Against School Critique
What is boredom? According to John Taylor Gatto, boredom is ruining the modern day society’s schooling. Gatto is convinced that we ourselves is to blame for boredom, and believes everyone should be able to entertain themselves. “How public education cripples our kids, and why”, written by John Taylor Gatto, is papered with evidences. Even though the literal beauty does not exist in the essay, he starts out blocking all the possible arguments that could be created in the first place by placing evidences in his essay everywhere, unable to criticize on his content, reflection and analysis. Such small concept such as boredom is ruining modern day schooling, according to Gatto. He starts off by how boredom overpowered the teachers and the students. Teachers are tired of students who are unwilling to learn, and students believe that teachers are unenthusiastic to teach. But Gatto believes that, mainly because he was influenced by his grandfather, that state of boredom has to be blamed on oneself, not others. And people who cannot handle the boredom are childish adults. This means that the way school is set up is already wrong. Unmotivated teacher and students in the school means failure to teach, meaning the function of the school is gone. “If we wanted to we could easily and inexpensively jettison the old, stupid structures and help kids take an education rather than merely receive a schooling … But we don’t do that.” He denounces the current system, and also knows what is needed to be done. It’s true. Many of the teachers are not motivated to teach; it seems that they are waiting for their payday. Students are not motivated also – countless repeats of same concept, set academics - it seems even weird to be motivated. Gatto only uses logic to persuade the audience. All the evidence seems logical, and it seems morally right. Then he asks, “Do we really need school? I don’t mean education, just forced schooling: six classes a day, five days a week, nine months a year, for twelve years.” This question is actually frequently on topic. The questions are asked by different students every day, and even though it might seem like a legitimate question, He uses this question rhetorically to set up more evidences that shutdowns the argument of his opposite sides. He uses the Greats as an example, such as Twain, Carnegie, Rockefeller and Edison, who never went to high school. And right before, he uses Washington, Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln, who were never part of the school system to prove his argument once again. Then he repeats, in different words, “What is the purpose of our public school?” And the answer was to become a good citizen, good people, and to be at one’s personal best, according to the cultural traditions. But the school system has been criticized so much by the scholars back in the days. Their argument is that the system of school’s originality is from Prussia, and adopted one of the worst aspects of Prussian culture: “an educational system deliberately designed to produce mediocre intellects, to hamstring the inner life, to deny students appreciable leadership skills, and to ensure docile and incomplete citizens - all in order to render the populace “manageable.” This is an extremely controversial statement, but looking at the current society, people are busy feeding themselves more than fighting for what is right or sharing their own opinion about whatever. Then he quotes Inglis, a quite well-known Harvard Professor, claiming “the purpose of modern schooling is divided six basic functions.” “1. Adaptive Function – destroys the idea that useful or interesting material should be taught. 2. Integrating function – makes all the children alike as possible. 3. Diagnostic and directive function – determines each student’s proper social role by keeping a cumulative records. 4. Differentiating function – sorted by records and trained to their social role. 5. Selective function – favoritism, even if not meant.
6. Propaedeutic function – always cared, never stood alone.” According to Inglis and Gatto, this is how the school system works right now. The cultural tradition has been completely erased from the school mind, and Gatto uses perfect quote from Inglis to prove it. Even though some might argue that quote of Inglis might not be true, but it is from an influential and popular Harvard Professor, meaning it definitely has values to be looked at.
Gatto does not leave space for any weak evidence in his essay. All the evidences and analysis are agreeable, even to people who does not understand completely because everything is logical. All of his evidences can be understood by knowing how the society is currently. At the end of the essay, he describes how people live on. He describes us as “trained to be employees and consumers,” which is true, in a society dream is only a dream and reality is reality. Overall, Gatto wrote an unarguable essay, and if so someone argues against Gatto, that someone will not have many supporters to breakdown the impact that Gatto left in his essay.
Gatto, John Taylor. “Against School.” Harper’s Sept. 2003: 33-38. Print.