Paradox
©
Fisana

Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

I Quit, I think.


  • Please log in to reply
33 replies to this topic

#1 August West

August West

    Mycotopiate

  • OG VIP
  • 3,437 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 24 July 2012 - 11:46 PM

John Taylor Gatto wrote this article for The Wall Street Journal, July 25th, 1991. Gatto was a New York State Teacher of the Year. An advocate for school reform, Gatto’s books include Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, the Underground History of American Education and Weapons of Mass Instruction.

In the first year of the last decade of the twentieth century during my thirtieth year as a school teacher in Community School District 3, Manhattan, after teaching in all five secondary schools in the district, crossing swords with one professional administration after another as they strove to rid themselves of me, after having my license suspended twice for insubordination and terminated covertly once while I was on medical leave of absence, after the City University of New York borrowed me for a five-year stint as a lecturer in the Education Department (and the faculty rating handbook published by the Student Council gave me the highest ratings in the department my last three years), after planning and bringing about the most successful permanent school fund-raiser in New York City history, after placing a single eighth-grade class into 30,000 hours of volunteer community service, after organizing and financing a student-run food cooperative, after securing over a thousand apprenticeships, directing the collection of tens of thousands of books for the construction of private student libraries, after producing four talking job dictionaries for the blind, writing two original student musicals, and launching an armada of other initiatives to reintegrate students within a larger human reality, I quit.

I was New York State Teacher of the Year when it happened. An accumulation of disgust and frustration which grew too heavy to be borne finally did me in. To test my resolve I sent a short essay to The Wall Street Journal titled "I Quit, I Think." In it I explained my reasons for deciding to wrap it up, even though I had no savings and not the slightest idea what else I might do in my mid-fifties to pay the rent. In its entirety it read like this:



I’ve taught public school for 26 years but I just can’t do it anymore. For years I asked the local school board and superintendent to let me teach a curriculum that doesn’t hurt kids, but they had other fish to fry. So I’m going to quit, I think.

I’ve come slowly to understand what it is I really teach: A curriculum of confusion, class position, arbitrary justice, vulgarity, rudeness, disrespect for privacy, indifference to quality, and utter dependency. I teach how to fit into a world I don’t want to live in.

I just can’t do it anymore. I can’t train children to wait to be told what to do; I can’t train people to drop what they are doing when a bell sounds; I can’t persuade children to feel some justice in their class placement when there isn’t any, and I can’t persuade children to believe teachers have valuable secrets they can acquire by becoming our disciples. That isn’t true.

Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents.

An exaggeration? Hardly. Parents aren’t meant to participate in our form of schooling, rhetoric to the contrary. My orders as schoolteacher are to make children fit an animal training system, not to help each find his or her personal path.

The whole blueprint of school procedure is Egyptian, not Greek or Roman. It grows from the faith that human value is a scarce thing, represented symbolically by the narrow peak of a pyramid.

That idea passed into American history through the Puritans. It found its “scientific” presentation in the bell curve, along which talent supposedly apportions itself by some Iron Law of biology.

It’s a religious idea and school is its church. New York City hires me to be a priest. I offer rituals to keep heresy at bay. I provide documentation to justify the heavenly pyramid.

Socrates foresaw that if teaching became a formal profession something like this would happen. Professional interest is best served by making what is easy to do seem hard; by subordinating laity to priesthood. School has become too vital a jobs project, contract-giver and protector of the social order to allow itself to be “re-formed.” It has political allies to guard its marches.

That’s why reforms come and go-without changing much. Even reformers can’t imagine school much different.

David learns to read at age four; Rachel, at age nine: In normal development, when both are 13, you can’t tell which one learned first — the five-year spread means nothing at all. But in school I will label Rachel “learning disabled” and slow David down a bit, too.

For a paycheck, I adjust David to depend on me to tell him when to go and stop. He won’t outgrow that dependency. I identify Rachel as discount merchandise, “special education.” After a few months she’ll be locked into her place forever.

