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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, find cheap emsam 2010 Here I stand There is a story of a young, find cheap emsam but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, find cheap emsam and asked the Master, find cheap emsam "If I work very hard and diligently, find cheap emsam how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, find cheap emsam then replied, find cheap emsam "Ten years." The student then said, find cheap emsam "But what if I work very, find cheap emsam very hard and really apply myself to learn fast – How long then?" Replied the Master, find cheap emsam "Well, find cheap emsam twenty years." "But, find cheap emsam if I really, find cheap emsam really work at it, find cheap emsam how long then?" asked the student. Find cheap emsam "Thirty years, find cheap emsam" replied the Master. Find cheap emsam "But, find cheap emsam I do not understand, find cheap emsam" said the disappointed student. Find cheap emsam "At each time that I say I will work harder, find cheap emsam you say it will take me longer. Find cheap emsam Why do you say that?" Replied the Master, find cheap emsam "When you have one eye on the goal, find cheap emsam you only have one eye on the path." This is the dilemma I've faced within the American education system. Find cheap emsam We are so focused on a goal, find cheap emsam whether it be passing a test, find cheap emsam or graduating as first in the class. Find cheap emsam However, find cheap emsam in this way, find cheap emsam we do not really learn. Find cheap emsam We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective. Some of you may be thinking, find cheap emsam "Well, find cheap emsam if you pass a test, find cheap emsam or become valedictorian, find cheap emsam didn't you learn something? Well, find cheap emsam yes, find cheap emsam you learned something, find cheap emsam but not all that you could have. Find cheap emsam Perhaps, find cheap emsam you only learned how to memorize names, find cheap emsam places, find cheap emsam and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. Find cheap emsam School is not all that it can be. Find cheap emsam Right now, find cheap emsam 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. Find cheap emsam I am graduating. Find cheap emsam I should look at this as a positive experience, find cheap emsam especially being at the top of my class. Find cheap emsam However, find cheap emsam in retrospect, find cheap emsam I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. Find cheap emsam I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Find cheap emsam Yet, find cheap emsam here I stand, find cheap emsam and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. Find cheap emsam I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, find cheap emsam in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. Find cheap emsam But I contend that I am a human being, find cheap emsam a thinker, find cheap emsam an adventurer – not a worker. Find cheap emsam A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition – a slave of the system set up before him. Find cheap emsam But now, find cheap emsam I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. Find cheap emsam I did what I was told to the extreme. Find cheap emsam While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, find cheap emsam I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. Find cheap emsam While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, find cheap emsam I never missed an assignment. Find cheap emsam While others were creating music and writing lyrics, find cheap emsam I decided to do extra credit, find cheap emsam even though I never needed it. 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John Taylor Gatto, find cheap emsam a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, find cheap emsam asserts, find cheap emsam "We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, find cheap emsam adventure, find cheap emsam resilience, find cheap emsam the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, find cheap emsam texts, find cheap emsam and tests, find cheap emsam by introducing kids into truly competent adults, find cheap emsam and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. Find cheap emsam But we don't do that." Between these cinderblock walls, find cheap emsam we are all expected to be the same. Find cheap emsam We are trained to ace every standardized test, find cheap emsam and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, find cheap emsam and therefore viewed with contempt. H. Find cheap emsam L. 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This was happening to me, find cheap emsam and if it wasn't for the rare occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, find cheap emsam Donna Bryan, find cheap emsam who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before accepting textbook doctrine, find cheap emsam I would have been doomed. Find cheap emsam I am now enlightened, find cheap emsam but my mind still feels disabled. Find cheap emsam 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, find cheap emsam a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, find cheap emsam a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change. Find cheap emsam We are not enlivened by an educational system that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that could be automated, find cheap emsam for work that need not be done, find cheap emsam for enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement. Find cheap emsam We have no choices in life when money is our motivational force. Find cheap emsam Our motivational force ought to be passion, find cheap emsam but this is lost from the moment we step into a system that trains us, find cheap emsam rather than inspires us. We are more than robotic bookshelves, find cheap emsam conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. 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