45 million Americans have student loan debt Each of the borrowers would owe more than $30,000 if that were distributed evenly.
The federal government has stopped collection of student loan payments due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Some Americans think that student loan debt should be forgiven by the government.
What would the cancellation of the bill mean?
Betsy DeVos, a former secretary of education, says that the idea of forgiveness of student loans is for people who don't need it. Those who have never attended college will pay for it.
The Biden administration should not address the rising student loan debt because it is not in the best interest of the country.
Concerns over the far left's influence on education are addressed by the Secretary of Education.
The lightly edited transcript can be found below.
The show is welcoming the former Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. Thank you for being here. You are a pleasure to have around.
Thank you, Virginia. It is wonderful to be with you.
You are the author of a book coming out in June called "Hostages No More: The Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child." I am so excited to talk about this book a bit more. Right now, it is available for pre-order. It goes on sale on June 21st.
Before we talk about the book, I would like to ask you about a draft letter that the public has been made aware of. In September of last year, the National School Boards Association sent a letter to the White House requesting assistance to investigate parents' actions at school board meetings as possible instances of domestic terrorism. The White House was asked to send the Army National Guard and military police to certain school districts in the draft version of the letter.
When you learned that the National School Boards Association may have asked the White House for help, what was your reaction?
It was awful, and it is still awful. As we learn more about it, it becomes worse. The idea that parents who are interested in their children and their children's education are calling for the National Guard to come and keep them from speaking their mind at school board meetings and asking questions is just... The Department of Justice did not recall the memo that was issued as a result.
It speaks volumes to what the system and all of the politicians who are in bed with it are trying to prevent. I think this will force more and more parents to demand that they have a say in their children's education. It is very painful to see this sort of thing happening at a national level and I think it will be good for parents and kids.
What do you think about the Biden administration? They wouldn't stick up for these parents but would just take the letter and parrot them themselves.
It shows where their priorities are. We know that the school union and the school union bosses have been supported by the president. They were the ones who kept schools closed and kids out of school for long periods of time. The priorities of this administration are not with parents and children.
I know that you wrote your new book, "Hostages No More: The Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child", because of some of the frustration you experienced. What was your main goal in writing this book?
I wanted to share my story. I have been fighting for parents to have a say in their children's education for 30 years. The last couple of years have brought this issue to the forefront for families who have never considered it before.
It is my story for over 30 years. This is going to be a tool that will continue to be used. It is expected to be a tool for parents who want to know what they can do to make sure that they have a say in their children's futures.
The title pays homage to the founder of the K-12 system that we still operate under today. "We who are engaged in the sacred cause of education are entitled to look upon all parents as having given hostages to our cause." We have seen that in many different ways and in ways that parents wouldn't have expected. It is helping to create a revolution in K-12 education.
Over the last two years parents have called for curriculum transparency at the grade school level. Are they doing enough to fight this?
The Department of Education in Washington should not be involved in curriculum. I hope that this administration will keep that in mind. They had to pull back on critical race theory curriculum after getting a lot of backlash.
There are moves in various states to ban certain curriculums, so it is important for parents to see all of the curriculum in their child's school. When there is no transparency, it will be renamed and slide under the radar screen.
I have heard from many parents who wanted to see the syllabus for their children. They aren't being allowed to see what is happening in their children's classroom in many places
Parents were horrified at how little their children were learning when they were learning at a distance. They were not happy with the curriculum that their children were being taught. Asking for, and really demanding, full transparency, which will result in accountability, is what parents should be asking for.
Allen said yes. We are seeing more conversations about school choice and a need for school choice as a result of advocating for that control. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott supports school choice and says it is necessary. He would like to support it. How do you feel about school choice programs? Do they help push for education and curriculum transparency in public schools?
Absolutely. The solution to the problems in K-12 education is actually education freedom. Every single family in the country that has children in K-12 years with the resources that are already spent on that child, that's what that means.
The analogy of a backpack is used by me. The kids go to school with the things they need. Parents can decide where their children go to school, if they put the funds that are used for that child into that backpack. It could be a home-based school with other families. It might be a faith-based school. It might be a charter school where you have to take transportation. It could be a career development school. There are many schools or experiences.
It has been a monopolistic system for the vast majority of children in this country. When families have the freedom to make their own decisions, we will see a lot of creativity. Every school that wants to have children attend that school is going to have to do what the families are demanding and require for their children.
Florida is the state that is furthest along in this area. Everyone gets better when there are more options in Florida. Things get better for students.
Evans likes the metaphor of the cash in backpacks because it shows how the money can be used by each student. We have a student loan crisis in our country and I want to speak about it. Americans have over one trillion dollars in student debt. There is a lot of discussion about whether or not the loans will be forgiven. Do you think the Biden administration will do something?
I hope they follow the law and don't do it. The president does not have the power to forgive student loan debt.
