John Gatto’s “Against School” Essay

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John Gatto’s “Against School” is a persuasive essay arguing both the ineffectiveness and negative outcomes of today’s public school system. Not only does Gatto provide credibility with his experience as a teacher, but he also presents historical evidence that suggests that the public school system is an outdated structure, originally meant to dumb down students as well as program them to be obedient pawns in society. Fact and authority alone do not supplement his argument. Gatto also uses emotional appeals, such as fear and doubt, to tear down the reader’s trust in the schooling system. Although it may seem to be so, Gatto’s argument is not one sided. He also offers suggestions to make the educational system more efficient at the hands of…show more content…
Such an act is one of the most vital components to beginning an argument, and even more so when arguing against an integral part of today’s society. Gatto’s long list of accomplishments counts for more than enough in this case and he successfully uses ethos to his advantage, and rightfully so. Through the effective use of ethos, Gatto readies his audience for reliable applications of logos through the educated opinions of others and historical evidence. Gatto’s use of logos is spread throughout his essay and makes up some of his most impelling and supportive claims against schooling, and while there are many examples that can be called upon, I would like to highlight a few of the more compelling instances. By referring to well-known pioneers of the past, Gatto makes it clear to his audience that schooling is by no means a necessary component of greatness: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln? Someone taught them, to be sure, but they were not products of a school system, and not one of them was ever "graduated" from a secondary school. Throughout most of American history, kids generally didn't go to high school, yet the unschooled rose to be admirals, like Farragut; inventors, like Edison; captains of industry, like Carnegie and Rockefeller; writers, like Melville and Twain and Conrad;
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