In John Taylor Gatto’s article “Against School,” he makes the argument that the public education system cripples and entraps the minds of its students, preventing them from thriving and performing at their maximum capabilities. Throughout his article he provides seven main points to support his claims. By examining some of his points through the lens of a Bayside High School student, it can be seen that Gatto makes a valid argument overall. Gatto’s first argument is that school confuses its students, forcing them to memorize and regurgitate information in the short term. Many of the classes at Bayside High School are structured around a few exams on which a lot of importance is placed. Since these big exams constitute a large portion of a student’s grade, he or she will cram for the test, staying up all night to study. He or she has barely learned a thing up until that point, but will force his or herself to learn all of the material in a short amount of time. After taking the exam a few hours later, all of the information jammed into the student’s head is then flushed out, as the pressure of the exam is relieved by having completed it. As long as a high grade is achieved in the short term, it does not matter to the student whether or not he or she will actually retain the information in the long run. This process is repeated constantly throughout the year; each exam is crammed for, and the student forgets everything as soon as possible after. Since the information is not actually retained, the goal of exams, which is to make students well versed in a certain subject (for more than a few hours), is not achieved. Boredom is not specifically included in any of Gatto’s seven points listed, but it is one of the key points in the article. School, for the most part, bores students. Of all the classes an average student takes throughout his or her public school career, it is more than likely that he or she will have taken more less-desirable...
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