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Monday, July 9, 2018

Erasing a criminal past for Felons

Jobs for Felons:  Can I teach with an old Felony?



Jobs for Felons: Can I teach with an old Felony?
I am a Black Man in America in 2018. I am having difficulty getting any employment because of a 1977 felony conviction. Since I got out in 1979, I got my college degree and two teaching licenses in two states-Indiana and Illinois. My “inability” to get employment seems as if this is nothing but a higher form of Jim Crow.

I realize that I am not by myself but this appears so unfair to people that are trying to live a totally new life.  So many people talk about “rehabilitation” but it seems as if it is just talk. I have also been a member of NA and AA for 32 years. I had a drug problem and I knew that if I resumed my habit, I would have returned to the penitentiary. I took care of that first because it was so important to do that.

I taught school for the public schools system for 13 years. I disclosed my felony conviction to the school system and it didn’t pose a problem to the system. Why is it posing a problem now?

I served my time and I have totally changed my life. Will I have to pay for this the rest of my life.  I was 26 years old when this happened and I am now 64 years old.

The law needs to be changed. Once a person serves his/her time that should be the end of it.
I don’t understand how I taught for the school system for 13 years and my background was disclosed.
There also has been no recidivism in my case. I can understand people going back to the penitentiary but I have only gone once. What I have done with my life should matter but it does not.  I always thought that the goal of incarceration was rehabilitation. Is it really?? Incarceration has become a viable business.

People can change their lives. By not allowing someone to change their life is such a grave mistake.
Why shouldn’t I be bitter? I will never give up in what seems as if an uphill battle. Racism is still here. I could care less about having a Black president.


 Jobs for Felons:  Can I teach with an old Felony?


Hello,

That's quite a story.  I'm not sure why you were let go after so many years even though you disclosed the conviction at the time of your hire.  As for having a Black President, the food he eats doesn't fill my belly.

Jobs for Felons: Can I teach with an old Felony?It's easy to be discouraged and start doubting yourself and society as a whole.  Instead, lets concentrate on some things that perhaps we haven't though about before as alternatives.  Don't give up hope of being a teacher.  In fact, you have already done the hard part.  You have a degree and you are already certified.  You have another very important quality.  You have experience and the wisdom and maturity of an older person.  All you will need now is to find teaching opportunities where your conviction will matter a lot less than it does to the public school system.

There are many alternatives to teaching in the public school system.  In fact I encourage many of my students who are ex-offenders and felons and also have college degrees to pursue teaching as a career.  Let's look at a few options.

Private Schools  - These schools are supported by a private organization or private individuals rather than by the government and therefore may have quite different eligibility requirements.

Career Schools - A career or vocational school is different from a four year college.  Instead of taking four years to get a degree, a vocational school allows students to get specialized training in specific career fields in two years or less.  These schools also require courses in general subjects like math, English and science just like traditional colleges.

Community Colleges - Community colleges, sometimes called junior colleges, are two-year schools that provide affordable education as a pathway to a four-year degree or a particular career.
Community colleges prepare students for jobs that require higher education or workforce training.  Typically community colleges work with employers to develop flexible, affordable and relevant training programs and partner with businesses which meet local commercial and regional economic needs. These colleges also have traditional degree programs.

Charter Schools - Charter schools are independent schools that have received a charter, which is a set of self-written rules and goals which determine how the school will be structured and run. Generally, they are able to organize a school that operates outside the control of the local school district but still funded by local, state, and federal tax money.  Essentially charter schools are free public schools that don't have to follow the same regulations as the local school district.

These are just a few options I can think of just off the top of my head. There maybe a lot more but this is a start.  If you are fortunate enough to get interviews, be prepared to talk about your conviction.  As I tell all of my students in your position, when asked about the conviction, briefly speak about it and how it has changed your thinking and your approach to life.

Focus the conversation on the time that has passed and what you have done since then to improve yourself and how you have used your own experiences to encourage young people not to make the same mistakes that you have.


Just don't let your recent stumble keep you from moving forward.

Best of luck to you.


 Jobs for Felons: Can I teach with an old Felony?


Jobs for Felons: The Facts about Companies that Hire Ex offenders and Felons (2018)



Jobs for Felons:  Can I teach with an old Felony?


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Eric Mayo

 
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