Category Archives: Right to Education

Music Makes a Movment

student debt playlistDuring my first litigation/legal internship, my attorney supervisor Johnny Barnes always said that a music makes a movement because music unites people, engages people, captures attention, and magnifies a mention. — And if it’s catchy that also helps.

So when I came across Generation Progress

Your #ItsOurInterest Student Debt Anthems [PLAYLIST]

I was ecstatic!!! — So much so I posted it directly to the blog and via Twitter.

Here are the songs embedded!

 








Government Officials Propose the Student Loan Bill of Rights

I really really really, did I say really, hope S.1803 – Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights passes. College affordability has a very long journey, but helping students deal with the current system as is, can be a fantastic start. This is a need that the US cannot ignore. Every time a new bill is proposed and the issue is brought to the local and national stages are small steps in the right direction.

After all, as highlighted in the article, “…the Institute for College Access and Success’ (TICAS) Project on Student Debt found that seven in 10 of 2012 college graduates had student loan debt. Additionally, the Class of 2012 had an average debt of $29,400.” And that’s just undergrad.
The goal of this legislation is to increase loan transparency, improve the relationship and level of communication between recent grads and their lenders. Ultimately, the bill aims to help recent graduates attain total repayment so the ability to purchase homes, cars or other goods is more than a figment of a dream. At this point owning a home and not living with 2+ roommates for most (for those lucky enough to move away from their parents) is a laughing matter. It should not be.

One of the best rights this law would offer is providing options such as alternative payment plans to avoid default. In an economy where raising the minimum wage is still contentious and being able to get any job is like shaking a magic 8 ball, it is somewhat nice to know that those aspiring to educate themselves will have options. After all going to college was supposed to provide options in the first place to better compete in our capitalistic economic system. College was not designed or intended to sink graduates in quicksand before they have a chance to reach for a sturdy branch. Perhaps walking the plank will not be the only path.
However, it would it be better if higher education as a whole were cheaper or even perhaps a constitutional right relieving and/or minimizing the need for debt.
But for the sake of a short term goal acting as a foundation for a long term solution, I embrace the perceptive and targeted words of Sen. Durbin, “Borrowers are already struggling to make ends meet as they graduate with debt that surpasses their annual wages.” We want a successful self-sufficient work force. We can accomplish this by providing the support and tool necessary to pay for their education and not punishing our young Americans for trying to better their futures in the first place.

Pantheon Student Solutions

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Why Are You Discouraging Voting?

In light of all the Supreme Court Voting Rights Act controversy, I cam across an article from April about the absurd news that there was actually a proposal in the North Carolina state senate trying to tax parents of students who change registration. My jaw dropped! If it could it would have slammed into the floor.

Voter turnout in the US is low enough as it is, having one of the highest apathy and discontentment rates out of the democracies in the world. And now instead  of having a Get Out the Vote movement and efforts North Carolina is actively trying to dissuade people from exercising their right to vote by basically limiting the 26th Amendment of the Constitution. This is preposterous!

Many colleges nationwide have student-driven voter registration drives annually. Inspired by their peers, voting becomes easy and exciting. But this potential NC law would put a burden on students and they would hesitate to register and maybe even to vote.

Many colleges nationwide have student-driven voter registration drives annually. Inspired by their peers, voting becomes easy and exciting. But this potential NC law would put a burden on students and they would hesitate to register and maybe even to vote.

The proposed NC law says that if a voter is being claimed by their parents as a dependent for tax purposes, they must vote at their registered “home address.” If they do not, then parents cannot claim their child as a dependent for state income tax reasons. Many parents rely on the tax exemptions they receive by claiming their children as dependents. These students return home to their parents for school breaks and summer vacation, although the entire rest of the year, their college campus is essentially their home in almost every aspect. At their college home they sleep, shower, eat meals, have a job on or off campus, do their homework, relax, rely on a support system, and the local community, do volunteer work, and call it their home.

The proposed bill also “…would require college students who change their registration to register their vehicle at the new address within 60 days and begin paying local property tax.” It also appears that proponents of this bill have tried to place limitations and even eliminate early voting periods and same-day voter registration laws. This year I saw vast lines for the early voting days. They seem effective to mean and very useful for all of those people who waited as if they were going to see their favorite band’s concert.

