Minority Groups Call for Sec. Duncan to Stop Gainful Employment Rule Until "Minority Student Impact Assessment" Is Conducted

Regulation targets millions of minority students; Dept. of Education hasn’t assessed impact on low-income and minority students

Rule written behind closed doors with short-seller influence

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today Harry Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), Lanny Davis, former Clinton White House Special Counsel, and Mario H. Lopez, president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund called upon the Department of Education (DoED) to assess the impact on minority students of the nearly finalized “Gainful Employment” rule in a press teleconference call. Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, who was unable to participate in the conference, provided a statement.

On the press conference call, NBCC President Harry Alford, Lanny Davis, former Clinton White House Special Counsel and Mario H. Lopez, president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund, called upon the Department of Education (DoED) to stop the harmful Gainful Employment rule until the potential impacts the rule will have on minority students has been evaluated.  

In addition, Reverend Jesse L. Jackson issued the following separate statement on Gainful Employment, consistent with his previous views on the issue:

“I urge Secretary Arne Duncan to refrain from finalizing the Gainful Employment proposed regulation until Congress is given a full opportunity to evaluate the actual effects of this proposal on minority and lower income students in America who attend career colleges. I call upon Secretary Duncan to hit the pause button and give Congress a chance to make recommendations on possible modifications."

Similar to a routine environmental impact assessment conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), minority leaders urged Secretary Duncan to conduct a “Minority Student Impact Assessment” to consider the drastic implications the “Gainful Employment” regulation will have on low-income and minority students.

“Consistent with the entire secretive, biased, non-transparent process used by the Department of Education in drafting this Gainful Employment regulation, Secretary Duncan is unable to tell minority students attending career colleges what the actual impact on their lives and their prospects for continuing their educations will be if this ill-advised rule is made into law by unelected bureaucrats at DoED,” said Davis. “How can he stand for this? Until he issues a ‘Minority Student Impact Assessment’ Secretary Duncan cannot run over the strong positions of 58 House progressive Democrats who opposed funding of Gainful Employment regulation without allowing Congress and affected students to know its real human impact."

Alford and Lopez discussed the consequences Gainful Employment will have on both African-American and Hispanic students.

“The numbers don’t lie. Currently, over 50 percent of students attending career colleges are minority students, compared to approximately 34 percent at public and 32 percent at private, not-for-profit four-year institutions,” said Alford. “Most astonishingly, 93 percent of historically African-American colleges and universities would fail the Gainful Employment test due to unacceptable repayment rates. We cannot afford to shut these students out of higher education. If we are willing to order assessments to save spotted owls, manatees and wolves, we can do the same to save educational opportunities for minority students as well.”

“Gainful Employment unfairly targets low-income and minority students who are often considered the most ‘at-risk’ for receiving a college education,” said Lopez, president of the Hispanic Leadership Fund. “We believe that the proposed rule, which creates the perverse incentive for colleges to avoid enrolling these students altogether, will worsen the large attainment gaps that Blacks and Hispanics face in this country. We strongly urge Sec. Duncan to consider the implications of the rule and stop ignoring the chorus of requests from across the political spectrum – from minority organizations and members of Congress – to stop this discriminatory rule.”

NBCC and Lanny Davis recently published a white paper titled “Now Playing at the Department of Education: Keystone Kops” depicting the department’s incompetent process which includes numerous mistakes on the rule’s calculation, the influence of Wall Street short-sellers and a blatantly inaccurate and intentionally distorted GAO report attacking career colleges.

About NBCC

The NBCC reaches 100,000 Black owned businesses. There are 1.9 million Black owned businesses in the United States. Black businesses account for over $138 billion in annual sales. African Americans have over $1 trillion in expendable income each year according to the U.S. Bureau of Census. The National Black Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to economically empowering and sustaining African American communities through entrepreneurship and capitalistic activity within the United States and via interaction with the Black Diaspora.

For more information, please call NBCC at (202) 466-6888 or visit www.uneducatedpolicy.com.

SOURCE National Black Chamber of Commerce



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