now what: Education Management wasn't the only jumping school today, as peers Career Education (Nasdaq: CECO), Corinthian Colleges (Nasdaq: COCO), and DeVry (NYSE: DV) all followed similar trajectories. While a potentially higher volume of freshmen from school systems with lower standards sounds great for these companies for a while, I wonder if it's not a long-term negative. After all, these schools depend on their degrees leading to jobs, and if kids come in badly prepared they're not likely to impress employers after grabbing that diploma. This is a trust issue, and the market is reacting backward to the whole thing.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.