Thursday, September 20, 2007

Music Video Thursday: "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)"

Some classic Pink Floyd for you tonight, with a twist of contemplation on the side:

I remember singing the chorus when I was a kid, thinking how cool it was, how defiant and rebellious it was to declare that I didn't "need no education". When I was in university, I saw "The Wall" at a midnight showing at the campus movie theater, and thought it was very cool, very interesting, but didn't really have a lasting impact on me. But now, this song holds new meaning for me, after discovering John Taylor Gatto.

Shortly after being named New York State's "Teacher of the Year" in 1991, Gatto quit, saying that he didn't want to "have to hurt kids to make a living", and has now become one of the most outspoken critics of the entire modern institution of education. As the faceless children in "Another Brick In The Wall" shuffle mindlessly into the meat grinder, I remember Gatto's contention that modern schools exist for two purposes - to create "human resources" for the industrial machine, and to create bored, easily influenced consumers to fuel the economy.

Gatto is not without critics, but I think he is right . We're currently homeschooling our son (kindergarten), planning on homeschooling our youngest daughter when she gets old enough, and have told our two oldest daughters that they'll have one year of homeschooling when they get to grade six - and hope that they'll want to continue after that. But it's going to be their decision in the end - yes, as parents, we have a lot of influence on that decision, but it will be their decision.

I can't begin to do justice to Gatto in a blog posting like this, so I encourage you to read his work for yourself - and keep an open mind while you do. As for Pink Floyd - I don't know if Roger Waters' views on education are in complete agreement with Gatto, but I can't imagine that they would be in complete disagreement either. Hey, teacher - leave those kids alone...

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