What is Public School…Really?

Warning: This article by John Taylor Gatto made me start crying. So read with care…and with a Kleenex nearby. As a young person deeply aware of what my education was like, why I was educated that way, and what it has made me into, the tragedy of our society strikes me very hard. The poem of a public schooled student before he committed suicide is one of the most tragic things about our modern times. It reminded me of the book, “The Little Prince.” In that book, the little boy draws an elephant inside a boa constrictor (which, incidentally, looks more a hat to most people) and is strongly encouraged to draw “normal” things. When he grows up, he takes an airplane across a desert where he stranded, and this leads to him meeting the only person who sees his “hat” drawing for what it really is. This person, the Little Prince, is, in a way, his salvation. He has been saved from forcing himself into a given mold, and then despairing because he will never quite cram himself in sufficiently.

But this public schooled student didn’t have that option. He was trapped in an institution that does not–and cannot–allow for such individuality.

When I think about the millions of kids who grew up in that type of environment, and are growing up in it as I write, it makes me shudder. It makes me cry. What could this culture have looked like, if these generations had grown up free and independent? Many pro-lifers talk about the millions of babies who never lived. That is the worse sin of our nation, for we have murdered these young innocent ones. But it seems to be that the education system is killing the souls and minds of these young innocent ones who survive infancy. And who will stand and protest?


  1. Not sure if you saw this, Savannah, but Lew Rockwell interviewed Gatto this week for his podcast. It’s not very well advertised on his site (or not at all), but click the “LRC Podcasts” link at the upper right of the LewRockwell.com page. Enjoy!

  2. Yes, I did see that, and I did listen to it. Is it just me, or did it end very abruptly? He was getting ready to talk about alternatives to public/private school, like homeschooling (my favorite!) and it just stopped. But besides that…it was a great interview. I enjoy Mr. Rockwell’s skills as an interviewer, he doesn’t keep interrupting and steering the conversation a particular way, but lets his guest say what he would like. It comes out to be a more relaxing and informational interview.

  3. Ha, yes, I was thinking the same thing about how it ended. I think Lew’s podcasts are under some kind of time constraint, and since Gatto showed no signs of stopping or even pausing, and speaks very slowly, he probably just cut it off in editing, and pasted in his closing thanks and so forth. Yeah, I would really like to have heard how he was going to finish his remarks.

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