Last week brought good news and bad news for the 40 million Americans struggling with student loan debt.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s commonsense bill to allow those with student loan debt to refinance at a lower rate while asking the wealthy to pay their fair share failed to pass in the Senate. However, earlier in the week, President Barack Obama signed an executive order to make student debt more manageable for millions.
While strides are being made, it’s vital to remember what student loan debt means for middle class families, for educators and the students themselves.
Gabriela Rodriguez was struggling as a single mom ten years out of high school when she decided to pursue a college degree and realize her dream of becoming a teacher.
“By the time I got my first teaching job, I owed as much money in school loans as my yearly salary—$37,000,” said Rodriguez.
Now, it is time for her oldest son to start college, and two years later, her youngest son will graduate high school.
“Here I am today, barely making ends meet, paying almost $500 a month in school loans, and signing my life and future savings away in order for my son to pursue his dream college education. I constantly lie awake wondering how am I going to pay for all of this. When will I see the day when I will be able to stay above water financially?”
$37K for teaching as a mature adult woman who's raised two children that are now young adults should command a higher pay than that because she possesses tacit knowledge that recent twenty-something college grads don't have. She has the competence to encourage her young students to incorporate their understanding of socio-political nuances by race and ethnic group so they can 'connect' with their students at their individual levels and guide them through their scholarly journey. It's not just about 'going through the motions' to get the classes completed and secure the degree, get a job. Teaching is about stimulating one's intellectual curiosity about our global neighbors who live and work alongside us here in America. It's an Adventure!
Educators, firefighters, police officers, librarians, nurses and other public employees already contribute up to ten percent of their salary towards their pensions, and many do not even get Social Security. Despite this, the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) penalize people who have dedicated their lives to public education and other public service careers by taking away benefits they have EARNED.
Luckily, Democrats and Republicans in both the Senate and House of Representatives are working together to address these troubling provisions. The Social Security Fairness Act of 2013 has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) as HR 1795. On the Senate side, Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Dean Heller (R-NV), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have introduced the same bill as S 896.
GPO reduces public employees’ Social Security spousal or survivor benefits by two-thirds of their public pension — nine out of ten people lose their entire spousal benefit, even though their spouse paid Social Security taxes for many years. WEP reduces the earned Social Security benefits of an individual who also receives a public pension from a job not covered by Social Security — hard-working people lose a significant portion of the benefits they have earned themselves.
What this means, in real terms, is that public servants such as teachers, firefighters and police officers are losing the benefits they earned through a lifetime of public service. Loss of benefits can result from moving from private to public employment and vice versa or moving between states that have different GPO/WEP rules.
GPO/WEP does nothing more than punish those who have dedicated their lives to serving their communities. Take Heidi from Maine, for instance:
NYC's housing authority is hoarding filthy, blighted homes New York Post The Housing Authority now says it plans to dispose of the houses — many of them in Jamaica — because they “represent an inefficient allocation of housing resources,” according...
Let the child touch the TV remote and you know that’s their first brush with technology.
Children take to technology like fish take to water. Even as debates rage over how much technology we should let our children use, it comes down to one inescapable fact that the society of today and tomorrow is totally driven by technology. The impact of video games on children is well-researched.
Let’s question – can we be Luddites in a world that is also tapping into children as design “partners” for innovation? Or should we embrace the best of technology and use it to strengthen their literacy and cognitive skills?
Which are the creative technology skills we should encourage children to learn? Maybe, these five (though, feel free to suggest your own in the comments)…
Google is offering vouchers to any women and minorities interested in learning how to code, CNET's Seth Rosenblatt reports.
In a blog post from Gregg Pollack, CEO of the Code School, Google is paying for three free months for any women and minorities interested in tech to expand their skills. The offer is part of Google’s $50 million “Made With Code” initiative, which aims to help close the gender gap in tech.
While Google is also offering the same vouchers to the women in attendance at its annual I/O developers conference this week, the search giant has released an online application that’s available to women everywhere. Google says its available vouchers for women number in the “thousands.”
This new initiative comes just days after Google published a diversity report that revealed only 30% of its employees are women, while African Americans and Hispanics only comprised 1 and 2% of Google’s tech employees, respectively. Google said the current state of its company diversity is “miles from where we want to be.”
Wow! Our article “The 5 Worst Governors Who Put Rich Corporations and CEOs before Students” really got you talking. Our Facebook fans and Twitter followers were quite vocal about other top offenders who weren’t included on our list.
Sadly, so many governors currently in office make it a point to give tax breaks for jets and yachts and turn their heads to crumbling schools and crowded classrooms that there just wasn’t room to include all of the worst offenders in one article.
But we’re listening, and decided to add five more bad actors to our list based entirely on your comments. Please share these graphics with your networks now! After all, most of these governors are up for re-election this fall, and people need to know what they really stand for.