“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcom X
Education is in a perilous state right now in the USA. That’s for both those that offer it and those that receive it. And that should deeply concern everyone in the country, because education really is the bedrock of progress upon which any modern, forward-thinking society firmly rests upon.
While it is quite commonplace for teachers to finically struggle day-to-day with the most basic of things, such as the rent or mortgage, college students are incurring ever more eye-watering levels of debt year after year. Teachers, especially new ones, are increasingly struggling to make ends meet.
The statistics behind that reality make sobering reading:
Virtually every new teacher in the U.S is unable to meet cost of median housing rent in virtually every location in the country.
“The average salary of a U.S teacher was $58,950 in 2016-'17. When adjusted for inflation, that's slightly less than what the average teacher earned almost two decades ago.”
Both sources: https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/education/2019/06/05/teachers-pay-cost-of-living-teaching- jobs/3449428002
Consequently, it is no surprise that many teachers have felt obliged to resort to industrial action and strike. In fact, the strength and depth of teacher strikes is done of the unsung stories of recent years:
“About 485,200 workers were involved in major work stoppages in 2018, new Labor Department data shows. It’s the highest figure since 1986.”
Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2019/02/14/with-teachers- lead-more-workers-went-strike-than-any-year-since And striking figures don’t just stop with teachers’ pay. The figures behind current student debt levels literally jump up off of the page at you. Consider that:
“There are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.5 trillion in student loan debt in the U.S. alone. The average student in the Class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt.”
Not only is it morally repugnant to saddle generations to come with debt that they will spend years, if not decades, servicing, let alone paying off, it also makes literally zero investment sense as country for the future. New graduates have to be focused on making loan repayments before they can really focus on anything else – such as investing their money into start up businesses that can then generate additional taxes for the general good. Instead, graduates in new jobs have to siphon off money to predatory student loan companies.
For as long as Trump and the GOP, and sizeable chunks of the DNC, relish in their brazen no-nothing, corporate-enslaved rejection of progressive education and enlightenment, these problems will persist. As we know,
Trump is the epitome of wanton ignorance (it is of course no coincidence that there are very credible reports as to his daily White House briefings having to be delivered in virtual picture form so as to keep his gold-fish like attention in place).
The fact that Trump appointed Betsy DeVos, the very embodiment of white billionaire privilege, to be Secretary of Education in 2017, tells us all we need to know as to where we are as a country right now when it comes to education.
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang is super-clear on the importance of student debt, stating that:
“Student debt levels have exploded relative to other forms of debt over the past decade in particular. Educational loan totals recently surpassed $1.4 trillion in the U.S., up from $550 billion in 2011 and only $90 billion in 1999…This is limiting the growth of our economy and also crippling the advancement of millions of young
people in their careers and in starting families. We need to create a clear path out of this crippling debt.”
Source: https://www.yang2020.com/policies/student-loan-debt Just like health-care in the U.S, the education system is also currently at the mercy of the free market and corporate profit making. It is then absolutely unconscionable for the teachers and students of this country to languish under these sorts of financial pressures.
For the U.S to continue to maintain its position
as a pre-eminent land of education and innovation, teachers need to be paid a wage that they can actually live on and college students need to be seen as the vanguard for tomorrow and not cash-cows that can be endlessly bled financially dry.