14 Ways That Public Schools Do Not Do What Most Of Us Think It Is

Their Job To Do
Posted by jiddins , on the website: http://sexandotherfourletterwords.wordpress.com/
Educational historian John Gatto, in one of his many talks reardin the !merican
"public education system#, points out that there are actually two education systems
operatin in our country $ elite pri%ate schools and eneral public schools. &e arues that
we learn some pretty interestin thins if we take a look at a few of the major differences
between the two types. 'n the elite pri%ate schools, we actually see somethin like
education oin on, whereas in the public schools, we see what Gatto feels more
comfortable callin schooling. (b%iously there are other pri%ate and charter schools as
well, which would not necessarily fall into the cateory of elite and also do not fall into
the cateory of eneral public schools, but for now let us keep in mind just the two major
types of schoolin, the polarities $ elite and public. )hen we are done lookin at the
differences, one may then jude toward which end of the spectrum these in*between
schools fall. ' am listin these +, ways pretty much %erbatim from Gatto-s talk.
.Eitor!s co""ents in italics underneath each headin/
Elite schools do the followin thins, which enerally public schools do not:
1# teach a theory of hu"an nature
--spend some time thinking about this one and how such a basic understanding can set
the course of an entire liftime
$# teach a stron% sense of the acti&e literacies 'like (ublic s(eakin% an )ritin%*
--the Trivium with an emphasis on Rhetoric does this
+# encoura%e insi%ht into social an (olitical institutions
--modern Civics courses fail us, citizen’s intelligence projects are needed to fill the gaps
4# (ro&ie trainin% in (oliteness an ci&ility
--as with all of these, imagine the implications of the accumulation of people acting
under such ideals throughout society compare that to the average we see in !merica
today
,# encoura%e ine(enent )ork
-# the (hysical s(orts tau%ht are tau%ht to confer %race. not brutality
--modern research in neuro-plasticity also shows that neurons grow"re-wire faster when
learning something physically, so combine the Trivium studies with something like
#artial !rts, Chen Tai Chi, $allet"%ancing, sports, etc and you have a good recipe for
powerful, transformative brain change
/# teach a theory of access to (laces an (eo(le '%i&e the" a hi%h locus0of0control*
--this is huge and re&uires a book devoted to the subject, refer to some of 'atto’s work
for e(amples and devise your own
1# encoura%e (ersonal res(onsibility
--to me, this also implies not wasting our time in superfluous activities to the point of
hubris )the typical video game player, drug taker, tv watcher, etc* simply because the fact
we are here and alive and conscious means we should be doing 'ood +orks with our
time
2# encoura%e ini&iuals to e&elo( a (ersonal coe of stanars
--we need people thinking more and more about virtuous conduct and Right !ction
13# encoura%e fa"iliarity )ith "aster(ieces in art an "usic 'cultural ca(ital*
11# teach accurate obser&ation an recorin% of e4(eriences 'ra)in% or )ritin%
shar(ens (erce(tion*
--refer to !le( 'rey’s The #ission of !rt for further insights
1$# encoura%e the ability to eal )ith all sorts of challen%es 'ifferent for ifferent
ini&iuals*
--this is where understanding the uni&ueness of your child is necessary, but also, life
throws us all curve balls constantly so hadn’t we all better get used to it,
1+# teach a habit of caution in reasonin% to conclusions
--CR-C.!/ for a well-functioning society
14# encoura%e a constant e&elo("ent an testin% of (rior 5u%e"ents
--here again it is worth repeating to you the idea that when inculcated in millions of
individuals, such perspectives and ways of conduct accumulate throughout generations
creating more and more opportunities for 0good seeds1 to sprout, flourish, and
propagate
' will let the reader jude for him or herself how much of these their local school does
and whether or not these are essential to the school experience. &a%in attended a
smatterin of schools rowin up $ some rural public, some urban 0atholic, some
suburban public, some pri%ate boardin school, 0atholic uni%ersity, and then 1utheran
uni%ersity $ i can say that there are %ery clear differences in my mind between all of these
schools. &a%in said this $ that all schools will ha%e their 2ualitati%e differences $ ' also
want to note that the 0atholic school experience of my youth was far superior to the rural
public, and met a few more of the abo%e criteria than did the rural public school. 3till,
neither could be classified as bein e%en close to the elite cateory. 4he 0atholic school
still retained enouh of the elements of eneral "public education# to be somewhat
ineffecti%e in teachin to how ' learn. !s noted abo%e, i would classify the hih school '
attended for the first three years as suburban. E%en thouh it was somewhat rural
compared to many hih schools, there was a sinificant amount of money and culture in
the area, and thus slihtly more of a focus on academics than in the strictly rural school '
earlier attended. 4he pri%ate boardin school ' attended my senior year of hih school far
surpassed any of the schoolin ' recei%ed in my youth. 4houh it still could not be
considered elite, it hit a few more of the points on Gatto-s list. 5oth of the uni%ersities '
attended, the 0atholic and the 1utheran, came e%en closer to meetin all the points on
Gatto-s list. 4houh both uni%ersities emphasi6ed many of the points listed abo%e, the
eneral en%ironment of the schools was not elite. 4he opportunities to hit all of the +,
points were there, but it just was not what was typically done. ' was the exception to the
rule for takin ad%antae of most of theses opportunities.

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