“Against School” Analysis
In the essay, “Against School,” John Gatto suggests that the current school system should simply be replaced so that kids may “take an education” rather than just “receive a schooling.” He argues that our school system is Prussian in origin and keeps our children from ever “growing up.” Gatto uses a serious and slightly cynical tone to argue that mandatory schooling is designed to produce a manageable and docile populace. Gatto supports his claims with personal accounts, examples of people who were successful without standard schooling, and other authors’ text that support his view.
Gatto starts off by stating that boredom is a common condition amongst schools and then tells us about his personal experiences involving the school system. He tells us that not only were the students bored but the teachers were too. The teachers blamed the students but they were trapped in the same strict structures of the compulsory school program as the students. He then suggests that maybe that there is not a "problem" with the schools. That they were right when they designed the school to do just what they are doing. Designed not to teach us but to keep us from ever really “growing up.” With that thought the author asks, "Do we need school?" Gatto gives us examples of well-known people who have accomplished great things in their lifetime and were not educated through the school system.
Then he tells us what we think schooling is supposed to teach us and help us accomplish. We have been taught that our success is dependent upon our schooling. That schooling helps make us good people, good citizens, and our own personal best. Gatto tells us that this is wrong and suggests that our schools actually operate under a different set of functions. He then points to several people that allude to the fact that our school systems might actually originate from that of Prussia’s. He paraphrases Dr. Inglis’ six...