In 26 years of teaching rich kids and poor, I almost never met a “learning disabled” child; hardly every met a “gifted and talented” one, either. Like all school categories, these are sacred myths, created by the human imagination. They derive from questionable values we never examine because they preserve the temple of schooling.

That’s the secret behind short-answer tests, bells, uniform time blocks, age grading, standardization, and all the rest of the school religion punishing our nation.

There isn’t a right way to become educated; there are as many ways as fingerprints. We don’t need state-certified teachers to make education happen–that probably guarantees it won’t.

How much more evidence is necessary? Good schools don’t need more money or a longer year; they need real free-market choices, variety that speaks to every need and runs risks. We don’t need a national curriculum, or national testing either. Both initiatives arise from ignorance of how people learn, or deliberate indifference to it.

I can’t teach this way any longer. If you hear of a job where I don’t have to hurt kids to make a living, let me know. Come fall I’ll be looking for work, I think.


The Ultimate History Lesson
  • monkeybones likes this

#2 Il19z8rn4li1

Il19z8rn4li1

    Green Thumb Blue Thumb

  • Expired Member
  • 3,659 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 25 July 2012 - 08:07 AM

I love you AW lol.
I think just exact same as you do my good friend :D

I dont know whats more upsetting...

The fact that its not even the slightest bit shocking...

or

Thats parents are still completely naive to the reality...

Fucking shit i tell you...



Its 100% irresponsible to expect someone else to control the education of
anyone besides themselves.


#3 August West

August West

    Mycotopiate

  • OG VIP
  • 3,437 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 25 July 2012 - 09:36 PM

The fact that...parents are still completely naive to the reality...

I don't think that there is any easy blame cast here. Compulsory schooling is probably the most effective government program ever - almost every one who has gone through it will, most likely, need at least some recovery period. Most, unfortunately probably don't go through any recovery. Schooling is so effective that, for most people, even after presented with reality, it is too much to deal with.

Its 100% irresponsible to expect someone else to control the education of anyone besides themselves.


This too, I would generally agree with. But again, the compulsory government schooling is so effective, that it just seems like the obvious "choice". For the most part, people don't even consider the fact that they are sending their children to strangers for 35-40 hours per week, for over a decade, to "teach" them about the world. And now, with financial pressures (often anyway) causing both parents to work (also implemented intentionally), government schooling is often, unfortunately, the only choice. But really, as Gatto says, the idea of handing your children over to strangers for such an amount of time, is really one of the most radical ideas ever implemented.

This is eye-opening information. It really rivals, probably superceedes my first psychedelic cleansing.

#4 Mind

Mind

    .

  • Expired Member
  • 573 posts

Posted 25 July 2012 - 10:44 PM

Coming from a family of nearly only teachers, it was that fact alone of leaving school and coming home to wichever relatives house i was shuffled too, wich was a public school teacher. That created a very deep strum when the idea of thinking for my self was inhaled through that zig zag an the words your free now were exhaled into the clouds. Seemed to help some of us really tell the system to fuck off. Dont know how i would feel if the eduaction system didnt rhyme with the system, hopefully not stand up for either one if anything. They should just go all the way and freak everyone out with what they really want to say.

I could say the same for some others i know too, a good public school should make you drop out, but there is something to say about making something like public education more copesthetic. Though it did make the grass greener and the wine sweeter when finally breaking on through to the other side leaving all that unwanted programming.

#5 riseabovethought

riseabovethought

    innerspace explorer

  • App Administrator
  • 4,037 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 26 July 2012 - 01:14 PM

I plan to use the internet to help me home school my kid.
Thanks for the reminder.
Damn shame.
  • kcmoxtractor likes this

#6 morfin-56

morfin-56

    Mr. Miyagi

  • Expired Member
  • 1,521 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 26 July 2012 - 02:37 PM

I plan to use the internet to help me home school my kid.

I bet that turns out way better then public school education.
There is a lot of time wasted in "school".

Get your child interested in his/her education and they will teach themselves with the internet.

