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Powerful...posted in its entirety. Valedictorian Speaks Out Against Schooling in Graduation Speech                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          by Erica Goldson The following speech was delivered by top of the class student Erica Goldson during the graduation ceremony at Coxsackie-Athens High School in New York on June 25, coumadin overnight delivery 2010 Here I stand There is a story of a young, coumadin overnight delivery but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, coumadin overnight delivery and asked the Master, coumadin overnight delivery "If I work very hard and diligently, coumadin overnight delivery how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, coumadin overnight delivery then replied, coumadin overnight delivery "Ten years." The student then said, coumadin overnight delivery "But what if I work very, coumadin overnight delivery very hard and really apply myself to learn fast – How long then?" Replied the Master, coumadin overnight delivery "Well, coumadin overnight delivery twenty years." "But, coumadin overnight delivery if I really, coumadin overnight delivery really work at it, coumadin overnight delivery how long then?" asked the student. Coumadin overnight delivery "Thirty years, coumadin overnight delivery" replied the Master. Coumadin overnight delivery "But, coumadin overnight delivery I do not understand, coumadin overnight delivery" said the disappointed student. Coumadin overnight delivery "At each time that I say I will work harder, coumadin overnight delivery you say it will take me longer. Coumadin overnight delivery Why do you say that?" Replied the Master, coumadin overnight delivery "When you have one eye on the goal, coumadin overnight delivery you only have one eye on the path." This is the dilemma I've faced within the American education system. Coumadin overnight delivery We are so focused on a goal, coumadin overnight delivery whether it be passing a test, coumadin overnight delivery or graduating as first in the class. Coumadin overnight delivery However, coumadin overnight delivery in this way, coumadin overnight delivery we do not really learn. Coumadin overnight delivery We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective. Some of you may be thinking, coumadin overnight delivery "Well, coumadin overnight delivery if you pass a test, coumadin overnight delivery or become valedictorian, coumadin overnight delivery didn't you learn something? Well, coumadin overnight delivery yes, coumadin overnight delivery you learned something, coumadin overnight delivery but not all that you could have. Coumadin overnight delivery Perhaps, coumadin overnight delivery you only learned how to memorize names, coumadin overnight delivery places, coumadin overnight delivery and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. Coumadin overnight delivery School is not all that it can be. Coumadin overnight delivery Right now, coumadin overnight delivery 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. Coumadin overnight delivery I am graduating. Coumadin overnight delivery I should look at this as a positive experience, coumadin overnight delivery especially being at the top of my class. Coumadin overnight delivery However, coumadin overnight delivery in retrospect, coumadin overnight delivery I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. Coumadin overnight delivery I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Coumadin overnight delivery Yet, coumadin overnight delivery here I stand, coumadin overnight delivery and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. Coumadin overnight delivery I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, coumadin overnight delivery in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. Coumadin overnight delivery But I contend that I am a human being, coumadin overnight delivery a thinker, coumadin overnight delivery an adventurer – not a worker. Coumadin overnight delivery A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition – a slave of the system set up before him. Coumadin overnight delivery But now, coumadin overnight delivery I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. Coumadin overnight delivery I did what I was told to the extreme. Coumadin overnight delivery While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, coumadin overnight delivery I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. Coumadin overnight delivery While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, coumadin overnight delivery I never missed an assignment. Coumadin overnight delivery While others were creating music and writing lyrics, coumadin overnight delivery I decided to do extra credit, coumadin overnight delivery even though I never needed it. Coumadin overnight delivery So, coumadin overnight delivery I wonder, coumadin overnight delivery why did I even want this position? Sure, coumadin overnight delivery I earned it, coumadin overnight delivery but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, coumadin overnight delivery 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, coumadin overnight delivery and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, coumadin overnight delivery not learning. Coumadin overnight delivery And quite frankly, coumadin overnight delivery now I'm scared. John Taylor Gatto, coumadin overnight delivery a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, coumadin overnight delivery asserts, coumadin overnight delivery "We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, coumadin overnight delivery adventure, coumadin overnight delivery resilience, coumadin overnight delivery the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, coumadin overnight delivery texts, coumadin overnight delivery and tests, coumadin overnight delivery by introducing kids into truly competent adults, coumadin overnight delivery and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. Coumadin overnight delivery But we don't do that." Between these cinderblock walls, coumadin overnight delivery we are all expected to be the same. Coumadin overnight delivery We are trained to ace every standardized test, coumadin overnight delivery and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, coumadin overnight delivery and therefore viewed with contempt. H. Coumadin overnight delivery L. Coumadin overnight delivery 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. Coumadin overnight delivery ... Coumadin overnight delivery Nothing could be further from the truth. Coumadin overnight delivery The aim ... Coumadin overnight delivery is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, coumadin overnight delivery to breed and train a standardized citizenry, coumadin overnight delivery to put down dissent and originality. Coumadin overnight delivery That is its aim in the United States." To illustrate this idea, coumadin overnight delivery 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. Coumadin overnight delivery But if we are not critical when processing this