John Taylor Gatto, in his article “Against School,” Gatto explains about how he was bored and shared his point of views towards American education and how public schooling system cripple students. Gotto begins his essay by sharing his experience when he used to be a teacher for 30 years and how he became an expert in boredom during that time. According to Gatto, boredom is the common things for teachers and students. Students often complained they were bored because the work they were doing was stupid, that it made no sense and all those things they already knew it and they wanted to do something real. Also, teachers blame that students really don’t want to learn, they’re only focus on their grades.
Gatto learned something very important when he was seven years old. once he complained to his grandfather of boredom, and his grandfather told him it’s your own fault and no one else’s. From that incident he learned the responsibility of learning and entertain himself. Author Gatto believes giving student autonomy so they can take a risk so they could learn and grow up themselves. Gatto provided the list of American leaders who generally never went to school, yet they rose to be admirals like Farragut and so many others to support his point that kids don’t really need of schooling of six classes a day, five days a week, and nine months a year, for twelve years.
Gatto mentioned that schooling is as synonym of success which they have been taught in this country. But, Gatto believes that’s not true in an intellectual or a financial sense. He thinks compulsory schools often resemble as a prison.
The author mentioned three reason why people sent their kids to public school:
- to make good people,
- to make good citizens,
- to make each person his or her personal best.
To support his thesis, Gatto mentioned H.L. Mencken, who wrote “The American Mercury” where he found same believe as he does about the American schooling system. Then, he brings James Bryant Conant Where he first got wind of the real purposes of American schooling. Also, he mentioned Alexzander Inglis where talks about modern school system, divide children by subject, rankings on tests, and many other in which children are into a dangerous whole. Also, he brings Inglis’s six basic function of modern schooling.
Gatto point out the Ellwood P. Cubberley’s book where he said our schools are factories and where children are shaped and fashioned and build the school business by giving specific program. The author concludes by saying mandatory education serves children only incidentally; its real purpose is to turn them into servants. Again, he shared his experience of thirty years of teaching in public school and he thinks the solution of modern schooling is simply let students to manage by themselves.
After reading Gatto’s article, I would have to say I heart is partly agree with him and, I have some disagreement on some of his believes.