Against Education

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John Taylor Gatto’s essay “Against School” assumes that compulsory schooling has resulted in the redundancy of children’s brains in America and around the world. Essentially, it determines that the individual’s development is hampered by the schooling schedule. The author also claims that there is a distinction between the American educational structure and the philosophy of education. Despite its flaws, the public school system has more benefits than drawbacks. Overall, it has had a growingly optimistic impact on the lives of Americans. To begin with, the author asserts that mass schooling was contrived by the affluent to control the masses. He states that “modern, industrialized, compulsory schooling was to make a sort of surgical incision into the prospective unity of the underclasses” (Gatto 3). However, this assertion comprises a falsehood since the present educational system is directly responsible for the economic, political and social leaps and progress that are being witnessed in the present-day America. According to Baum and Payea, education plays a big role in enhancing one’s income (10). Essentially, as one moves through the school hierarchy, from the elementary level to the higher education level, their income earnings improve with the completion of each stage. Consequently, a university graduate earns more than a high schools graduate. Similarly, DeYoung and Theobald revealed that education has allowed the masses increased social and cultural freedom (10). This manifestation is a consequence of the educational reforms that have taken place in America since the revolution (De Young and Theobald 13). These evidences attest to the empowerment of the common man in the society. In proclaiming its stance, the analyzed article overlooks the significant leaps that America has made since the establishment of the school system. Specifically, the quality of education in America is responsible for increased industrialization and technological progress.

Alternatively, the author predicates that the current public education system is responsible for the consumerist tendencies that are being witnessed today in the American market. On the issue, he determines that “school encouraged them [kids] not to think at all. And that left them left them sitting ducks for another great invention of the modern era – marketing” (Gatto 4). The author states that mass consumerism is a project overseen by the public education system to ensure that mass production is maintained in the country. However, consumerism is not necessarily a bad factor in America as it has been employed to fuel the economic progress. In fact, it is a source of innovation and product development. Essentially, an increase in consumption leads to an equal rise in a number of industries and company. In particular, the consumers’ continued demand shortens the product life cycle, which leads to the constant development of new and better products (Slavova 7). For example, Slavova indicates that consumerism has led to the creation of legislative amendments that play a preventive role in the society (11). Therefore, consumerism, as a result of the public educations system, has had a positive impact on the sustenance of the American economy. It has led to an increase in the legislative knowledge with regards to consumer-producer engagements.

Besides, Gatto determines that the public education system was intended to promote six basic functions: adaptive, integrating, diagnostic, differentiating, selective and propaedeutic ones (Gatto 4). However, these notions negate the fundamentals of the modern education system. In contrast to the previous times, the aftermath of the revolution increased the number of individuals who questioned their circumstances and sought to change their lives by constant curiosity. In fact, one of the fundamental components of the American dream was the encouragement and facilitation of individual thinking among the citizens. Thus, the American identity was predicated upon enduring inquiry. This was a consequence of the Enlightenment that was brought forth by the American education system. Similarly, the public education has played an immense role in promoting diversity in America (De Young and Theobald 8). This reality negates the assertions of the selective function proposed by Gatto. Whereas the schools were limited to the elite previously, the recent times revealed the great number of individuals from disadvantaged settings who have gotten access to education. In other words, the revolution enabled individuals from the minority to enhance their economic and social occupation in the American society. This tendency resulted in the election of the first Black president, Barack Obama, in 2009. This initiative was achievable only through the years of reinforcement of equality and fairness in the education al curriculums. Thus, the integration of the people of America is a result of the indispensable role of the educational system in the US.

Nonetheless, the public education system indeed constitutes an impediment to the potential of kids given that it limits their creativity. On this concern, Gatto determines that the differentiating function diagnoses students to be “trained only so far as their destination in the social machine merits – and not one step further” (3). Indeed, given the lack of flexibility in the curriculum dissemination process, students are not allowed the opportunity to explore the limits of their capabilities. This implication ensures that a student is fitted at a given level within the society. Consequently, the metrics determined by the school systems use tags to favor some students and negate the others. In this context, the rigidity of the learning process curtails the imagination and initiative of the student in a classroom (Craft 118). The need to foster creativity is often overlooked in the learning initiatives. Some of the limitations to creativity in the learning process emanate from the “difficulties of terminology, conflicts between policy and practice, limitations in curriculum organization, and limitations stemming from a centrally controlled pedagogy” (Craft 124). However, it is important to note that since its creation, the educational system has undergone a series of reforms to ensure that the creativity of the American student is promoted. Presently, there are technical schools which are specifically designed for students who wish to pursue technical careers. Through programs, such as institutional seminars, the students are informed of the importance of creativity through life.

Conclusively, in establishing his premises, the author deliberately overlooks the many advantages that the educational system has brought to the American people. To start with, the education reform was the necessary change for technological progress. Moreover, the present educational system imparts in the kids the skills they will need to sustain themselves through life. Finally, it is a platform through which diversity is reinforced. Specifically, the convergence of kids from different social and economic settings into one institution enhances their appreciation of each other.

Works Cited

Baum, Sandy and Kathleen Payea. “The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society.” Education Pays, vol. 4 (2004): 7-43.

Craft, Anna. “The Limits to Creativity in Education: Dilemmas for the Educator.” Journal of Educational Studies, vol. 51, no. 2 (2003): 113-127.

DeYoung, Alan and Paul Theobald. “Community Schools in The National Context: The Social and Cultural Impact of Educational Reform Movements on American Rural Schools.” Journal of Research in Rural Education vol. 7, no.3 (1991): 3-14.

Gatto, John Taylor. “Against School .” Harper’s MagazineI, vol. 307 (2003): 1-5.

Slavova, Milanka. “Consumerism as a Source for Innovation and Product Development.” Economic Alternatives, vol. 2, no. 1 (2014): 5-19.

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