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Spirit of Contradiction >>
Education is one of those key things in life. While the basics of food and shelter are fundamental closely followed by health, education is probably next and is a key to how life unfolds. We must not be caught up with the idea of interchanging the word education and school as they are not the same thing.
On this page, we present some of the ideas behind John Taylor Gatto (1935 - 2018) who was a teacher in New York city and a great educator. He, as he said himself, taught in the best and the worst schools and three times won the New York city's Teacher of the Year award. After he quit teaching he started to investigate the history of why compulsory school was setup and he spent the rest of his life trying to undo the harm that schools does.
Gatto through his essays, books and many interviews has tried to convey what education should be really about and it should be something we take ownership of ourselves and take on for our entire life.
The material on the rest of the page is taken from: https://www.garynorth.com/public/18741.cfm
There is a website dedicated to John Taylor Gatto at: https://www.johntaylorgatto.com/
Link to one of his most famous essay's: Against School
See also the Wikipedia page Waldorf Schools which are based on the work of Rudolf Steiner.or better still go to the Waldorf Foundation for Education website.
John Taylor Gatto died at age 82 on October 25.
He taught at the New York City public school system for 26 years. Three times he won the city's Teacher of the Year award. Once he won the New York state Teacher of the Year award.
Shortly after he won these final two awards, he quit teaching as a career. He made his announcement in a Wall Street Journal article, "I Quit, I Think." You can read it here: https://www.garynorth.com/public/18740.cfm
In a fine obituary of Gatto on the website of the Foundation for Economic Education, Brittany Hunter wrote this:
After three decades in the classroom, Gatto realized that the public school system was squashing individualism more than it was educating students and preparing them for the real world. To make matters worse, his later research would reveal that this dumbing down was not just by accident, but by design.
Gatto dedicated the rest of his life to repairing the damage done by the public education system.
Feeling the education system was beyond repair, Gatto could no longer in good conscience be an active participant. Rather than sending his letter of resignation to his superiors in his school district, he sent a copy of ďI Quit, I ThinkĒ to the Wall Street Journal, where it was published as an op-ed on July 25, 1991.
In his biting resignation, he wrote:
Iíve come slowly to understand what it is I really teach: A curriculum of confusion, class position, arbitrary justice, vulgarity, rudeness, disrespect for privacy, indifference to quality, and utter dependency. I teach how to fit into a world I donít want to live in.
I just canít do it anymore. I canít train children to wait to be told what to do; I canít train people to drop what they are doing when a bell sounds; I canít persuade children to feel some justice in their class placement when there isnít any, and I canít persuade children to believe teachers have valuable secrets they can acquire by becoming our disciples. That isnít true.
Gatto dedicated the rest of his life to repairing the damage done by the public education system. He wrote several books on his experience in the classroom including Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling and Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling. His book The Underground History of American Education is perhaps the most accurate and damning history of the American education system that has ever been written.
Here, we see what made him different. Warning: you will figure out in the first three minutes how you got shafted in school.
What went wrong? Gatto said it was planned. Here is a seven-minute video. It is an extract from his Underground History. His theory: schooling is a means of producing docile, obedient workers and citizens. He cites primary sources from influential American educators.
For those who have read R. J. Rushdoony's earlier book, The Messianic Character of American Education (1963), all this will be familiar. It started in the late 1830's in Massachusetts. Rushdoony followed the confessions of faith of two dozen progressive educators. Gatto followed the money.
He did great work in the public schools. He did greater work outside them.