Saturday, February 28, 2009

TO OBAMA: expand student loan forgiveness to ALL teachers

I read that Obama reads ten letters from the public a day, so I've sent a couple, like this:
President Obama,

Thank you for your emphasis on education in your recent state of the union and Saturday radio address.

There is one thing you could do that would be a tremendous encouragement to current educators and encourage others to become teachers: expand the student loan forgiveness program to all K-12 and public college instructors.

Those who currently get student loan forgiveness could get it at an increased pace or some additional incentive like a tax credit.

I teach community college, and because most schools hire mostly part time instructors at as little as a quarter the pay of full time faculty and don't us health benefits (I didn't get any from from any of my schools for the first eight years I taught), I was not able to make consistent payments on my student loans until just the last two or three years.

Consequently, my debt doubled from $50,000 to over $100,000, and my payments are greater than my rent.

The overuse and abuse of part time faculty at community colleges needs to be ended as well, but expanding the forgiveness of student loans would tell society that our work deserves at least one-tenth of one percent as much of the financial recognition that Wall Street gave themselves in bonuses with the bailout money.