Differences Social Class and Success

Good Essays
The True Purpose of Compulsory Education in American Schools
Connie Nollner
University of Alaska Anchorage

Presented to Victoria Sansome
In partial fulfillment of the requirements
For ENGL A111


John Gatto, a school teacher in the Manhattan area, taught for thirty years at a variety of different schools. During these years, he realized that children were frequently bored with classroom activities as a result of how they were being taught. Students were not being challenged and often already knew the concepts behind the materials taught. Jean Anyon further supports and agrees with Gatto’s statements about the public school system. In her article, she specifies that schools in wealthy
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In other words, compulsory education is designed to keep the majority of the population in the lower class by making children “manageable.” Students are separated out according to intellectual abilities, social class, and even by the Darwinian theory of “the favorite race.” The children are then further sorted based on subject, grades, ranking on tests, or by other means, allowing schools to control who will advance or stay behind. Compulsory education is intended to prevent children from ever truly growing up or seeking their potential in life. The outcome of this is that they are not advancing to become complete adults in our society. As Dr. Inglis said “if children could be cloistered with other children, stripped of responsibility and independence, encouraged to develop only the trivializing emotions of greed, envy, jealousy, and fear, they would grow older but never truly grow up.” (Inglis, A., 1918)
The first of the six purposes, the adjustive or adaptive function, is used to establish fixed habits of reaction to authority. Gatto feels this is directly connected to why children are frequently bored in school. He claims that this prevents critical thinking altogether and does away with the idea that useful and interesting subjects should be taught because as he states, “you can’t test for reflexive obedience until you know whether you can make kids learn, and
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