Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Faux "colleges"

I have a new idea. I'm not sure how to do it, but I really think we should get some kind of push going to shut down some of these FAKE "colleges" that exist, in my mind, only to prevent people from succeeding in life.

Let me explain.

Ever heard of Remington college? I think it used to be called Education America. I know there are others out there, but I don't know their names right off hand. They're advertised on WB33 and UPN--channels with a large audience of people of color. Remington and other schools like them do a real good job of moving people nowhere in life. I've had two friends come to me with the same story:

One of my friends, a Hispanic lady, was encouraged while in high school to enter one of these schools. Thinking she was going to college (because that *is* what it's called...and it offers courses and everything!), she enrolled and spent two years of her time and money getting an "associate's degree" only to find out once she had "finished" that none of her credits would transfer into a college system. Realizing that she had just wasted those two years, and not wanting to start over again, she went on to find a job and raise her family.

A co-worker of mine, an African-American lady, had the same experience. She told me not too long ago that she had 96 hours of college behind her. She was working toward her education degree. Her GI bill was paying for her school. When she first told me about her "education" I didn't know that she had gone to Education America. Recently, she spoke with a guy she went to school with who informed her that he had tried to move into the college system and none of his credits would transfer. She was getting ready to look for a university to continue her education as well. When she looked further into the situation, she found that her credits would not transfer either. She now has to start all over again.

These colleges are taking people's money and offering them nothing! I am not sure why people, when given the choice, don't simply start with the Community Colleges. Even if they are only looking toward one of the 2-year degrees, Community Colleges offer those degrees and then offer them the opportunity to continue later if they wish. All I can figure is that someone is doing a pretty bang-up job of marketing.

I really think we should create some kind of effort to disband schools like this and prevent them from coming into our commmunities and advertising on our television stations. These "colleges" are targeting people who don't have as much experience with school...people who may not have had parents who went to college...people who are not sure of the difference between Remington and El Centro...people who don't understand the long-term benefits of attending a community college.

People in low-income communities...people who have demonstrated a desire and have taken initiative...are not being told the whole truth. They are being sold lies and that affects the quality of our community! People who could be getting a higher education and could be effecting change in our communities are being stifled because of some fake colleges who want to make money off the backs of poor people. I'm appalled by it! And I'm frustrated that I keep hearing the same story over and over.

Any lawyers out there? Any suggestions on how to get rid of these "colleges?" Any ideas on how to communicate to our low-income neighborhoods that Community College is a much better way to go? I'm open to suggestions.
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