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Kai Ryssdal: We start our letters segment today with Phoenix. As in, the University of. A couple of weeks ago, as a co-production with the investigative newsroom Pro Publica, we heard a two-part series about for-profit universities like the U of P. In particular, allegations that some for-profit schools use high-pressure sales tactics to get their customers in the door and then they deliver substandard educations that leave their customers deep in debt.
Those stories were far and away the most commented-upon offerings we’ve had in the past couple of weeks. Some letters were critical of the school. Some were critical of us. And some were like this, from Jason Mitchell of Las Vegas, Nev.
JASON MITCHELL: I truly see the value of online educational opportunities, but the issue is, what is actually offered compared to what is promised, and at what cost? Ultimately, it’s about not promising filet mignon and serving up a greasy burger at the filet price.
Dear old dad got a lot of letters, too. Commentator Gustavo Arellano told us about how his own pride wouldn’t let his 58-year-old unemployed papi take a job in the private sector. Vidal Zuniga from Sacramento, Calif., heard that and had to write. He says don’t be so quick to knock the service sector. It saved his parents when his dad was laid off.
VIDAL ZUNIGA: He very proudly provided for his wife and himself as a janitor. He was able to provide medical benefits for him and his wife. He even earned retirement benefits.
On the theme of jobs, we had management consultant Charles Handy on the program last week. He said if you do find yourself out of a job, the best thing to do is catch the entrepreneurial spirit and make your own work. John Platt from Seattle, Wash., said he’s been thinking the same thing for months now.
JOHN PLATT: Despite its many uncertainties, the one sure thing about being self-employed is that you always know who is in charge, and who’s in charge of your destiny.
Finally this week a group of people that’s especially affected when the economy goes south — the mentally disabled. Right now, they’re losing their jobs three times faster than the average worker. Our story explained how much harder it is for them to find jobs in the first place. And that prompted a letter of thanks from Nancy White right here in Los Angeles, where she is the mother of a 27-year-old woman with autism.
NANCY WHITE: Once disabled young adults age out of the public school system there are precious few resources available for them. They, too, need jobs and want to contribute meaningfully to their communities and families.
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