I wish I spent more of my time as a teen studying on the internet/library instead of being in school wasting time.
Unfortunately, with the help of public school, it is easy to get side tracked and not care for your education.

#7 bugs

bugs

    Are we having fun yet?

  • OG VIP
  • 3,260 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 26 July 2012 - 03:16 PM

I had my kids in and out of public school, constantly pissed off at the regimentation, labeling and social conditioning. It seems that I passed my contempt of authority on to them, and the educamators didn't take to their questioning ways.

One particularly stupid sixth-grade teacher labeled my youngest as "retarded." That daughter is currently studying to be a nurse and was recently cited for academic excellence. Go figure.

One of our experiments in educational diversity was to send the girls to a religious school. We'd heard that the program was good and that as long as we negated the bible thumpage by home-based anti-indoctrination it was worth the risk. It was kind of funny. To get them in, we were required to join the church. The sacrifices we make for our kids.

We kept it up for a good part of the school year before we couldn't take it any more. I mean, this place was hard-core fire-and-brimstone. As long as we could see the humor in it, it was OK, but there's just so much you can take. The kids did well at not taking the religion seriously ( they became quite the little actresses making the thumpers think they bought the package ) but the mrs. and I got fed up and pulled the plug.

Anyway, to the point.... The program used was ACE, or Accellerated Christian Education. The concept was great, if you took away the religious component.

It was based on the old one-room school house. Each subject was presented in short, sequential texts which included study material, test questions, etc. in cheaply-produced little booklets. When the kid finished one, they were tested on it and went on to the next. They'd progress through the various subjects at their own pace, according to interests and abilities. There were no grades and there was ample opportunity for kids to tutor kids.

The biggest plus was that it did away with age-based grades and lowest-common-denominator achievement targets. The kids really did learn a hell of a lot, because they weren't held to a schedule based on what some crackpot's theories regarding the wonders of intellectual uniformity.

Ironic, ain't it, that a useful and effective educational paradigm (and one that's really really cheap to implement) is being used by particularly repressive religious zealots. Go figure.

#8 hungryjim

hungryjim

    Mycotopiate

  • Expired Member
  • 532 posts

Posted 26 July 2012 - 05:47 PM

WOW! Thanks for starting this thread, August West. It spurned me to stir up the muddied and wishfully (once thought) forgotten memories of my own education. It's sorta funny; I just had a lengthy discussion with my GF's mother. Her granite, immobile stance was one that sarcastically pointed a naysaying finger :eusa_naug at the very idea of home education; labeling such as in immersion-camp of political or religious sects. I peacefully agreed :bow: , noting that such complete, forced indoctrination on a developing mind undoubtedly leads to changes in thought/behavior in the subjects. I attempted to counter with questions regarding the "standardized method". Who is to teach, and what shall they teach?...What of individuality? What of personal preference? Gifts and innate abilities, where to they stand in your carefully numbered and alphabetorigized line?..."...where they BELONG", seemed to be the answer. As they say,"Beliefs are like ashholes, everyone has one". :horse: Her own hypnotism concrete, I still hold hope for the individual who seeks to gain individual knowledge and enlightenment, DESPITE the mainsteam shackles. All new ideas, inventions, and creations are brought about by those who are not only willing, but those who STRIVE to think OUTSIDE of the conventional idea; the socially-accepted "norm".
Peace to all! :roll: ~hj

#9 -=Zeus=-

-=Zeus=-

    -= Still Kickin =-

  • OG VIP
  • 1,938 posts

Donator


Awards Bar:

Posted 26 July 2012 - 07:56 PM

xhgE5bfcFTU

#10 August West

August West

    Mycotopiate

  • OG VIP
  • 3,437 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 26 July 2012 - 10:01 PM

WOW! Thanks for starting this thread, August West.


Yea, I can go on - can be "that" guy but I'll try to avoid that.

