Monday, April 10, 2006

More Thoughts about Gatto's College Advice

With due respect to Gatto, I don't believe that dropping out of college is really the only or even the best way to change the world. From Cradles of Eminence, a book that examines the childhoods of between 400-700 famous men and women:

"The authors found that these 400 eminent people did have many childhood experiences in common. They grew up in homes where excitement and love of learning were present, though they often disliked formal schooling and some were schooled at home. The homes they grew up in were full of books and stimulating conversation and strong opinions, so that as children, they learned to think and express themselves clearly. They had at least one strong parent, usually the mother, who believed in them." (Introduction)

It has been suggested that to achieve greatness, a person first has to overcome adversity:

"Three-fourths of the children were troubled--by poverty; by a broken home; by rejecting, overpossessive, estranged, or dominating parents; by financial ups and downs, by physical handicaps; or by parental dissatisfaction over the children's school failures or vocational choices." (p. 282)

On the other hand:

"The homes of the Four Hundred were exceptionally free of mental illnesses requiring hospitalization."

To be fair, only Faulkner, Bill Gates, Ray Kroc and Ted Turner are mentioned in both this book and Gatto's article. I'm sure there are just as many successful entrepreneurs who did go to B-school, Donald Trump for one.

The authors do devote two introductions and an entire chapter to how crummy school was for these people. Those who weren't homeschooled were after-schooled (house full of books, family love of learning) and flourished primarily under mentors and tutors. It also mentions that "One-half of the parents were opinionated about a controversial subject, which set them apart in their own time but is accepted with little or no animosity today." Sounds like homeschoolers to me!

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