“Thirty years ago, having nothing better to do with himself at the time, Gatto tried his hand at school teaching,” (Gatto 1). His distaste for public schools and there methods can be profoundly felt in the leading quote. John Gatto has no affinity, no understanding, and no love for the current methods of education. In fact we can find that he wishes to completely replace the education system as we know it. However, is that really the preeminent manner in which we should go about mending our damaged educational system? For that matter, could a person even justifiably state that our school system is damaged in the manner that it educates? Through Gatto’s writings we gain a profound feeling of his opinions, and what he wishes to change. Now, we must look at our own selves, and find deep down whether we agree, disagree, or are somewhere in the middle. We have to determine what we feel is best for educating our youth in the future.
Looking back and reflecting on the words of Gatto I repeatedly examine the area and ideas of how the classroom education relates to the real world. Many people including myself find the college classroom more of a barrier to becoming a contributing member of society. Personally, it seems to me that the only reason many of us show up day after day is to ultimately achieve a piece of paper that says we are a college graduate. Additionally, so that firm A will hire us because we are so much better than all of the lesser educated. I find that thought process to be flawed in so many ways. Lets look at people in our society that are fantastically successful, yet never graduated with a higher degree.
CLICK HERE TO ORDER FOR THIS PAPER…………………….Furthermore, for the purpose of this discussion we will use monetary wealth as a measure of success.
When looking at the world around us we eminently stumble upon something produced by Apple. In fact it is one of the wealthiest and fantastically successful companies in the world. However, Steve Jobs never gained a college degree. In fact, he dropped out after one year at Reed College. Stereotypes would say that he is not fit to hold any sort of higher-level position. That he should not be hired to work at Apple or Microsoft right out of high school because he needs to become further educated. Even more ridiculous is the fact that any company or business would be ecstatic to bring him on to their staff. Why though would they do that? He does not have a college degree, and therefore is dim-witted and does not posses the right skills to hold this kind of position. Why in Sam hell do we put so much stake in getting an education when in reality it does nothing to further us in the working world?
“Gatto noticed that schools and schooling are becoming irrelevant to the businesses and firms of the world”, (Gatto 21). He is having the same exact thoughts that I am, and with that many others are right now. We throw away a substantial part of our life to become “educated” in our school system, and then at some college for what apparent reason. You graduate from college to get a job and what is the first thing you do? You go into training to learn how to do the job, or you interned during college to discover how to accomplish the task in your future career. So what good is all of this blood, sweat, and tears in becoming “educated” really doing? “No one believes that scientists trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes,” (Gatto 21). People become educated by doing; not by becoming schooled in some classroom in some big concrete building somewhere. It is so blatantly obvious yet no one seems to want to do anything about it.
It is reasonable to say that our educational system has not changed in the past merely because of the amount of work it would take for people to develop a new way of educating our youth. The last thing that people want to do is create more work for themselves. In fact, this poses the idea that Americans to a certain standpoint are somewhat lazy. In this day an age it is all about making life easier. Therefore, by keeping the school system and it’s methods the same it makes everyone’s life easier. That being said, we need to change and do what we haven’t wanted to do in past.
Gatto comes at us with the idea that we need to demolish the system entirely and start from scratch. While this potentially could be the best solution to achieving near perfection, it is highly unreasonable and inefficient. Rebuilding the system from scratch would take an immense amount of time. The scope of something like that would be astronomical from a needed resources and acash flow perspective. The subsequent idea of simply modifying our current system has been thrown around also, and to me seems substantially more reasonable.
At the current time we have the proper infrastructure in place to support a better more educational system. Gatto refers to the current system as a schooling system, not an educational system. Furthermore, by educational I mean delivering people the tools they need to further themselves in life and the career world. “However, “Gatto also believes that people need less school not more,” (Gatto 46). While more school does seem to be a bit counter productive, I maintain that the amount of time spent in the classroom now is adequate. Yet, how the time is used needs to be greatly modified. This goes back to the idea that we need to transform our classroom activities and subjects to actually educate our youth. Gatto feels that we need less school, and to a certain standpoint I have to agree. By using our time in the classroom productively we could more efficiently educate our youth. Consequently then removing the need for homework.
“His children attend school for 30 hours a week, use about 8 hours getting ready for and traveling to and from school, and spend on average 7 hours a week on homework,” (Gatto 25). Now I have to agree that this is an insane amount of time. Furthermore, what good does homework really do for someone? In my mind it forces a person to repetitiously look over information in hopes of maintaining some sort of memory of the information. It goes further to the idea of schooling not education. I can tell you honestly that homework for me is a sprint. Get it done in the shortest amount of time without sacrificing quality. No one in their right mind can say that they like doing homework. There could be a little leeway in this if the subject they are studying is of great interest, but that will not be present across all subjects. His idea to shorten school is reasonable in the thought of removing homework, not in the shortening of class time. By making class time interactive, productive, educative, and filled with useful information and activities you remove the need for homework. Continually, you don’t see people in the career world being forced to do work at home. They choose to work in the home.
The main idea we need to drive at is that Gatto has some good ideas and some ludicrous ones at the same time. Is the information we learn in schools helpful and useful? I would say this is a 50 – 50 distribution. Knowing how to calculate a derivative is only useful if you wish to become a mathematician. People need to be well rounded and educated, not pushed to memorize information. They should know pertinent mathematics, and the history of our world. They should be able to pick up a book and easily read it. They should also know how to use a computer, fix a leaky pipe in their home, and change the oil in their automobile. Education should be well rounded and useful, and not shoved down peoples throats. People should be able to be regarded as educated without a higher level education. Children should be able to the leave the classroom and feel educated and inspired, not concerned about homework. We don’t need to lessen our children’s education, we need to better it and actually educate them. This all can happen with a little extra effort and change. Completely disassembling our system will not accomplish what we wish. There are good people that want to educate our youth, we just need to help and allow them to do so.