The Best High School Valedictorian Speech

Written by Erica Goldson

© The Daily Mail
The 2010 Graduating Class of Coxsackie-Athens High School.

Comment: The following speech was delivered by top of the class student Erica Goldson during the graduation ceremony at Coxsackie-Athens High School on June 25, 2010

Here I stand

There is a story of a young, but earnest Zen student who approached his teacher, and asked the Master, “If I work very hard and diligently, how long will it take for me to find Zen? The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years . .” ?The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then?” Replied the Master, “Well, twenty years.” “But, if I really, really work at it, how long then?” asked the student. “Thirty years,” replied the Master. “But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed student. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?” ?Replied the Master, “When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path.”

This is the dilemma I’ve faced within the American education system. We are so focused on a goal, whether it be passing a test, or graduating as first in the class. However, in this way, we do not really learn. We do whatever it takes to achieve our original objective.

Some of you may be thinking, “Well, if you pass a test, or become valedictorian, didn’t you learn something? Well, yes, you learned something, but not all that you could have. Perhaps, you only learned how to memorize names, places, and dates to later on forget in order to clear your mind for the next test. School is not all that it can be. Right now, 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. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer – not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition – a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I’m scared.

John Taylor Gatto, a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, asserts, “We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids into truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. But we don’t do that.” Between these cinderblock walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt.

H. L. 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. … Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim … is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States.”

Comment: The full passage reads: “The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States, whatever pretensions of politicians, pedagogues other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else.”

To illustrate this idea, 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. But if we are not critical when processing this information, are we really thinking? Or are we mindlessly accepting other opinions as truth?

This was happening to me, and if it wasn’t for the rare occurrence of an avant-garde tenth grade English teacher, Donna Bryan, who allowed me to open my mind and ask questions before accepting textbook doctrine, I would have been doomed. I am now enlightened, but my mind still feels disabled. 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, a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change. We are not enlivened by an educational system that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that could be automated, for work that need not be done, for enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement. We have no choices in life when money is our motivational force. Our motivational force ought to be passion, but this is lost from the moment we step into a system that trains us, rather than inspires us.

We are more than robotic bookshelves, conditioned to blurt out facts we were taught in school. We are all very special, every human on this planet is so special, so aren’t we all deserving of something better, of using our minds for innovation, rather than memorization, for creativity, rather than futile activity, for rumination rather than stagnation? We are not here to get a degree, to then get a job, so we can consume industry-approved placation after placation. There is more, and more still.

The saddest part is that the majority of students don’t have the opportunity to reflect as I did. 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, and worst of all, they are completely unaware of it. I will never be able to turn back these 18 years. I can’t run away to another country with an education system meant to enlighten rather than condition. This part of my life is over, and I want to make sure that no other child will have his or her potential suppressed by powers meant to exploit and control. We are human beings. We are thinkers, dreamers, explorers, artists, writers, engineers. We are anything we want to be – but only if we have an educational system that supports us rather than holds us down. A tree can grow, 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, do not be disheartened. You still have the opportunity to stand up, ask questions, be critical, and create your own perspective. Demand a setting that will provide you with intellectual capabilities that allow you to expand your mind instead of directing it. Demand that you be interested in class. Demand that the excuse, “You have to learn this for the test” is not good enough for you. Education is an excellent tool, if used properly, but focus more on learning rather than getting good grades.

For those of you that work within the system that I am condemning, I do not mean to insult; I intend to motivate. You have the power to change the incompetencies of this system. I know that you did not become a teacher or administrator to see your students bored. You cannot accept the authority of the governing bodies that tell you what to teach, how to teach it, and that you will be punished if you do not comply. Our potential is at stake.

For those of you that are now leaving this establishment, I say, do not forget what went on in these classrooms. Do not abandon those that come after you. We are the new future and we are not going to let tradition stand. We will break down the walls of corruption to let a garden of knowledge grow throughout America. Once educated properly, we will have the power to do anything, and best of all, we will only use that power for good, for we will be cultivated and wise. We will not accept anything at face value. We will ask questions, and we will demand truth.

So, here I stand. I am not standing here as valedictorian by myself. I was molded by my environment, by all of my peers who are sitting here watching me. I couldn’t have accomplished this without all of you. It was all of you who truly made me the person I am today. It was all of you who were my competition, yet my backbone. In that way, we are all valedictorians.

I am now supposed to say farewell to this institution, those who maintain it, and those who stand with me and behind me, but I hope this farewell is more of a “see you later” when we are all working together to rear a pedagogic movement. But first, let’s go get those pieces of paper that tell us that we’re smart enough to do so!

Bonus:  Morbid curiosity

112 thoughts on “The Best High School Valedictorian Speech

  1. Michael

    “We have no choices in life when money is our motivational force.”

    Obviously in her naive quest for the meaning of life, she never bothered to take an economics class.

  2. Jahjin

    This girl is a smart cookie, in spite of going to a public school. What an awesome speech.

    Read: John Taylor Gotto, NY State teacher of the year, author of “Underground History of American Education” and learn what forces molded and shaped the system we use today.

    H. L. Mencken knew what he was talking about when he said education is to create a passive, accepting citizenry safe for being ruled. If you support public schooling as it exists today, then either you're a ruler or the ruled. Which are you?

  3. kit

    Hmm, any good economics class would talk about the shenanigans of the Federal Reserve (which isn't federal-and is foreign), the IMF and the Rothshilds and Rockefellers and particularly, their role in gutting economies of entire nations. Also, what should be taught is the banksters drive for the NWO (New World Order) aka 1-World Order for complete control of the world, but since schools are controlled themselves, I think it would be rare for them to actually report this. This should be common knowledge so the people would understand that there is a reason for all the insanity going on around us such as the massive bankster ripoffs, perpetual wars, ect.

  4. A Purcell

    Michael, thank you for your penetrating insight. Of course her problem is probably not with the free market but the obscenely dehumanizing practices of the corpratocracy. But hey, your bourgeois smugness is greatly appreciated!

  5. J-Bird

    High School history courses are probably the worst offenders of this…

    Does anyone remember how they felt when they began self-educating on US and World history?! The truths you discovered, often in contradiction with to our “education,” how about that for a rude awakening!?

    I've actually browsed through a recent “standardized” history book and it would have been hilarious if it weren't so tragic… :(

  6. Jesse

    Her original point is a good one — that orienting our compulsory education system around a non-flexible, standardized goal may do more harm than good. However, the whole speech eventually drops into very poorly thought-through sensationalism.

    “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, and worst of all, they are completely unaware of it.”

    As someone who has spent a lot of time teaching elementary school children, over the past five years (including summer school for the past month), I think I can say that her perspective misses a lot of the complexity of actual education. I completely agree that standardized testing can strip education down to its bare minimum, and negatively impact learning, but that doesn't really indicate an attempt at “brainwashing” by a “secretive government.” What it really indicates is lack of alternatives — as evidenced by the D.C. schools/Michelle Rhee teacher firing controversy. There are very few other ways to really gauge how well students are learning on a large scale beside standardized tests. The actual problems with standardized tests are external: students who test better or worse on standardized tests, and are therefore misrepresented by their results, and “teaching to the test.” It is when a teacher teaches material primarily to help students pass the test, rather than for the sake of learning the subject itself, that students begin to lose connection with their real goals.

