When will we, as individuals, as schools, as a profession- as a country- declare our independence from a student lending system that restrains innovation, corrupts schools, condemns borrowers to a lifetime of indentured servitude, and robs the future to sustain an undesirable present? Our educational system has been perverted- all unintended and with the noble purpose of ensuring access to higher education in the name of advancing the progress of the country for the benefit of all its citizens and the larger world.
As government programs involving unlimited sums of money always do, the federal student loan program was exploited.
Our educational system is now a profit producing machine- most notably for the US government, as the Education Department showed a larger profit than any corporate entity in the US this year, but also for thousands of for-profit businesses that slapped together a teaching staff and started reaping those federal dollars through crop after crop of aggressively recruited student loan borrowers. Under intense economic pressure, the land grants felt forced to followed suit.
Our government, facing enormous demands from unfavorable demographics, desperately needs funding sources. So do our schools, as they face dramatically decreased state funding in recognition of their growing irrelevance and failure to create sufficient societal value.
The end result? Schools that treat students like a herd of cash cows; loans that most can serve but never pay off; education that equips us for jobs that don't exist. Borrowers who feel lost, lied to, misled.
That ain't right.
We must build a sustainable education system, one which recruits and rewards excellence, one with integral feedback mechanisms to direct its development. We need an educational system capable of maintaining its mission to improve our community by empowering individual citizens of that community to prosper. The individual programs within this system must serve that mission by performing effectively in an operational landscape of rapidly changing sociocultural values, perennially corrupt politics, unpredictable economic demands and unforeseen environmental conditions.
We need to figure this out quick. Before we're all sunk.