In response to “Rural teachers need debt relief“ (Guest Opinion, Oct. 25), here are a few points to take into consideration:

“... [A] brand-new Idaho teacher looks at payments between $200-$400 a month.”

While this may be somewhat accurate, the statement does not examine the “brand-new” teacher’s overall debt, i.e. new house and/or car payment. If a “brand-new” teacher decides he or she requires a new car and/or residence, this may be one reason why they “are often working two or three jobs just to make loan payments on time.” In other words, a “brand-new” teacher often needs approximately $60,000-$70,000 annually just to break even; again, their decision. And in the case of a two-income household where both are earning the same amount, is an income of $100,000 the “new norm” for a “brand-new” teacher? Ridiculous would be an understatement.

Expanding on college education, the article does not mention why tuition and fees are rather expensive.

One method of gaining nearly limitless, extensive experience and training in thousands of areas of interest while simultaneously mitigating “student” debt is enlisting in a branch of the U.S. military.

Drawing a crude analogy to trades, when a student graduates from a trade school (plumbing, mechanics, HVAC, etc.) he or she is not guaranteed employment—anywhere. Additionally, a trade school graduate’s first hiring is at the apprenticeship level, receiving pay reflecting his or her experience. A “brand-new” instructor should not be “entitled” to receive journeyman’s pay the first day on the job.

Moreover, a student who graduates with a bachelor’s degree in government is not “entitled” to a position in government, nor guaranteed a job in any specific area.

“... doing things like allowing unlicensed teachers in the classroom.”

Referencing the guest editorial’s headline about “rural” areas, students often learn the “hands-on” truth regarding facets of farming, irrigation, weaning animals, truck-driving, veterinary medicine, shearing, fence-building and a plethora of other talents not always taught in a classroom by “licensed” instructors.

“Parents in rural districts have no choice ...”

This statement is absolute malarkey. There are always choices. In many Idaho districts, private, charter, online and religion-based schooling is available. And a percentage of parents often choose to home-school their children for their own reasons.

Many property owners pay 20 percent (or more) of their property taxes to support public school systems, which includes instructor salaries. Many of these same taxpayers have, had and/or never will have any relative attending public school, yet they are asked to pay for the education of people they don’t know. Preposterous, yet some representatives have no qualms about reaching into the pockets of these taxpayers for more money to “relieve” “rural teachers” of their self-imposed debt; nothing short of union-oriented thuggery.

Many residents in several districts fit the aforementioned statistic and object to their property-tax money being, more or less, squandered. They are met with “supporting public schools is part of being a member of the community.”

Lastly, if “brand-new” individuals sought out their area of discipline and the goal was to instruct students in Idaho, they are welcome. If the same individuals’ goal was to teach anywhere with the highest first-day salary, is their interest truly in Idaho?

There is absolutely no reason for taxpayers to foot the bill for others’ college expenses.

As one of those property taxpayers, upon graduation with a 3.9 GPA and subsisting within my means, I paid off my student loan debt in just two short years.

Though circumstances vary among college graduates, excuses why “brand-new” instructors cannot attend to their debt often fall on deaf ears, and rightly so.


Randy A. Pew is a resident of Camas County.

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