Why Schools Don’t Educate

Posted on April 5, 2006  Comments (0)

Why Schools Don”™t Educate by John Taylor Gatto (speech by John Taylor Gatto accepting the New York City Teacher of the Year Award on January 31, 1990):

We live in a time of great school crisis. Our children rank at the bottom of nineteen industrial nations in reading, writing and arithmetic. At the very bottom.

I’ve noticed a fascinating phenomenon in my twenty-five years of teaching – that schools and schooling are increasingly irrelevant to the great enterprises of the planet. No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don’t really teach anything except how to obey orders.

Genuine reform is possible but it shouldn’t cost anything. We need to rethink the fundamental premises of schooling and decide what it is we want all children to learn and why.

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