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April Michelle

Crippled by Knowledge

The wayward way of thinking has always been: “Son, I want you to go to college, graduate with a degree so you will have the education to secure a well-paying job. You know back in my day, I was able to go to college, so I want to make sure you have every opportunity to! ”

The inevitable downfall: The rise in college tuition, along with the decrease in federal aid for working middle class families’, students and their parents are placed under enormous pressure in paying back mass amounts of student loan debt.

The vicious cycles remains: Parents could not afford college for themselves ' Parents want better for their kids ' Parents struggle daily and sacrifice their home, their livelihood to ensure their child will have the opportunity at a college education ' Casting a dark cloud over the excitement of their child’s graduation - Four years in a state school and one bachelors degree later ' Parents are faced with a $500 a month student loan payment ' Their son will begin paying on his portion of the loan next month.

The pleasures in being a working middle class family in today’s society. Parents who in the course of hard work and determination established careers with little to no higher education, providing and making the ends meet. Nevertheless, no tuition grants or federal aid for their hopeful first generation college student. “Son, we make too much money for you to qualify for grants. I know who would think a daily struggle is equivalent to making too much money. It is simply loans for us, and I'm not sure we can afford the $568 a month payment. I guess we will manage like we always have. I sure didn't foresee this worry and grief when I just wanted better for you.'

His son, an elementary school teacher in a low-socioeconomic urban school district has hopes that each and every child in his classroom will have the opportunity to pursue higher education. Thoughts of his monthly struggle on a state teacher’s salary to make ends meet and pay back his student loans, escape him every time he walks into the classroom full of young minds craving to learn.

The children we raise and educate today are the minds that will drive our society into the 21-century. Must you realize you are sacrificing the well-being our nation and placing the future of our society in jeopardy to only have history repeat itself. Senators, congressmen, lawyers and lobbyists almost certainly would not have had the opportunity to be where they are now without the support and devotion of their underpaid and overworked school teachers. Everyday leaders such as school teachers and their hard working families do not deserve the crippling burden of outrageous monthly student loan payments when the end goal is to simply further their education in order to influence and guide the society that will lead our nation’s future.

If educators take a primary role in being the driving force behind a society of accountable well-informed people; I can only help to wonder if serving in our nation’s military can pay back student loans, why can’t serving in our nation’s classrooms pay back student loans.

© 2010 April Michelle

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