Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Best in Class = money we owe

As I write, there are 25 different gut-wrenching comments from teachers cheated by the Best in Class debacle, here. By the time you read, there may be more. Two big points come through.

First, these people showed up to teach. They showed up to serve our children in the fields that are usually hardest to fill. They're doing important work every day. They're heroes.

Second, Student Loan employees did tell many people the program would last. They did present it as an incentive program. They did encourage people to go into debt, and they did encourage them to defer repayment. They did it by phone, and I think it's very likely they did by e-mail, letter, and brochure.

That means there's no fine print excuse. Yesterday, I thought there was, and I was wrong. I was also wrong to think the borrowers had misunderstood. They were diligent, checked the offer in multiple ways, and understood it correctly.

The borrowers are owed the loan repayment, just as they say they are.

In 2007-08, the repayment cost a bit more than $4 million. Add in nurses and public defenders, and the total was just over $7 million. The price tag will be higher with an added year of hard-working people factored in--but not vastly higher. The money must be found, either in the reserves held by the Student Loan People or in the state's general fund.

If we can't afford honor and roads, I choose honor. If we can't afford state parks and honor, honor wins. If we can't afford economic incentives, honor again. We owe, and we have to pay.

Once we admit that, this problem is completely within our power to solve, even in a terribly difficult budget situation. Let's get it done.


  1. Thank you for continuing to follow up on this story. There are many, many teachers affected by this horrible situation. I hope and pray they find a way to repay our student loans--like we were promised in the beginning.

  2. AMEN and AMEN!!!! Thank you so much for summing this up for what it is. PLEASE keep this in the news and in discussions with your colleagues. We need all the help we can get!

  3. Thank you so much for continuing to write about this topic and keep all informed. I do not feel we are asking for a lot. We just want what was promised to us in the beginning.

  4. You have written very extensive posts about this situation. KHEAA and the state did market this program to students as a deal they could not pass up. KDE, Universities, and KEPSB all marketed it without disclaimers. Proof there was lender negligence in disclosing adequate warning to students about the availability of future benefits. KHEAA’s January 11, 2005 report even mentions that teachers “can eliminate their entire debt after teaching for five years in Kentucky”. Statements such as these should mean something to an agency. Great job enlightening the public to the wrongdoing that these borrowers have experienced.

  5. Thank you. I'm scared right now. I am a teacher who is in debt now because I was promised again, again and again that I was covered. I wouldn't have gotten more education if I knew that it would jeopardize my family's financial security. I feel so trapped and I don't know how I'm going to deal with the 25K that up until this year didn't actually exist (I was promised that if I continued to do my job then I'd get loan forgiveness).

    Any attention that you provide to this very important issue will be appreciated.

  6. To Whom It May Concern:

    Hello. My name is Michael. I decided four years ago to go back to college to get my masters in special education because colleges across the state recruited for online classes for special education degrees, there was a need for special education teachers, and I was under the impression that my loan would be paid back 20% each year for five years that I taught until my loan was paid off. From that point forward, the percentage of reduction has decreased to pretty much nothing. It looks like we are going to have to pay our own loan back since we were mislead by someone, but I don’t think anyone is really going to take the blame for it. I got my Special Education Degree, completed my KTIP, all of my evaluations have been really good, and I have taught for four years in Madison County. I lack one month and the first day of teaching the next school year to get my tenured and not have to be worried about being pink slipped because of budget cuts. I have loved and enjoyed my four years of teaching, but before I left school this past Friday, my principal pulled me to the side and told me that she was giving me my verbal pink slip because some person who worked at our school as a Guidance Counselor that has been working for KDE is coming back to our district. So, our Guidance Counselor has a Special Education Degree and she will be put in my spot, which puts me out of a job. I guess this is because of budget cuts, but I’m not for sure. I didn’t have, nor do I have now any way to pay off my loan. I am asking for your support to help people like me who have been put in this bad situation to help us pay off our student loans. I appreciate your time.



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