The Strangulation of our Nation with Education
By Skip Hildebrand
50 years ago, a man walks into a college; brimming with the knowledge he attained in high school, and starts his process towards furthering his education. He going through the antiquated process of registration and teacher selection, he pays for his tuition, but survives to make it through 4 years of college and earn a degree. Now he is faces the world armed with a new degree and looks forward to the quandary of finding a job. He gets a job, starts his life with his family, and life goings on.
10 years ago, a young man walks into the same college, hoping that he has the skills to succeed, only to find out that the college has to test him to see if he is qualified for the college, and if he is not up to their standard, he must take and pay for remedial classes just to attend. He next finds that he does not have enough money to pay the college bills, but the college was a financial aid package waiting for him. He uses it, makes it through 5 years of college, and graduates to face the world. Finding a job and settling in, he believes that the world is his "Oyster", and he thinks that he is ready to take it on, only to find out 6 months later that his financial aid bill is now due and must be paid. He now has to adjust his life to pay this bill, which is $50,000 plus interest. He gets a second job just to pay this bill, and then goes home, drops his head and starts to wonder. It will take him 20 years to pay off this bill. Life still goes on.
You have to wonder what is going through the minds of people when they look at these to scenarios. In 60 years, is this how far we have come? There is a problem in America with education. We are the country that, for 30 years after World War II, paved the road for our citizens and children with hope and prosperity. Now we are telling our children, "When I was your age, I worked hard to make a life for my family, now what you need to do is go out into the world, finish 4 to 5 years of college, graduate, get a job, and then pay for it for the for the next 20 years." Twenty years of debt to buy 4 to 5 years of education? Went you look at it this way one might say, "Why would I take 4 years now, and I give you the next 20 years later. Is this the new "American dream"?
I have a daughter and a son. My son did not finish college, and is now working as an assistant supervisor. He makes about $35,000 a year, and has no educational debt. My daughter finished with a BS degree, makes about $30,000 a year and has $40,000 in educational debt. This seems a little backwards don't you think? Is this a future American have to look forward to?
When you ask why, the only answer you get is a run around. Officials' say, "College costs are up, the publication of books is higher, technology is cost are up, and the cost of housing has gone up." Everyone points to something else that is causing the problem, but no one wants to try and fix it. Educational debt is slowly strangling the life out of this country. This is the only debt in America that cannot be forgiven through bankruptcy. People use to say, "The only sure thing in life is death and taxes," now they need to add "Educational Debt". It will be with you until you die.
Many parents are trying to help their kids pay off the debt, but now you have a parent who has raised a child for 20 years and is now helping that same child for another 20 years. Where does it stop! All this brings to mind the question, "Are we as the elders of this country telling our children the right things? Are we getting our children ready to take off into the world, or to fall on the faces?" There has to be another way to educate our children, and still give them hope for the future. I am an educator with a Masters degree, and I wonder what it will be like for my grandchildren. With the cost of education the same as a three bedroom home, what is next???????
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