Steve has worked as a teacher in the Maple Lake School District for over 14 years. When kids in his classroom tell Steve they want to go into education, he wants to encourage them to pursue the career he loves. At the same time, the debt crisis is a harsh reality that future teachers can’t ignore. Young people passionate about impacting kids’ lives end up sacrificing their own financial security, struggling for years to pay back student loans.

“A union is about opening up opportunities for things that we deserve. It’s about making lives better.”

That’s why Steve’s union has an initiative called Degrees Not Debt, which helps educators and other working-class people get out from under the burden of debt. To Steve, unions aren’t just some abstract thing–they’re people, coming together and fighting as one for the benefits and financial stability that teachers deserve. When teachers like Steve work together to form the security of a union, they can focus on their passion: making a positive impact on the future of their students.