My "unlearning" began about three years ago, studying for what to eventually do with my own child. I haven't stopped exploring the issue, to this day. A study of compulsory gov't schooling reveals it's purpose to essentially, be a tool for managing society. The most sophisticated techniques of psychology and sociology are applied to create the work-force and social structure that social planners desire. Individualism, critical thinking and intellectual curiosity are too dangerous for the state to allow. The link at the bottom of my first post is a fascinating interview/documentary with the teacher quoted in my post. The irony is that it is five hours long and most people probably no longer have the attention span for that - thanks schooling!

#11 TVCasualty

TVCasualty

    Embrace Your Damage

  • OG VIP
  • 10,867 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 27 July 2012 - 07:38 AM

I just had a lengthy discussion with my GF's mother. Her granite, immobile stance was one that sarcastically pointed a naysaying finger :eusa_naug at the very idea of home education; labeling such as in immersion-camp of political or religious sects.


Yeah, it sure seems like the public school indoctrination includes a lot of propaganda against home schooling and I find it odd that so many people who otherwise seem pretty smart have a knee-jerk reaction against it as if it means they'd have to end up teaching their kids that the Earth is 6000 years old or that it'll make it impossible for their precious snowflake to get into Harvard or whatever (no, the fact that their kid is most likely an idiot is what will keep them out of Harvard regardless of where they were schooled).

Really, it's probably the mortal fear that they'd have to end up teaching for hours every day that makes a lot of people oppose home schooling, and that's getting less and less viable anyway as it's hard enough to stay afloat even if there are two parents present and both work full-time, so low-income single-parent households are not really capable of sustaining it and are forced to send their kids to public school where they're dutifully indoctrinated to be good little factory workers insuring they too will be unable to home school their own children and thereby one day break that cycle.

It's too bad that our "education" system is geared towards producing factory-worker drones now that we've sent most of the factories elsewhere. Present trends are leaving us with a growing population of undereducated, disenfranchised, unemployed, and increasingly poor and very angry people. That's a context ripe for radicalization, social unrest, and (in anticipation of the first two problems) the emergence of a hard-line right-wing police state.

That's why I intend to bunker-school my kids. I don't want the State or the unemployed barbarian hordes getting ahold of 'em, so just like how it was during Dark Ages v1.0, getting a true education is becoming a subversive act and eventually must be kept hidden (as was a tremendous amount of knowledge until the Renaissance). The ignorant and the despotic will both tend to see those who seek knowledge privately as modern Dr. Frankensteins, and once the village decides you're up to no good they dutifully gather the pitchforks and torches and go on their dumb reactionary villager trip and burn down the scary, unfamiliar thing. As Dark Ages v2.0 unfolds over the next several generations, it will become absolutely crucial to never, ever let the villagers know of our metaphorical monster (or where our bunker-school is!).

#12 bugs

bugs

    Are we having fun yet?

  • OG VIP
  • 3,260 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 27 July 2012 - 09:54 AM

".....they're dutifully indoctrinated to be good little factory workers...."

That's why even a Wally World greeter has to have a high school education. Proper indoctrination helps ensure that they'll accept the indignities, including piss tests, without too much complaint.

"....getting a true education is becoming a subversive act...."

Unless the person being educated happens to be of a class that can afford to buy a good education for them. To preserve their family's role in the ruling class.

#13 Arathu

Arathu

    Dirtmaker

  • OG VIP
  • 5,544 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 27 July 2012 - 10:28 AM

I have such mixed feelings and thoughts about this subject. Public school has it's value and it is my current deduction that exposure to the broadest set of information and experiences available, including all of the noise and problems some of which are captured here but certainly not all of them, is the best thing that can happen to my child. They need to see and hear all of what is going on around them (limits and boundaries respected of course). And I feel very strongly that the absolute best thing I can possibly do for her is to talk about it with her on regular basis, as in multiple times a day. In this manner we accomplish a whole host of communicative exercises on multiple levels and fronts, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually, in the objective world as we currently know it.

