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Re: From Liberty Street of November 20th

Intellectual Vacuums

Dear John Turner:

Your comments on our current leadership seem quite accurate to me. At times I have been embarrassed at the remarks our top leaders have made and their seeming oblivion to the consequences and impact on others.

It has been said we get the leaders we deserve. But the indoctrination toward stupidity begins with the entrance to public schools. Our educational system has already collapsed and we  aren't even aware of it.  It was the late John Holt who made the distinction between Education and Schooling.  John Taylor Gato in his Underground History of American Education states it takes only 50 contact hours to teach the basics.  At that point a child is ready to learn on his own.  Not so far fetched when you realize this country was built by folks we would now call drop-outs. Our grandparents and great-grandparents (i.e. pre WWII) became contributing citizens and pillars of their communities with at times only a few years of elementary education.

When I entered the Peace Corps in 1962, I discovered the average compesino in a country with 80% illiteracy could carry on a more intelligent conversation and was more interested in world affairs than the average Americans I knew.

Our public school system is built on an authoritarian model (the Prussian Military Machine).  Children are taught to conform and obey.  Not ever having a model of participatory democracy, how can we expect our children to be anything beyond mindless consumers?

Thanks for being one more voice to wake us up,

Beverley Tisdell
Leesburg, Florida

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Harvard Square Commentary, November 27, 2006