Quick think and on the spot debate topics
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Quick-Think and On-the-Spot Debate Topics. (Ideas from Dumbing Us Down – J. Gatto ). What is education for?. If educational institutions are so demonstrably successful, why are we always hearing about their failures?.

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Quick-Think and On-the-Spot Debate Topics

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Quick-Think and On-the-Spot Debate Topics

(Ideas from Dumbing Us Down – J. Gatto)


  • What is education for?


  • If educational institutions are so demonstrably successful, why are we always hearing about their failures?


  • The job that is held by the largest number of people and that has shown the greatest growth in the past 30 years=

    • Wal-Mart clerk

    • McDonald’s burger flipper

    • Burger King burger flipper

    • Elementary school teacher


  • Why are home-schooled children 5-10 years ahead of their public-schooled peers?


  • The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill conviction but to destroy the capacity to form any.

    • Hannah Arendt


  • The national curriculum of schooling was designed as if someone had set out to prevent children from learning how to think and act, to coax them into addiction and dependent behavior…


  • The very stability of our economy is threatened by any form of education that might change the nature of the human product schools now turn out: the economy schoolchildren currently expect to live under and serve would not survive a generation of young people trained, for example, to think critically.


  • The lesson of report cards, grades, and tests is that children should not trust themselves or their parents but rely on evaluation of certified officials. People need to be told what they are worth.


  • Seven Lessons of Schooling:

    • Confusion

    • Class position

    • Indifference

    • Emotional and intellectual dependency

    • Conditional self-esteem

    • Surveillance


  • All lessons prime training for permanent underclasses, people deprived of finding the center in their own special genius.

  • Individuality is a contradiction to class theory.


  • What is so wrong with self-education?

    (It didn’t hurt Benjamin Franklin!)


  • Using school as a sorting mechanism, we appear to be on the way to creating a caste system, complete with untouchables who wander through the subway trains begging and who sleep on the streets.


  • Children and old people are penned up and locked away from the business of the world to a degree without precedent: nobody talks to them anymore and without them mixing in daily life.


  • Caring means more than simple companionship or even the comradeship of share interests.


  • How we think about social problems depends on our philosophy of human nature: what we think people are, what we think they are capable of, what the purposes of human existence may be.


  • Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenge; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important: how to live and how to die.


  • A community is a place in which people face each other over time in all their human variety: good parts, bad parts, and all the rest. Such places promote the highest quality of life possible – lives of engagement and participation.


  • It is absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system that effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety; indeed it cuts you off from your own past and future, sealing you in a continuous present much the same way television does.


  • Only self-teaching has any lasting value.


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