Posts Tagged ‘college’

Recently, we came across the issue of faux colleges and their activities with federal funds. These so-called schools are hitting the economically challenged communities in America in several different ways.
First, many of these proprietary schools sign up students for degrees and programs that wouldn’t be useful in the job market. They actually target people who aren’t savvy enough to realize that the money they will be receiving is a student loan rather than a grant. These students trust these shady schools because their involvement with the federal student loan system gives them the creditability of the U.S. government.

In 1991 while working as a congressional staffer, I spent an hour in the congressman’s office with a local school officials explaining why said school was on new list of high default institutions and was being kicked out of the federal student finance system. Come on now; your “graduates” default rate is over 80%. Clearly, your clients weren’t students searching for financial aid but were financial aid searching for students.
Secondly, employees of these schools who have functioning moral compasses don’t have the hearts to continue selling false hope and future personal money pitfalls. Remember, student loan debt is one of the only debts that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. Employees who don’t meet recruitment quotas or those who question the fudging of numbers to governmental oversight entities will feel the wrath of management.

But, where are the Black and Hispanic members of congress during this fleecing of minority America. Oh, those brothers and sisters are at their own fund-raisers with their hands out to the parent companies of these schools. Taxpayers fund K-12, state colleges and state technical schools. So, why pay much more to attend for-profit schools. This article about Everest College explains the whole mess.
Okay, I will admit that I am one of the people who likes the Everest parodies on you tube but this is serious. We need a grassroot movement to educate the public and members of congress about this schools and their treatment of students and employees.


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Is every college really a college? An industry has developed around funneling unwitting people into a questionable segment of the educational system and the federal government could be directly or indirectly involved.  Today the for profit higher education sector is mired daily in controversies and its benefits to those it purports to serve is questionable at  best.  This press release is an example of the problem.



Firstly, college and technical college, like anything worth doing, should be hard. In my day, students said they “took” this degree and that degree from creditable institutions. You knew the creditability because the schools were state institutions or private ones accredited by known sources. While I loved President Obama, I disagree with his effort to have everyone go to college (higher training and life-long learning, yes) but college is different. I hate commercials about making college easy and working around busy schedules. If I spent the first six years of my adult life eating noodles and writing papers, a person who went directly into the workforce to make money is in a different situation. Many of my friends who make six-figures simply took a job weeks after high school or went into the military and worked their way up.

To be honest, people who are “between opportunities” often consider school as an educational option that brings money into the household and there is nothing wrong with that. They should enroll in the local state college or select a major at the state-run technical colleges.

However, proprietary or for-profit schools are signing up loads of students from minority communities who aren’t familiar with the financial aid process. “Just sign here and you will have some cash in your hand every few months.” These students don’t know that most of this money is simply a student loan, the cost of the school is higher than a state school and some of the diplomas they might receive wouldn’t be as accepted as traditional ones. The wiki page on this topic is a real eye opener.


“If this problem was true, surely my congressman would be on top of this matter.” Child, please. The Wall Street firms behind these schools are some of the biggest contributors to both political parties. The student loan default rate for these schools is astronomically high and taxpayers’ money ultimately secures the loans. We are starting to hear more and more from former employees of the corporations behind these schools and the federal investigators are learning the real deal.

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My June was spent in a small summer program called the Youth Exploratory Initiative.  We created this project because kids today seem to spend too much time on video games rather than playing outside like we did.  Let me tell you, those video games have given them an understanding of basketball, football and the military that is vastly superior to our old school childhoods.  They read defensives and select plays in football like N.F.L. coaches.  But, all the videos games in the world still can’t replace their excitement with hitting in the baseball batting cage, facing an opponent in chess, hitting a golf ball 100 yards or conquering the water by swimming or boating.  They went from Wii to “We.”

These young men, who all do well in school, get in their early years what some folks don’t get until high school or college: you gain knowledge to use it in life.  For example, grammar isn’t store in your mind to be use only in actual class or at work.  One should speak well 24/7.

