John T. Gatto - Against School

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J.R. Galluzzo
Ms. Brandon
Tuesday October 6, 2010

Against School: A Corrupted System

The educational systems purpose is to prepare people with the necessary skills and knowledge so that they can excel and function properly in today’s society. John T. Gatto challenges that idea and begs the question is 12 compulsory years of standard schooling consisting of six classes a day, five days a week, nine months a year needed? Gatto refers to George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln as they were not formally schooled and yet were very successful. According to Gatto’s, there are three main purposes to formal schooling, “1) To make good people, 2) To make good citizens, and 3) to make each person his or her best.” (Gatto 3) Gatto believes that the current educational system actually contradicts these three ideals. He claims that there are six basic yet specific functions that intend to hold back and limit the progress and overall success of a student. Of the six functions there are three serve specifically to limit and hinder a students progress. The diagnostic and directive functions, the differentiating function, and the propaedeutic function all seemingly serve to cripple a students success but when analyzed some do hold some truth but in the end they are merely irrational and ridiculous accusations made by Gatto. The diagnostic and directive functions are defined as a litmus test to test where a particular student “fits” in society based on grade percentages. These percentages are logged and stored permanently in our student records which are then passed on the post secondary schools to place students in their “proper societal roles” (4). During my freshman and sophomore years in high school I can not help but remember teachers classifying “ap” students and high academic achievers as those who were going to be “successful”. My math teacher often referred to more difficult questions as the “doctor” or...
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