John Taylor Gatto realized that children are being taught not by their teachers or their parents, but the State. The people who created schooling, said the retired American schoolteacher, were utopian people who believe in a perfect society. They believe in family and tradition. Every utopia that survived invents schooling – universal schooling in order to reach utopia.
Gatto was a schoolteacher for almost 30 years, and has since written several books about education. He is very outspoken of compulsory schooling as well as the hegemonic nature of discourse on education and its professions.
“Schooling is a form of adoption” he illustrates. “You give your kid away to a group of strangers”. Strangers like Gatto, several other faculty and staff members in the education system. From Mondays thru Fridays, from morning to mid-afternoon, the kids are in the custody of the “State” while their parents go to work. However, according to him, what they learn in school are being “police” by the “State”, meaning what the kids want to be after they graduate is already being mapped out by the “State”. In other words, the kids want be to be not only their own person, but also their own “police”.
“We have so little time each day with each of these kids”, Gatto states, “we can’t possibly know enough vital information about that particular kid to tailor a set of exercises for them. We accept the State’s prescription that is in manuals. You do this first, this second, and this third.”
If your kids do badly, he continues, they’re not bad readers. They haven’t been obedient to the drills and lessons the State has given them. They’re marked to be excluded from colleges that will get them responsible jobs.
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