WHAT!? No School?

Growing up in Kansas, the few and far between days of no school were highly cherished. Snow days were most often the reason for a brief break from school. I do recall one other ¨no school day¨ because a fellow classmate spilled mercury all over our science lab in Middle School. However, never in my life have I not had school because of a demonstration!Last Wednesday, all classes at the University of San Francisco were canceled because there was a country-wide strike against the proposed education law in Ecuador. All university students were invited to participate in the march to the President´s Palace in downtown Quito. I did not participate as it is illegal for foreigners to partake in demonstrations outside of their own country, but I heard many streets were shut down and thousands of students and faculty of universities across Ecuador flooded the plazas and streets outside of the President´s Palace. So what is this proposed education law?I don´t completely understand, but the President, Correa, wants all universities to be affordable for students. What I have been told is that he wants to have control over what classes are offered and have a say in major requirements, also. The universities would have more of a ¨Community College¨ feel, and liberal arts would possibly not exist. This is why thousands of people don´t want this PROPOSED law to go any farther.I also volunteer with kids here in Ecuador, and for at least THREE weeks they did not have school because their teachers were striking against another law Correa was trying to pass about making sure all teachers in Ecuador are qualified to teach. Because many teachers here don´t have proper qualification, this would put many people out of a job. However, striking for three weeks also puts millions of children in the public schools out of an education for an extended period of time.It is interesting to observe the way in which the citizens of Ecuador are so verbal about affairs of the government. A few weeks ago many Indigenous people flooded the office of the President to argue against a new water law. If the people don´t like something, they organize a demonstration and anyone can show up to protest against something the government is trying to do. People are very aware of what the government is doing. Seeing this makes me want to become more aware of the affairs of our government in the United States.