The growing class divide: Parents taking out loans for kindergarten and elementary school education

29 Mar

If one believes that all children, regardless of that child’s status have a right to a good basic education and that society must fund and implement policies, which support this principle. Then, one must discuss the issue of equity in education.  Plessy v. Ferguson established the principle of “separate but equal” in race issues. Brown v. Board of Education which overturned the principle of “separate but equal.” would not have been necessary, but for Plessy. See also, the history of Brown v. Board of Education Because of the segregation, which resulted after Plessy, most folks focus their analysis of Brown almost solely on race. The issue of equity was just as important. The equity issue was explained in terms of unequal resources and unequal access to education.

People tend to cluster in neighborhoods based upon class as much as race. Good teachers tend to gravitate toward neighborhoods where they are paid well and students come from families who mirror their personal backgrounds and values. Good teachers make a difference in a child’s life. One of the difficulties in busing to achieve equity in education is that neighborhoods tend to be segregated by class as well as race. People often make sacrifices to move into neighborhoods they perceive mirror their values. That is why there must be good schools in all segments of the city and there must be good schools in all parts of this state. A good education should not depend upon one’s class or status.

The crisis in college affordability is evident to students and families trying to figure out how they will be able to afford their preferred option. Loren Berlin has written the Huffington Post article, Student Loans For Kindergarten, High School On The Rise:

As if the student loan debt burden wasn’t troubling enough, some parents are saying, “Bring on the debt!”… even though their kids haven’t even learned to read.

That’s right: cash-strapped parents who want to send their young ones to private schools are taking out loans to pay for grade school, according to SmartMoney. And demand is growing.

Your Tuition Solution, one of the largest providers of loans for K-12 education, reported that the amount of money parents requested is up 10 percent from last year, and that the company is on track to finance $20 million in loans for the 2012-2013 school year, SmartMoney reports. Demand is increasing fast enough that First Marblehead, another pre-college lender, has returned to the market after exiting it in 2008, according to SmartMoney.

As more parents turn to loans to finance private education, school tuition is increasing, furthering the demand for the loans. Over the past 10 years, the median price of first grade at private schools has increased 35 percent nationally, as compared to a 24 percent price hike at Ivy League colleges, according to the New York Times.

Ten years ago, the median tuition for 12th grade at a private school was $14,583. Today, that number has skyrocketed to $24,240, according to the National Association of Independent Schools. Stunningly, in New York City, some of the city’s most elite private high schools are poised to break the $40,000 tuition line this year, surpassing Harvard’s $36,305 price tag, reports the New York Times.

The tuitions are “outrageous,” said Dana Haddad, a private admissions consultant, in an interview with the New York Times. “People don’t want to put a price tag on their children’s future, so they are willing to pay more than many of them can afford.”

It’s a dangerous gamble, as Americans are already struggling under mounting student loan debt. Last week, officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Agency announced that total student debt outstanding is now more than $1 trillion. Student debt is rising not only because of a commiserate increase in tuition, but also because in recent years more Americans have turned to college to flee the lousy labor market, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Affluent parents recognize the importance of education.

So, who is taking out loans for a kindergartner’s private education. According to Jen Doll’s Atlantic Wire article, Kindergarten Loans Are a Sad Reality of Our Time:

Contrary to what you might think, much of the demand is actually coming from families who make more than $150,000 annually. Which means these parents, along with selecting well-above-the-average-means-level schools for their kids, could find themselves repaying loans for the foreseeable future, possibly along with college loans as well. Already, writes Andriotis, “about one in six parents of college graduates have loans, and they’re projected to owe nearly $34,000 on average this year.” More loans before the kids even reach PSAT-taking age means, simply, more and more debt, something it appears Americans are becoming ever more comfortable with—even as the rich complain about how poor they are. Loans are less taboo, and schools are more willing to present loan programs as “an affordability option,” which means these types of loans are likely just going to become more popular.

But that’s pretty scary, particularly when you consider that the costs of private schools and colleges keep going higher and higher. Per Andriotis: “The average cost of private school is nearly $22,000 a year, up 4% from a year ago and up 26% from 2006-07, according to the NAIS.” Though total private school enrollment is on the decline (perhaps because of the recession?), if loans are available to make up that difference, and if even wealthy people are requiring such loans, there’s hardly a bar to keep the costs from continuing to escalate. The people who benefit from this the most are not, necessarily, the kids, but the banks or schools getting as much as a 20 percent interest rate on a loan that might go as high as $40,000—something you might look at as preying on parents who think it’s their duty to send their child to a particular (and particularly pricey) school. Well, kids have always been expensive.;_ylc=X3oDMTNsMnRoZ3NpBF9TAzk3NDc2MTc1BGFjdANtYWlsX2NiBGN0A2EEaW50bAN1cwRsYW5nA2VuLVVTBHBrZwNhZGQzMzg2OS0xYTFiLTMwMDYtYjY0OS01ZGMyZDk3ZDI2ZTAEc2VjA21pdF9zaGFyZQRzbGsDbWFpbAR0ZXN0Aw–;_ylv=3

See, Student Loans on Rise — for Kindergarten–for-kindergarten-1332957614617/

Moi knows that the lawyers in Brown were told that lawsuits were futile and that the legislatures would address the issue of segregation eventually when the public was ready. Meanwhile, several generations of African Americans waited for people to come around and say the Constitution applied to us as well. Generations of African Americans suffered in inferior schools. This state cannot sacrifice the lives of children by not addressing the issue of equity in school funding in a timely manner.

The next huge case, like Brown, will be about equity in education funding. It may not come this year or the next year. It, like Brown, may come several years after a Plessy. It will come. Equity in education funding is the civil rights issue of this century


3rd world America: Money changes everything

School choice: Given a choice, parents vote with their feet

The next great civil rights struggle: Disparity in education funding

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

One Response to “The growing class divide: Parents taking out loans for kindergarten and elementary school education”


  1. Brookings study: State grant aid goes increasingly to the wealthy « drwilda - May 19, 2012

    […] The growing class divide: Parents taking out loans for kindergarten and elementary school education                                                                                        … […]

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