    This problem of “teaching for the test” is often exacerbated by the problems of our education system — that much is certainly true. The scramble for federal funding via high test scores leads teachers and schools to sacrifice learning for “results” — to receive funds to theoretically improve “learning.” This is where our education system really needs reform.

    However, Ms. Goldson argues that the entire idea of compulsory education is at fault. In her words, it makes her “a slave of the system” — and worse, much worse: “a worker.” Ms. Goldson wants to be “a human being, a thinker, an adventurer – not a worker.” This brings us to some very sticky philosophical questions: Do we have a right to love and life and adventure? Or must we earn it, work for it first? Is there something fundamentally wrong with work? Is our purpose work, or recreation? None of these questions have simple answers, but to assume that a system which prepares its pupils for work is a bad system is a very long stretch. Work is not, as Ms. Goldson puts it, “enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement” — work is survival.

    As an artist myself, and as a student, I sympathize with Ms. Goldson's desire, and her drive, for creativity and meaning. However, I also accept that creativity and adventure and meaning are only one facet of life. After all, no work, no food — and no food, no adventure. So, while many reforms are still required to make the education system more effective and more helpful to students, sending it in a completely different direction is probably not the answer. After all, creativity and meaning come from many sources, and most often these things cannot be forced on a person — they must be discovered. Survival, however, can be taught, and it should be a priority in our education system. If a student can be taught to function in society, to work and to survive — perhaps even to thrive — it is not a failure, and it is not a conspiracy to perpetuate a “brainwashing” Machine. Rather, it is an opportunity for that student to achieve creativity, adventure, meaning, or at least happiness, without the fear that their basic needs — food, shelter, clothing — must be sacrificed first. Therefore, before you accuse the system of enslaving you, brainwashing you, harming you, weigh carefully the benefits and the detriments you have received from it, and remember: at least you can speak out, and certainly you can choose your own path.

    1. shannon

      I like this I came to the same conclusion. I have epstein bare and other stress illnesses and I don’t have the stamina to withstand too much stress I should have been given an option as a young adult to support myself even though I was at the top 5%of my class not a chance I could handle college not even the opportunity to make a salary to support myself w some comfort most are in worse conditions than me what does that say about our country do you have any alternative paths I have missed?I never wanted to live off the system in a category w lazy americans and now amhave to hide the fact that im not taking anxiety medication for fear the system might feel there is a chann oim probably going to die in5 years cause my condition of stress is worsenge in my conditio

    2. Rodrigto

      Ms Jesse,
      I read once that a genius can go from A to D without passing thought B and C, and it seams to me me that you are stuck in to B.
      I mean you say “After all, no work, no food” and ” Do we have a right to love and life and adventure? Or must we earn it, work for it first?” this is B and C, you see if why do we have a job (work) anda a hobby ? if your hobby could give you money would you call it a job ? We know work as something we have to do not to survive, not to be an adventure, or to love it, as we do with our hobbys.
      That´s where you realise that you are a slave, force to do something against your will (to “work” rather than having a meaningful and pleasant activity).
      We should not earn the right to “to love and life and adventure” we should be free to (be it/do it) the only reason you need to earn it is so you keep running after the carrot in the treadmill as a mice in a cage. You are an slave (to cot matrix) “in your on mind” coz you´ve been a teacher (which in the school is the responsible for perpetrating the system) and do not realise that you are a slave of the system, that means something very bad.
      I don´t know who or how this girl had such a great inspiration for this, even more coz of her background as a top student (meaning on her word “the best slave”), anyhow she did it, congratulations for her.
      For those of you how want to learn more about how the world works, go to you tube and watch Zeitgeist (ther are 3 of than and they are good).

      1. Marek

        Rodrigto

        Many people enjoy, find fulfillment, and even nlove their jobs. Most all of my teachers want to be teaching everyday and are passionate about it. My dad researches renewable at a university and finds satisfaction in the fact that he is helping the world one day become sustainable. Maybe your experience with work is a poor one, but that doesn’t mean everybody’s is.

        A wise teacher of mine often tells his students that if Monday is the worst day of their week then they Need a new job.

  7. BBJMullen

    If one looks at how our masters, our Presidents and our Prime Ministers, who steal most of the wealth of the world with their wars and revolutions, who put down any and all attempts at the poor, weak nations of the world to hold onto or share any of their wealth with their own people, who lie to us through the so called free press, TV, Hollywood, books and our schools, it is surprising that any of our of high school kids ever learn the truth. Give her four more years of education in college and it will be shock to me if she still wants to learn the truth. And it would be a miracle to me if she learns it.

  8. Integrity

    she will learn it those that study the constitution and the ten planks of the communist manifesto are doing to them exactly what they have been trying to do to us
    they are working from within the system pretending to go along
    I know hundreds and hundreds of Canadian farmers that never registered one weapon
    and actually went out and bought up a few thousand dollars of rounds
    and new rifles before their communist takeover of the country happened
    Canadians know that they want united nations soldiers walking through the north american continent arresting citizens of decent I have new for them
    GOOD LUCK WITH THAT

    1. Marek

      This doesn’t make sense. You personally know hundreds and hundreds of farmers that have done this? Scale back the conspiracy theory.

  9. Anthomatt

    The curriculum simple needs to be handle at the local level. We need to get rid of the Dept of Education. Ms. Goldson simply needs to read the founding fathers to find out she is part of a collectivized society rather than a society based on individualism which our found fathers created but our banks and coporations destroyed.

  10. Rusty McMillin

    I am a writer with 39 books and several literary awards under my belt. My parents also insisted that along with accepting a journalism scholarship that I become a med lab tech just in case journalism jobs were hard to come by. Well I have worked as a journalist for 20 years and loved every minute of it and also worked as a med lab tech and enjoyed that as well. In addition I spent 8 years as a hotel reservationist and 4 years as an ADA-lead for a bus company. There is(was)nothing 'wrong' with aNYthing I did-I enjoyed it all to some extent. But what really gets to me is that some occupations are 'of the anointed' and we all throw money at them, whiles others as valuable to the human soul, are trivialized or scoffed at. When I worked as a reservationist, I did 30 hours in three days-which tells you how I got so much writing done!(I have also written for 40+ magazines). In a truly just society I should be able to get some kind of stipend for six months, leave a regular job, and then write and get things done without the constant interruption. You can be an average med lab tech, nurse, lawyer,dentist,etc. and make tons of money! But to make money as a writer you have to be among the best and even then reaping enough to help support a family is a gamble. Think for a moment. Your average family doctor probably got mostly C's once in med school. Yet he will likely have more money in 20 years than the next Pulitzer Prize winner will! What message does that send our kids? Is anything valuable if it does not lead back to more and more money?

  11. Eamnq

    I mean this statement to be a true insight to our dilapidated educational system that does nothing but label young people for their usefulness in society including those who should be incarcerated which provides enormous profits for government contractors who provide justice system products and services such as police equipment, jails, prisons, prison services, etc. It is anything but “no child left behind.”

