With age and experience, I have learned that as daughters, mothers, sisters, girlfriends, etc., we all — irrespective of where we come from — want the same things. We want our families to be safe, happy and comfortable. We want our daughters to be better off.
I so deeply desired a better a world for our daughters that I spent my early career in Washington, DC, to help break the glass ceiling for women. Dr. Julianne Malveaux and I wrote, Unfinished Business: The 10 Most Important Issues Women Face.
In 2005, my husband and I hired a nanny, Maria, whose family emigrated from Mexico. It has been heartbreaking to learn about her past – terrible working conditions and bosses that made her cry every night. Her story brought into focus how important education is to approaching that ceiling. Maria wants a better future for her grandchildren, but a four-year university is not in reach.
Recently, I’ve been helping Maria’s 29-year-old granddaughter, Lisette, explore online schools, such as Kaplan University, University of Phoenix or Strayer University. Befitting her personality and interests, Lisette should pursue a career in nursing, as a medical assistant or in early childhood education. But she needs to help raise her younger siblings. Online schools are the most viable option for Lisette, and would greatly enhance her start in the world. At these schools, students can earn a BA or AA in an accelerated timeline and start classes throughout the year.
Kaplan is a great fit for Lisette, as women make up over 70 percent of the school. Many of them are single mothers that require greater flexibility. They simultaneously work, cook meals and care for their families. And when they graduate, they often get at least a $10K salary boost.
Recently, I have learned that Kaplan and other online schools are currently under fire. Without getting too wonkish, the Obama Administration is pushing for new regulations called, “Gainful Employment,” (GE rule). Having worked in DC, I have to laugh at how good “Gainful Employment” sounds, but in reality, it has an elitist framework, favoring the people who already can afford college. It harms working families and minorities – which is beyond ironic. Aren’t they the very people President Obama claims he wants to protect???