Dumbing Us Down

John Gatto's Universal Lessons

“Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your roadmap through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.” –John Gatto

Emotional Dependency

  • Students give up their rights and individuality to authority.
  • In school, children are told what to learn and when to learn it.
  • Teachers do this by giving them red checks, starts, smiles/frowns, prizes and honors.
  • Students try to get just a little free time by asking to go to the bathroom or to go get a drink.

Intellectual Dependency

  • This teaches students to wait until a teacher tells them what to do and how to do it.
  • Schools their students to listen to people that our better trained than them and to make meaning of their lives. This can cause problems for the future.
  • Successful students vs. Bad students according to this lesson?

Provisional Self-Esteem

  • Kids are evaluated and judged all the time in school.
  • Done by grades, tests, and progress reports.
  • This is how a student decides if he is a good or bad student.
  • Teaches students to not trust themselves or parents but on the evaluation of their tests.

One Can't Hide

  • Children are constantly being watched by their teacher or other supervisors at the school.
  • Children tattle on other children and even parents tell the teacher about how the student is doing.
  • Does this teach children that no one can be trusted?

What can be done? How do we stop this destructive pattern?

  • Independent study, community service, adventures and experience, privacy and solitude, and apprenticeships are ways to repair children.
  • Community instead of institutions. Students should be active community members and get out of the classroom.
  • Finally, less school NOT MORE!

~"Self-knowledge is the only basis of true knowledge."~