Common Core Crisis [Part 5] – What Led To Award Winning Teacher John Taylor Gatto To Quit Public Schooling

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TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
March 3, 2017

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”
– Aristotle

“Wherever a man desires to know, that is the place proper for his education; whenever he desires to know, that is the time proper for his instruction.”
– Socrates

The last few weeks we have begun to catalog many disturbing aspects of common core within public schooling.  Not only is American education on a catastrophic decline [see here], but as has been documented by insiders such as John Taylor Gatto, Charlotte Iserbyt, and others, that’s exactly what the system aims to do.

For those that might react in an askance manner to such statements, in previous posts [Example #1, Example #2, Example #3, Example #4] we have begun to slowly construct much of the downright nonsense individuals have to deal with within the corrupt public school system.

Continuing along the same lines, below follows a passage taken from award winning teacher John Taylor Gatto, which was shared by him in his phenomenal Underground History Of American Education.

Gatto states why he chose to resign from the corrupt system in 1991, and the troubling reasons follow below:

Gatto decided to throw in the towel in 1991, and the reasons for this follow below:

“In the first year of the last decade of the twentieth century during my thirtieth year as a school teacher in Community School District 3, Manhattan, after teaching in all five secondary schools in the district, crossing swords with one professional administration after another as they strove to rid themselves of me, after having my license suspended twice for insubordination and terminated covertly once while I was on medical leave of absence, after the City University of New York borrowed me for a five-year stint as a lecturer in the Education Department (and the faculty rating handbook published by the Student Council gave me the highest ratings in the department my last three years), after planning and bringing about the most successful permanent school fund-raiser in New York City history, after placing a single eighth-grade class into 30,000 hours of volunteer community service, after organizing and financing a student-run food cooperative, after securing over a thousand apprenticeships, directing the collection of tens of thousands of books for the construction of private student libraries, after producing four talking job dictionaries for the blind, writing two original student musicals, and launching an armada of other initiatives to reintegrate students within a larger human reality, I quit.

I was New York State Teacher of the Year when it happened. An accumulation of disgust and frustration which grew too heavy to be borne finally did me in. To test my resolve I sent a short essay to The Wall Street Journal titled “I Quit, I Think.” In it I explained my reasons for deciding to wrap it up, even though I had no savings and not the slightest idea what else I might do in my mid-fifties to pay the rent. In its entirety it read like this:

Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents. The whole blueprint of school procedure is Egyptian, not Greek or Roman. It grows from the theological idea that human value is a scarce thing, represented symbolically by the narrow peak of a pyramid.

That idea passed into American history through the Puritans. It found its “scientific” presentation in the bell curve, along which talent supposedly apportions itself by some Iron Law of Biology. It’s a religious notion, School is its church. I offer rituals to keep heresy at bay. I provide documentation to justify the heavenly pyramid.

Socrates foresaw if teaching became a formal profession, something like this would happen. Professional interest is served by making what is easy to do seem hard; by subordinating the laity to the priesthood. School is too vital a jobs-project, contract giver and protector of the social order to allow itself to be “re-formed.” It has political allies to guard its marches, that’s why reforms come and go without changing much. Even reformers can’t imagine school much different.

David learns to read at age four; Rachel, at age nine: In normal development, when both are 13, you can’t tell which one learned first—the five-year spread means nothing at all. But in school I label Rachel “learning disabled” and slow David down a bit, too. For a paycheck, I adjust David to depend on me to tell him when to go and stop. He won’t outgrow that dependency. I identify Rachel as discount merchandise, “special education” fodder. She’ll be locked in her place forever.

In 30 years of teaching kids rich and poor I almost never met a learning disabled child; hardly ever met a gifted and talented one either. Like all school categories, these are sacred myths, created by human imagination. They derive from questionable values we never examine because they preserve the temple of schooling.

That’s the secret behind short-answer tests, bells, uniform time blocks, age grading, standardization, and all the rest of the school religion punishing our nation. There isn’t a right way to become educated; there are as many ways as fingerprints. We don’t need state-certified teachers to make education happen—that probably guarantees it won’t.

How much more evidence is necessary? Good schools don’t need more money or a longer year; they need real free-market choices, variety that speaks to every need and runs risks. We don’t need a national curriculum or national testing either. Both initiatives arise from ignorance of how people learn or deliberate indifference to it. I can’t teach this way any longer. If you hear of a job where I don’t have to hurt kids to make a living, let me know. Come fall I’ll be looking for work.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

Coming to terms with all of the above, can you really blame Gatto?  And to think, this took place over two decades ago.  The public schooling system has only gotten worse.

Those facts lead Gatto to speak over 750 times throughout the world in the following years to discuss the inherent issues within public schooling.  And he hasn’t stopped, thankfully.

Gatto found that individuals from all over the world were beginning to see the shadows of the system for what it was, and are were beginning to speak out, and rightly so.

The only way to avoid the conformity crisis is to breakaway from the system that makes you conform from the ground up.  Gatto and many others have spoken about this at length.

Seek to learn and teach children [and adults!] not only how to think critically [which school doesn’t teach], but how to employ logic [which modern schooling also doesn’t teach, although was taught for centuries in classical education].  Don’t allow others to make you, nor your children conform.  Strive to live life to the fullest extent, learning from moments – every single one of them, especially the bad ones – rather than by disciplines, or worse, methods. 

Life has everything you need to learn.  It only takes open eyes and an open mind to take it all in and use every day as a teaching platform as every opportunity is ruminated upon, pondered, learned from, and digested at length.

Anyone can teach another person something, and it happens on a day by day basis.

It’s just that we don’t get hammered to see those experiences as teaching.  The curious part is that, life lessons happen ALL the time, and it doesn’t take a public school system to teach that.  Not that schools teach that anyways.

Learn from every moment.

Learn from every person.

Learn from yourself.

And teach others what you have learned.

Then and only then are we going to begin creating a new system, from the ground up.

And all it takes is individuals rising up, as they have throughout history.

Don’t hold back.  Education is too important to forgo, or to leave to others.

Change starts with you.  Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.  For if we don’t take time to teach ourselves about the lessons of life, we will arrive at life’s end having learned nothing.

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Suggested resources reviewed below for those seeking ideas to self-teach and become autodidacts:

Socratic Logic V3.1 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Philosophy 101 – An Introduction To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Complete Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers by Frank L. Cioffi

The following books reviewed below cover the disturbing issues within the public schooling system:

Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.& Gary Lawrence
Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
A Different Kind Of Teacher – Solving The Crisis Of American Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
Weapons Of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto
Drilling Through The Core, by Sandra Stotsky & Contributors
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Source:

[1] John Taylor Gatto, Underground History Of American Education, pp. xv-xvi.

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