We have been taught (that is, schooled) in this country to think of “success” as synonymous with, or at least dependent upon, “schooling,” but historically that isn’t true in either an intellectual or a financial sense. And plenty of people throughout the world today find a way to educate themselves without resorting to a system of compulsory secondary schools that all too often resemble prisons. Why, then, do Americans confuse education with just such a system? What exactly is the purpose of our public schools?

…  What if there is no “problem” with our schools? What if they are the way they are, so expensively flying in the face of common sense and long experience in how children learn things, not because they are doing something wrong but because they are doing something right? Is it possible that George W. Bush accidentally spoke the truth when he said we would “leave no child behind”? Could it be that our schools are designed to make sure not one of them ever really grows up?                       

                                                         ~John Gatto

entire article here 



About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
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9 Responses to Schools

  1. BooksForMe says:

    I could really use some women actors, so maybe you should consider moving. 😉  A John Gatto quote was a big influence in my decision to homeschool.  What an excellent quote.  I think I may borrow it for my FB.

  2. homefire says:

    @BooksForMe – I have appreciated so much of Gatto’s writing.  He seems radical, but only because we are so steeped in sameness that we can’t recognize that there are many other ways to learn besides sitting at a desk doing repetitious tasks.  I just wish I knew who borrowed my copy of Dumbing Us Down and never returned it!   

  3. tracezilla says:

    I think its because of a lack of trust in people. Even in our own country’s history, you used to be able to get any job just based on your ability to prove first-hand to your employer or whoever was hiring you that you could do the job, or at least you were a fast enough learner to take a chance on, and that you were trustworthy.However, that isn’t so anymore. People want proof beforehand that you can do the job, and they don’t want to take much time at all to make sure that you can. If you can show them a piece of paper saying that you’ve completed such-and-such amount of schooling, from so-and-so school, and you have received this certificate/diploma/degree/etc., then that is proof that you should know what you are doing. So, if you’re hired, you get put in your work station and told to work. Perhaps there is a one or two day “training” period, but it isn’t really much of anything, and you are then left to fend for yourself. If you can’t do it, because you’ve never actually DONE the work before just learned ABOUT doing the work, then you are replaced with someone else. Which is also why they look for experience as well as schooling.In this day in age you’ve got to have both. Nobody trusts you to know what you’re doing just on your word, anymore, and nobody wants to take the time to explain much to you or to watch and make sure you’re doing okay and have the hang of everything. So, really, its just for ease of convenience for your employer. They don’t want to take the time to mess with you more than they have to, and they don’t want to deal with looking bad for hiring someone who can’t do their work correctly.

  4. great quote! i wanted to homeschool from the time that i was pregnant with my daughter, and after reading books like Dumbing Us Down and Brave New Schools, i knew that homeschooling was the best thing for my child. how it makes sense to put a bunch of children together and expect them all to learn and develop the same way, on the same time schedule (lest they be labeled as having a ‘learning disability’ or in need of medication or ‘intervention’) is beyond me. every child is unique, and i love that homeschooling allows a parent to tailor their learning experiences in the way that they learn the best. if more people really ‘got it’, would there be a public outcry? would there be a mass exodus out of the public school system? would they pass laws to make homeschooling illegal? i cherish every day that we remain free to educate our children at home in this country!!

  5. quilt_cats says:

    I’m glad we have the freedom of choice when it comes to educating our kids.  So many people never even consider trying to homeschool, and put total faith in their public schools.  I firmly believe that each child is unique and home schooling provides better opportunities for many of our children.   

  6. mamaglop says:

    I have a copy of Dumbing Us Down, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t borrow it from you.  It confirmed what I always thought.  I can remember being in first grade fuming at the stupid way school was done.

  7. homefire says:

    @mamaglop – I guess you were wiser than most, even as a child!   

  8. Wow!  Read the whole article, then several others at the same site.  I homeschooled because of David’s special needs–but even if I hadn’t, if I had read these things,  I think I would have homeschooled because of just reading these articles…

  9. homefire says:

    @specialtreasure – Yeah, John Gatto’s stuff is really amazing.  It’s so totally radical, and yet makes so very much sense.  You would really enjoy his book Dumbing Us Down, I think.  It’s such a different perspective than I grew up believing.

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