Sunday, August 01, 2010

Goal of The American Educational System - LEARN HOW TO PASS TESTS!

Goal of The American Educational

An excellent THINKING speech by a High School Student.

It seems that the American Educational Public School system is interested in one goal and that is to teach students how to pass tests. I can assert this to be true since my daughter is an elementary school teacher and I have heard from her how frustrating it is to be a teacher who is unable to inspire because of the pressure of being forced to only teach how to pass tests.

I received this in my mailbox this morning. So good it’s worthy of a pass around. The American Educational System leaves a lot to be desired and no one could have said it better than this young man, his words are eloquent and quite thoughtful. thinkingblue

PS: I did a Google Search and found that the Ron Paul Libertarian Movement had included this speech in many of its blogs. I do not and cannot subscribe to the Tea Party Movement but this speech has many of the elements that I believe in. Perhaps if the Tea Party Drive would start weeding out the Lunatic Fringe that have overtaken its notoriety, we might all be able to understand what exactly they are trying to promote. But
as it stands today their position appears to be bigotry, selfishness and insanity.

The following speech was delivered by top of the class student Erica Goldson during the graduation ceremony at Coxsackie-Athens High School on June 25, 2010

Here I stand

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who
approached his teacher, and asked the Master, "If I work
very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find
Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten
years." The student then said, "But what if I work
very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast – How
long then?" Replied the Master, "Well, twenty
years." "But, if I really, really work at it, how long
then?" asked the student. "Thirty years," replied
the Master. "But, I do not understand," said the
disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work
harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say
that?" Replied the Master, "When you have one eye on
the goal, you only have one eye on the path."

This is the dilemma I've faced within the American education
system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a
test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way,
we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our
original objective.

Some of you may be thinking, "Well, if you pass a test, or
become valedictorian, didn't you learn something? Well, yes, you
learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you
only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on
forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is
not all that it can be. Right now, it is a place for most people
to determine that their goal is to get out as soon as possible.

I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look
at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of
my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more
intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best
at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I
stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this
period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to
the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper
document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contend
that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer – not a
worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition
– a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have
successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was
told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to
later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and
become a great test-taker. While others would come to class
without their homework done because they were reading about an
interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others
were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra
credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I
even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of
it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be
successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to
do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject
of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the
purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I'm scared.

John Taylor Gatto, a retired school teacher and activist critical
of compulsory schooling, asserts, "We could encourage the
best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, adventure,
resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being
more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids
into truly competent adults, and by giving each student what
autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and
then. But we don't do that." Between these cinderblock
walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace
every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light
through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public
education, and therefore viewed with contempt.

H. L. Mencken wrote in The American Mercury for April 1924 that
the aim of public education is not "to fill the young of the
species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. ... Nothing
could be further from the truth. The aim ... is simply to reduce
as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed
and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and
originality. That is its aim in the United States."

To illustrate this idea, doesn't it perturb you to learn about
the idea of "critical thinking?" Is there really such a
thing as "uncritically thinking?" To think is to
process information in order to form an opinion. But if we are
not critical when processing this information, are we really
thinking? Or are we mindlessly accepting other opinions as truth?

This was happening to me, and if it wasn't for the rare
occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, Donna
Bryan, who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before
accepting textbook doctrine, I would have been doomed. I am now
enlightened, but my mind still feels disabled. I must retrain
myself and constantly remember how insane this ostensibly sane place really is.

And now here I am in a world guided by fear, a world suppressing
the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, a world where we can
either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and
materialism or insist on change. We are not enlivened by an
educational system that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that
could be automated, for work that need not be done, for
enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement. We have
no choices in life when money is our motivational force. Our
motivational force ought to be passion, but this is lost from the
moment we step into a system that trains us, rather than inspires us.

We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out
facts we were taught in school. We are all very special, every
human on this planet is so special, so aren't we all deserving of
something better, of using our minds for innovation, rather than
memorization, for creativity, rather than futile activity, for
rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a
degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry-approved
placation after placation. There is more, and more still.

The saddest part is that the majority of students don't have the
opportunity to reflect as I did. The majority of students are put
through the same brainwashing techniques in order to create a
complacent labor force working in the interests of large
corporations and secretive government, and worst of all, they are
completely unaware of it. I will never be able to turn back these
18 years. I can't run away to another country with an education
system meant to enlighten rather than condition. This part of my
life is over, and I want to make sure that no other child will
have his or her potential suppressed by powers meant to exploit
and control. We are human beings. We are thinkers, dreamers,
explorers, artists, writers, engineers. We are anything we want
to be – but only if we have an educational system that
supports us rather than holds us down. A tree can grow, but only
if its roots are given a healthy foundation.

For those of you out there that must continue to sit in desks and
yield to the authoritarian ideologies of instructors, do not be
disheartened. You still have the opportunity to stand up, ask
questions, be critical, and create your own perspective. Demand a
setting that will provide you with intellectual capabilities that
allow you to expand your mind instead of directing it. Demand
that you be interested in class. Demand that the excuse,
"You have to learn this for the test" is not good
enough for you. Education is an excellent tool, if used properly,
but focus more on learning rather than getting good grades.

For those of you that work within the system that I am
condemning, I do not mean to insult; I intend to motivate. You
have the power to change the incompetencies of this system. I
know that you did not become a teacher or administrator to see
your students bored. You cannot accept the authority of the
governing bodies that tell you what to teach, how to teach it,
and that you will be punished if you do not comply. Our potential is at stake.

For those of you that are now leaving this establishment, I say,
do not forget what went on in these classrooms. Do not abandon
those that come after you. We are the new future and we are not
going to let tradition stand. We will break down the walls of
corruption to let a garden of knowledge grow throughout America.
Once educated properly, we will have the power to do anything,
and best of all, we will only use that power for good, for we
will be cultivated and wise. We will not accept anything at face
value. We will ask questions, and we will demand truth.

So, here I stand. I am not standing here as valedictorian by
myself. I was molded by my environment, by all of my peers who
are sitting here watching me. I couldn't have accomplished this
without all of you. It was all of you who truly made me the
person I am today. It was all of you who were my competition, yet
my backbone. In that way, we are all valedictorians.

I am now supposed to say farewell to this institution, those who
maintain it, and those who stand with me and behind me, but I
hope this farewell is more of a "see you later" when we
are all working together to rear a pedagogic movement. But first,
let's go get those pieces of paper that tell us that we're smart enough to do so!

Reprinted from
Signs of the Times.

An astounding video posted on the Signs of the Times Website

Julian Assange: NDTV India interview - concerns about neighbor Pakistan:
Wikileaks Afghan war diary

Watch A Fracking Mess 'GASLAND' here


RNC Document Mocks Donors, Plays on 'Fear'

New Robes For SCOTUS

Please sign this very important petition "demand question time" (of our political leaders) HERE.. We really need more dialog from those at the top... The

Republicans have got to be made to realize they can't hide behind
"NO" any longer! thinkingblue

Click to go to MOVE TO AMEND and sing petition.


Let's keep our heads, while we continue

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