Friday, June 6, 2008

A Bit of Gatto Before I Go

Children learn what they live.
Put kids in a class and they will live out their lives in an invisible cage, isolated from their chance at community;
interrupt kids with bells and horns all the time and they will learn that nothing is important;
force them to plead for the natural right to the toilet and they will become liars and toadies;
ridicule them and they will retreat from human association;
shame them and they will find a hundred ways to get even.
The habits taught in large-scale organizations are deadly.

That's by John Taylor Gatto, and he cuts right to the chase, doesn't he? Here's a quote from a review of one of his books over at Amazon:

I wish I'd read this while I was in school; I'd have seen then that there was something wrong with the system, not me.

That's heartbreaking. How many adults were wounded by school when they were children? Gatto knows. He taught in the public schools for thirty years. When he was given the New York State Teacher of the Year award, his acceptance speech (pdf) was not exactly what they were expecting! It was a criticism of the institution of school.

I'm thinking about Gatto today because I mention him in a new article just posted to my Web site. I also have plans to re-read a lot of Gatto this summer.

Summer for me officially begins on Saturday, because tomorrow is our last day of school until after Labor Day. I plan on starting off my summer with a week off of work (that means this keyboard), so I won't be posting here for about ten days....if I can stay away. ;)

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