    And so my following statement…

    High school graduates are the dumbest people I have ever met. A few years after graduation, these same people become normal. What happens is that our horrifying school system confuses the hell out of its students while wasting their time to the nth degree.

    The whole thing is a horror show.

  12. Rhode Island Jim

    I am a 61 year old lead guitarist – Trust me, I am not bragging, as nothing disgusts me more, I'm good at what I do, bottom line. Many years ago, another musician – a great singer, around my age, called me to come do some recording with him and his band, he loved my guitar playing. The first night was just to learn the music and the 2nd night, we were going to put it to tape. (it was that many years ago) The first went beautifully, they all loved my stuff. The 2nd night, I took my lead, to the 1st song we were doing, and he stopped me, and everyone else, and turned to me and said – “that's not what you played last night”. To which my reply was, “yeh, probably not, that was last night & this is tonight!” He said, “but I've gotta have it exactly the same way, every time.” I said, “well I can't do that, as it totally eliminates my spontaneity, and you loved my guitar playing – you called me, I didn't call you!” He said “well, if you can't play it note for note, I can't use you.” So I said, “well, I'll try it.” To make a long story short, I couldn't do it, but he also couldn't get any gigs, and he was really good, just lived his life, “set in stone.” Sad!

  13. Kevin Dcruz

    utube : birth certificate + stock market
    utube : meet your strawman
    utube: intro to human rights 3/20
    utube: P4 occult world of commerce

    the reason ur COPY of the birth certficate is on bond paper is because it can be converted into a negotiable instrument and deposited into ur Social Security account ..
    until then the govt is trustee to that account and uses it as collateral for the national debt
    the intersest on it is paid through the income tax
    so till we deposit the birth certifacate into the Security account the govt is trustee and can right checks on it …
    f we do deposit (as common law merchant bankers as is declared in 1640 by the british courts, we are no tjust common law man and woman we are bankers and can negotiate remedies given to us) , then we become co trustees to the account and can wwrite check s off of it..ie turn a bill into a bill of exchange or cheque when asked to pay ..
    google : a4v.pdf
    to understand the contract we are under when our parents registered us at birth

  14. Kevin Dcruz

    they dont teach you this a school because the govt will have to be responsible with the social security account ..as they will have a reduced tax revenue stream to support the needless negative businees of wars..ie.war on nations, covert wars, war on terror, war on drugs …
    this is because people wont have to be citizens and can work for free …and create more sustainable economies with minimal cost to the environment..
    this is the summary of what is a huge subject …it can be understood only with a lot of intiuition and reading about how the banking system is connected to our daily lives form birth
    we have been given commercial remedy but the govt wants us to be asleep and working as sailors on the citizenSHIPs instead of finding out that we are in actual fact the merchant co owners of the citizenSHIPS and can steer it any way we want to with us writing cheques on the social security trust account

  15. Kevin Dcruz

    utube : birth certificate + stock market
    utube : meet your strawman
    utube: intro to human rights 3/20
    utube: P4 occult world of commerce

    the reason ur COPY of the birth certficate is on bond paper is because it can be converted into a negotiable instrument and deposited into ur Social Security account ..
    until then the govt is trustee to that account and uses it as collateral for the national debt
    the intersest on it is paid through the income tax
    so till we deposit the birth certifacate into the Security account the govt is trustee and can right checks on it …
    f we do deposit (as common law merchant bankers as is declared in 1640 by the british courts, we are no tjust common law man and woman we are bankers and can negotiate remedies given to us) , then we become co trustees to the account and can wwrite check s off of it..ie turn a bill into a bill of exchange or cheque when asked to pay ..
    google : a4v.pdf
    to understand the contract we are under when our parents registered us at birth

  16. Jacko

    Everyone always says, Oh the education being taught in our public schools are so low, we must improve them. Please government, help us improve our children's education. What these people don't understand is that the system is working EXACTLY as they intend. Once people realize that governments want to keep the children dumb and subservient (they don't want children who can think for themselves), the more power you have to change your child, empower your children with knowledge, perspectives, critical thinking and “real” dreams.

  17. Roy

    Wooo Michael. Economic class? Tell that to the people in Wall street who took economic classes in the best economic schools, and look what happen to them.

  18. Jocko

    I agree with Integrity… you're missing the point. Besides, nothing I learned after the 7th grade has ever been of any use to me in the real world. Diagramming sentences, I believe that was the 5th grade- eh, we are using our brains. Algebra- same thing, but not very useful unless you go into engineering. No real world skills were ever taught in highschool. The problem kids were taught how to balance a checkbook, because I guess the rest of us were going to figure it out on our own.. Some useful skills for today.. how to tell if someone is full of sh!t or lying to you, how to negotiate the purchase of a home, and reading the fine print, on the preliminary sale order as well as checking the final agreement- after you've signed.. ie. mortgage company falsifying your signature and what you can do to correct the situation.

  19. Diane

    This shows how young minds can see things as they are so much more clearly than those who have been indoctrinated and submerged in the system for so long. I agree that the quest to make money, severely interferes with creativity, passion and human potential. Keep on dreaming kids! Dreams can mold our existence.

  20. Reginald

    In fact Michael, it is yourself who is naive…and I can easily speculate, brainwashed by the very system this brilliant young woman herself spoke against. You are under the spell of something called ‘cognitive dissonance’. I’m sure you know what it means, now understand how intimately it ties into your teeny tiny little comment.

  21. Mark38655

    I think that once a person is truly awakened as the young woman obviously is, that he/she will always be awake and constantly in search of truth.

  22. David

    “We are thinkers, dreamers, explorers, artists, writers, engineers.”

    No, for sure none of them is an engineer. They are merely high school graduates. I am an engineer, and I know that the education for an engineer is much harder, and produces much more independence of thought, than anything they had in high school.

    In fact I guess she didn't take a lot of math in high school. A decent math or science class does not turn you into a robot. You have to learn concepts and apply them in new situations. Otherwise you don't get a good grade.

    I appreciate her good heart, but it's the heart of a callow youth who hasn't been educated yet. That's what university is for, and I hope she'll pursue technical subjects. Then she'll become much more educated, and not a robot. It's a bit silly for mere high school graduates to give speeches anyway, they're at the beginning of education rather than the end so who cares what they think, but I guess someone had to give a speech.

    1. Mitch

      “They are at the beginning of education, rather than the end, so who cares what they think?” That single sentence exemplifies how completely you missed the point of the speech. Who cares what they think? Nobody needs to care what they think, except for them. She is empowering a society based on individualism, and condemning one that is leading to complete collectivism. She cares about what she thinks, and that is all that matters and more than many people can say for themselves.

  23. David

    Actually I had good HS history courses, World History in 10th grade, US History in 11th grade. In World History, Mr. Natrin would cover two blackboards with stuff when we walked in, start talking about that material, then start erasing it and rewriting new stuff as he went. We learned a lot and it was not especially politically correct. Now I self-educate on the internet and it brings back a lot of stuff I learned then. US History was very good too, not mom & apple pie at all, but I cannot remember the man's name who taught it.

    Good courses do exist, probably for those willing to work very hard. I worked like hell in these courses.