If I've learned anything at all, I hold at the highest position in my consciousness that I will be ignorant of 99.9999% of the knowledge of the universe at the time of my death, therefore the entire exercise of life IS "school" if I choose to adopt the attitude that it is so. I am learning with my little one as we go. I consider the possibility that deep down inside most people are simply afraid, and that the daily stage show everyone is putting on, is an attempt to navigate through the scenes in the best manner possible. The most confident, arrogant, bullying loud mouths, are the most frightened. Those that do not hide their weaknesses and shortcomings are on the path of positive development while many others simply sit stagnant or go backwards. Dogma is complete bullshit! So I choose to remain a pupil until the end, which in my heart and mind, is simply another beginning, and I hope that I am setting a good example for my daughter. It's the best we can do.

#14 McDozd

McDozd

    In this moment

  • Expired Member
  • 3,660 posts

Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:32 PM

I have such mixed feelings and thoughts about this subject. Public school has it's value and it is my current deduction that exposure to the broadest set of information and experiences available, including all of the noise and problems some of which are captured here but certainly not all of them, is the best thing that can happen to my child. They need to see and hear all of what is going on around them (limits and boundaries respected of course). And I feel very strongly that the absolute best thing I can possibly do for her is to talk about it with her on regular basis, as in multiple times a day. In this manner we accomplish a whole host of communicative exercises on multiple levels and fronts, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually, in the objective world as we currently know it.



I have close relatives as teachers, and I also have three children in school.
I understand your thinking exactly.
There is SO many amazing tools children get to use(technology wise) and things like math and basic science(like chemistry) should be universal.
The problem I find in schools is the other BS like History(part fiction), classes like Social studies(seriously?), and my favorite "Communication Arts".
The public system has all kinds of great things for children and mixed in garbage used for obvious indoctrination in society.


If I've learned anything at all, I hold at the highest position in my consciousness that I will be ignorant of 99.9999% of the knowledge of the universe at the time of my death, therefore the entire exercise of life IS "school" if I choose to adopt the attitude that it is so. I am learning with my little one as we go. I consider the possibility that deep down inside most people are simply afraid, and that the daily stage show everyone is putting on, is an attempt to navigate through the scenes in the best manner possible. The most confident, arrogant, bullying loud mouths, are the most frightened. Those that do not hide their weaknesses and shortcomings are on the path of positive development while many others simply sit stagnant or go backwards. Dogma is complete bullshit! So I choose to remain a pupil until the end, which in my heart and mind, is simply another beginning, and I hope that I am setting a good example for my daughter. It's the best we can do.


This is why I teach my children to question "facts", to use their own reason and logic coupled with whats be presented to come to conclusions.
They do it to me when I am teaching them things I find to be true.. thats the way it should be.
To survive this system I try to provide my kids with the ability to think for themselves.
You are right my friend, all life is, is a giant classroom.
We learn everyday, at all times.. and it doesn't stop till we are gone.(as far as I know)

#15 Alder Logs

Alder Logs

    ૐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ૐ

  • Moderator
  • 13,077 posts

Donator


Awards Bar:

Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:43 PM

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.

#16 Alder Logs

Alder Logs

    ૐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ૐ

  • Moderator
  • 13,077 posts

Donator


Awards Bar:

Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:46 PM

Unless the person being educated happens to be of a class that can afford to buy a good education for them. To preserve their family's role in the ruling class.


Posted Image







hc-recently_learned.jpg

#17 TVCasualty

TVCasualty

    Embrace Your Damage

  • OG VIP
  • 10,867 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 28 July 2012 - 09:52 AM

There is SO many amazing tools children get to use(technology wise) and things like math and basic science(like chemistry) should be universal.
The problem I find in schools is the other BS like History(part fiction), classes like Social studies(seriously?), and my favorite "Communication Arts".
The public system has all kinds of great things for children and mixed in garbage used for obvious indoctrination in society.


