Thundering indictment of our school system

I think I read John Gatto’s Teacher of the Year acceptance speech about 3-4 years ago, but somehow I happened across it again today.

This is subversive, dangerous, powder-keg stuff! It’s also great thinking and writing.

I don’t know how true it is, but it feels true, smells true, and seems to answer a lot of questions that today’s problems in today’s schools raise.

I defy you to read it without changing your opinion of schools.

A couple of excerpts:

The products of schooling are, as I’ve said, irrelevant. Well-schooled people are irrelevant. They can sell film and razor blades, push paper and talk on the telephones, or sit mindlessly before a flickering computer terminal but as human beings they are useless. Useless to others and useless to themselves.

And …

Children and old people are penned up and locked away from the business of the world to a degree without precedent – nobody talks to them anymore and without children and old people mixing in daily life a community has no future and no past, only a continuous present. In fact, the name “community” hardly applies to the way we interact with each other. We live in networks, not communities, and everyone I know is lonely because of that.

And …

Senator Ted Kennedy’s office released a paper not too long ago claiming that prior to compulsory education the state literacy rate was 98% and after it the figure never again reached above 91% where it stands in 1990. I hope that interests you.

I googled Gatto’s name, and found he has a website and a foundation.