Dear Mr. Suprynowicz --
Thank you for your article on education in the May 18 Review-Journal. I am just visiting your city and I’m very grateful to you for addressing what I see as our most pressing issue if we are going to solve any of the massive problems facing humanity.
Besides the issues you describe in your article, I see five more issues or what contributes to the things you mention:
* We have become so embedded in developing our capacity to work within current systems that we have lost contact with the reality of existence and the reality of life. Since we have institutionalized alienation from ourselves, children are developing an artificial intelligence or artificial mind in order to conform.
* The focus in our schools is now on a proscribed curriculum and the retention of its contents in the mind of the child. A corollary focus is the teacher and their ability to imbed that content ubiquitously into each child’s knowledge. We have disconnected learning and development from the community in which a child lives, from the child unique experiences and disconnected learning and development from each child and their uniqueness.
* The schools either do not know how, or are not interested in, developing the processes of the mind. Our schools neither require a child to become more intelligent nor to have processes of self-observing, self-awareness and self-actualization. Thus they require validation from the outside themselves.
* We have fragmented our society into pockets of expertise, people who are called upon to address a specific problem. We have fragmented institutions, we have isolated the source of creativity so children no longer have access to them.
* We segregate people into smaller and smaller enclaves of infant care, toddler care, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and so on. Most of the adults are away from the children in offices or other work. Then we stash the elders into isolating hellholes call “senior living” where they cannot contribute the wisdom of their lives to younger people.
We need educating processes that see the whole of a system (child, community, nation, Earth), educates from the whole, allows children to see how the pieces of their world are part of a whole and how that whole works and why it works the way it does.
I am very interested in any other articles you have written on education. Is it possible you could email them to me? I will buy Mr. Gatto’s book immediately.
Whidbey Island, Wash.
Hi, Lynn --
Thanks for writing. There are chapters on the government schools in both my first two books, “Send in the Waco Killers” and “The Ballad of Carl Drega” ... though the latter is out of print and a bit pricey, these days. See www.vinsuprynowicz.com/.
You’re right. Older people ask, “If the schools are so bad, why has all this pathological stuff only been showing up since the late 1960s? I went to school in the 1950s and I can read and count change and find Pakistan on the map just fine.” But -- as the 70-ish Mr. Gatto points out -- most of his own real learning occurred AFTER school, when he was free to travel around Pittsburgh, asking the lockmaster to show him how the drawbridge on the Monongahela worked; hanging out with grandparents who would teach history and geography by helping a kid start a stamp collection, etc. Today, parents are propagandized not to let their kids explore the real world. Instead, they're sealed in a hermetically sealed world of “supervised, approved activities” ... with a television soundtrack.
Both John Gatto’s first and third books, “Dumbing Us Down” and “The Underground History of American Education,” are well worth reading. All these books are readily available Online, and also (last time I checked) in the book room at the Charleston Antique Mall, 607 W. Charleston Boulevard at Interstate 15, here in Las Vegas.