information, coumadin overnight delivery are we really thinking? Or are we mindlessly accepting other opinions as truth? This was happening to me, coumadin overnight delivery and if it wasn't for the rare occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, coumadin overnight delivery Donna Bryan, coumadin overnight delivery who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before accepting textbook doctrine, coumadin overnight delivery I would have been doomed. Coumadin overnight delivery I am now enlightened, coumadin overnight delivery but my mind still feels disabled. Coumadin overnight delivery 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, coumadin overnight delivery a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, coumadin overnight delivery a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change. Coumadin overnight delivery We are not enlivened by an educational system that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that could be automated, coumadin overnight delivery for work that need not be done, coumadin overnight delivery for enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement. Coumadin overnight delivery We have no choices in life when money is our motivational force. Coumadin overnight delivery Our motivational force ought to be passion, coumadin overnight delivery but this is lost from the moment we step into a system that trains us, coumadin overnight delivery rather than inspires us. We are more than robotic bookshelves, coumadin overnight delivery conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. Coumadin overnight delivery We are all very special, coumadin overnight delivery every human on this planet is so special, coumadin overnight delivery so aren't we all deserving of something better, coumadin overnight delivery of using our minds for innovation, coumadin overnight delivery rather than memorization, coumadin overnight delivery for creativity, coumadin overnight delivery rather than futile activity, coumadin overnight delivery for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, coumadin overnight delivery to then get a job, coumadin overnight delivery so we can consume industry-approved placation after placation. Coumadin overnight delivery There is more, coumadin overnight delivery and more still. The saddest part is that the majority of students don't have the opportunity to reflect as I did. Coumadin overnight delivery 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, coumadin overnight delivery and worst of all, coumadin overnight delivery they are completely unaware of it. Coumadin overnight delivery I will never be able to turn back these 18 years. Coumadin overnight delivery I can't run away to another country with an education system meant to enlighten rather than condition. Coumadin overnight delivery This part of my life is over, coumadin overnight delivery and I want to make sure that no other child will have his or her potential suppressed by powers meant to exploit and control. Coumadin overnight delivery We are human beings. Coumadin overnight delivery We are thinkers, coumadin overnight delivery dreamers, coumadin overnight delivery explorers, coumadin overnight delivery artists, coumadin overnight delivery writers, coumadin overnight delivery engineers. Coumadin overnight delivery We are anything we want to be – but only if we have an educational system that supports us rather than holds us down. Coumadin overnight delivery A tree can grow, coumadin overnight delivery 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, coumadin overnight delivery do not be disheartened. Coumadin overnight delivery You still have the opportunity to stand up, coumadin overnight delivery ask questions, coumadin overnight delivery be critical, coumadin overnight delivery and create your own perspective. Coumadin overnight delivery Demand a setting that will provide you with intellectual capabilities that allow you to expand your mind instead of directing it. Coumadin overnight delivery Demand that you be interested in class. Coumadin overnight delivery Demand that the excuse, coumadin overnight delivery "You have to learn this for the test" is not good enough for you. Coumadin overnight delivery Education is an excellent tool, coumadin overnight delivery if used properly, coumadin overnight delivery but focus more on learning rather than getting good grades. For those of you that work within the system that I am condemning, coumadin overnight delivery I do not mean to insult; I intend to motivate. Coumadin overnight delivery You have the power to change the incompetencies of this system. Coumadin overnight delivery I know that you did not become a teacher or administrator to see your students bored. Coumadin overnight delivery You cannot accept the authority of the governing bodies that tell you what to teach, coumadin overnight delivery how to teach it, coumadin overnight delivery and that you will be punished if you do not comply. Coumadin overnight delivery Our potential is at stake. For those of you that are now leaving this establishment, coumadin overnight delivery I say, coumadin overnight delivery do not forget what went on in these classrooms. Coumadin overnight delivery Do not abandon those that come after you. Coumadin overnight delivery We are the new future and we are not going to let tradition stand. Coumadin overnight delivery We will break down the walls of corruption to let a garden of knowledge grow throughout America. Coumadin overnight delivery Once educated properly, coumadin overnight delivery we will have the power to do anything, coumadin overnight delivery and best of all, coumadin overnight delivery we will only use that power for good, coumadin overnight delivery for we will be cultivated and wise. Coumadin overnight delivery We will not accept anything at face value. Coumadin overnight delivery We will ask questions, coumadin overnight delivery and we will demand truth. So, coumadin overnight delivery here I stand. Coumadin overnight delivery I am not standing here as valedictorian by myself. Coumadin overnight delivery I was molded by my environment, coumadin overnight delivery by all of my peers who are sitting here watching me. Coumadin overnight delivery I couldn't have accomplished this without all of you. Coumadin overnight delivery It was all of you who truly made me the person I am today. Coumadin overnight delivery It was all of you who were my competition, coumadin overnight delivery yet my backbone. Coumadin overnight delivery In that way, coumadin overnight delivery we are all valedictorians. I am now supposed to say farewell to this institution, coumadin overnight delivery those who maintain it, coumadin overnight delivery and those who stand with me and behind me, coumadin overnight delivery but I hope this farewell is more of a "see you later" when we are all working together to rear a pedagogic movement. Coumadin overnight delivery But first, coumadin overnight delivery let's go get those pieces of paper that tell us that we're smart enough to do so!  http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=31620