Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A. A. Gill on School

from Schools Are Ruining Our Kids, by A. A. Gill:
In the 100 years since we really got serious about education as a universally good idea, we’ve managed to take the 15 years of children’s lives that should be the most carefree, inquisitive, and memorable and fill them with a motley collection of stress and a neurotic fear of failure.

... Childhood is a war of attrition, like some grisly TV game show where the weak and the kind and the quixotic and the dreamers and the gentle get dumped at the end of each year. Only the gimlet-eyed and the obsessively competitive and the driven make it to the finish line.


  1. A must read. If you only have time to read one article today, make it this one.

  2. “School is established, not in order that it should be convenient for the children to study, but that teachers should be able to teach in comfort. The children’s conversations, motion, merriment are not convenient for the teacher, and so in the schools, which are built on the plan of prisons, … are prohibited.” - Count Leo Tolstoy

  3. I'm a big fan of A. A. Gill. He wrote a rant about tweed which is one of the funniest things I've ever read. Also, he was the only TV critic to give the Fat Ladies a positive review after their first show. If anyone has a link to that review, I'd love to see it.

  4. OMG, that's the best article I've read in ages. I wish I could write like that...
    I think like that but it's the kind of stuff that you wish you had said in some now passed, crucial moment.


    About tweed....

  6. Fed Up, would you kindly delete above and keep this one? Caught a mechanical error so tidying up and resubmitting:

    The first commenter loudly criticized Gill. Thought the piece was too extreme. But that's the whole point. School has gotten so extreme. A friend once said to me, "There are teachers who seek out creativity in a child and then systematically do everything possible to destroy it." It sounds extreme, right? It isn't. It happened to my daughter all the time. She produced a masterpiece. Teacher said, begrudgingly, okay, nice. didn't finish the spelling sentences. The emphasis was always on what she did NOT do.

    One day, said teacher asked my daughter in 5th grade why she hadn't finished her spelling homework (the especially tedious part). My daughter, innocent and honest to a fault, blurted out, I was reading Wuthering Heights all afternoon. She lost her recess for that.

    It would be funny if it weren't so sad.