Sunday, August 13, 2006

Government Schools Suck - By Design

Any self-conscious fool, at least intuitively, knows that public schools are a joke but thankfully we have John Taylor Gatto to explain why.

I found his profound essay, Against School - How public education cripples our kids and why and it really provoked my brain.

Normally I would pull some highlights from his paper but that might deprive the lazy of reading the entire article. Seriously, if you have or are planning one day to have children, you'd be intellectually and parentally irresponsible to not heed Gatto.

In fact, I enjoyed his article so much that I clicked on his site. I found out that not only has Gatto artfully expounded on his theses in a book, but that I could read his entire book on his website for free.

Who would put a book on the net for free?

Well, the guy cares more about America and children than money. That should give you a hint about his probity. I started reading his book (currently on chapter 4) and let me tell you that it is even better than his essay. I am going to buy his book anyway because it is that important. When I am done reading it I will consolidate my thoughts and post a more thorough blog on what I have learned.

Click here to read the book.


Tax Shelter said...

I admire your desire for the absolute truth. But if books on evolution are full of holes, they can be forgiven, for the holy bible is full of mistakes that are never corrected over thousands of years. For example, it turns out that the reference to the Red Sea in the bible is incorrect. It was a mis-translation, i.e., it should be the "sea of reed", or a fresh water lake.

Tax Shelter said...

Gatto is fantastic. I think that his essay can be extended to corporations and government. For example, most of the workers in government and the corporate world will say the same: the work was stupid and they are bored most of the time. In this sense, school is a perfect mirror image of the real world.

Anonymous said...

I admit to not having read Gatto's entire article. Did I get a bit bored maybe? Not sure.

Anyway, he taught in NYC. Everyone knows NYC schools are hopeless. I went to school in the burbs of NY and my public education was fine. Even good I would say. Could have been more engaged at times, but I would say it doesn't approach what he seems to have experienced. Anyway, my point being that basing an analysis of all US public schools on experience with NYC public schools might not be the right way to do it. Its like growing up in some crap economy like Bolivia and saying capitalism can't possibly work anywhere.

CaptiousNut said...


Read Gatto's book. His indictment of government schools is hardly based on his own personal experience. He offers a thorough history of compulsory education along with empirical facts on literacy rates and whatnot. Here's one example:

By 1940, the literacy figure for all states stood at 96 percent for whites, 80 percent for blacks. Notice that for all the disadvantages blacks labored under, four of five were nevertheless literate. Six decades later, at the end of the twentieth century, the National Adult Literacy Survey and the National Assessment of Educational Progress say 40 percent of blacks and 17 percent of whites can’t read at all. Put another way, black illiteracy doubled, white illiteracy quadrupled. Before you think of anything else in regard to these numbers, think of this: we spend three to four times as much real money on schooling as we did sixty years ago, but sixty years ago virtually everyone, black or white, could read.