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Ed Driscoll

#Occupymobiusloop: Run Up Your Student Debt Studying #OWS

January 1st, 2012 - 10:50 pm

“Occupy Wall Street Takes Aim at Student Debt,” Yahoo reported on November 28, 2011:

With the ever-increasing chance of eviction facing “Occupy” movements across the country, Occupy Wall Street has been forced to consider its next step. Whether the movement morphs into a political group capable of reform through the ballot box is yet to be seen. However, some specific action is already taking place. One thing Occupy Wall Street has taken aim at is the growing student loan debt carried by the nation’s college students. Here are some interesting facts relating to the “Occupy” campaign and student debt in general.

* According to Washington Square News, protesters in Zuccotti Park are trying to gather one million signatures from students vowing to ignore their loan payments. The campaign is consistent with the “Occupy” movement’s larger belief that college education is a fundamental right of citizens.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results, as this New York Post story titled “Columbia offers ‘Occupy 101’” highlights today:

Does getting pepper-sprayed count as extra credit?

Columbia University is offering a new course on Occupy Wall Street next semester — sending upperclassmen and grad students into the field for full course credit.

The class is taught by Dr. Hannah Appel, who boasts about her nights camped out in Zuccotti Park.

As many as 30 students will be expected to get involved in ongoing OWS projects outside the classroom, the syllabus says.

The class will be in the anthropology department and called “Occupy the Field: Global Finance, Inequality, Social Movement.” It will be divided between seminars at the Morningside Heights campus and fieldwork.

In recent months, Glenn Reynolds has extensively explored the growing danger of a higher education bubble about to burst. But allowing students to rack up more student debt studying a moment obsessed with nullifying their mounting student debt seems much more like a higher education Mobius Loop. Although to be fair, it does perform a useful, if unintended function for employers, making it that much easier to screen out undesirable new hires.

Related: “Occupy Movement Comes to Elementary Schools,” PJM columnist J. Christian Adams reports at Big Government, noting at one point, “Remember, these are third graders.” Gotta get ‘em while they’re young.

More: In contrast to the above cycle of postmodern nihilism, at the American Enterprise Institute, James Pethokoukis wonders if education reform is the future of supply-side economics:

Education reform, in particular, should be the next great battleground for supply-siders. And just as the supply-side tax revolution started at the state level with California’s Proposition 13 in 1978, supply-side education reform is starting local, too, in Wisconsin and New Jersey as Republican governors there battle government teachers unions. This is going to be one my big policy themes for 2012, and hopefully I won’t be alone.

I don’t think he will be.

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