View Full Version : Public Schooling
04-06-2008, 03:19 AM
Found one of the coolest articles ever:
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by John Taylor Gatto [Two time New York State “Teacher of the Year”]
I want you to consider the frightening possibility that we are spending far too much money on schooling, not too little. I want you to consider that we have too many people employed in interfering with the way children grow up -- and that all this money and all these people, all the time we take out of children’s lives and away from their homes and families and neighborhoods and private explorations -- gets in the way of education.
That seems radical, I know. Surely in modern technological society it is the quantity of schooling and the amount of money you spend on it that buys value.
And yet last year in St. Louis, I heard a vice-president of IBM tell an audience of people assembled to redesign the process of teacher certification that in his opinion this country became computer-literate by self-teaching, not through any action of schools. He said 45 million people were comfortable with computers who had learned through dozens of non-systematic strategies, none of them very formal; if schools had pre-empted the right to teach computer use we would be in a horrible mess right now instead of leading the world in this literacy.
Now think about Sweden, a beautiful, healthy, prosperous and up-to-date country with a spectacular reputation for quality in everything it produces. It makes sense to think their schools must have something to do with that.
Then what do you make of the fact that you can’t go to school in Sweden until you are 7 years old? The reason the
04-06-2008, 02:59 PM
That's pretty interesting, I was unaware of the Prussian system and its influence on ours.
04-10-2008, 02:38 PM
I heart Sweden. Sigh.
PS Where'd you find this?
04-10-2008, 03:09 PM
Great article. Makes me proud to have been unschooled all my life.
04-10-2008, 04:59 PM
"New York State, for instance, employs more school administrators than all of the European Economic Community nations combined."
That's insane if it's true. Good article. Really liked this bit,
"There are no incentives for the “owners” of the structure to reform it, nor can there be without outside competition. What is needed for several decades is the kind of wildly-swinging free market we had at the beginning of our national history."
The early public educational system, many argue - lifted a huge portion of the illiterate catholics out of poverty, during that period. Not sure if the author was implying they shouldn't have been a state run system at all during that time, or merely saying the state system could have been much improved upon.
The home schooling approach of Sweden, only works if your parents are literate and have time to spend with you,. Swedes probably get inordinate maternity and child leave, much longer vacation and less working hours. Not as sure, if that would be as effective in the broken inner cities of America.
04-21-2008, 04:30 PM
I've always thought that was an eye opening and shocking article.:stunned:
04-22-2008, 06:36 AM
I don't know if home schooling exist here in Sweden. Never heard of it. Most schools are public, there're "private" schools aswell but they're funded the same way. They're all tax funded and have to follow a strict education plan. I can't call it anything else but socialistic.
I would say we are educating too many. All these graduates do exactly nothing with their degrees. Very few of them will ever advance the subject, not that many will even use their education in work. Is there really any point in putting a guy with a sub normal IQ through a course in theoretical physics. It would be far more economical and more humane to teach him to be a plumber. We don't need all these guys with philosophy degrees we do need car mechanics.
You can see this in the job market now. Having a degree does not mean you get a well paid job. There are so many graduates and so few good jobs. Once in the job market, personal qualities count for far more than academics. The common misconception of cause and effect is often applied to correlations. So when we see senior execs have degrees, that does not mean they are senior exec because they have degrees. They dumb guy with poor social skills and a degree does not attain those heights.
The best that can be said of eduction is it filters out the total retards. The average man can get one so it is no filter of intellect. Now make them so hard that only Mensa members could get one, then it would be worth something.
What we need is education focused more on the skills people use in their life. Managers learning about dealing with people for example and less emphasis on academia. Academic subjects should be restricted to those that have a talent for them.
04-22-2008, 09:01 AM
who is also an ed. policy scholar....he always says things better than I can.
- Gatto has written some well-received as well as some underground books. He has won all kinds of national-level teaching awards. this historical analysis tends to be more of his underground work, as you can tell, it would make many people - left, right and center - uncomfortable. the stuff that normals like is about de-schooling and pedagogy and curriculum in the classroom, he is for less top-down imposed curricula, letting kids figure out what they want, self-reliance (but he is no anarchist or new age guy). you can google all this. anyway he is from VT or NH originally, you can tell, very libertarian.
- historically, he is spot on. the influence of the Prussian system on our system is underestimated. it was said that during the 1870s the "prussian schoolmaster" won the war with France. integration, indoctrination. works well with advertising, PR, propaganda - also coming into being during this time period. most scholars of education now accept what as once called a revisionist thesis - that the first public school system in the US (Massachusetts, Horace Mann) was built as much to keep workers' kids off the streets and the Irish's kids off the bottle as for anything else. economists of education have found through statistical analysis that all previous explanations of the rise of enrollment in public school systems around the world ONLY correlates significantly with one factor - state-formation/age of a government.
- I am not sure about the phrase "state socialism." the state is capable of doing all the things Gatto mentions without being socialist. and he is right that even Dewey had a dark side, some weirds utopian dream of forced collectivization of the national mind (I think this changed for Dewey somewhat when he was forced from Columbia for protesting U.S. entry into WW 1). Gatto seems to be leaning more right these days, esp. with his allusions to vouchers and charter schools... anyway, Dewey's mentor, G. Stanley Hall, was a total mad scientist/Stalin figure. what people forget is that a State can be totally intrusive, controlling, "scientific", bureaucratic, centralized, powerful, eugenic, etc - whatever you want to call it - and STILL be capitalist!!! our current government is a case in point. the state of G. Stanley Hall and George Bush is huge in power and knowledge and controlling its citizens. the difference is, instead of Lenin & Stalin's Central Committee and Politburo, Hall & Bush want capitalists, bankers, industrialists, CEOs, and financiers to control everything. remember, Hall was from the era when "women rights" champion and "progressive" Margaret Sanger was advocating forced sterilization for mentally handicapped and immigrant women - eugenics. Gatto misses this point by engaging in the conservative tradition of calling big government "socialism."
04-22-2008, 09:39 AM
As I've said before, modern schooling is a way for the SJ's in charge to make good little obedient SJ's out of their charges. SP's ignore it and live their own way, N's work around it and educate themselves. My INFP roommate is quitting out of teaching, which is something he's always wanted to do, because he can't handle the relentless, bureaucratic SJhood of it all.
When I was talking to him recently, he hissed at me: "They SPY on you, did you know that? They send people around to make sure you're doing it all their way." He's a bright guy and a good teacher of his subject, but he's not in love with the System enough. Or at all.
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