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