 On this Fourth of July, no fireworks or backyard barbeque spark a young person’s appreciation for the blessing of being an American like the History Channel’s documentary “America: the Story of Us.”  Oh, whoever made this film came from the action movies genre because George Washington looked like Brad Pitt.  Commentary about grit and perseverance was offered by everyone from Rudy Giuliani to Colin Powell to P. Diddy—I got cool points with the Y.E.I. guys because I have a picture with Newt on my blog and the speaker was featured in the documentary.  Yes, moderate Democrats know some conservatives.

Of course, some might say that a summer program with good kids is like preaching to the choir but sometimes it seems like we spend too much time, energy and resources on “other” kids and that is not fair to those doing what they are supposed to do.  Remember in the original “Longest Yard” movie when Burt Reynolds’ character was looking for football players for his prison team and someone said that a guy played at Florida State—to which Reynolds replied, “Florida State University?”  “No, Florida State Penitentiary.”  The late Biggie Smalls rapped that he was more familiar with the state penn than Penn State.

Well, the boys in the Y.E.I. program are more interested in Duke for academic reasons than being gladiators of the gridiron.  Oh, don’t get it twisted; they would love balling in the NCAA, NBA or NFL.  But, their parents have them focused on books and character.  We visited FSU and FAMU and they walked into Doak Campbell Stadium.  I ask them where they wanted to be in this arena in the future: a benchwarmer for national power FSU; a football starter and honor student at visiting Duke; or eventually the guy eating pasta salad in his corporation’s skybox.  Of course, they said a former FSU national champion who was an honor grad and is now in the skybox because he went to grad school at Duke.  

We were lucky that it was orientation week at FSU and FAMU so the guys could imagine their parents walking the campuses with them in a few summers. 

To be honest, the Y.E.I. program was basically a reward for their hard work during the school year and we should do more of that.  You would be surprise by what these kids already know.  Coach A.J. and I played a You Tube video of the greatest music composers of all times and the guys knew most of the music from action movies and cartoons.  But hey, we to introducing them to the classics: jazz and Motown.  To our surprise, the know Motown and old school R&B because the rappers have sampled them to death— keep the legal and your money right.

They also know that rap is a medium of art and that art should imitates life rather than life imitating art.  In other words, thug rap is a corruption of real hip hop, which was mostly positive.  The hardest rappers of the past now have their kids in prep schools because no community should glorify a hard life.  Since parents work hard to give you a comfortable life, those parents are more heroes than some guy with “a condo on his wrist” who is proud of his police interrogation   (FYI “Cashin Out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GbolQtl17o&feature=related ).  Y.E.I. kids’ families are local law enforcement and military veterans and that is real “Call of Duty.”

The web-based information we cover is on a tab at the top of the Project Logic Ga page and pictures are can be found on the Project Logic Ga facebook group page.   Thanks to the sponsor of the project—who actually came up with the idea.  President Obama and Governor Romney would agree that real health care improvement starts with diet and exercise.  Some folks talk a good talk but the team at S.P.A.M. truly is about getting our youth of the path to better health.  (Come on now, The Y.E.I. guys ate four pizzas a day… but washed it down with bottle water rather than soda.)      

The billions of dollars that will be spent on political campaigns this year could be better utilized thanking good kids and the long-term benefits would be amazing.   As professor Aaron Johnson taught them during a brief visit to his econ class at Darton College, it’s all about cost benefit analysis and risk/reward.

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I received an email about a white sorority winning a national stepping competition and wondered what was the punchline.  I saw the Deltas from FAMU at their national convention back in the day and they looked Tiger Woods-type better than anyone. 

I was wrong.  Zeta Tau Alpha brought that “hot fire” into the camp recently. I think they are girls with cheerleading and gymnastics background.  No excuses; those girls are great.  What can we do next in our community? Superbowl quarterback and coach, check.  Supreme Court justice, check.  President, check.  Brilliant First Lady, check.  Brothers in space, check.

