Aug. 21, 2008 Future Salon John Gatto

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On August 21, 2008 at SAP in Palo Alto the Future Salon hosted John Taylor Gatto’s presentation on the state and future of education from his latest book Weapons of Mass Instruction. Text from

A few weeks ago somebody called with a bad cell phone connection and said that John Gotti was coming to talk about education. I thought mobster John Gotti was dead and I could only imagine a curriculum with lots of corporal punishment and one way field trips to New Jersey. Text from

In fact it was John Gatto, who is more like gruff but lovable actor Wilford Brimley. I don’t embrace everything he says but Gatto thinks the trend toward standardized testing is wrong. Standardized testing encourages standardized thinking. To solve the problems we face, we need to encourage kids who think way out of the box. Text from

It means that parents are going to have to be way more involved in their kids education. Less daycare and more staying home with your kids when they are very young and learning at an enormous rate. That means that society is going to have to give more support to parents so they can raise the next generation of citizens. Text from

It means more school choice. If your kids wants to go somewhere to learn something they are passionate about, would you stop them? Did you know that the Palo Alto public schools check to see if students actually live inside the school district? I find it interesting that in a country where many teens drop out of high school there are “anti-truant” officers to keep students who want to learn out of school. Text from

It means a more flexible curriculum. He thinks textbooks are as useless and irrelevant as the people that edit them. It means learning from your classmates as much as from teachers. It means active inquiry rather than passive rote memorization. It means more learning on the web. Text from

Like Lake Wobegon, all of our children are above average at something. Millions of normal, standardized students are not going to get us out of the trouble that is coming. Millions of exceptional kids finding their own way in the world might save it. Text from

Here is another picture from the event. Text from


Copyright 2008 DJ Cline All rights reserved.