Support the READ Act

Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development

The Problem: Currently, 59 million primary school-aged children globally do not attend school while 250 million do not have access to quality education. Gender discrimination in school contributes to the illiteracy of over 500 million women in adulthood as well. These issues, along with frequent global conflict and attacks upon schools, undermine the benefits of education.

The Solution: The Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development Act or READ Act is a bipartisan initiative that will further advance quality basic education for all, while protecting U.S. national security interests by:

• Leveraging United States capabilities through technical assistance, training and research.

• Designating a Senior Coordinator of United States International Basic Education Assistance to promote basic education within USAID to organize the national and international response.

• Improving the quality of education by supporting educational goals in developing countries, replicating successful education interventions and measuring learning outcomes in students especially for girls and young women.

• Amending previous goals of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 in order to develop a coordinated, sustainable and aid-effective plan to promote universal basic education, with assistance priority to underserved, marginalized and conflict-afflicted populations.

The implementation of this bill would also promote and contribute to an overall increase in economic growth for underdeveloped countries, improve democratic institutions of government, encourage empowerment for women and young girls and likely decrease extremism in politically vulnerable underdeveloped countries. The bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on January 24, 2017. About The Borgen Project The Borgen Project believes that the leaders of the most powerful nation on earth should be doing more to address global poverty. It is an innovative, national campaign that is working to make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy.

National American University : Under Pressure

I will never again work for a proprietary (for-profit) university or college.

This is just one reason


What follows  is just a snippet of a US Senate Report that describes the life of an “Admissions Representative” at NAU.  It’s from 2012, but I doubt much has changed.


“One of NAU’s recruiting handbooks produced to the committee instructed recruiters check for leads “at a minimum every 15 minutes [emphasis in original].”   Once a recruiter took responsibility for a lead, he or she had to call the lead three times the day the lead was discovered, another time the next day, and another time the same week until the lead answered or called back. Recruiters were instructed to send an introductory email on the first day, probe for information via email on the second day, and establish office hours via email sometime during the first week.

A training manual for new admissions representatives stated that representatives were “expected to devote a minimum of four hours per day to telephone contact work (setting appointments, follow-up, etc.).”

Once NAU recruiters made a phone call, they were instructed to “create a sense of urgency and initiate the follow-up.”

Recruiters can create a sense of urgency if they ask questions such as, “Tell me what your life would be like if you let another 5 years go by without getting your degree.”

Recruiters were also instructed to “counter at least 5 objections.”  If cost was the objection, recruiters should respond with, “We are talking about an investment in your future, not a cost.”

Recruiters were also instructed not to give out complete program costs and instead give only a credit hour rate.  If lack of interest was the objection, recruiters should respond with, “What is it your not interested in [sic]? Is it increasing your income, financial investments, increasing your knowledge, etc.? Let’s spend some time having you visit the school and determine where your interests may lie.”

Recruiters were instructed that when countering these objections and providing information about NAU they should “give buyers enough information, and no more, about your solution and how it will benefit them, to convince them that they are justified in buying.”   The training manual stated:

We must remember that if giving out the information over the phone worked, we would all just do that! Here is what we also need to be reminded of: “Information does not sell, people do AND people do not buy features, they buy benefits.” So, the first step to telephone success is to convince ourselves our prospects are calling for help and guidance NOT information. So, let’s respond to their “cry for help” by enticing them to come in and see the benefits of an education! [emphasis in original].

The training manual continued, “The best information piece is one that gives NO detailed information and answers NO questions” [emphasis in original]. Instead, the goal of a phone conversation is to “set up a face-to-face interview.”

Recruiters were pushed hard to have a positive first phone call with a prospective student because “it usually costs a university approximately $150 to generate each lead.”  “If we let the receptionist take a message and tell the prospect someone will get back to them, the likelihood of them going on and calling another school increases greatly.”

The training manual for new admissions representatives noted, “It is important to remember that every business must include good customer service!”

 The university suggested finding additional leads at places such as “Hair Salons,” “Ethnic Celebrations or Centers,” and “Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, etc.—any stores that may have people that need to get an education.”

The business focus in for-profit colleges’ recruiting practices may lead to pressure on recruiters to admit students who should not be attending the school. For example, the Associate Director of NAU’s Wichita campus noted that she would be watching several students carefully before issuing refunds because she was concerned they enrolled “to get money & what usually happens is once they receive their FA refund they stop attending classes.”

