John Gatto: Teacher of the Year Acceptance Speech

Read more on this subject: Education: Government Schools
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I accept this award on behalf of all the fine teachers I've known over the years who've struggled to make their transactions with children honourable ones, men and women who are never complacent, always questioning, always wrestling to define and redefine endlessly what the word "education" should mean. A Teacher of the Year is not the best teacher around, those people are too quiet to be easily uncovered, but he is a standard-bearer, symbolic of these private people who spend their lives gladly in the service of children. This is their award as well as mine.

We live in a time of great school crisis. We rank at the bottom of 19 industrial nations in reading, writing and arithmetic. At the very bottom. The world's narcotic economy is based upon our own consumption of the commodity, if we didn't buy so many powdered dreams the business would collapse — and schools are an important sales outlet. Our teenage suicide rate is the highest in the world and su
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