  24. David

    Actually I had good HS history courses, World History in 10th grade, US History in 11th grade. In World History, Mr. Natrin would cover two blackboards with stuff when we walked in, start talking about that material, then start erasing it and rewriting new stuff as he went. We learned a lot and it was not especially politically correct. Now I self-educate on the internet and it brings back a lot of stuff I learned then. US History was very good too, not mom & apple pie at all, but I cannot remember the man's name who taught it.

    Good courses do exist, probably for those willing to work very hard. I worked like hell in these courses.

  25. JPOSBORN

    A well written speech by what clearly appears to be an intelligent young woman.

    The only problem is that she contradicts the very argument she makes. If she were truly a slave of the educational system she just completed, she would never have developed the clear understanding that following all the rules does not make a person more intelligent and certainly stifles creativity. She clearly demonstrates that her mindset is one which understands individuality and that bucking the system is nothing to be ashamed of.

    In recognizing these qualities, she shows that she is both smart enough and competent enough to make rational and correct decisions regarding her life and her education. She seems to envy the kids who goofed off and doodle on their paper, only to become great artists . . yet she made the conscious choice NOT to goof off every now and again, but rather to focus so intently on academics that she now resents her own lofty accomplishments.

    The beauty of her situation is, however, that she is still so very young. Recognizing one’s own faults and limitations (or the limitations of the system) is the first step to changing the course of one’s life. If she feels restricted, suppressed or restrained by traditional education and the apparent pressure she feels to be the best, then she can alter her life and the way she continues to receive education or decide to suspend formal education all together. One of the beautiful things about living in the United States of America is that we are free to make those choices. That’s not to say certain roads are not rougher than others, or that taking the unconventional course will be easy or understood and supported by everyone . . be we are free to make those choices when most people on the planet are not.

    Unfortunately, too many people who have the kind of intellect, drive, support and success to thrive the way this young graduate has, feel compelled find something wrong with what they have experienced and file their complaints. I wonder how she would feel if she was from a poor family, with few resources and if she suffered learning disabilities. I wonder if she would feel that her learning was more or less stifled by those circumstances as compared to her own.

    The sunshine always seems brighter on the other side of the street.

  26. Etchuta

    Rusty, do you see how limited your choices are when you make money your master? If you enjoyed working all of those jobs, then your reward was inherent was it not? W. Bush got C's and all you sheeple voted for that fool. I think the point is that the zeitgeist is changing. Politicians, the system, they don't even try to hide their lies anymore! Wikileaks, 9/11, all the truth that is out there…these megalomanics are so confident in our indoctranation that they don't even fear the consequences of the truth anymore. Now that is really scary! They rape the Constitution with impunity, engineer crisis to remove even more of our rights, and still we do nothing! they have essentially won…and they continue to test us to see how muich they can get away with before someone actually stands up and does something about it. Why don't you write a book about that Rusty. That would be a helluva book. Good luck getting it published.

  27. Alkibeachtrash

    Like Jordan Maxwell said, the government GETS exactly what it WANTS. We can go beat Hitler and the Nazis, we can go to Iraq and capture Sadaam Hussein, but we cannot institute a better educational system? They are getting EXACTLY what they pay for in terms of education. If they were not getting exactly what they wanted they would certainly change it.

  28. Tyler

    I recently watched some specials and learned some things about the history of the electrical system in this country. Edison was not the great man that he is taught as in a history book. Just an example of what you're referring to J-Bird.

  29. Alkibeachtrash

    'As someone who has spent a lot of time teaching elementary school children, over the past five years (including summer school for the past month), I think I can say that her perspective misses a lot of the complexity of actual education. I completely agree that standardized testing can strip education down to its bare minimum, and negatively impact learning, but that doesn't really indicate an attempt at “brainwashing” by a “secretive government.”'

    No, not by itself, but a full and complete understanding of history RELLY DOES indicate such.

  30. Barb

    In regard to the last two comments: I am troubled by these ad hominem responses. You discredit or dismiss her eloquent argument because she is young and therefore inexperienced, and possibly priviledged (that she is lucky to get an education). I think what you are experiencing now is cognitive dissonance; essentially, you're fighting to hang on to a unsustainable paradigm in its death throes. Remember it was an “avant-garde tenth grade teacher” and not the education system that facilitated her drive to think critically, to truly excel and to demonstrate a wisdom I wished I had at that age. Bravo.

  31. Joe

    Albert Einstein was a fraud. In his Special Theory of Relativity he expects us to believe that of two identical clocks each one can run faster (or slower) than the other. This is impossible and the theory is easily refuted. In his General Theory of Relativity we are expected to believe that matter can warp a completely fictional entity known as “space-time”. This again is complete nonsense – how can you warp NOTHING? And why do academics toe the line?

    It most definitely? is a conspiracy. Overlooking blatant mistakes and ignoring obvious illogicalities (euphemism: “paradoxes”), that a child laughs at, is not human nature – unless the human intellect has been coralled, dumbed down and irretrievably stunted. How does one explain academical adherence to nonsense? Maybe it's pensions, grants, salaries, peer group pressure and herd-mentality, or worse: shut up…or else.

    All those “proves Einstein right” experiments have been questioned by heavyweights in the field and no satisfactory answers have been given. Remember the Venus fiasco. All these experimental results need not invoke Einstein for explanation. If time dilation is possible in the real world, then it is in no way explained or even described correctly by Einstein's special and general hogwashes where he juxtaposes, willy-nilly, clock time and elapsed time. Read Professor Herbert Dingle's “Science at the Crossroads”, and how he was defeated by the Matrix.

    It's not only in cosmology and astronomy. It's the same in archaeology, geology, history, religion, economics etc, etc – where the truth is systematically being denied us and covered up to be replaced by laughable absurdities. You may wish to learn who is imposing the Matrix, and how and why.

    When a brain-dead newsreader tells you your country has x zillions of debt, have you never asked “Gee, who do we owe all that money to?” The International Bankers? (IBs) with their global network of central banks is the correct answer. So how do they create this credit to loan to governments at interest for which we have to pay taxes? The correct answer is: it's a scam.

    “The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight of hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin … The? Bankers own the earth … if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, let them continue to create money and control credit.”
    - Sir Josiah Stamp, Director, Bank of England (the UK's Central Bank), in the 1920s

    Basically, by using fractional reserve banking, if the central banks loan a government y millions (by swapping government bonds for credit), they can then loan commercial banks and other financial institutions 10y millions at a discount rate. These 10y millions are not covered by their assets and deposits, they're covered by the taxpayers – as we and our descendants will find to our cost. This is money/credit created out of thin air. The commercial banks, et al, can then do likewise and charge us any interest.

    The present – completely unnecessary – global recession and “credit crunch” (hahaha) are all about the IBs calling in their loan debts (on money they have created out of nothing) and owning the entire Earth. The elite IBs are, almost to a man, of the same? tribe as Einstein: Khazar-Jews. The latter also own or control nearly – if not – all of the major global media. These are our Matrix imposers, with millions of their minions (including elite Gentiles) being the Matrix enforcers.

