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Calles 1 Jessica Calles English 1101x Dr. Rieman April 7, 2010 Is School really necessary?

All throughout my educational career I had never taken the time to reflect on what school really meant to me and if school was made optional would I still attend? After reading the essay “Against School,” by John Taylor Gatto a series of questions began to arise in my head. Is school really that necessary? Is it really the only way for a person to be successful in life? According to John Taylor Gatto schools are nothing but merely “laboratories of experimentation on young minds, drill centers for the habits and attitudes that corporate society demands (38).” After reading Gatto’s essay I must say I agree. The educational school system in the U.S trains children to be employees and consumers; it limits their amount of creativity as well as individuality, and prolongs their childhood. We all know that knowledge is power and the more you know the better chance you have in succeeding everything you encounter, but sitting in a classroom five days a week with a highly structured system of learning is not the only way to gain that knowledge. According to Gatto, being educated and schooled are two very different things. You must attend a secondary school in order to be schooled with the goal of graduating and therefore become “educated.” However, life outside of the four walls schools like to label as “classrooms” can teach you the same lesson you learn in class but with more meaning and purpose to the student. Gatto provides examples such as Thomas

Calles 2 Jefferson and Carnegie and Rockefeller who were indeed very educated and knowledgeable people, yet they never actually graduated form a secondary school. School is a routine that consists of six classes a day, five days a week for twelve years. Children as well as teachers go through this same routine day after day. After a prolonged period of time teachers as well as students become “bored” and eventually lose focus. As teachers become bored they lack the motivation to teach and inspire their students to learn and as a repetitive cycle the students also lack the motivation to learn. So then, if the teachers no longer want to teach and students no longer have the desire to learn in that kind of environment, is school that necessary? I believe it is possible to educate the children in more interactive hands on learning that motivates their creativity and individuality. Children should be excited about learning and experimenting their surroundings rather than sat on a chair for hours and forced to learn the material placed in front of them. We can all agree that school is not for everyone. With the college drop out rate being almost 50%, it is clear to say that the structure of our educational system does a very poor job of functioning with students. We all have different personalities as well as ways of learning and interacting with others, however society still makes it mandatory for students to go to school. In today’s society most companies will not even look at your resume if you do not have some type of degree or diploma that states that you attended some type of school and therefore are considered educated. This is unfair to other people who have the experience they need and the knowledge of the field but their only problem is that they do not have a paper or “diploma” that states so.

Calles 3 Gatto expresses in his essay that the foundation of secondary schools consist of three things, “to make good people, to make good citizens, and to make each person his or her personal best.(35)” It is as if school is like a factory, you send your children in, and they are supposed to come out all the same and all meting the same qualifications listed above. The reality of the story is that we are distinctively very different and we all aspire different things in life. It is horrific to think that our school system stets up students to conform and have the same mentality as everyone else when indeed we are all individuals. If we all conform and we all think the same, then we miss the point of being human. We forget that we are all different, that different ideas collaborated together make for a better society, for a better vision in life, and for understand that making mistakes is human and children should not be afraid to make them. Before reading Gatto’s essay I never questioned the existence of schools or their origin. This is because I too had been a victim of conformity. I attended school because that was expected of me, and what I had been forced to since I can remember. Society has had us trapped for too long and like Gatto says, it’s not until we all take a stand that we can all change the school system for the better. It is possible to make learning interesting and desirable for children and this way our society as a whole will become more educated. A diploma does not make a person educated rather their level of intelligence, amount of experience, way of thinking, and a vision for life all of which are not thought in schools.

Calles 4 Works cited:

Gatto, John Taylor. "Against School." Harper's Magazine Sep. 2003: 33-38. Print.

Self assessment: In my peer review workshop my peers pointed out a couple errors in my paper. First off they said that I asked too many question so I went back rephrased some of those question as statements. They also pointed out that I did more summarizing than stating my opinion in my paper. So I also went back and included more on how I felt about the topic and tried to keep a balance between my opinion and Gatto’s. I would like for you to look at in particular the flow of my paper as well as if the questions I ask throughout the paper add coherence to my paper or take away. I would also like for you to see if there is a balance between my opinion and my summary of Gatto’s essay. What is is there a lack of or more need to add. Thank you

Jessica, Great self-assessment. It sounds like your group had some very helpful feedback for you. This paper has a great deal of energy in it; nice! To answer your questions: Your paper flows well. It has coherence. I don’t think there are too many questions. There is a good balance between your ideas and Gatto’s, although I would like to have a fairer representation of Gatto in a place or two.

Calles 5 If feels to me that the revision work you need to do is on your thesis. You get to your read point in the concl when you claim that it’s best for everyone if we approach schooling/education differently and that we must all sit up, pay attention and ask ourselves these important questions. So…I’d love for you to revise this by refining your thesis and having each paragraph move you toward proving that wonderful final point.