Sorry for the silence here, I’ve been busy with a mini-tour for The Edupunks’ Guide that took me to Maker Faire, the Smithsonian, the New School, and the Educause conference. I wanted to cross post two recent pieces I did for the Huffington Post about #OccupyWallSt. I’ve been tremendously impressed and inspired by what’s going on there.

Generation Debt At the Barricades (hat tip to Kevin Carey for the suggestion/title):

College is the centerpiece of the American dream. We tell our children that if you have both merit and gumption you’ll be handed the chance to prove yourself on a level playing field, with both financial and personal rewards. And so it’s our nation’s college students — the ones with an average age of 26, the ones who are burning through their youth with a cycle of part-time jobs and part-time classes — who are now raising their voices to tell us that the dream has gone hollow.

That’s what this movement is really about. That’s what makes it so hard to ignore. Millennials, like all young people throughout history, have been pilloried for their sense of entitlement and lack of perspective, but that’s exactly what gives them the moral high ground here. They feel entitled to a better future than what they’re facing. They believe, as they’ve been taught to believe, in an America of rising prospects and expanding opportunities. They’re not living in that America anymore.

#OccupyEverywhere: University of the Streets

one major way the occupations are functioning for the people involved: as a nationwide free school or teach-in, a university of the streets. I’m not just talking about when famous academics like Cornel West or Slavoj ZIzek stop by to give a lecture, but about the all-day seminars.
Take people out of their normal routines, put them together in a context of multiple issues of immediate concern, and they talk and exchange ideas and sometimes come up with solutions.

College debt has emerged as one of the major issues of this protest, and the young people involved are discovering two things: that education can be free, and that they can educate themselves and each other.

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