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Education Reform

Date: 12-06-04
Host: George Noory
Guests: John Taylor Gatto, Joyce Riley

Legendary teacher and reformer John Taylor Gatto presented a scathing critique of our compulsory education system. He told how in 1991 when he won the award of New York's Teacher of the Year, he audaciously quit the profession, saying that he could no longer abide by the faulty structure.

Schools turn out "incomplete people" who become indoctrinated into the work force, he declared. Citing the educational focus on memorization and short answer tests, these "weapons of mass instruction," turn out a more docile population, that has not learned the skill of thinking comprehensively, said Gatto.

Over the years, he has become impressed with many home schooling efforts. Freed from the strictures of the institutional settings, these students often show much more progress in intellectual and character development, he said. He recommended the book Hard Times in Paradise by David and Micki Colfax for their insights into the home schooling process.

Article: TV Addiction

"It wasn't until I became a teacher that I began to be driven crazy by TV," wrote John Taylor Gatto in an article for American Enterprise. He claimed that kids who were heavy TV watchers were often "malicious to each other and sunk in chronic boredom." The average person in the industrialized world watches three hours of TV per day, which amounts to about half of their leisure time. At that rate, if you live to 75, you'll spend a total of 9 years glued to the tube! Studies have associated TV's drawing power with our biological "orienting response," which is an instinctive attraction to certain types of visual stimuli. In an exploration of TV addiction, published in Scientific American, the authors found that people reported feeling more relaxed and passive while watching TV. But the relaxed feeling ended when the set was shut off and many participants said they felt as though their energy was sucked out of them.

Gulf Illness Update

First half-hour guest, veterans advocate Joyce Riley reacted to the recent announcement that the Department of Veterans Affairs will be putting $15 million into defining and treating maladies related to Gulf War illness. She believes this is too little, too late and that the military is not serious at getting at the root of the problem. Riley contends that Gulf vets were exposed to chemical and biological agents and the US military has been involved in a cover-up of this information.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Monday December 06, 2004

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