Culture, International Relations, Life, New York City, Politics/World Issues, Race Relations, Technology

Education Industry Creates Greater Inequalities…Here are 2 Solutions

It’s about time I addressed the problem of the education industry in this country. I’m sure you’ve never heard it described that way, education as an industry. I haven’t. I have heard that college is a business but I have never heard those two words put together. It’s about time it is addressed though. I can’t take it anymore.

The reality is that income is disproportionately distributed in this country. The better schools are often in the more affluent neighborhoods. So if you have a certain group of people getting the better schools, more scholarships, the degrees, and then you have these jobs that a person WITHOUT a particular degree could do, requiring college degrees…who will get the better jobs that pay more? And how DARE some of these jobs require degrees and pay you close to minimum wage? Isn’t this policy ensuring that people who have had to work their way up through the ranks of certain fields, gaining a lot of experience but never going back to school, isn’t this ensuring that they will be locked out of the better paying jobs, therefore ENSURING THAT INCOME WILL CONTINUE TO BE DISPROPORTIONATELY DISTRIBUTED?

First policy I want to bring up, if I had my way:

It is unlawful to require a degree for a job candidate who demonstrates experience in a field related to the job. I don’t know if this is worded right, but if two people who have the same amount of experience apply for a job and one has a degree in an unrelated field, I don’t think that a person who does not have the degree should be thrown out of the job pool just because they didn’t obtain a degree. Other factors like volunteer experience, life experience, and self-study should be taken into account.

My second gripe is: If I owe a school money, I can’t get my transcripts from that school unless I pay off my balance, so I can’t transfer to another school that has my choice of study, staff, location, or a more affordable tuition. If I can’t get a decent paying job because I didn’t finish my degree, then I won’t qualify for a personal loan because of lack of income. Student loans only go back so many years. Even education awards from programs like AmeriCorps won’t cover balances over a certain number of years.

The 2nd solution: I think it should be REQUIRED BY LAW for the school to RELEASE THE TRANSCRIPTS if a student expresses interest in attending another institution or for any reason, and the institution must work out a feasible payment plan based on various factors so that they can MOVE ON WITH THEIR LIFE. Why should I keep paying for a mistake I made when I was 16 or 17 years old? I made the decision to attend a $30,000 a year cockamamie school and my parents did all they could to pay it all. $1100/month for housing. I scoff at it now, it makes me sick, because at 16, I DIDN’T KNOW THE VALUE OF A DOLLAR.  (Blame my parents and I’ll curse you to to hell.) The point is, colleges constantly engage in false advertising like most business who inflate the quality and price tag of their services. Now I’m indebted to this institution and there is NO WAY that they will release my transcripts except by me paying out of pocket. It’s ridiculous and it needs to change now. It would work out in the institution’s best interest as well because they’d be getting paid rather than getting nothing and having a lot of bad energy directed at them in the form of resentment. I’m just sayin’.

See the conversation below to see how I responded to an actual prospective employer (names have been omitted)…

On Fri, Aug 10, 2012 at 6:13 AM, Helese wrote:

Hello,

My name is Helese, and I feel that I am a perfect candidate for your position. As a past and current resident of Brooklyn, I am deeply invested in the community. I have utilized the community resources here to create a show that educates and entertains called Helese TALKS! I have a strong relationship with YAA where I gained experience doing outreach, working with high school interns, and planning events and curriculum for children of various ages. I enjoy building relationships with parents and connecting young minds with big ideas to their world around them. Thank you for reviewing my resume.

My apologies; in my last email I failed to submit a salary requirement: from $24,000-$26,000/year.

Best Regards,

Helese S

On Aug 13, 2012 3:45 PM, he wrote:

Hello Helese,

Thank you for your application.  One of the job requirements is a bachelor’s degree and it is unclear to me based on your resume if you have on or not.  Could you clarify this please?

Thank you,

Program Coordinator
On Mon, Aug 13, 2012 at 4:02 PM, Helese wrote:

No, I do not, but my last job required one, they hired me despite not having one, and they kept me on for two years and counting. Also I just got hired by a child care facility where an associate’s degree is required, but honestly they pay close to minimum wage which is why I am still looking. I find having a degree has nothing to do with actual capabilities.

If you have any more questions please let me know.

Best,

Helese S

On Aug 13, 2012 5:09 PM, he wrote:

Thank for your response and your interest in the position.

Best,

Program Coordinator

This is how I want to respond:

Does that mean you will still consider me the position, or not? If not, then I would like to use this dialogue with you as inspiration for my next piece in the Black Star News and my blog, Helese TALKS! I want to address the degree requirements for certain jobs as a form of income discrimination. College is a business and not everyone can afford to go or complete their studies. Employers often have told me that having a degree can never trump experience. It is absolute nonsense to require a degree for the position you are trying to fill, when if you didn’t think I had the experience to do the job you would not have replied. Regardless if these rules are yours or are coming from someone higher up, it must be addressed. You want someone who will work with youth and encourage them to go to college. Why not give someone like me who couldn’t finish because of financial reasons a chance to give someone what I didn’t have? Ironically, I find the people who are awake enough to know that anything that college teaches in the classroom can be learned by self-study, are the ones who benefit from college the most because they are the most resourceful and most likely to use opportunities that come as a result of being a student who can gain college credit. I am one of those resourceful people. I am using even this conversation as a resource and I’m going to use it to put my voice out there via various channels and hopefully this type of thing will become illegal after a while. Do you want to put an average person in the midst of these geniuses who don’t even know their own worth? Someone who will accept no for an answer and lay down without a fight? That is not how change in this society is made! Or, do you want to have someone who defied all the odds and knows who she is regardless of a piece of paper, has the experience and passion to enlighten youth…will you pass a gem like me up because I didn’t have the finances to finish college? And still don’t. The time will come when I will get the degree, but now is not that time. I don’t know if you can afford to wait that long though. Of course, with all due respect, it’s your call.

