An Educated Person

John Taylor Gatto’s writings are filled with 30 years of experience teaching in public schools and should be read by all parents who home educate their children, no matter which method(s) of homeschooling they use.

Here are some of Gatto’s ideas about what it means to be an educated person.

An Educated Person
by John Taylor Gatto

Hey, I’ve used the old-fashioned “he”, but mean both sexes.

  • An educated person writes his own script through life, he is not a character in a government play, nor does he mouth the words of any intellectual’s utopian fantasy. He is self-determined.
  • Time does not hang heavily on an educated person’s hands. He can be alone. He is never at a loss for what to do with time.
  • An educated man knows his rights and knows how to defend them.
  • An educated man knows the ways of the human heart; he is hard to cheat or fool.
  • An educated man possesses useful knowledge: how to build a house, a kayak boat, how to grow food, how to ride and hunt.
  • An educated person possesses a blueprint of personal value, a philosophy. This philosophy tends toward the absolute, it is not plastically relative (*altering to suit circumstances). Because of this an educated person knows at all times who he is, what he will tolerate, where to find peace. But at the same time an educated person is aware of and respects community values and strange values.
  • An educated person can form healthy attachments wherever he is because he understands the dynamics of relationships.
  • An educated person accepts and understands his own mortality and its seasons. He understands that without death and aging nothing would have any meaning. An educated person learns from all his ages, even from the last minute of his life.
  • An educated person can discover truth for himself; he has intense “awareness” of the profound significance of being and the profound significance of being here.
  • An educated person can figure out how to be useful to others, and in trading time, insight and service to meet the needs of others he can earn the material things he needs to sustain a wholesome life.
  • An educated person has the capacity to create new things, new experiences, new ideas.

(Excerpted from A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling by John Taylor Gatto)

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2 responses to “An Educated Person

  1. I always enjoy Gatto’s writings. A fine summary of the educated person . . . and which of those qualities are evaluated in standardized tests?

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