Where a student votes should not affect their parents or their taxes.  Many of them barely www.advocatesforyouth.orgmake $3000 a year and are struggling to pay for college and other costs. Students and those parents that can help with tuition have an incredibly hard time paying, further fueling the student loan epidemic. Why is the local government trying to make it more difficult for these families to pay for their education and be active patriotic citizens? Families should not have to chose between their desire to be educated to have a better life to be productive happy citizens and their right to vote. The youth vote like any is important and restricting it leaves a criminal after-taste.

There is a saying among the political communities that “If you do not vote, you do not have a right to complain.” The saying is not serious, everyone always has a right to their opinion and to stand up freely and vocalize their opinion. However, the saying speaks to, if you wanted to have a say in who represents you, then why didn’t you speak up then, and utilize your right to its fullest. Registering to vote on campus, voting alongside their peers, and in their college’s community makes the political process more fun and meaningful to students. Also, many students cannot go home to vote because they cannot afford to. And if for whatever reason they did not fill out the absentee forms, then they cannot vote. This law seems to be a way to try to silence the rising young voters.

www.labeez.orgProponents of this bill claim that it is a means of saving money. Bah! They are sucking money from people who do not have the money. These young Americans are paying to better educate themselves so that one day they can make a living and pay their taxes. Maybe if this money went right into a public need-based scholarship program, it would be more acceptable. But I have not read any statements saying how this extra money will be used. And the proponents had the gall to say that students were being to manipulated. Are you kidding me!? Students, even at 18 most definitely have a mind of their own, they are having active discussions – many of them in collegial settings, and they have access to all the same campaigning and media like any other person of voting age has access to. Even candidates in recent election cycles from both parties have visited and had their campaign bases reach out to educate, register voters, and recruit potential Get Out the Vote volunteers.

The first presidential I was allowed to vote in was 2008. I was 18, excited, already an activist, and this happened to also be one of the greatest turnout years for young voters between the ages of 18-29.

Like every year the election was in November, which meant that I was in college. I went to college in PA, and although I could have filled out an absentee ballot, I wanted to physically vote. Who could argue with that? I along with my peers am a young american who cared and cares about the present and future of my country. I wanted to actively participate. And I was happy to re-register in PA because I was allowed to register with my campus address. I even participated in voter registration drives to get my classmates and people in the community to register. Allowing students to register with their dorm addresses promotes democracy, free speech, reaching out to all generations of voting age to have a voice, and makes the process of voting easier. Yes, absentee voting is great. I have even participated in the process since. However, when you are 18, maybe are away from home for the first time, and are adjusting to college life, filling out the forms by the appropriate deadlines is probably not the top thing on your mind. We should be fostering young Americans’ civic duty and be inspiring a pride in voting. This is why organizations like Rock the Vote, Ourtime.org, and the National Youth Rights Association are so fantastic and pivotal.

www.bullcitymutterings.comRepeatedly it appears that the younger generations are the last to get picked in kickball. Although in comparison, it has been better in recent years, issues affecting young Americans tend to get ignored and undervalued, and during elections they are almost never or minimally reached out to. This is likely because they either can’t vote because they are to young or because they have not been turning out in large enough numbers compared to the older generations. As a result there was the chicken and the egg apathy conundrum that began resolving itself in 2008,  which was one of the greatest voter turnouts since 1972, the first year the 26th amendment was put into action.

The  chicken and the egg apathy conundrum is that politicians did not pay attention to the issues of young Americans because they did not participate in the political process and vote; and young Americans did not participate in the political process enough and vote because the politicians were not paying attention to them. But the chain began to brake. However, since 2008 the chain began to reform.

Unfortunately, slowly again, regardless of greater turnout and maintained activism through organizations, volunteering, and social media; young american issues were not only de-prioritized, as can be seen by the lack of/poor effort to reform student loan bills and aid education. Additionally and grossly counter-efforts have been made to basically disenfranchise the young voters by making voting difficult. It seems like the lawmakers are hoping young Americans will re-crawl back into their cave of apathy. BUT we are not going anywhere and will make sure our voice is still heard and bring transparency to these despicable laws.