    The Universe is not driven by the weakest force in Nature known as “gravity” – some ten to the power of 39 times weaker than proton-proton or electron-electron repulsion, or electron-proton attraction – but by electromagnetism and plasma physics. It's an Electric Universe, maybe infinite and eternal. Gravity is probably electrical – you don't think the most massive dinosaurs could have been able to stand up, let alone walk and run or fly, in the Earth's present-day gravity and atmosphere, do you?

    If the universe were driven by attraction-only gravity, it would have collapsed long ago. It most surely stands to reason that for the very big jobs, Nature would use the strongest attractive and repulsive forces at its disposal. The Big Bang, Black Holes, neutron stars, dark matter, dark energy, warped spacetime and other fancy gobbledygook are impossible, laughable absurdities. Without Einstein, but with a Maxwell-Lorentz ether, a gravity-driven universe would never have got off the ground.

    Admitting an electric universe opens the door and could lead (as Nikola Tesla well knew) to free energy. To the Matrix imposers who want to own us by monitoring, tracking, metering and charging us for everything: That is Forbidden!

    In order to understand what our ancestors were trying to tell us, we have to understand how the Solar System really formed. The Earth has experienced major, literally earth-shattering and terra-forming, catastrophies in the past – it was one hell of a ride for our ancestors some 5,000-10,000 years ago. Why do you think the planet Venus was obsessively monitored worldwide and made, among many motifs, a ravaging witch-on-a-broomstick and a beautiful virgin goddess by nearly all cultures? Why was the planet Mars made the god of war? Why was the planet Saturn described as an ancient sun?

    There is only one answer: the Solar System we see today is radically different from the one our ancestors saw; and almost all major myths, worldwide, are describing the life and violent death (Armageddon; Ragnarok; etc.) of the longlived Saturnian Golden Age (The Otherworld) and the creation of the present Solar System (The Apocalypse: New Earth, New Heaven, New World). But they are not myths: they are a true record of what our ancestors actually experienced, up close and personal.

    For our ancestors, this – the creation of the Solar System as we know it – is when time began; and it could be measured, for they could now see the present metronomic Sun, Moon and the stars; and it was also the time of a massive leap in human consciousness – literally shocked into a higher level – with the consequent birth of civilizations: the Earth and all its inhabitants became fully plugged into the Electric Universe. Let there be Light.

    The archetypical Red Dragon symbolizes the planet Mars. The planet Mars – to countless cultures worldwide – was the saviour of mankind, god of war, redeemer, healer, pest and disease bringer, destroyer of worlds, miracle worker, fertility god, etc…etc, who sacrificed it/himself to save the Earth by being crucified on the Axis Mundi, Tree of Life, Navel or Mountain of the Earth, World Tree, Pillars of Hercules (Atlantis, anyone?), etc…etc. These were probably all descriptions of the Birkeland Currents connecting Earth and Saturn, where Mars and Venus (and other satellites of Saturn) interacted physically and electrically with this gigantic “serpent” or “whale” or “dragon” or “behemoth” or “leviathan”, etc..etc. This coiled, hurricane-like, milky (later blood-red) column churned out the Arctic Ocean and at sometime caused the arctic fauna to be electrocuted and flash-frozen. The Earth was flooded when these Birkeland Currents (and all the water, plasma, gas, dust, boulders, rocks and debris they contained) collapsed – “slain” by Mars – and so severing Earth from Heaven. The Earth, Mars and the comet Venus (and maybe the Moon and Mercury) were now free to migrate to the inner Solar System – a perilous journey with the Earth being continually terra-formed by electric discharge machining carried out principally by Mars and Venus on their frequent close encounters with the Earth.

    Mars took a battering – wounded in the side, thigh or heel, scarred on the face, incinerated, melted, and in some cultures had had his “skull shattered to pieces” – which may well explain the creation of the Asteroid Belt. For our ancestors, the planet Mars was also their leader who brought them out of the Saturnian half-darkness (The Twilight of the Gods) into the present Solar System, out of Egypt into the land of milk and honey, as it were.

    All ancient societies, tribes, nations boast of the planets Saturn, Venus or Mars, under countless names, as being their creator, first ancestor, founder, protector, father, mother, saviour. And they believed that one day the Red Dragon will return to free his people and restore goodness to the world. Many buried their dead with red ochre and facing North where the Saturnian system, and that of course includes Mars, was once located. The Egyptians went much further in that their Pharoahs were expected to actually recreate or at least rejoin the Saturnian system – The Golden Age – in their afterlife.

    To the ancient priests of Judah, YHWH was the planet Saturn. Israel never existed on Earth – only in the Saturnian sky. Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Samson, etc..etc, were different aspects of the planets Saturn or Mars; Miriam, Esther, Ishtar, Astarte, Asherah, et al, were the planet Venus. God, Father, Elohim, El Shaddai, Jehovah, Lord of the Mountain are also the head-honcho planet Saturn. Hell, even today, their holy day – Shabbat – is the planet Saturn's day.

    Whoever wrote the New Testament gospels (probably the Romanized Maccabees) were indeed smartasses – the main character, Jesus Christ, is the planet Mars; the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, Salome, and probably other Meri/Marys, are all different aspects of the planet Venus; The whole purpose of the NT is to remind Christians to pay taxes lovingly on time (and turn the other cheek, sucker) and to unwittingly (or wittingly for some, come to think of it) worship the god of war.

    The major gods (also with many other names) of the Egyptians were: Osiris/Amun/Amen/Ra/Re – Saturn; Isis/Meri/Sekhmet – Venus; and Horus – Mars. The same trinity/triad is found in countless cultures, worldwide, eg. to the Sumerians they were Shamash, Inanna and Nergal. This triad is also depicted on the national flag of Wales. (The classic Celtic Cross symbolises the Saturnian system, depicting the Axis Mundi with Saturn, Venus and Mars atop it).

    To the ancient Welsh (Britons) and Irish, the planet Saturn (in the Otherworld, located way above the North Pole) was The Holy Grail, the magic cauldron, the head on a platter, Caer Gwydyon; Arthur (“not a king, a warlord”) of legend is the planet Mars; Branwen (White Crow), Arianrhod (Silverwheel), Olwen (White Track) and many other Welsh characters are different stages in the life of the newly-born planet Venus: Athena (Venus) did indeed come “out of the head of Zeus” (Saturn).

    And our ancestors saw it all.

