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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Occupy protests worth teaching

    The Occupy movement is a part of history, and deserves a place in the educational curriculum. Professors already get to teach about social revolutions whether students agree with their politics or not. The Occupy movement is no different.

    According to USA Today, the Occupy movement is beginning to appear in universities with “new course offerings and a new focus in older ones.”

    The Occupy movement has been criticized for its lack of a clear agenda, but it has made a huge impact on American society. After beginning in New York City in September 2011, the Occupy movement spread across the nation. People continue to protest during a time of economic struggle and class polarization.

    This is enough to warrant classes on the matter. Just because the Occupy protesters did not send out easy-to-read objective lists does not mean that they were not influential.

    It is also worth noting that the Occupy movement was partly inspired by the Arab Spring, and has grown to be an international protest of economic and social inequality. There is a global significance to the Occupy movement, transcending just domestic affairs. A course about such connections can simultaneously teach sociology and international relations.

    USA Today reported that New York University is offering “Cultures and Economics: Why Occupy Wall Street? The History and Politics of Debt and Finance.”

    While this is an example of why the Occupy movement is worth talking about in same sentence as economics, it also brings up the most important question: Why?

    The foundations of learning are built on curiosity. Why did two countries go to war? Why does this chemical have this reaction in this setting? Why doesn’t x equal y? Asking why the Occupy movement happened not only brings up many questions about the economy and the class system, but also about the beginning of the 21st century.

    Part of going to college and getting a quality education is asking, “Why?” on a global scale and right here in a student’s own backyard. Why did the Occupy movement come to Tucson?

    That is a question that colleges should answer. Politics and disagreements over how to answer “Why?” do not deserve a place in education. Just getting the facts helps students understand the world they are getting ready to enter.

    Knowledge of recent history, like the rise and spread of the Occupy movement, will help graduates understand what is relevant. It is important to examine history, but an understanding of current events is also vital to develop critical thinking skills and prepare for life post-college.

    If politicians are still fighting about a topic, the controversy is worth understanding. Whether from Tucson or Manhattan, students deserve a quality education about current events, and that means acknowledging the lessons of the 99 percent.

    — Megan Hurley is a journalism junior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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