The Sensory Deprived Education Known as School by John Taylor Gatto


 Is there a close connection between isolated confinement and the horrible conditions in our public schools? I am certain there is because once my field program school was up and running, my relationships with my students became much more productive, their work inspiring enough to restore belief in the prodigious feats of George Washington, Ben Franklin, et. al., when they were of student age. Just by being treated with dignity and respect and given some reality-based task to perform seemed to be enough to work the transformation from irrelevant clowns to worthy young men and women who could add value to the general community.One of our class projects was lobbying the monument to the Beatles past the Landmarks Preservation Commission, another was suing a pizza parlor in small claims court for discriminating against public school students, a third was testing prices on the government market basket of food products against local store charges to determine best shopping venues in our neighborhood; we also launched an after school fresh fruit/vegetable stand with rock bottom prices; I drove the kids to the wholesale market in the Bronx at 4 a.m. to stock this operation which sold out every day it was open!

Read the full and fascinating article in HEM’s March-April issue.  Subscribe.



One Response to The Sensory Deprived Education Known as School by John Taylor Gatto

  1. Egomet on March 3, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    I worship Gatto — When, oh when, will Underground History be reprinted again? — but I’m puzzled by a central contradiction in his beliefs and main battle cry. It’s this: He looks to the Ten Schools for example and inspiration, the great American college-prep boarding schools — Groton, St. Paul’s, Exeter etc. — and more generally he’s crazy about the aristocratic model of steadily-ratcheting challenges for children to solve independently: Riding a horse, sailing alone etc. But the Ten Schools model is the most strictly-regimented pedagogy on planet Earth, what sociologists call “total institutions:” Four years of separation from family, 9pm lights out, 7am chapel and not a single quarter-hour of the workday left unscheduled, Saturdays included. Seems the polar opposite of unschooling to me — is Gatto trying to have it both ways?