“Occupy Education” shuts down University of California Santa Cruz, but John Dwyer thinks you can change the world every day, in the simplest of ways.
Just when it seemed that the Occupy Movement dropped off the radar, it squeaks out a little more life, this time acting as the “squeaky wheel” in education policy. The Occupy Wall Street Movement has endorsed an Occupy Education movement, and shut down most of the University of California Santa Cruz. Occupy Education had supporters across the spectrum, but it seems so far to be primarily California based.
This continues California’s trend of being the main bastion of the Occupy Movement within education. You might remember in November the clash at UC Davis which got sticky, or maybe you merely remember the meme it spawned.
While I still have trouble with the efficacy of the Occupy Movement in all its memetic variations, there is much to protest within education. Whether you’re seeking employment or education, not being able to find it makes you question your self-worth as a man (or woman!) – an issue I have personally been struggling with since returning from overseas work with Peace Corps.
And even those who have work, here I will use the group I have the most familiarity with – teachers – aren’t getting paid commensurate to the work they do. For many employees, salaries reflect how much they are worth to their employers. Why then, is education any different? You have to attract talent, not depend on some mythical calling.
To tie this together, the Occupy Movement is once again showing its utility in highlighting issues that are in danger of falling to the wayside as contraception and other issues take center stage in the GOP primaries. Sadly, though, like a meme, the Movement is doing little beyond simply grabbing attention.
Excuse the inner hippy in me coming out, but if you want to take a small step today, go out and take action. My small plug: yesterday, March 1st, was Peace Corps Day, exactly 50 years since Kennedy took action and signed the executive order creating the organization. We’re all dealing with self-worth anxieties, so go out and tell a teacher how much you appreciate him/her, or find a Volunteer and thank them for spreading peace without an M-16. If Occupation is getting us nowhere, it’s time to change tactics and show a little love.
Photo: Ray Abrams/AP