I have been reading more of John Taylor Gatto and his radical views of school and I am realising more and more that his views should become less radical and more the norm.
I am sure that would mean the dismantling of a system that has been around in its original form for 150 years and this won’t happen quickly, and perhaps not in my lifetime.
No matter, I am happy to throw in my few seeds of change.
Here is the latest snapshot of what he wrote in –
“A few days ago I got a call from a newspaper that wanted some advice for parents about how to launch their children into school. All the reporter wanted was a sound byte from a former New York State Teacher of the Year. What I said was this:
Don’t cooperate with your children’s school unless the school has come to you in person to work out a meeting of the minds – on your turf, not theirs. Only a desperado would blindly trust his children to a collection of untested strangers and hope for the best. Parents and school personnel are just plain natural adversaries. One group is trying to make a living; the other is trying to make a work of art called a family. If you allow yourself to be co-opted by flattery, seduced with worthless payoffs such as special classes or programs, intimidated by Alice in Wonderland titles and degrees, you will become the enemy within, the extension of state schooling into your own home. Shame on you if you allow that. Your job is to educate, the schoolteacher’s is to school; you work for love, the teacher for money. The interests are radically different, one an individual thing, the other a collective. You can make your own son or daughter one of a kind if you have the time and will to do so; school can only make them part of a hive, a herd, or an anthill.”
To me you can sum it all up with: Who will best educate my child, the family or the dictates of the State, the school system?
The State has been doing its job for around 150 years and John continues to warn us that the School System is contributing greatly to the killing of our nation by making our kids compliant, regulated and dependent…
“Think of the things that are killing us as a nation – narcotic drugs, brainless competition, recreational sex, the pornography of violence, gambling, alcohol, and the worst pornography of all – lives devoted to buying things, accumulation as a philosophy – all of them are addictions of dependent personalities, and that is what our brand of schooling must inevitably produce.”
It is very sobering to read this as I am a participant in the system of “school” and I am doing my best now to break free from the rules of the system and to provide a more natural and effective model of learning that puts the kids first. And the Big Picture approach embraces the home and includes the parents as partners with the student in their learning.