    —————————————

    The Deceiving of Huan – [The Darkening of Saturn]

    Peniarth MS 112 880-881

    [See: http://www.maryjones.us/ctexts/huan.html ; The Saturn Theory: http://www.maverickscience.com/saturn.htm ; and Thunderbolts of the Gods: http://www.thunderbolts.info ]

    The wife [Venus] of Huan(1) [Sun] ap Dôn(2) [Sky goddess, cf. Hathor] was a party to the killing of her husband [Mars. Venus interacted electrically with both Saturn and Mars and was, just like Isis (Venus) with Osiris (Saturn) and Horus (Mars), considered the “wife” of both of them and also the “mother” of Mars], and she [Venus] said that he [Mars] had gone to hunt away from home [left the Saturnian System]. And his father, Gwydion [Saturn], the King of Gwynedd [White or Blessed Land], traversed all countries in search of him [Mars], and at last made Caer Gwydion(3) [Saturn Citadel. cf. Homer's Troy – not to be confused with the two-bit Hisarlik], that is the via lactea [Milky Way – but not as we know it – cf. Hathor], which is in the sky, to seek him. And he found him in heaven, where was his soul [Mars had taken a battering – wounded in the side, thigh or heel, scarred on the face, incinerated, melted, and in some cultures had had his “skull shattered to pieces” – which may well explain the creation of the Asteroid Belt]. And for that he turned the young wife [Venus] into a bird [maybe owl – many cultures have this motif for Venus; but could also be Branwen – White (female) Crow/Raven – also a common Venus archetype; Raven for Saturn and Raven-Boy for Mars were common epithets among the Native Americans] and she [Venus] fled [became a comet] from her father-in-law [and “husband”, Saturn], and [he, Saturn] is called to this day Twyll Huan(4) [Tywyll Huan – Dark Sun. Twyll (deceit) and tywyll (dark) sound almost identical]. Thus, after the manner of the Greeks, the Britons formerly treated their stories and tales [true history] in order to keep them in memory [if they were merely stories and tales they would not have kept them so assiduously, meticulously, in memory; and certainly not the etymology of the word for an owl !].

    NOTES

    1. Huan ap Dôn [Sun of the Sky]: the figure here is obviously [I beg to differ] Lleu Llaw Gyffes [Mars. Gyffes is cyffes – “confession” or “acknowledgement”. I suggest Left Hand Light: facing east to the present Sunrise, the right (Welsh “de”) hand (“llaw”) would be to the south (also “de”), the raised left hand would be to the north, acknowledging where the Saturnian system was once located, way above the North Pole], and this short text is a retelling of the final section of the Mabinogi [Mabinogion: Mabyn o g(wyd)yon – Children from/of Saturn); why his name is Huan, “Sun,” is a difficult question (see note 3). [In many cultures worldwide, Saturn is described as an ancient or dark sun]. “Lleu” is certainly derived from Lugh, in which the “gh” is essentially silent; Lugh is in turn derived from “Lugus”, which ultimately derives from the hypothetical proto-Indo-European *Leug- “oath/swear.” In other words, he is originally the god of the oath, Dumezil's Mitra to Nuada's Varuna. Thus, Lleu was not originally a god of light; however, the similarity between *leug- (oath) and *leuk- (light) may have influenced the idea that Lugus (and thus Lugh and Lleu) was somehow associated with light, at least in late Iron Age/early medieval thought. [Lleu is light, as in modern Welsh lleuad – moon; or goleuad – light or luminary].

    2. Huan/Lleu's [Saturn/Mars] pedigree here is confusing, as traditionally his [Lleu's] mother is Arianrhod [Silver Wheel. Saturn-Venus electric-discharge intercourse, where Venus looked like a silver wheel from Earth], making Dôn [Sky] his grandmother [same sky]. Moreover, Gwydion [Saturn] is also the son of Dôn [Sky], and so Lleu/Huan [they are not the same entity] would be the product of Gwydion's incest, either with his sister or his mother; the sister is more likely. [Blimey. Since they are the sky and planets, no incest is involved].

    3. Caer Gwydion: there is some tradition that the Milky Way is called Caer Wydyon in Welsh; whether this is actual medieval tradition, or influenced by the antiquarians, I am not sure. [cf. Hathor/Nut – Supreme Sky and Milk goddess – depicted as a sky-arch with teats, with all the god-planets “beneath her feet”. However, Saturn Citadel is a much better interpretation of Caer Gwydion].

    4. Twyll Huan [literally “Deception Sun” – does not make sense]: The story is an attempt to explain the word tylluan, the owl. [No, this is nonsense by Mr Jones, hiding the true meaning: the dimming or darkening of Saturn]. In this bit of folk etymology, tylluan is divided into twyll [there is no justification in adding a “w”; tyll does not sound like twyll] and (h)uan [there is no justification in adding the “h”], the sun. Thus, the composer changed Lleu's name to Huan, [this assumption should never have been made], which he may have thought fitting. [Ha!, it's what Mr Jones thought “fitting”].

    [In modern Welsh, the Sun is Haul (m); Huan (f) is not commonly used].

    SOURCE
    Jones, T. Gwynn. Welsh Folklore and Folk-Custom. London: Methuen & Co. LTD, 1930. p.16.

  32. Agadinmar

    so….. how does your information…., which I understand as factual, have any reference to the above article and speech…. you should be posting this on David Icke's site or William Henry's or Jordan Maxwell's … I understand your point, but in this context, it's pointless……

  33. blah

    Michael is correct. While the speech is great, her comments show a disturbing lack of knowledge with regards to economics (as do the comments posted here) However, you can hardly blame her she is after all just product of our liberal education system that ignores the importance of the subject.

  34. Robert

    your dam right I am serious you better wake up
    more stimulus bailouts will be coming before november
    more raping of the american tax payers while bank bonuses are in the billions

    enjoy the new world order WATCH THE MOVIE GREEN ZONE
    they are rubbing it in the faces of americka THERE WAS NO wmd's in iraq

    911 was a inside job
    wake up

  35. Integrity

    your dam right I am serious amerika the communist ten planks of the manifesto

    is running just like the bilderburgs wanted RIGHT INTO THE WORST DEPRESSION THE WORLD WILL EVER KNOW

  36. David Robertson

    OK. It reminds me of the speech made by John Cusack's girlfriend in “Say Anything” played by Sky something or other. Not to demean it or anything, it was a good speech, as was the one in the movie.

    Like Erica I always found money to be a poor motivator, for me that is; it seems to work for others.

    I am back in the UK now but I worked in the North America financial markets for 25 years so you could say I have some experience with this money thing. It is the most soul (life) destroying environment imaginable.

    I came to the same conclusions as Erica a long time ago but I found the answer in the Christian faith … not the religion per se but the person of Jesus Christ. I also looked into Zen and all the other possible paths until I came to the One path that is true.

    It is my guess that Erica is Jewish so it is going to be difficult for her to find Jesus but you know, she doesn't have to try 'cos He will find her; in fact he already has…

  37. Joe

    Idiot. It shows that the truth is deliberately not being taught in our schools, colleges and universities – just like the girl said. Get with it, clown.

  38. David

    Do you want your bridges and buildings to stay up, your circuits to work?

    She is not an engineer. She doesn't know how to be an engineer. If she completes an engineering curriculum she will start to know enough to be an engineer.

    If that's robotic, thank goodness for robots.

    I've been there. I had to conform to get A's thru HS, I became very good at knowing the answer they wanted and giving it to them.. I had 4.0 in HS and it was a chore making sure that every grade was A. (We didn't have a single valedictorian since several people had 4.0.)

    Engineering school was 100 times harder than HS. I got a lot more education out of it too. The old method of giving them the answer they wanted didn't work any more. I had to give my own answer, and it had to be right.

    A HS graduate should not say she can be an engineer. It is, frankly, not honest.

  39. David

    As I said in another comment above, I have no cognitive dissonance. I was there. I knew how to give the expected answer in HS. Then I found out that university education was a whole different ballgame.