What I do not get, is why would you want to restrict voting, when it i hard enough to get people to vote, and just when people were getting excited to vote again because they are more invested than ever in the issues? We should be making voting invigorating and facilitate it.

Funny Advocacy

Please check out the Satire to Destress page. There are some great videos.

I think one of the best ways to get out a message is through laughs and eye-catching entertainment. And feel free to spread the joy.

You’ve Got to be Kidding!?

simpsons_edprioritiesApparently, Aaron Osmond, Utah State Senator has the nerve to try to end mandatory education in his state. C’mon! Realistically, how is that supposed to work? And MORE importantly why would you be so greedy to deprive children of such a gift and the right to enrich themselves so they can make something of their lives.

It is attitudes like Osmond’s that seep throughout all levels of education and create the impression that the education of our future generations should be equated to soiled toilet paper ready to be flushed, ignored, unimportant, and abused. No wonder our students are being treated so poorly. In terms of the student debt crisis even banks are treated more fairly and with more dignity than students. 

Osmond has the gall to basically spit on the roll of our magnificent educators.  “The Huffington Post” reported that Osmond’s blog said “…mandatory education in the state has forced teachers and schools to take on parenting responsibilities.” It appears as if Osmond has not heard of the concept “It takes a village to raise a child.” Schools do not replace parents and families; Schools compliment and support families. School is a place to provide additional role models for our children.

Schools are a key piece of the loving community that helps care for, inspire, and nurture our children.  Everyone has the same goals, because when our children succeed, we all succeed. We all want them to have the best lives in the now and for their futures. I have worked with children for over 10 years. I can tell you from personal experiences and from my peers who work with children, and from the vast amount of teachers and educators of all sorts I have spoken with; that one of the best parts of teaching is that moment the child grasps the concept and puts it into action with the greatest grin of glee on their face.

Parents need to work to provide for their families. Not all can just drop everything or afford to learn how to be the most effective full-time home-school academic teacher that will be recognized as effective. People devote their lives and education to provide the best learning experiences and environments for our children. Yes, parents do teach their children a great many things, but not in the same capacity as school teachers.

AND schools work extremely hard to engage parents and the community all the time. We should not underestimate the passion of Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs), parent volunteers, community organizations like Big Brothers & Big Sisters, and all the concerned parents and citizens who show up to Board of Education Meetings. In addition to their proactive outreach, they take into consideration unlike Osmond the economic climate we have been experiencing. Many parents have 2-3 jobs and are lucky if they can help their child with homework or put them to bed at night. Schools, teachers, after school programs, etc… are key and are the soul of ensuring our children grow up in a safe and enriching environment with their peers, are healthy, and have all the skills they need to face the world.

Of course, Osmond’s blog delved even further into the gross void that unduly demeans our education system: “…our teachers and schools have been forced to become surrogate parents, expected to do everything from behavioral counseling, to providing adequate nutrition, to teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college and career readiness.” No one is forcing our teachers to do anything. Teachers want to help, not only is it their job, it is their desire. Osmond’s statements seem to be designed to have schools helpless. Are you kidding me!? One of my favorite quotes from The West Wing is that “Schools should be palaces…” It is fantastic that schools are providing these services. Not only should schools continue, but they should be doing even more. 

Since apparently Osmond thinks education should be reduced...

Since apparently Osmond thinks education should be reduced…

I can’t believe he attacked the nutrition programs! I was one of those children who benefited. Some children may not have been able to have as good of a lunch for whatever reason and nutrition is key in development and learning. Yes, it would be great if all parents could provide their children everything along with the everything that schools can offer, but that is not how the world works. So we should not just say to bad and let the child suffer. No way! We should commend, award, and have standing ovations who are making our world a better place one child at a time. 😀

This should not be a discussion about removing mandatory education, but should rather be a discussion presenting the proposal to ensure education by securing as a Constitutionally protected right, if not also equally protected at the state level. Even the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” recognizes education as a human right. Whether you are a fan of public, private, charter, home, internet, etc… in the end the mandatory providence is what counts, because the children deserve it. Denying them this precious right is as if you are persecuting them because they cannot vote yet, stamping on dreams yet to be formed, enacting a form of oppression; and suffocating future opportunity.  And under any circumstance, students 100% have the right to an equal education and equal access to education.

