The Purpose Of Schooling (short)

Posted: March 4, 2013 in -
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Wow, this is pretty powerful stuff.

What does the school do with the children? [John] Gatto states the following assertions in “Dumbing Us Down”:

  • It makes the children confused. It presents an incoherent ensemble of information that the child needs to memorize to stay in school. Apart from the tests and trials that programming is similar to the television, it fills almost all the “free” time of children. One sees and hears something, only to forget it again.
  • It teaches them to accept their class affiliation.
  • It makes them indifferent.
  • It makes them emotionally dependent.
  • It makes them intellectually dependent.
  • It teaches them a kind of self-confidence that requires constant confirmation by experts (provisional self-esteem).
  • It makes it clear to them that they cannot hide, because they are always supervised

John Gatto seems to be on his own little Jihad against the US school system. He quotes Alexander Inglis, author of Principles of Secondary Education.

While I agree that school is a mess in the US, the radical alternative of having unqualified, and often uneducated, parents home schooling their kids is a worse solution than simply fixing the school system. Gatto also doesn’t allow that education has evolved since the time of Inglis, and that numerous mechanisms are dumbing down kids, not just school. The media, the culture in general, their own peers, their families — education is not generally prized by the general masses. A lot of teachers on the front lines are trying to turn that around despite the resistance from other aspects of the culture, from politics to Hollywood.

  1. Kieran Kelly says:

    I’ve always thought of that the system is much as Gatto describes but that teachers persist in being educators despite (and in unconscious resistance to) a system designed to miseducate. The bad news is that I believe things can get much worse. I was having a rather contentious conversation with the HOD of a university history department when it slowly dawned on me that he had absolutely no idea what the word “education” actually means. Straight outta Orwell.

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