The Government has been giving students loans like credit cards regarding the debt they can incur. It has forced graduates to enter the world walking around with a weight on their shoulders. I know people still paying off their student debt into their 40s, and that monthly chunk of change takes its toll. As an artist, a professor, a writer, or any profession that doesn’t pay like a person in the finance world, how do they pay it off? And we need more creative people, not less.
Politicians are calling out that we can not afford this. Can we afford new transportation, healthcare for all, and a better education system? It all comes down to cash flow. This is similar to the insurance business that operates defensively instead of offensively. They do not want to pay for anything until things get dire, and then, of course, they pay through the nose instead of being medically proactive to prolong all of our lives. Sometimes you must take the bite out of the budget to get to the other side.
I sat on the board of LREI for years, including on the executive committee. It was important to fill every seat to make the budget work. There was a point where the cost of running the high school was so high that it sucked the money out of the entire budget. Keep in mind that 25% of the operating budget went to student aid, an extremely high number compared to other private schools.
We reached a point where the school was taking in kids who should not have been accepted, but the concern was primarily just filling those seats. If you take a kid in third grade to fill a seat, the issue is that you then have to allow that kid to sit in that seat for another nine years. If we did that in the high school, we would see the desire to have classes of 60 kids dip to below 40. There was a lot of heated conversation around this at the executive board.
I believed we needed to take the hit, perhaps it would be painful for a few years, but in the end, we would turn around the school. We should not close the high school and take a kid who wasn’t up to the third-grade curriculum to fill a seat. One board member was so against what I proposed that he stepped off the board. It wasn’t pretty.
Fast forward, the school has turned around. There is a list to get into the lower, middle, and high school, and the school is financially better off. I compare this to student debt. We should forgive any student debt and rethink financially helping kids in the future. The more educated people, who can pursue the careers they want without a financial ball and chain at their feet, will be better for all of us in the long run. The debt is just holding itself hostage over the next generation of children that the debt holder is having.
The more educated people who can think on their own probably scare the shit out of the book banners, but everyone deserves a right to an education, and we shouldn’t have to put anyone into decades of debt to do it. It is the right thing to do for our country.