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New World Notes News
Volume 2, Number 30 -- July 28, 2009
This week in New World Notes, radio program #74, July 28 & 31:
New York City's (three-time) and New York State's "Teacher of the Year" continues his explanation of why U.S. public schools intentionally "dumb down" and infantilize students (Answer: To mold young people into obedient workers, obedient citizens, & manipulable consumers), and who benefits ( = Big Business, Big Finance, & centralized government). And Gatto has the documents to prove it! -- or at least to make a very strong case.
For John Taylor Gatto, America's public schools are not "failing." Rather, they're succeeding all-too-well in doing exactly what they were designed to do. That includes--in addition to training all their children in docility, childishness, and obedience--dispensing only the education necessary for each student's anticipated place in the social and economic order.
American schools have always stressed critical analysis of U.S. foreign
policy. Well, maybe at Groton and Andover. Public schools tend more
towards inculcating "patriotism." The standard form of salute has varied
through time, as this 1899 photo shows. All photos: Click to enlarge.
Gatto doesn't say the following explicity: this is my application of his theses to the world as I've seen it. The previous paragraph explains why many suburban schools are good academically, and far too many urban public school systems produce about equal numbers of (a) dropouts and (b) young adults far less equipped to succeed than their suburban peers. And it explains why urban schools will not be allowed to improve anytime soon:
Now that America's economic "leaders" have closed down most of the factories and family farms in the country--and replaced jobs with machines everywhere possible--America has more adult citizens than The System needs. Several times, Gatto quotes Lee Iacocca's remarks that educating people beyond their likely station in The System is just asking for trouble . . . just inviting "rebellion." At the moment, the ruling elite needs poor persons of color mainly as consumers, hamburger-flippers, cannon-fodder, raw materials for the prison-industrial complex, and handy targets for working-class White rage.
Obviously, little education is required for these roles; and teaching such people to think critically, understand history, and appreciate Dostoevsky and Thomas Paine would only be helping them to fight back more effectively!
Gatto's talk is fascinating, brilliant, and laced with an engaging dry wit.
This installment begins with a good summary of Gatto's main points in Part One (NWN #72). If you missed Part One, you could still start here at Part Two.
Gatto has written a short, profusely illustrated article that nicely summarizes his overall main ideas & main arguments--the "American Education History Tour." www.johntaylorgatto.com/historytour/history1.htm
Song played: James McMurtry, "Just Us Kids"
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