Throughout history education has been a consistent factor in making people’s lives better. Those who have not been educated are usually left ignorant, in the dark, and have little to no means to move forward with their lives. Education exposes our youth to the wonders of the world. For example, one of the key skills children learn through the current education system (mandatory K-most of high school) is how to read – which is used for everything. Reading because of our education system acts like a passport to the child, opportunities galore, and brings immense joy and open discussions and new horizons we can and have yet to imagine.

The only good things that appear to have come from Osmond are his call for [even] more participation among parents and for there to be greater funding for education.

Apparently, Aaron Osmond, Utah State Senator has the nerve to try to end mandatory education in his state. C’mon! Realistically, how is that supposed to work? And MORE importantly why would you be so greedy to deprive children of such a gift and the right to enrich themselves so they can make something of their lives.

It is attitudes like Osmond’s that seep throughout all levels of education and create the impression that the education of our future generations should be equated to soiled toilet paper ready to be flushed, ignored, unimportant, and abused. No wonder our students are being treated so poorly. In terms of the student debt crisis even banks are treated more fairly and with more dignity than students. 

Osmond has the gall to basically spit on the roll of our magnificent educators.  “The Huffington Post” reported that Osmond’s blog said “…mandatory education in the state has forced teachers and schools to take on parenting responsibilities.” It appears as if Osmond has not heard of the concept “It takes a village to raise a child.” Schools do not replace parents and families; Schools compliment and support families. School is a place to provide additional role models for our children.

Schools are a key piece of the loving community that helps care for, inspire, and nurture our children.  Everyone has the same goals, because when our children succeed, we all succeed. We all want them to have the best lives in the now and for their futures. I have worked with children for over 10 years. I can tell you from personal experiences and from my peers who work with children, and from the vast amount of teachers and educators of all sorts I have spoken with; that one of the best parts of teaching is that moment the child grasps the concept and puts it into action with the greatest grin of glee on their face.

Parents need to work to provide for their families. Not all can just drop everything or afford to learn how to be the most effective full-time home-school academic teacher that will be recognized as effective. People devote their lives and education to provide the best learning experiences and environments for our children. Yes, parents do teach their children a great many things, but not in the same capacity as school teachers.

AND schools work extremely hard to engage parents and the community all the time. We should not underestimate the passion of Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs), parent volunteers, community organizations like Big Brothers & Big Sisters, and all the concerned parents and citizens who show up to Board of Education Meetings. In addition to their proactive outreach, they take into consideration unlike Osmond the economic climate we have been experiencing. Many parents have 2-3 jobs and are lucky if they can help their child with homework or put them to bed at night. Schools, teachers, after school programs, etc… are key and are the soul of ensuring our children grow up in a safe and enriching environment with their peers, are healthy, and have all the skills they need to face the world.

Of course, Osmond’s blog delved even further into the gross void that unduly demeans our education system: “…our teachers and schools have been forced to become surrogate parents, expected to do everything from behavioral counseling, to providing adequate nutrition, to teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college and career readiness.” No one is forcing our teachers to do anything. Teachers want to help, not only is it their job, it is their desire. Osmond’s statements seem to be designed to have schools helpless. Are you kidding me!? One of my favorite quotes from The West Wing is that “Schools should be palaces…” It is fantastic that schools are providing these services. Not only should schools continue, but they should be doing even more. I can’t believe he attacked the nutrition programs! I was one of those children who benefited. Some children may not have been able to have as good of a lunch for whatever reason and nutrition is key in development and learning. Yes, it would be great if all parents could provide their children everything along with the everything that schools can offer, but that is not how the world works. So we should not just say to bad and let the child suffer. No way! We should commend, award, and have standing ovations who are making our world a better place one child at a time. 😀

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