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