Forgive Student Loans of Overburdened Teachers

Target: Betsy DeVos, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education

Goal: Alleviate financial burden for America’s educators.

Americans owe estimated trillions of dollars in student debt, and the number rises exponentially with each passing year. A program known as the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program was supposed to lessen this crisis for million of Americans. The concept is relatively simple: if you make your career in public service, student loans will be forgiven after ten years. Teachers, arguably more than most professionals, should qualify for this benefit. The Department of Education (DOE) even targets teachers with the proposal on their website. Yet a lawsuit was just filed on behalf of teachers nationwide alleging the DOE has shirked its promises to debt-burdened educators.

Teachers take on a disproportionate amount of the nation’s student debt while likewise receiving a disproportionately lower income than other professionals at their education level. Over half of teachers hold an advanced degree, and many teaching positions in fact require this much pricier education. But, on average, teachers make as much as $100,000 less annually than other holders of master’s or doctorate degrees. So, the individuals who guide and shape America’s future doctors, lawyers, CEOs, and employees of all types receive little reward for their dedication.

Instead, in too many cases they must assume an overwhelming financial burden. A recent survey even revealed that a large majority of America’s teachers personally pay for their own students’ basic supplies. Add rising student debt to this mix and it is little wonder that educators all over the country have gone on strike. Student loan forgiveness could make a fundamental difference in these individuals’ lives.

Sign this petition to demand the Department of Education look out for the financial security of its most valuable assets.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary DeVos,

The teacher turnover rate after five years is astounding. The fact that a sizable chunk of educators confirm they must pay significant out- of-pocket amounts for classroom supplies is shameful. Worse yet, the cavalier manner in which the Department of Education seemingly treats these guardians of America’s future is unconscionable.

The lawsuit recently brought against this department in regards to the PSLF program emblemizes a growing divide between educators and the agency that should be safeguarding their best interests. Teachers assume crushing student debt for half the pay of individuals who take on the same debt. These men and women are the very benchmark of public service, as their contributions affect all sectors of American society. How many individuals, regardless of their walk of life, list a teacher as one of their most important mentors and inspirations?

Red tape and arcane qualifying standards have led to an over 99 percent rejection rate for PSLF. Only 864 individuals, by your own estimation, have benefitted from this program that was supposed to help millions. In regards to DOE’s role, the filers of the lawsuit aptly state that “the very agency that is supposedly the champion of our nation’s education system has failed to live up to its role in administering this program,” You must do better for educators and for the future they help shape.

Fix this broken program and make it the ally it should have always been for America’s teachers and public servants.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Douglas P. Perkins




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3 Comments

  1. Robert Ortiz says:

    They do important work and are overworked and underpaid, so this is the least that can be done to show our appreciation and gratitude toward educators.

  2. How about raise the minimum wage to a living wage for all people plus universal health care for all. A lot of hard working people are under-paid and overworked.

  3. PA Taxpayer says:

    Teachers make a fair salary in my state of Pennsylvania. More importantly, they have very substantial benefits such as $20+K of employer paid health insurance if they have family coverage, summers off, and pensions that are so lucrative they are prectically bankrupting our state. What other job could you retire in your last 50’s and have a pension for the remainder of your life in which you net nearly what your take home pay was before retiring. Don’t group all teachers together. Some states they are underpaid. They are not underpaid in PA.

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