September 2, 2021
By: Freedom to Prosper Team
Thanks to our work and that of our great allies, it’s now common knowledge that college student debt is a $1.7 trillion economic crisis. But there is another alarming development in America.
According to the New York Times, school debt for children from kindergarten through twelfth grade rose to nearly $500 billion across the country in 2019, a 118 percent increase from 2002. Unlike college debt, which is owed by individual students, this debt is carried by cities and towns around the country that have been forced to borrow to keep schools open. Unfortunately, the principle is the same. We’re ignoring our social responsibility as a national community and leaving future generations to pay the price. We’ve forgotten that education benefits us all: whoever we are, wherever we live, and whatever our personal circumstances.
The “Wall Street-style” funding of K-12 schools through bonds and the private sector is detrimental to our kids’ future. “What seems like a fix for school districts’ strapped budgets has actually trapped them in cycles of austerity, exacerbating the very inequalities public education is designed to address,” writes Dr. Eleni Schirmer, a research associate with The Future of Finance Initiative at U.C.L.A.’s Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy.
Zero-interest loans to municipalities from the Federal Reserve could be one way to reduce this growing debt. But more importantly, our country needs to wake up and realize that we’re hurting the young and the generations that will follow them. We should be investing in our students because we see them for what they are: a gift to our national community and a light for the future. Instead, we’re mortgaging their future, and our country’s, to the financial sector.
The burden of educational debt is being placed on rising generations for their entire lives, either as individual loans or as a drain on their community wealth. Either way, we are robbing our kids — and ourselves — of the ability to prosper.
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Student debt impacts millions of people, of all ages.
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