Everyone earns a paycheck, next check.  Maybe Black pope will be first.


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  1. Your job is being a student.  While you might work for pocket money and experience in your field, be fully invested in learning, thinking and retaining.
  2. Don’t get caught up with the lust for silver, gold and nice things—ie. apartments and cars.  It is called delayed gratification and it’s the reason the best students across the nation often graduate with a wardrobe of one interview suit, one blue blazer, three pairs of chinos and five pairs of well-worn jeans.  It is hard for students who did not grow-up with nice things to avoid the bling of music videos during school but it is better to remain fully focused of the primary objective of education.
  3. Stay in the Dorm: many people who didn’t finish college lost focus when they moved into an apartment and stop functioning like a full-time student who works a little and became a worker who goes to college a little. Dorm life today is not like the jail cells in the old school.  Today, the dorms are like apartments with kitchens and living rooms. 
  4. From the dorm, do everything.  Since you have paid your student activity fees, do all the activities, listen to every speaker from Desmond Tutu to David Duke,  and attend every sporting event, theater play and free concert time will permit. 
  5. Network like crazy to get a comfort level with a range of people (which will help in professional life.)  Students should stay up late debating the issues of the day, attend a local church and network with locals leaders in their fields.
  6. Know your field: How can business majors not read the WSJ and I dare one to ask what is the WSJ. Can a polly sci major not name the U.S. Senators from the contiguous states?
  7. Live in the Library: While the internet has change the resources game, I was in the library, cafeteria or class from 8 to 5 five days a week.  The same dark area in the stacks section was my office and if my reading and assignments were done, I would read the AJC and the journals from my field. Study breaks were spent learned what was hot in their fields from other majors.
  8. Wine, Women and Song were key to the college experience for the big men on campus while Beer, Babes, and Beats better described my after hours campus life.  If you really love a sweetheart and want to marry her after school, can you say that she is who you want “forsaken all others” after you start making money and rolling in the new E-Class Benz.  Sisters, if dude really loves your heart and mind, will he still love you when your Coke bottle figure turns into a two liter jug. On alcohol, don’t mix the type drinks in one day.  If you are drinking beer that day, beer is the drink for that day—no spring break exceptions.  Remember the sage advice of the Irish poet: drinking the first one, sip the second one and skip the third one. If I knew this in school, I would be on the Supreme Court but you can be a lawyer if you can’t pass the bar.  (Pun intended.)
  9. Retain the information covered in class…forever.  The motto of my college national honor society (a party guy rocking a 3.6 GPA…go figure) was: I make not my mind a grave but a community of knowledge.  The credibility of some colleges is questioned when grads butch grammar constantly.  Your diploma means the information covered in your program should be in your mind years later.
  10. College is formal education, which correctly implies that a person without a college degree but with years of experience in the same field acquired the same education informally over time and should be respected for their wisdom.  For example, I once asked my students in a job training program who had more education: Michael Jackson with no college or me with three college degrees.  Of course, they wrongly said me before I explained that I studied concepts in class that Michael learned in the real world of business; places I studied, Jackson had visited; and I studied budgeting while Michael met a million dollar payroll monthly.  On the other hand, my informal education from growing up in the country told me not to think about the stuff that got Michael in trouble. 
  11. Don’t sleep on the military experience as education: How many times have we seen a local person go into the military after high school and became better educated from service experience, travel, diverse exposure and global networking than his buddies who when to college and the information went in one ear and out the other.
  12. Important Classes: English is big because professionals must write and speak well. (They need to have a class about looking and acting like a professional rather than a club thug or shake dancer…have you seen some of these young teachers lately.)  Psychology class helps in life because understand your mind and the minds of others is vital in organizational behavior and management.  Economics could be the number one class for all college students because people must grasp the difference between making money and using money.  In south Georgia, many national plant workers made great incomes for years but found themselves broke when the plant left town.  College grads or people with a few years college on the same production lines better understood wealth-building and complexities of the industry; people who saved and spent based on the market indicators they learned in Econ class. 
  13. Better Life in College: It is hard being “grown” with real world responsibilities like babies and mortgages so why not take a few years in college, the armed services or both to better understand who you are as a person and what the world has to offer.  Real talk: in the 80s at regional Georgia colleges, the Black students were sometimes the only students in the dorm on the weekend. While White and Black students from well-off families jumped in their cars to go home for jet-skis, the family business, pools, golf courses and hunting, many of the Black students found life on campus (meal plan, air-conditioning, manicured grounds) better than home.  And you live in a building with 500 members of the opposite sex while at home you sleep three deep with your little brothers who wets the bed.
  14. Planning: Life is a series of phases with this phase relating to the next phase—act deliberately.  Some people wait until they are 23 years old before making life-altering decisions.  Wise college students listen to chatty old heads who recommend getting wiser first.  While you think you know everything in your late teens, the more you learn the more you realize what you don’t know.
  15. Learn from your fellow students: True story. While attending the community college in Albany, Georgia, I told two 40-year-old men that they were foolish for coming to college in the morning after working all night at the Firestone Tire Plant.  Their incomes were higher than our PhD professors. In the student center, one of them put his huge hand on my shoulder and said, “First of all, call me foolish again and see what happens.”  I said, “sorry, man” like a little punk but I wrong and they big tire building dudes.  I was thinking “gimme three steps and you will never see me no more.” Old dude smiled and said he wanted all of us young bucks to hear this.  He said he worked to provide for his family whom he loved but he did not love his work and it wasn’t the type work an aging person should do.  He bought and paid for a modest house, saved his money and came to college so he could spend the last part of his work life helping kids through coaching the same way coaches helped him.  I said thank you for sharing that knowledge and wisdom and I would appreciate you taking that giant hand off my shoulder now.  Four months later, the closing of the Firestone plant was announced and those two gentlemen were viewed as visionaries on campus because they were ahead of the game and wise in their actions.  It is my understanding that both guys become middle school coaches a few years later.
  16. Graduate from somebody’s college ASAP: As kids, we all wanted to attend D-1 universities, a major Black college or maybe an Ivy but life is what happens after you make other plans.  Get in and out of undergrad quickly before family and other important things come. 
  17. The Audacity of Dope: Just say no to drugs; that liquor is bad enough.