    It's silly to ask HS graduates to give speeches. They'll say silly things because they cannot yet know better. But I'm sure she got into a good university, and if she takes a challenging major, she'll have the opportunity for an experience without the problems she rightly describes in HS.

    The problem is that HS is somewhat one-size-fits-all, a certification process. She got certified as very competent at the HS level, so now she moves onto the next level. And there are many more levels, she just doesn't know it yet.

  40. dlbryan

    In reply to “David” who referred to “callow” youth, and “mere high school students,” I can assure you that as the teacher who was so honored by Ms. Goldson's mention of me in her speech, she is worth 20 of those, such as you, who are so well “educated.” Perhaps you'd do well to learn the difference between intelligent and “educated.” Your post was repulsive.

  41. dlbryan

    And one more note, to Barb. who lucidly recognized ad hominem attacks. Ms. Goldson is made to seem like a privileged girl who is confused. I again assure you that she came to her conclusions through much hard, and sometimes heart-wrenching, work and observation. We worked tirelessly together assessing, comparing, investigating, and seeing daily, over four years, living examples of exactly what she came to write about. This is a young woman, yes, young, heaven forgive her for being such, who has a native ability to draw conclusions based upon cause and effect continuums. She is not a disaffected child of privilege complaining, nor is she going to a brand-name, elite university. Nearly all of her critics, and there have been very, very few on the now just under 300 websites on which her speech has been posted, have made comments that indicate a complete absence of the understanding of metaphor, logic, and semantics, not to mention the social system in which we all must operate. In other words, they completely support exactly what she has tried, very lovingly, and very bravely to communicate.

  42. Jesse

    Could you please elaborate? In what way does a “complete understanding of history” indicate the use of public education to brainwash students?

  43. Jesse

    I think what JPOSBORN was trying to say was not that Ms. Goldman's argument ought to be disregarded, but that it only represents one side of a complex problem.

    For example, if Ms. Goldman had been born into an impoverished family, free public education would present her an option to escape financial concerns — theoretically by succeeding in high school, moving on to college at a government-funded state university or with government-supported financial aid, and eventually finding a satisfying job with a good pay. Now, some might say this is just another form of government control and brainwashing, but by that rationale, everything is brainwashing. Our discussion here is as much a form of brainwashing as public education is.

    Another example brought forth by JPOSBORN is children with learning disabilities. If you or I suffered from a learning disability, public education could help make us more independent, better decision-makers. It could help us learn to read and do math which, without the aid of a teacher — a teacher who is provided free, without strings attached — would be quite impossible.

    Poor and learning disabled students are among those who stand to gain the most from public education, with or without the eye-opening, avant-garde teacher. So, before you write off public education entirely, keep those most under-served groups in mind.

  44. Jesse

    I wonder, though, Ms. Bryan — do you really feel that this system is inherently wrong? I certainly agree that there are flaws, and they are many, but does that necessarily mean that orienting education toward a financially “successful” career is a bad idea in itself?

  45. Agadinmar

    Douchebag. It would have been simpler and more understandable to suggest it with some easily exampled obviously contradictory information rather than copy and paste your personal doctoral thesis (really a conglom of available understandings from a myriad of 'occult sources'). It looked more like you were presenting yourself as the 'Paradigm Of All Understanding'. Wank-master.

  46. Agadinmar

    I get your understanding.. but, if you were to count all the most succesful and unique individuals on the planet, you may find that the largest part of that group were those who had much less of the 'standardized education' and struck out on their own early, fertilizing their own inspirations, garnering a harvest of unique and powerful creativity. Financial gain follows that kind of expression far more often than being an excellent 'anything' normal.

  47. Agadinmar

    I think he means that the work towards perfection of the self will uncover the 'christ conciousness' or 'perfection of understanding' that it within us, not without. As those who wrote of this over thousands of years in the literary code of allegory suggested, 'The Kingdom of God is within you.' Stuck in an paradigm of comparative religions some have to accept definitions that are presented to them, in whatever manner, to express their unique individuality so that others, and themselves might accept them. Putting a name on perfection makes it less than perfect. Of couse, I'm a 55 year old pot-headed pagan who thinks that David Icke, Jordon Maxwell, Acharia S., William Henry and the like have got the bulk of it figured out. At least as best that the most creative minds of human understanding can accomplish.

  48. Agadinmar

    I had a teacher like you in High School….. she saw an oddity in me that gave her an opportunity to suggest reading material that was way off the list. I never took the opportunity to thank her directly so, I will thank her by thanking you.

  49. waldo

    Let me take the liberty, Alkibeaachtrash, to re-phrase your term to. “an understanding of the

    truth of history”. 'Integrity' had an earlier post showing some excellent websites (among so

    many out there) From there you can go on a long series of links which will reveal this truth.

    Sure, Jesse, you could theoretically extract some true worth from the public education system

    It's just that it's so damned muddled. Nothing less than a complete and dramatic overhaul will

    do at this point. One that would reflect the kind of overhaul needed by the whole damn World!

    There are basically two kinds of people in this World. One is populated by the vast majority

    who simply want to live and let live. The others are those who have have varying degrees of

    a pathological need to be control freaks. And ousting these latter ones from their positions

    of authority is where the complete and dramatic overhaul begins.

  50. waldo

    How ironic. Unwittingly, you have just borne out what the valedictorian is talking about with all the indoctrinating ways of this World. You hit on some interesting cosmologies, especially when repudiating Einstein, but ultimately methinks you are simply talking about various Annunaki-like maneuverings within the general matrix construct.

  51. Jesse

    I completely agree with you that the “most successful and unique individuals” do not necessarily take the “normal” education path, but here is my concern: these people are one in a million. Not everyone can be rich and famous — these are relative distinctions which are inherently limited to very few people in society. However, in this country, nearly everyone has the opportunity to enjoy a very high standard of living and avoid poverty and suffering. Public education is not intended for the select few who will become authors or artists or millionaires. It is intended for the rest of us — who, with or without the education, will never be rich or famous, but hopefully, with the help of a teacher, can become, at the very least, financially stable.

    P.S. This is also not to say that education strips us of the ability to create art or be wildly successful. Anton Chekhov immediately springs to mind — although one of the renowned authors of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, he was first and foremost physician. He considered writing his hobby and medical work his career.

  52. Joe

    Dickhead. Take that childish gob-stopper out of your filthy mouth. “Occult sources”? Don't be a knobhead. The info I have written has been available and in the open for generations- available to every enquiring mind that has had enough of the complete bullshit being taught us. You and your one brain-cell obviously don't give a damn. Now take your drivel and multilated 2-inch dick and get the hell outta here. You are useless garbage.

  53. Greizer

    If only we could produce a million more students that come to the same realization that Erica
    has after the indoctrination of our children's brains , we might have a chance for a different kind of future . Our kids are the best hope we have for a change in the right direction. Unfortunately not too many students will awaken to the truth as this young valedictorian has. Wonderful speech, onr that tells me there still might be hope for this world. Her speech is a flicker of light in an ever darkening future.

