Thursday, May 06, 2010

Live Interview Tonight with John Taylor Gatto, Critic of Compulsory Schooling

Tonight, as a part of my FutureofEducation.com interview series, I'll be talking live with John Taylor Gatto, the former school teacher who was named New York City Teacher of the year in 1989, 1990, and 1991, and New York State Teacher of the Year in 1991.

Date:  Thursday, 6 May, 2010
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am (next day) GMT (international times here)
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at http://tr.im/futureofed. The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit http://www.elluminate.com/support. Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page.
Event (and Recordings) Page:  http://www.learncentral.org/event/72125

In the summer of 1991 Mr. Gatto retired, with the Wall Street Journal publishing his op-ed piece, "I Quit, I Think," in which he described the "accumulation of disgust and frustration" with compulsory government schooling and its effect on children.  Many of Mr. Gatto's ideas about schooling and youth resonate strongly with the discussions that have taken place in our interview series.
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.
Mr. Gatto's Dumbing Us Down:  The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling was published in 1992, and became required reading for the homeschooling community.  Several other books have followed, and he's currently working on a documentary film titled The Fourth Purpose.

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling

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