EDUCATION

Shontel Brown favors student loan forgiveness. I do not. Forgiveness would shift $400 billion in costs to innocent taxpayers. It is unfair of Brown and other progressives to impose on all taxpayers the costs of bailing out students who made unwise financial choices.

Brown does not offer to reimburse those who paid their debts. They are treated differently and unfairly. And others who are asked to bear the costs of loan forgiveness either could not afford to attend college or chose not to. Brown would treat them differently, too. Some groups like wealthy graduate students who can afford to pay their debts are favored for political reasons. Loan forgiveness is a form of political bribe supported by progressives like Shontel Brown to buy votes. That is morally wrong.

Students may have difficulty making loan payments because of unexpected financial reverses or health problems. They should be able to discharge their debts in bankruptcy. But federal law makes student loans incredibly difficult to discharge, and that must change. Students with loan debts deserve the same second chance in life that other debtors are granted by bankruptcy laws. Right now, they do not have that.

Over the years, loans from the Department of Education have flooded the market with money. Colleges poured such money into new buildings, sports programs, and salaries of administrators. They passed costs to students. The economic result was inflation of the price of a college education. A related result was an increased amount of student loan debt. Loans made college affordable for some. But eventually, they had bad consequences for everyone. All taxpayers are being punished. Government loans should be phased out and discontinued. That would pressure colleges to lower the cost of education instead of raising it. Loan programs have outlived their usefulness. It is time for them to end.

In the alternative, more emphasis must be given to types of education that assist entry into the trades. It is too hard to find a good electrician, plumber, or carpenter. Vocational education in high schools should be encouraged. Shop once was a required course. It should be one again. It is past time for children to learn again how to build things.

This problem cries out for a national solution. Training, apprenticeships, and courses at community colleges need more support. Too much emphasis has been placed on the importance of a college degree. Young people need better choices between incurring student loan debt for college or finding a path to career growth that does not require a college degree.

Another national problem is a general lack of understanding of how governments operate. For instance, only 26 percent of Americans can name all three branches of the federal government. Many Americans could not pass the citizenship test given to immigrants. Civics once was a required course. It is time for it to become one again. Civic education would give students the knowledge, skills, and disposition necessary to become informed and engaged citizens. It would not be the same as teaching history. It would teach about the structure of government, rights and responsibilities, and methods of public engagement. Political leaders on all levels should encourage it.

Parents are – and should be – primary decision makers for their children. So, they must have a more effective say in how their children are being educated. Proposed H.R. 5, Parents Bill of Rights Act would have helped them. It would have guaranteed parents the right to know what is being taught, the right to be heard, the right to see the school budget and spending, the right to protect their child’s privacy, and the right to be updated on any violent activity at school. Shontel Brown voted against H.R. 5, and I would have voted for it.  As consumers of educational services, parents deserve to be made more aware of what happens in classrooms.

Women deserve more legal protection in school sports program. Title IX of federal law requires that women receive access to systems of sports participation that truly are parallel and equal to those offered to men. Proposed H.R. 734, the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act would have protected such access. It would have recognized that allowing a person whose sex is male to participate in an athletic program designed for women or girls is sex discrimination. Shontel Brown voted NO on H.R. 734. I would have voted for it. This law would have guaranteed that women can participate in sports programs as true equals, just as men can participate as true equals in their own programs.

Finally, it is past time to call out programs in education that champion “diversity, equity and inclusion” (DEI) policies.  While these programs are meant to sound high minded, the reality is that they use race, gender and sexuality as political weapons to enforce intellectual conformity.  That is not consistent with American traditions and values.  They do not call upon people to judge others on the content of their character, as Dr. King urged.  Instead, they call upon them to judge people by their characteristics.  We can and must do better than that.

Elect Alan Rapoport to the U.S. House of Representatives
for Ohio’s 11th District.

Paid for by Rapoport for Congress Committee

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