Networks, Community, and Early Childhood Education

Today’s post borrows more of John Taylor Gatto’s ideas — in particular his summation of the profound difference between networks and community and how recognition of these differences is pretty important in the efforts at bettering our children’s education — or more broadly: in sensibly developing our community’s well-being.

The people who have come to staff schools are often fond of networking. Professional educators readily embrace the positive attributes of networks. Seemingly however, they are often unaware of the sapping of family and community vitality that such mechanization can induce.

Automations and routines can very well squelch human tendency; dehumanize by any other name.

And to the contrary, participation — as fully human — in complex human affairs — is what makes us fully human. Continue reading

Education for Non-Dummies

John Taylor Gatto is a former teacher in the New York city public school system. I don’t know his story in great detail but what I do know is that he wrote a book called Dumbing Us Down and in the book he makes some very good observations regarding public education and its hidden curriculum. In short, Gatto, through some thirty years of award-winning teaching (New York State Teacher of the Year), analyzes the harmful results of the rituals and mythologies of modern compulsory schooling.

With such a brief introduction, I’m doing a disservice to John Gatto’s very sensible teaching about learning. Nonetheless, what I want to post here is a summation of a talk of his that I heard recently. Basically, he was talking about the elite college preparatory schools (that most of the people elected to high political office have attended) and the qualities in the curriculum of these schools.

More importantly, if you want to pursue a good education for yourself, or if you want your child to learn from such methods — through homeschooling or whatever — here are 14 educational principles that these high quality schools recognize as components of a top-notch education: Continue reading