The Myth of Education and Empowerment Term Paper by Nicky

A debate as to the purpose of education.
# 146595 | 1,443 words | 3 sources | APA | 2010 | US
Published on Jan 04, 2011 in Education (Theory) , Education (General)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This paper sets out to investigate the purpose of education. It provides information from theorists Richard Rodriguez ("The Achievement of Desire.") and John Gatto ("Against School') who both seek to define what is wrong with education today. It concludes that a balance needs to be found between the child's needs and the needs of the nation, in defining a specific curriculum.

From the Paper:

''This harkens to what John Gatto refers to in his essay "Against School" Gatto, the veteran of a long tenure in the Manhattan school system states: "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 to truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then" (Gatto 2003). If education were merely about taking tests, then why are so many great individuals of the past unschooled, but far from uneducated, provided they used their intellectual curiosity to teach them about the world? Gatto suggests that the frustration between the theoretical and the real, between education and life that eventually gripped Rodriguez in graduate school is not so different than the sentiment that students often feel very early on in their academic careers, a sentiment that drives them from the halls of education as soon as they are allowed to leave.
''Yet much of Rodriguez's fruitful education was not compelled by teachers, but was self-willed. For example, despite his portrayal of himself as a kind of grind, merely reading Plato to put distance between himself and the person he was before schooling, Rodriguez's portrays himself as a self-directed and avid reader, reading in closets and being taunted with the insult 'Four Eyes.' This suggests a kind of innate drive to learn beyond that of the strict demands of schooling. Despite his high GPA, it is in books where Rodriguez's education really took place, the kind of impromptu education that shaped the lives of Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin and the homeschoolers cited by Gatto who defy the need that a twelve year grind of education is necessary to learn 'reading, writing, and arithmetic.' Rodriguez says he was a poor reader because he was an uncritical reader, and read merely to seem literate--but the drive and hunger to stretch himself beyond his limits and comfort zone clearly enabled him to return to these classical books later, with the critical and intellectual tools to appreciate them on a deeper level. He lambasts himself as a child for being unable to appreciate a teacher's use of irony, for example, but perhaps he is too hard on his younger self, and the teacher did not mean for him to appreciate the irony then, only later. As Rodriguez himself admits at the end of his essay, it is easy for a learned person to romanticize an unlettered, childhood pastoral self, but this romanticized version has very little to do with the real perspective of someone who lacks educational and critical tools.''

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Gatto, John. "Against School." Harpers. September 2003. February 21, 2009.
  • Merrow, John. Q & A. Declining by Degrees. February 21, 2009.
  • Rodriguez, Richard. "The Achievement of Desire." February 21, 2009.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

The Myth of Education and Empowerment (2011, January 04) Retrieved March 04, 2021, from

MLA Format

"The Myth of Education and Empowerment" 04 January 2011. Web. 04 March. 2021. <>