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Editorial: ‘Good news’ for Texans — or misleading young people?
About politics and other thingsJuly 11, 2012 | 1,275 views | 3 comments
Statistics show that close to half a million Texans will assume student-loan debts for the coming school year, and they can thank Congress for coming to their rescue. Or not.
Congress just passed a bill that included provisions to keep interest rates on college loans at the current 3.4 percent instead of doubling to 6.8 percent, which would have been the case without this legislation.
“At a time when student debt is ballooning,” Congressman Henry Cuellar wrote in a Congressional Report, “students can enter the upcoming school year with the security of less expensive monthly loan payments.” But, are less expensive monthly payments enough to provide that security if the payments will be for the rest of their lives, as they indeed could be with no jobs waiting when they get out of college?
Obviously, Cuellar is not alone in promoting student loans. The majority in Congress has accepted that student debts are a necessary ingredient in getting a college education. Unfortunately there weren’t enough conservatives in Washington willing to risk even being perceived as being opposed to helping middle class students.
Gone are the days when students were encouraged to work their way through school, so perhaps it’s time to ask if we are shortchanging them by encouraging them to take on debts instead of jobs? These lower monthly payments will not make their debts go away any sooner, especially when “up to half of our recent college graduates will be jobless or underemployed” after graduating. (This statement was in an editorial in Monday’s San Antonio Express-News.)
But, you say, education is an investment in our country’s future. Notice how things we want now have become “investments” instead of expenses. It’s a slick selling tool.
Especially when it comes to investing in young people, conventional wisdom says that investments help keep America competitive. We must make sure that kids get the education they need to succeed, “which means that it’s smart to keep college affordable and accessible,” wrote Cuellar.
By presenting kids with the foregone conclusion that they must borrow to get a college education, many of them are graduating with debts so large that the “less expensive monthly payments on their college loans” will not help.
This is not an entirely new phenomenon, but it is becoming more acceptable to assume debts. Instead of being corralled into taking out student loans and staying on their parents’ insurance until age 26, perhaps they would be better off if given alternatives, such as getting a job.
Aside from working their way through college, it is a fact that not everyone needs a college degree. There are wonderful jobs within the trades, such as plumbers, aircraft mechanics, beauticians, truck drivers, construction workers, electricians, technicians, and mechanics. Someone has to fix things that quit working. Things like our heating and air conditioning systems. We all need these services, so why not encourage young people to consider something they might actually enjoy instead of encouraging they incur debts to get a degree that doesn’t necessarily lead to employment?
If you have a skill that will always be in demand, regardless of the economy, it seems to me that you would be better off than holding a degree for which there is no job. Trade skills cannot be outsourced.
Instead of accepting a defeatist attitude about jobs that “only illegals” will do, we should be teaching kids that manual labor is honorable. We need people to haul our trash and clean our schools, so why do we demean those professions? It seems to me that we have created our own conundrum.
Your Opinions and Comments
The Marcelina Muse
Dry Tank, TX
July 17, 2012 12:32pm
GRAND PRAIRIE TX
July 13, 2012 9:01am
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