This position was taken by the Obama administration. I hope that President Biden doesn't give a bunch of student loan forgiveness. When we talk about the idea of forgiveness of student loans, what we are really talking about is the benefit to those who don't need it. Those who have never attended college, taxpayers who didn't take out student loans, and taxpayers who have faithfully paid off their student loans are the ones who are going to pay for it. Veterans who serve their country get their benefits for education.
Mass student loan forgiveness is based on what an individual owes. White Americans under the age of 40 with graduate degrees who live in high-income areas would benefit the most from mass student loan forgiveness.
That is contrary to what Biden and the administration wanted to do. It is a matter of fair play. Student loan forgiveness is not fair. There are things that can be done to help students. We offered a lot of those up during the last administration.
The foundation of federal student lending, which was taken over as a monopoly by the Obama administration in 2010, should be reexamined because there is no incentive for universities to control their costs.
Many students have been shut out of college classes, learning at a distance in an apartment and not being able to interact with their peers and friends but still being charged the same amount of tuition. There is a lot of reexamination of the value of a higher degree.
Allen said yes. Right now, everyone needs to be asking that question. What should the Biden administration be doing? Most Americans who have student loans are not paying them.
Biden has kicked the can down the road and said, "OK, you don't have to pay back for another six months, another six months, another three months." Many Americans can't afford to pay off their student loans due to the ballooning debt Is there a way out of this problem?
The deferment of payment on student loans was supposed to be for a short time. When we didn't know what the long-term implications would be, it was appropriate to do it at the beginning of the Pandemic. It is unfair to the rest of America's taxpayers to think that we are still in a deferment phase.
As the loans continue to be deferred, we have accrued over $150 billion in outstanding loan fees. There are a lot of different income-based repayment plans that students can take advantage of.
Start there and find a plan that works for you. I think that student loan debt should be included in a bankruptcy proceeding. Currently it is not. It should be looked at seriously.
On the other side of the equation, students need to be very careful about what they buy when they go to college. Adding a lot of data to the college scorecard was one of the things we did. It is important that you know what you are likely to earn in the year after graduating. The data will keep being added to that.
You can compare institutions if you want to pursue a specific degree or a specific field of study. I encourage all students to use the tools that are available to them as they do their homework.
These big universities seem to be winning in this situation. The endowments of these universities have never been higher, but at the same time their curriculum and professors have never been more sexist and racist.
How do we pull in these universities when we know that they are pushing radical ideologies?
As we have done, we expose where it's happening. There is less and less tolerance on the part of more and more Americans for a lack of free speech. One of the main goals of higher education is to really hone and hone your own ideas. It is only possible when you have an exchange of ideas, and we have seen many college campuses deny that.
Americans are going to question the value of pursuing some of these experiences, specific institutions, and higher education in general, because we know that there are millions of jobs open today that don't require a higher-ed degree, a bachelor's degree
The value proposition for higher education is going to be questioned.
Allen wants to know if taxpayer funds should stop going to left-wing universities if they are so far left.
The more we can give people tools to evaluate where they're going to take on student debt, where they're going to pursue an education, and the more we expose the institutions that are not truly providing a free exchange of ideas, the better. That will be a good thing.
Alternative higher-ed pathways are one thing that I think we will see more and more of. During our time in office, we reformed accreditation. The accreditors are very incestuous because they all evaluate one another and keep everyone in the same club, while adding new options and new pathways for new providers.
We can help that by telling the stories about some of the alternatives that are emerging, but that will be a force tomorrow. I think about some of the traditional institutions, like Purdue University, and the fact that the president has been fearless in controlling costs for students. A free and open place for exchange of ideas is what higher-ed institutions need to be.
More should be looking to leaders likeMitch Daniels to follow in his footsteps. Those that are successful in the long run will be more serious about those elements.
Allen said yes. You know how difficult it is to address all of these issues as the former secretary of education. We have a secretary of education. Would you rate him based on how he is doing at his job?
If I were to give a grade, I would give him an "F" because he's not focused on doing things that are right for kids and students. We focused on doing the right thing for students. It is clear that he listens to the adult interests, the systems, the institutions, the school unions, all of those who have done the wrong thing for students. He has shown that he is a pawn of the system, and not an advocate for students.
This is the final question. It will be a two-parter. The media hates the Trump administration more than any other administration. I believe that the women of the administration were treated unfairly and portrayed poorly, and probably the main target.
Do you have any feelings for the space you have now? Is it still bothering you how you were treated? The second question is if you would consider yourself a feminist.
I didn't pay attention to how I was treated. Every day, I focused on doing the right thing for kids. I had a lot of experience in politics before I came to Washington, and I was surprised by the intensity of the opposition.
It was easy for me to stay focused on what I was supposed to do, which was advocate for students and their futures, and policies that would support them. I'm just for an equal opportunity for everyone to be able to pursue what they're innately talented at.
I suppose I'm a feminist if that makes me one. I don't get hung up on labels. I want to keep pushing for equal opportunities.
Allen is excellent.
Evans said that might be one of his favorites.
That was wonderful. This has been wonderful, Secretary. We wish you the best of luck today.
Thanks to Virginia and Lauren. It is wonderful to be with you.
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