In the theme of Fearless Fish, I decided to write about a teacher that is taking a very reflective, if not extreme, look at schooling. His name is John Taylor Gatto and he has written a book called Weapons of Mass Instruction. I haven’t read the book itself, but I did read a preview in Ode Magazine called Childhood’s End.
Mr. Gatto presents some interesting observations in the article. His main premise is that the school system manipulates behavior toward weak minds. Boredom, consumerism, and taking direction are three outputs of a working system. I can’t really argue with that and I do echo the need for someone to teach how to think rather than memorization. That is why a few weeks ago I highlighted my disagreement with proposals for a longer school year. Rote memorization is not the answer. We need leaders, adventurers, and story tellers.
I’m not as cyncical about schooling as Mr. Gatto is. We got here from complacency and a real lack of vision. There isn’t a conspiracy theory. It is just hard.