By Kevin Kuzma
"Make a difference" is a call to action that is used so often, it sometimes doesn’t even register with us. The trouble with that phrase is that we frequently give our time or money to causes and we know it makes an impact, somehow, even if the results aren’t immediately evident to us. When it comes to such a call and reaching out to elected officials, it can seem even more futile: the government is a big, inaccessible behemoth, we think. It might pretend to listen, but given the thoughts and views of millions of others who want their opinions to matter, too, how can it?
This summer has been incredibly rough on career education. Nearly every day, the “for-profit” sector of education, as the media has deemed it, has fallen victim to scathing reports using either conflicting data or student anecdotes meant to cast all schools in a negative light. Read the last part of that sentence again: “meant to cast ALL schools in a negative light.”
The cards have been stacked, so it seems, by these biased reports and a Senate that’s done what it can to call to light the flaws of our sector. Some of their findings have been relevant and shown a need for improvement in various practices. But they’ve also gone about their investigation in the most public, unrelenting and potentially damaging way possible. Our schools have been cast in the most embarrassing light you can shine on a sector.
As hopeless as all the negativity toward career education might have made you feel over the last few months, you have a chance to make a difference. Really. You have a chance to make your voice heard – and in a format that matters. While it might sound like a rally cry (and to a certain extent, it is), you can stand up for your students, for your profession, and for what you do by sharing your thoughts on the Department of Education’s (DOE) proposed gainful employment rule.
Less than two weeks remain to submit public comments to the DOE about its gainful employment proposal. The best measure you have available to make sure gainful employment stops stumbling forward is to submit your thoughts directly to our elected leaders. Share your view about why gainful employment is wrong. Explain who it negatively impacts. Tell them why we should explore other alternatives.
The Career College Association (CCA) has made a few clarion calls to its members, requesting that they stand up and be heard by submitting their comments. And, CCA has made it easy to share your thoughts with a website that gives you everything you need to send your letters today.
Your words can be as concise as you like. What matters is that your voice is heard, and that it contributes to the collective din we want legislators to hear. Your words and those of individual students – the people who actually work inside of or regularly attend classes at career colleges – can change the discussion. What you have to say can convince your Congressman and Senators to thwart the proposed metric on September 9.
This is your only chance to file your comments with the US government and have them play a real part in the future of our schools. Our country’s leaders are going to be reviewing those remarks to see how valid counter-arguments are to their proposal and how passionate our sector is about the rule they want to impose. Share it all with them while the floor is yours.