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The article Against Schools is a very intriguing article or could case great debate and concern about public schooling systems in America today. Born in Monongahela, Pa, John Taylor Gatto is a retired America school teacher with nearly 30 years of experience in the school system. Gatto is a recipient of many awards such as: The New York City Teacher of the Year award in 1989,1990, and 1991 and The New York State Teacher of the Year award in 1991. He is broadminded perilous of compulsory schooling, and author of several books on education. Gatto voiced his belief that the public school system that we use, is not there for educational means; instead, exist to fulfill the function to cripple children in the long run. After reading Gatto’s article and reasoning for his opinion, I harmonize with Gatto’s belief. His article explains how our system was constructed and its purpose. I felt that the points he made displayed a lot of truth in them and it brought to reality effects about public school systems that I would have never thought to question or recognize.
In the article Against School, John Taylor Gatto expresses his outlook that the public school system isn’t there for informative measures, instead “it exist to fulfill six covert functions meant to cripple our kids.” (Gatto 14 ) He speaks about the public school system not being of what we think and how it originates from the Prussian culture, which is a system deliberately designed to produce ordinary brainpowers that are simply ran. He emphasizes in the article how mandatory schooling has encouraged children not to think at all as a result leaving “them sitting ducks for the modern era of marketing”. (Gatto 148) Gatto states the fact that do to the training in school, “we have become a nation of children, happy to surrender our judgments and our wills to political exhortations and commercial blandishments that would insult actual adults”. (Gatto 148)
The article goes on to express Gatto’s opinion that the school system encourages children not to think for their selves and children should be taught to manage their own lives. He says that he feels the solution is to simply let them be their true selves. One of the major points that Gatto explains in the article Against School is how the public school system originates from the Prussian culture and how compulsory school was intended to be just what it had been for the Perssia. According to several sources, “Horace Mann, credited as the father of the American public school system, studied a wide variety of educational models before implementing the Prussian system designed by Fredrick the Great. King Frederick created a system that was engineered to teach obedience and solidify his control. Focusing on following directions, basic skills, and conformity, he sought to indoctrinate the nation from an early age. Isolating students in rows and teachers in individual classrooms fashioned a strict hierarchy—intentionally fostering fear and loneliness.
Mann chose the Prussian model, with its depersonalized learning and strict hierarchy of power, because it was the cheapest and easiest way to teach literacy on a large scale. Social efficiency theorists who sought to industrialize the educational process perpetuated this system throughout the early twentieth century. Led by educators such as Ellwood P. Cubberley, they used education as a tool for social engineering. Building upon the depersonalized uniformity and rigid hierarchy of the Prussian system, they constructed an industrial schooling model designed to produce millions of workers for America’s factories. Believing that most of America’s students were destined for a life of menial, industrial labor, these theorists created a multi-track educational system meant to sort students from an early age. While the best and brightest were carefully groomed for leadership positions, the majority was relegated to a monotonous education of rote learning and task completion.
Consequently, our schooling system is still locked into the Prussian-industrial framework of fear, isolation, and monotony. For both students and teachers, procedure is emphasized over innovation, uniformity over individual expression, and control over empowerment. It is, therefore, not surprising that the majority of America’s classrooms have changed little in over one hundred years.”(Web) Gatto makes this point by stating these historical facts in his article. Gatto also gives examples of the outcome of compulsory school, which he says, results in adults that are manageable beings. He says those adults by things they don’t need because they are trained to believe they give some sense of proudness like a television to order more things on TV. Gatto states, “ Easy answers have removed the need to ask questions.” (Gatto148)
The point is definite proven by Gatto in the article which is that “ mandatory education serves children incidentally… its real purpose is to turn our children into servants.” (Gatto 149) He feels that instead of let the government managing our children, the solution is to let them manage themselves. The best way this can be achieved in Gatto’s vision is through homeschooling children. When I thought about the public school system, I did not ever question its purpose but to be anything but benficual to children. I thought it was to enlighten them and bring out their true individualism and make them productive citizens in society. I agree with Gatto’s article after recalling back to my experience in school. Everything was so ordered and strict, to mold everyone to be what was told of them. I did from time to time question the why can I not do this that way or why can it not be something else and I was always told by my teachers because this is the right way.
Everybody does it like this so you have to as well or you are wrong. Gatto says that schooling structures us into the reliant, mindless adults we are in ways like: “easy divorce encouraging us not to work on relationships, easy credit removing the need for fiscal control, easy entertainment removing the need to entertain one’s self, etc.” (Gatto148) It does not make sense that if we are each individuals, then why are we taught and ma to think the same. Gatto feels the solution is to go back to the original way and possibly teach children our selves, preferably at home not in a “institution and the government should not really have any say so over it. I believe that yes children should be encouraged to be who they truly are and explore their minds deepest capacities; however, there should still be some stucture in their lives outside of home. They need to learn to coexist with others and their own ideas as well. I do not agree with the idea of homeschooling completely.
With the economy being the way it is families have to work to provide for there families and some families are single parent homes, therefore leaving no time to instruct the children to proper way. John Taylor Gatto purpose for wring the article Against schools, was to bring to light the issue that our government is corrupting Americans from the beginning through something almost everyone supports, Our educational system. Gatto more than prospered with attainment of his point being acknowledged. I was stunned to discover that the American public school system is one designed to casts an being’s mind to be what its told to be, not what it is suppose to be or wants to be, and that is very disturbing to me. Gatto bringing the origin of the public school system to light did his work justice. On the contrast, I do not believe that the resolution is to teach children at home. In conclusion, the reality of it is: even though the system is corrupt and controlling, it has been operating for years and no one has changed it. We will never be able to subdue the government, so the best is to just make do the way we can.