Local: Education

Montgomery College forced to revamp 'Occupy' class

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Local,Maryland,Education,Aubrey Whelan

Montgomery College is revising plans to offer a summer class on the Occupy Wall Street movement -- geared toward high school students -- after residents complained that the class is promoting the Occupy movement's agenda to students.

The course in question, part of a summer program for students in grades 9 through 12, is called "Occupy MoCo!" (which, coincidentally, is also the Twitter handle of what appears to be a branch of the Occupy movement based in Montgomery County).

The course description asks students if they're "ready to join the movement for justice" and adds that "young people have the power to change their community, their schools, their future."

The Maryland school is the latest to bring Occupy into the classroom. Columbia, Brown and New York universities have similar offerings. But Montgomery College say the course isn't designed to teach teenagers to pick up a placard and pitch tents in a park. Rather, it's a critical look at grassroots social movements through the lens of Occupy, they said.

"It wasn't advocating or taking any stance on the Occupy movement," said Montgomery College spokeswoman Elizabeth Homan. "It's taking a current events subject that all the students have either read about or heard on the news and using it as a pivot point to talk about what's happening historically."

Course descriptions for the summer program are written with "exciting titles and energizing descriptions" to attract students to the program, Homan said.

"In an attempt to be fun and interesting, the true content of the class may have been lost," she said.

The course isn't being offered for credit, and Homan said she wasn't aware of any connection the course's instructor, Nehal Singhal, may have to the movement. And students won't be taking field trips to either of the District's two Occupy camps -- instruction will be entirely in-class, Homan said.

Still, the course's existence has made waves online, with commenters from California to Tennessee alleging on Twitter that the college is trying to indoctrinate students.

Homan says the college, in response to feedback, will be changing the course description soon.

"The current description was not truly reflective of the content of class," she said. "We didn't want to cause any confusion."

awhelan@washingtonexaminer.com

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Aubrey Whelan

Staff Reporter - Crime
The Washington Examiner