Best,

Helese S

What do you all think? Is this a wise decision? I can’t be quiet any longer…

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Culture, Life, New York City, Politics/World Issues, Sex, Uncategorized

Support and Attacks on Topfreedom and the T.I.T.S. Movement

As it stands, T.I.T.S. is a movement of one, physically. Although, in spirit, and through the power of their complaints, people are supporting or attacking the Right to Bare Breasts. I was almost arrested today. I quoted laws to the offending officers but none of that worked. The cops rolled up behind me while I was chillin, minding my business on a bench on the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights, and told me that I could be arrested for endangering the welfare of a child because their parents were complaining about me being topless. They said they had about 10 or 20 people complain, and if they had waited, it could have been 50. I explained that children are not being harmed, and I am exercising my right. Besides, children breast feed up until 2 or 3 at times. They were angry and frustrated and said that I wasn’t using “common sense.” I guess today was a test, because this was my second day to do this on that location, and I wasn’t bothered before, but I quieted my solar plexus, my will, and I used my head and calculated what the physical, emotional, monetary, and long-term costs would be to be arrested at this time. Output=not worth it. Maybe another day, but I still refused to agree with their reasons as to why I should put my top back on. They asked for my ID, and I said “I’m complying by putting my clothes on, so I don’t understand why you would need that.” Today, I understood the power of threats and intimidation to get compliance. I had no fear, I just didn’t feel it would be worth it to go through the discomfort of being arrested. I suffered a migraine and emotional pain all night, thinking about the man who I would soon decide to let go, for my own good and his. I’m sure he won’t miss the long texts of me explaining how my needs aren’t being met, and I will enjoy the power of balance, discernment, and exercising my right to end the relationship. He actually told me the other day “You don’t make the rules here.” But what he failed to realize is….I DO, I WILL…and most importantly I AM THAT I AM. I created him, so I can create another reality. It really is my right. I choose to put my metaphorical top on and leave the park of that situation crying, just like I did today in real life, knowing in both situations that I avoided a totally unnecessary uncomfortable situation. Sometimes the growth from situations can come from making a choice NOT to go through something. There are many ways to learn.

Anywho, on a positive nod to the movement, please check out a very POWERFUL response from India Olowokande-Ame’ye:

 I am so excited to catch up on all this. Thank you Itheopiah Chiamaka you too are very powerful…I peeped yr goddess a long time ago ;). no I haven’t done much of anything on the internet. I had to take a break from photographing and filming and sit quietly, alone…for a few months. Gave myself full permission to do that. But I’m cumming out my yoni temple soon, soon. Also I’m finalizing my book, and things are happening offline. I’m abt to go get a glass of wine and check this out. Thank u, I love when black women bare our breasts and write about it. We are meant to be alive and loving outloud and all that juicy jazz. So just seeing yr picture magnetized mah lil smile, u have no idea! Xo…Wow, just watched your brilliance and I’m sooo moved by your candidness, commitment, and sincerity. What an honor and pleasure to read your words and watch the accompanying video in all its rawness. I tell ya, I appreciate your movement and courage to do what u are doing. Now u got me thinking abt the “laws” and knowing my rights and honoring my right to do so. I am out of doors, topless at minimum, at least once a day and I do believe that breasts are powerlines to the divine, and when I started taking time to allow them to feel the sun, wind, rain, clouds, grass, rocks, trees, wata, red clay ,u name it..that’s really when they began to come alive again, carrying tremendous life force energy. I don’t wear bras and stopped wearing them abt six or seven years ago and my breasts sit how they sit…plus I command them to do so u know. I tell my body how I want it to be. The mind has great command ova the anatomy and how smart the bra companies and BIG Pharma (because bras have been linked to breast cancer) are to make (some) women believe if we stop wearing bras our gorgeous breasts will sag, etc..as if 1. Its true 2. There is something “wrong” with breasts that fall….when breasts that fall are lovely and can contain just as much life as breasts that sit high. Also many women believe that their breasts will fall with age or childbirth….the body does whateva the owner thinks and feels it should do…that is the silent command we have ova ourselves. I love my breasts…omg …do I. Yes honeys I do…and my breasts know it too and that get all happy when I talk with them, rub them, kiss them, set them free, and tell them what to do. Girl I’m over the moon and off topic now, but I just love u Helese and I love what u are doing. I nearly in tears typing. Wheeee! Xo

I couldn’t have said it better. This woman is one of my role models. She so eloquently stated my reasons why I choose to bare my breasts and the healing therein. Even though I “stood down” today, movement won’t stop-today I chose to be water, not earth, and comply to fit into the container of this FUCKED UP SOCIETY….But the movement won’t end. Tied to my personal liberation, it has only just begun.

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