Gatto’s dropouts don’t prove his point

I had a great time listening to John Taylor Gatto talk at the recent Future Salon. He started talking before the scheduled start time, then covered lots of ground over more than two hours. He has a lot to convey.

The weakest aspect of his talk, though, was also the most entertaining. Maybe half of the talk was stories of school dropouts, ranging from our first Admiral, David Farragut, who got his first ship’s command at the tender age of 12 (really!), to memorable undereducated folks like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, all the way to modern folk heroes like Michael Dell, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. All dropouts.

Gattos’ major message is that you can achieve great things without the compulsory educational system. But it sounds like he’s trying to offer an inductive proof that dropouts are better off in life, or more successful, or something. That conclusion he doesn’t sell well.

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About Jerry Michalski

Lateral thinker, itinerant troublemaker, convener, idea mill.
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One Response to Gatto’s dropouts don’t prove his point

  1. Eric W says:

    Farragut, Washington, Franklin underschooled? Indeed. “Undereducated”? hardly. “Gattos’ major message is that you can achieve great things without the compulsory educational system.” Throughout his writings and speeches, Gatto makes a clear distinction between education and compulsory schooling. He is arguing that compulsory schooling hinders education. Drop-outs might be under-schooled, but it does not necessarily mean they are uneducated.

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