For more evidence that the system is rigged against a real education, recall that we're told "ignorance of the law is no excuse!" and yet we aren't taught any law in school (and DEFINITELY aren't being taught what our rights are). We're in the midst of a global financial meltdown and consumer debt is crippling the chance for a recovery and it only seems to be getting worse, and yet we don't teach finance or economics or even how to balance a freakin' checkbook (or the digital equivalent) in school. So no Law or Finance, but we get to memorize lots of questionable facts about things as utterly irrelevant to us as the "Causes of the War of 1812" or how to use the Quadratic Equation properly (a life skill that has served me soooo well over the years; I can solve for a, b, and c but can't figure out where the hell all my money went...). Also, since our society is becoming a veritable Blizzard of Bullshit it'd be nice to cultivate skepticism and critical thinking skills, but those are the LAST things anyone will be taught in public school. And so on and so forth.

The worst part is that the public ed system creates adults who believe they're educated and capable of making sensible decisions about education for subsequent generations so the cycle keeps continuing as very few people are willing to consider the possibility that they might not know what the hell they're talking about; if someone doesn't know they're ignorant, they'll make their kids as ignorant as they are and feel quite proud of their accomplishment. It's only when we feel absolute unshakable certainty that we know "the" Truth-with-a-capital-T (such people are commonly called "zealots") that we can be so easily manipulated in the manner of modern education as it's not hard to show that humans will believe almost any goddamned thing we're told, especially if it sounds like something we already believe...

#18 August West

August West

    Mycotopiate

  • OG VIP
  • 3,437 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 28 July 2012 - 10:43 AM

Also, since our society is becoming a veritable Blizzard of Bullshit it'd be nice to cultivate skepticism and critical thinking skills, but those are the LAST things anyone will be taught in public school. And so on and so forth.


Well, critical thinking skills and skepticism are contrary to two of the most important lessons taught in compulsory gov't schooling: obedience to authority and worship of the state. Children are taught to receive information from an authority figure. This is carried on into adulthood when news stories, among other places, talk about how "experts say", without any context on what makes them an expert. And ultimately, those authority figures and experts will take care of you. One need not worry about problem solving or learning to take responsibility for oneself. Skepticism may lead to questioning the status quo which may just lead to individualism. It's all about fitting in - collectivism is the rule of the day.

Don't forget that most schools still require asking permission for two basic human functions: talking and going to the bathroom just two of the many components in helping to crank out 24 year-old children.

#19 TVCasualty

TVCasualty

    Embrace Your Damage

  • OG VIP
  • 10,867 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 28 July 2012 - 11:15 AM

Don't forget that most schools still require asking permission for two basic human functions: talking and going to the bathroom just two of the many components in helping to crank out 24 year-old children.


I always thought it was really weird that going to the bathroom was such a big deal in school that some psycho teachers would make the kids carry a massive hall pass that was sometimes in the form of an actual toilet seat, presumably to discourage recreational pissing or something.

One of my former girlfriends was raised in Germany and her family moved to the US when she was 17 so she was introduced to American "education" as a Junior in High School and the transition sounded rough; among other things she'd suddenly just stand up and walk out the door and the teacher would flip the fuck out "HEY! Where the heck do you think you're going!?!?" and she'd be genuinely baffled by the confrontation and say "the bathroom" (naturally) and just kept walking (lol) which about made the teacher have a stroke. Then the principal and teacher sat down with her to explain how "we" do things here but she thought it was a stupid way of doing things so just kept getting up and leaving whenever she had to go (they eventually gave up trying to make her act like a child and everyone just pretended it wasn't happening). She'd already been treated like an adult to the point where she thought about what they'd said and simply rejected it as being nonsensical. Then she told me about how the DARE program introduced her to the concept of drugs and presented them in such a way as to make her curious and want to try them (which ultimately resulted in my meeting her when she randomly sat down next to me in an art gallery during an open-house party and I passed her a lit bowl of kind bud as I introduced myself and a week later I was staring in awe at her grow room and she was loading me her kind bud; thanks DARE program! :amazed:).

#20 -VX-

-VX-

    Nowhere Man

  • Free Member
  • 433 posts

Posted 28 July 2012 - 11:22 AM

This thread has ALOT of big words in it. But yeah I totally agree. The public education system is a joke.




Like Mycotopia? Become a member today!