We have a moral obligation to not cancel student debt

Hey-o. ‘Tis official – I will be shutting tol’ Galloblog down in a few months (I’m not renewing my plan or my domain this year). What shall I use this blog for in the meantime? To share my unpopular opinions, of course. I’m not the first one to speak on this subject and soytenly not the most eloquent, but.. some of this stuff needs to be said by a young educated female instead of grumpy Bill O’Reilly types. Or maybe not. The 6 people who still read my posts can decide.

So – student debt. It’s out of control. Should we cancel it?

I say no. My main reason for saying this is that it’s simply not fair.

  1. No one is forced to go to a 4 year college
    •  Ever since.. oh let’s say the 80s or 90s, it was kind of assumed that everyone who wasn’t in extreme poverty or had an inkling of intelligence would and should go to college. High schools do try to prepare their students for college and push them to apply. But at the end of the day, no one put a gun to your head and told you that you had to go to college. It’s not as if a government mandate got students in their current position.
  2.  Going to a 4 year college is not necessary for success
    •  On top of that, there are many trades that are very lucrative and in high demand – electrician, welding, plumbing, etc. They may not be glamorous or cushy but they are good options for young people to consider. Dignified options. They may require a tad of debt but it’s much more likely you will get a lucrative job and actually be able to pay it off in a few years, instead of having a lifetime payment that is equivalent to a second mortgage.
  3.  Going to a 4 year expensive college is definitely not necessary for success
    •  I knew from the time I was 16 that I was going to get my PhD. So a trade school wasn’t a good option. Did that mean I needed to go an Ivy League or private school? Nope. I went to a good ol’ state college. I worked ~30 hours for a small business while I was a full-time student. I took advantage of the HOPE scholarship (thank you, Zell Miller!) and kept my grades pristine so that I would stand out to grad schools. I graduated with $0 in debt and I got my PhD at Emory University. While not quite as prestigious as Harvard or MIT, it is very respectable and many PhDs in my program have gone on to get jobs at Stanford, Harvard, etc. I could have gone into debt to pay for a $25k/year college, but it was 100% unnecessary.
  4.  What about people who made sacrifices to pay off their debt already?
    •  Believe it or not, there are people out there who actually lived below their means for a long time to make great strides toward paying off their debt. My sister and boyfriend, for example. 10s of thousands of dollars paid. What about their peers who haven’t made as much progress? Does it make sense for them to suddenly get a write-off? That is completely not fair, unless you’re going to retroactively reimburse everyone who was prudent enough to pay off their debt, which would become absurd. It’s morally repugnant to punish people for being responsible.

 

So what’s the alternative? I’m not sure… but I like the idea of student loan forgiveness programs like the United States military is doing. Maybe the government could offer incentive for businesses to institute similar programs. Or perhaps we could convince businesses to stop insisting that every single job they post require a minimum bachelor’s degree education for jobs that are 95-100% learned on-the-job, anyway. Better yet, maybe we could make the legally required public education actually teach the youts anything useful so that the first two years of college “core” classes in which they cover things like basic writing skills and the 3 branches of government could be done away with, and only the two years of actually major-relevant courses would be required. That would slash loans in half! There are many options, but canceling student debt like Academic Santa Clause is the least moral.

 

This girl was homeschooled for 12 years. What happened after that will have you in tears!

 

me_child
Where did Gallo get her swag?? Born with it.

Meet Lil Gallo, age 5ish. Her mom began homeschooling her a few months before her 6th birthday. What happened next?

As a child and pre-teen, she had tons of extra time to volunteer on political campaigns. Shook the President of the United States hand when she was 11 years old. During his gubernatorial campaign, Sonny Perdue knew her by name. Met a lot of amazing, crazy, interesting people.

As an older teen, she got a job in high school working 30ish hours a week. Worked there for 4 years, and received several promotions and raises. Made a lot of friends there, many of which she still keeps up via the book of faces.

During that time, she also started attending a state college as a full time student. Made some great friends of all kinds of races, religions, and political affiliations, some of whom she hangs out with 10 years later. Graduated summa cum laude in 4 years.

From there she became a graduate student at a private University. Received her Master’s degree in 2 years, and her PhD 4 years after that. Made some friends, dated some fellers, traveled around the country and world.

Currently does research, loves to meet new people and travel, and writes a mainly-idiotic blog for funsies.

But WAIT! Isn’t she mal-adjusted, socially inept, scared of the world, set back in life, etc.? No, you ignorant snobbo.

So– have some people had terrible experiences with homeschooling? Of course.. just like others have had terrible experiences with various public and private schools. Are some parents psychotic? Of course… as are some teachers and peers in more traditional schools.

I don’t really care if people homeschool their kids or not, but I do care that people have all sorts of super-negative ideas about it. This post was anecdotal, for sure — but there have also been a lot of academic studies on various aspects of homeschooling and how successful homeschoolers are by several different measures. Usually homeschoolers are just the same if not better on a variety of different outcomes — Check out this review by Brian Ray (2010), and some of these other individual studies: Lower drug use | Sleep quality | College performance.

Don’t be an uneducated buffoon about this education choice! It worked well for this Gallo 🙂

 

graduation
Purposefully blurry for anti-stalking purposes!!

 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

NOTE: I don’t think you need to get a PhD to defend your family’s. Choice to homeschool. There is much more to becoming a successful adult who contributes meaningfully to society than your educational attainment. My point is that it’s unlikely to ruin a kid’s life, and just might free them to pursue different opportunities that will shape them for the better 🙂