Have you ever noticed that no matter what the “good idea” is, someone is ready to jump in and scream “not fair” or “won’t work,” or find some way to ruin it?

Recently there have been suggestions to eliminate or radically reduce the college loan debt that saddles so many young people throughout our country. Sounds like a good idea to me. Debt is an ugly thing, even when it’s used for a good purpose. True enough, those with college loan debt made the choice to borrow the funds to get a college education. Without those loans, few

can afford the costs associated with higher education. But without these college grads, we’d have a shortage of teachers, engineers, doctors, lawyers and many other professionals.

Now I don’t know the method by which this debt elimination would be processed, and I don’t know how tuition and such would be handled in the future. Perhaps community college or state schools would be tuition free. Whatever and however, I like the concept.

In the meantime, people who paid back their student loans are crying that eliminating college debt wouldn’t be fair to them. To them I say, “Shut up and be grateful that you were able to get a job that allowed you to pay off those loans!” Some of us repaid the loans by working, not in the profession for which we trained, but in factories, restaurants, retail locations.

An idea proposed this week in our commonwealth could eliminate snow days. School districts would be allotted five “flexible instructional” days per year. These days could be used for closures due to weather, building repairs, or, God forbid, threats to the safety of students and staff.

The students would have assignments to complete at home, either via online work or take-home books. When a big snowstorm is forecast, teachers would provide a list of work to be done.

Naysayers’ first response to this is that not all students have the means to do online work. True, but the assignments can be printed out and the corresponding books and literature can be taken home.

Then there’s the “not all homes are conducive to at-home study” reasoning. True, but the kids still get homework, don’t they?

As it’s proposed, the plan wouldn’t be mandatory and districts could use it at their discretion. Sounds like a win-win to me. Graduation dates could be finalized in time for far away grandparents to plan to attend. (Not that they’d be able to get tickets, but that’s a different story!) Families could plan vacations without worrying about the school year being extended to make up for snow days. Older students could line up jobs, knowing their start date won’t be a week later because school won’t end on time.

The flex day plan won’t be perfect because nothing is. But it sure seems worth a try.

To paraphrase Bob Dylan, “The times are changing,” and we need to go with the flow.

Just because something is new and/or different doesn’t mean it won’t work or it’s not fair.

Let’s face it, student loan debt can be crippling and snow days are a blasted inconvenience. If we can do something to reduce or eliminate either, we’re making progress.

 

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