All of this stuff is just my opinion and I am frequently wrong; comments and additional views that would be beneficial to the young folks in the community are more than welcomed.  Did anyone actually read all of this stuff?

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The drinking age or the age to buy alcoholic beverages was push to 21 years old from 18 years old in most states during the 1980s with possible reduction of federal highway funds hung over the states.  We know that the higher age reduces teen drunk driving and other alcohol-related problems that have always plagued youth—and the population in general.


An argument can be made that people old enough to get married, sign a legal contract, vote for president, hold a sub-prime mortgage and be a centerfold should be responsible enough to consume “adult beverages.”  Of course, the worst 10% or so of drinkers will do things that will call for stronger restrictions on everyone.


The young women and men in the military create concern for fair-minded people.  They are operating and responsible for multimillion dollar equipment and weaponry while fighting for freedom and defending this nation but they can drink a Bud Light in Applebees the day before heading to Iraq.  They can be shot but can’t have a shot?


So, the kid down the street had a baby at 15 years old but her college student cousin cannot buy wine at 20.  That situation creates the criminal act of securing alcohol in college.  Some people speculate that marijuana use is up for young people who find getting that illegal substance easier than securing beer.  Really?


State and federal officials should seriously study and consider moving the drinking age to 19 for beer and wine; leaving the age for hard liquor at 21.  A non-active Marine friend says the drinking age should be 19 in military clubs to respect their service.  We should check back with him in a few years after his son finishes high school and basic training at Parris Island—when the boot is on his son’s foot and it’s his turn to have the sleepless night our parents had.


(Please don’t let that call come in the middle of the night.)


60 Minutes Drinking Age Segment  

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