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The impact of student loans in the U.S. on public service career opportunities

Essay 2006 14 Pages

Business economics - Miscellaneous

Excerpt

The impact of student loans in the U.S.

on public service career opportunities

At a time when the government estimates that two million new teachers will be needed in the next decade, the large student-loan debt that college graduates face may deter students from entering public-service careers like teaching and social work. More generally, this circumstance will lead to a lack of education and will ultimately create for today’s generation and future generations unsolvable problems. In the media the key phrase “sustainable development” is often used, but nobody connects it to the field of education. This is a sad fact, for education is a fundamental value of every well functioning society, offering not only pure knowledge, but also developing important guidelines and moral norms that enable a human community to survive and to flourish. The US is struggling right now, still facing issues like racism, discrimination and violence that were said to be solved. Consequently minorities unify and segregate themselves into isolation; the gap between rich and poor continues to grow. If the government does not realize that lack of education is the root of ongoing conflicts and sticks on its course underfund education, the gap between wealth and poverty is going to become a crucial obstacle for a modern America that is continuing to claim a hegemony role worldwide.

The lack of teachers and social workers is not a secret problem; on the contrary the issue is discussed on the highest political level. The First Lady of the US, Laura Bush, sees the need for action and recommends on her homepage that the US “must provide more opportunities and incentives for people to become teachers.”[1] This statement proves that even the most popular political opinion leaders in the U.S. have recognized the fundamental importance of an affordable access to education. Currently most successful companies invest a lot of money to recruit the best skilled workers by attracting new entrants of the labor market with reasonable starting salaries. Only this way is a sustainable growth of productivity guaranteed and better paid employees will more than compensate their higher cost by higher performance, disposition and higher motivation. The relationship between employer and employee is always characterized by a high grade of reciprocity: you get is what you give. The above mentioned quote considers that the balance for the occupation of teachers is disturbed; the incentives to become a teacher are too low. The current task of politicians must be to call the public’s attention to these grievances, what hopefully leads to a redistribution of federal funds to areas where they are really needed.

The teachers and social workers play an especially critical role in American society, because they are essential to the functioning of local communities. Most highly developed countries worldwide face the problem of a demographic change. Social costs increase rapidly with the ongoing aging and declining birth-rate of nowadays populations. The obstacle is obvious: “Increased dependence on student loans could pose a challenge to states’ and local governments’ efforts to recruit and retain talented teachers and social workers.”[2] Stable social forces within a society are necessary to preserve a system of morals and values. If there is a lack of social workers, generally a group of workers who cares for the socially handicapped people, the stability of the society is not guaranteed any longer. This undesirable environment would lead to waywardness and demoralization. During the 2004 election students were asked, which issues were most important in determining their vote for the President? Figure 1 shows clearly the importance of moral values to students, for over 24% of college students voted for the political way that fitted best to their moral conceivability.

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Figure 1: Most important issues in determining students’ vote for president.[3]

It is necessary to recognize the value education adds to a society, or in other words to acknowledge the consequences of a lower educated workforce. Education is a capable tool to reduce discrimination, for there is a correlation between higher levels of education and higher earnings for all ethnic groups for both men and women. The Department of Education has found out in a study about the benefits of higher education for individuals and society that a college degree is worth 75% more than a high school diploma or more than $1,000,000 in earnings over a lifetime in the workforce.[4] Figure 2 shows the mean earnings by different levels of education. Both average earnings and average tax revenues are higher for people with higher levels of education.

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[1] White House, The. „Teachers: Recruit, Train, and Retain the Best and Brightest“, accessed October 19, 2006 at http://www.whitehouse.gov/firstlady/initiatives/education/teaching.html.

[2] Swarthout, Luke. The State PIRGs, Paying Back, Not Giving Back: Student Debt’s Negative Impact on Public Service Career Opportunities, April 2006. Accessed October 19, 2006 at

http://pirg.org/highered/payingback.pdf, p. 8.

[3] Niemi, Richard and Hanmer, Michael. Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, College Students in the 2004 Elections, November 2004, accessed November 1, 2006 at http://www.civicyouth.org/PopUps/FactSheets/FS_College_Voting.pdf, p. 7.

[4] Swarthout, Luke. The State PIRGs, Paying Back, Not Giving Back: Student Debt’s Negative Impact on Public Service Career Opportunities, April 2006. Accessed October 19, 2006 at

http://pirg.org/highered/payingback.pdf, p. 6.

Details

Pages
14
Year
2006
ISBN (eBook)
9783640141128
ISBN (Book)
9783640141210
File size
622 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v113659
Grade
1,0
Tags
Urban Economics

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Title: The impact of student loans in the U.S. on public service career opportunities