That pressure may also have led recruiters to lie about the school’s degree offerings. In one instance, a recruiter told a prospective student the school had an excellent medical assisting program and got the student to enroll.  After being confused about getting placed in accounting, the student discovered the campus did not yet have approval for the medical assisting program and that the student was instead placed in the school’s healthcare management program. In a letter to the school, the student wrote that the admissions representative “lied to me in order to get my business” and that many students had the same thing happen.  In its response to the student complaint, NAU said the student was informed the campus did not yet have a medical assisting program before enrolling and “could have declined” the academic dean’s suggestion to take accounting. NAU did not refund the student’s money.”


After a few months, I couldn’t live with the guilt that comes with being a part of that kind of scheme.  For profits prey on single parents, low income families, the military, adult learners.

I do give NAU credit for one thing.  They set me on the path I try to follow today.  I am determined to enhance the educational experience of nontraditional studens and create programs and services that provide an enhanced school experience. No student should work and sacrifice that only results in high debt and a near-worthless degree.



National American University, National American University Online Admissions Coordinator Manual (NAU0014290, at NAU0014450).

National American University, 2008, New Admissions Representative Training Manual (NAU0014515, at NAU0014520)

Justin Bieber- Have to Give Equal Time

I gave Britney time – which is only natural, but I have to give Justin Bieber props – the boy seems to be getting his shit back together.  Breaking up with Selena Gomez may have been the best thing for both of their musical careers.

Book banning in VA – Dougherty Article

Source: Kerry Dougherty: Book banning again, this time in Virginia


I wanted to a link to post this article – along with the following quotation – also lifted shamelessly:

If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.

— On Liberty, John Stuart Mill


Hard Work & ADHD – About Facing Difficulty

Dealing with hard workhard work adhd

ADHD can make everyday and special tasks seem overwhelming. Sometimes, life seems overrun with hard work!

“If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” — Frank A. Clark

I try to keep this quotation in mind when I am struggling – especially when everyone around me seems to be able to accomplish twice as much in half the time.  

The payoff makes hard work worthwhile.

Dragon Anywhere: Makes Writing a Less Daunting Task

Since I find typing tedious, and soon lose interest, I decided to try Dragon Anywhere to dictate my writing.  I still have to go back and edit – but I can already see that dictation software could be a blessing for anyone with ADHD.dragon anywhere

The following is a sample scene from the book I’m working on.  I haven’t edited much . . . .WAY too much passive tense – but, not surprisingly, I digress.

Stella hated her parents house. It was all white. The walls. The couch. The carpeting. The people.

Stella’s mother had seen this in some architectural digest. Supposedly, the latest thing with the rich and famous. Not that Stella’s parents were rich or famous. Rich maybe. Stella didn’t get to see much of that. Each night, her parents went out to one party or another. Maybe the opera. Maybe a dinner. Maybe a fundraiser -not that they ever donated money.

Stella spent much of her time trying to figure out how to get out of that White House. The idea to slip out first came to her while watching a movie late one night. The woman in the movie lived a double life. During the day –  a normal housewife with three beautiful children and husband who adored her. At night, she was a prostitute on the streets of Paris.

Stella wanted to be that actress. She wanted to be that woman.

As long as she could remember, Stella had wanted to be an actress. She spent hours in a room pretending to be one person to another. Sometimes a princess who had everything-sometimes the popper with nothing he lived on her wits.

The third night the Astrophel family lived in Colorado, Stella decided to slip out. Just like that actress. Just like that woman.

Enjoying the irony, Stella dressed in all black. A leather miniskirt, a low-cut crop top, and, of course, a black leather jacket. She hid the thigh-high black leather boots from her parents. By day, they sat hidden in the back of her closet, behind the designer flats, pumps, and the Jimmy Choo sandals. At night, she slipped on the boots, zipping them up to the top of her thighs, pretending to be the Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”. No. That wasn’t right. She was a much better actress than Julia Roberts. At 15, she could be any age she wanted to be. Any age she needed to be.

When she applied the dark lipstick, the layers of mascara, the oversized hoop earrings – she became someone other than Stella. Someone other than the good girl. That girl who always got A’s in school. The one inspected each morning by her father to make sure she was impeccably dressed before leaving for school each day. Gone were the designer dresses, the Manolo Blahnik mules, the emerald ring her mother brought her from Paris. At night, Stella was trash. And that’s the way she wanted it.

Kind of lame – needs work – but it only took me 10 minutes instead of 2 hours to write.

Dragon Anywhere is a product of Nuance Communications, Inc.  It can be downloaded as an app for IOS or Android operating systems.  There is a one week free trial – after that it is $15/month or $150 annually.  For me, the price is worth it, but it IS a consideration.I loaded it on my iPhone and iPad (no – I’m not shilling for Apple!).  I’ve tried it on the tablet – but have yet to experiment with the phone version.

If you out Dragon Anywhere – I’d love to know what you think.  you can comment here – or email me at


Disclaimer:I am not affiliated with Nuance Communications in any way