  54. Agadinmar

    Wing-nut! I never understood why that's an insult, but…. Occult just means hidden, of course you know that already…. Now you really should be laughing…..because it's obvious by my comment that I actually agree with you …… but it sure seemed like you needed to tell eveyone the 'occult' history of the world in one comment … like trying to drink from a firehose…. a little dab would have done well and more people would probably have read it….
    just trying to help… Is knobhead and dickhead the same thing? Most people don't realize they've been fed bullshit when it's labeled 'cream tarts' … the vitriol in your response suggests yer mad at the world and I just made the mistake of suggesting that your delivery is a tad overwhelming… but ok… and what does my multilated 2 inch dick have to do with it!!? Flatulant Mongrel. heeheehee ;) Smile and get the joke, because it's on you … and me.. and all of us.

  55. Agadinmar

    You are correct, sir! Well, in my humbug opinion, anyway. But I would tend to disagree about the point that not everyone can be millionaires and famous….. that is true mostly because of the number of people that are cowed into submission by the system and find there way as 'normal'… I would suggest that every human being has a culture of creatitiy inside but it does take some kind of unique impetus and personal grit to actually bring it to the fore. I do like the Chekov reference…. I know many 'normals' who have expressed their unique selves through hobbies or art simply because eveyone can't be millionaires or famous and I do think that the media machine chooses artisit product that they can purvey upon the public in a fashion that makes the cosnumer that this kind of personal expansion is unavailable to the masses.. and can only bed accepted from the few… of course that in itself is a subtle kind of tyanny. Thanks !!

  56. dlbryan

    Thank you, Agadinmar, for your kind comments…I would bet that your teacher had a knack for knowing who was vibrant and paying attention and knew those things were true about you. And to you, Jesse, no I certainly do not think that learning how to be financially independent is inerhently a bad thing, if I may paraphrase you. But, it is the end that is the given the most credence not only by teachers and administrators to their students, but by the wider culture. I know that this is a well-discussed point of view, but the individuals most valued in our culture are those with the biggest bank accounts. I discuss these kinds of ideas with my students all the time. When I ask them, on the first day of school, “Why do you come to school?” the most common reply is to “get a good job and make lots of money.” Again, independence is desirable, but the reply is almost always offered reflexively, as though a button were pushed and that there is only one stock response that would be acceptable to such a query. These are all complex questions, many of the postings here are balanced and recognize the nature of the conundrum we all must take into consideration. As a teacher, my impetus has always been, “What am I teaching against?” not “What am I teaching for?” What is so troubling to me is the level of conditioning that young people are subjected to and the sometimes seemingly utter lack of respect they get from the adults in their orbit. I can assure you, that no matter how much lip service is given to the idea that we value kids and education above all else, it very seldom is true. Rules are bent, best practices are trumped by political and economic concerns, prejudices against kids because of their background, abilities, financial status, and so much else, exist, rampantly, whether they are those of individuals or are institutionalized. And students are not the only ones treated this way…faculty members are ground through sorting machines and are expected to swallow at best foolish ideals and at worst lies about what goes on, and heaven help a teacher who is truly committed or intellectual.

    Most kids are thirsty for the adults in their lives to tell them the truth…about matters small and large..they know they are being snowed, they know that the curricula is designed to perpetuate the agendas of the powerful, they are the ones suffering through it. But, they have been taught to rationalize it all away because they have been told that being part of and accepting this system is the only way they WILL be successful. There is so much that could be done differently, so much. And if I may switch the topic a bit, the biggest most pernicious obstacle young people, and all citizens face, in my view and in that of many others, is the complete control of media and information. I tell my kids that they must fight to make sure that the Internet remains free and vibrant. So many go to school and suffer through meaningless curricula and in their own time are reading and learning so much that's truthful and useful via the web.

    Perhaps I am rambling a bit now, but the problems are deeply cultural. We are an anti-intellectual society. The smart, aware, active kids are villified for being “geeks,” and the ones who struggle are equally tortured for not being “like” everyone else. John Lennon said it best in “Working Class Hero:” … “They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool.”

    I strongly encourage everyone to read John Taylor Gatto's “Underground History of American Education,” and anything by Henry Giroux, Paolo Freire, and Neil Postman….Gatto's book is a tour de force and his meticulous research and anecdotal experiences do sooooo much to clarify these difficult obstacles we all face. In the end, I guess I am arguing for kids to be valued, not manipulated, and though I could spend hours discussing education from many angles: political, social, and practical….in the end, it is glaringly obvious that things could be so different…. Thanks for your thoughtful question and for considering my reply. D. Bryan

  57. Eudaemonia2000

    Don't be ridiculous. Who are “they”???? We are they. You are they. Just be who you want to be. Don't concern yourself with “they”. Stop blaming all your problems on anyone outside yourself. You are not controlled by outside forces. Ony you have control over your own thoughts and your own mind and your own choices. Grow up. Take responsibilty for yourself.

  58. Eudaemonia2000

    Did you stomp off after writing this enlightened, educated, and informed response to Michael? Discussion over. Talk to the hand. Whatever.

  59. Eudaemonia2000

    The worst depression the world will ever know?? Wow. Are you psychic or something? Our industrialized world is pretty young compared to the pre-industrialized world. Depressions are a recent development. Maybe all six billion of us ought to go back to living like Native American Indians lived prior to 1490, and call it good. What do you think? Are you with me? (Just kidding, BTW.)

  60. Eudaemonia2000

    Good for you! You have it all figured out. If this knowledge helps you live a happy fulfilled life, then we're all for it, and for you! Good luck to you, and God Bless.

  61. Jesse

    You are very right, Ms. Bryan. People have a habit of equating money with happiness, though the two have very little actual connection. However, I don't think that there is usually an evil intent behind this. More than anything, it is human nature. I agree with you that “Rules are bent, best practices are trumped by political and economic concerns,” and education is otherwise compromised by outside factors. The key here is compromise. Because education is far too complex and contradictory a process to institute perfectly every time, we must find the best mix of everything — creativity, hard work, enjoyment, authority, socialization, learning, and many other aspects. Of course, this means that sometimes creativity has to be subjugated in order to accommodate hard work, and vice versa. Both are important parts of the process of education.

    To put this in perspective, consider Adam (not his real name). Adam is in first grade. I taught him last month during a 4-week summer school program (not “summer school” in the disciplinary sense as much as in the preparatory sense). Adam lives in a poor Hispanic neighborhood and goes to a Title One school (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elementary_and_Sec…). He has a lot of determination and individualism, a very short attention span, and a lot of creativity. The question of how best to approach teaching him was very difficult. He very often did not listen to what I asked or told him — it would seem as if he didn't hear it at all, though I know he did. So I had to decide whether punishing him for disobedience would force him to focus and help him learn better, or only make him angry, bitter, and alienated. I tried to treat him with compassion while still forcing him to do what I expected of all of my students. I am not certain of my decision, and I am not certain of whether I helped or hurt him in the end. When I first began teaching, I believed that empathy and compassion were enough to be truly successful as a teacher, but I have found that reality is slightly more complex than that. I realized that being the good guy does not always help my students. So, I compromise. I sometimes play the authoritarian, or stifle creativity for a little while, because it accomplishes something. Because that's what life is like, whether I like it or not.

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