Both articles heavily express concerns about the contemporary student. The main issue in focus tends to be in the way modern education has taken wave and the way it tends to align itself. Both parties tend to highlight major concerns derailing the way students should acquire education. They both tend to raise the question as to whether the current education systems educate students or if they merely insist on routine. Do they turn the students into mortal schooling robots who are forced to follow school routine contrary to their interests and likings? The issues expressed in both articles tend to concentrate on whether the schooling institution is committed to preparing the young generation to the real-time world and life events. This then poses the question what the relevance of the education system is. This essay tends to explore, compare and contrast the various issues.
The absurdity that the education system presents to the contemporary student tends to be illustrated with a great emphasis. This tends to be given great detail in both texts. Gatto in his speech titled ‘Why schools don’t teach’ tends to explain but not limit his discussion on this issue (Gatto). He explicitly explains how the school has turned the contemporary student into a real-time machine, a machine that obeys rules and instructions beyond own will and interest. He highlights a typical situation in which a student sits listening to the teacher read a poetic book, yet having building and construction in mind. Conversely, the teacher chooses to read about building and construction, while the student remains obsessed with poetry. This clearly brings to light the fact that contemporary students are faced with a situation in which they merely follow routine. The contemporary student is denied an opportunity to chase his (or her) life dreams and interests. The excerpt ‘Unforgettable Miss Bessie’ tends to highlight the same view explicitly. The author characterizes a situation in which Miss Bessie notices that there are things that do not have to do with education but are essential for cognitive and social development (Rowan). This clearly explains the absurdity in the education system in that it tends to restrict and limit the student schoolwork and routine.
The contemporary student’s life tends to be controlled by two things, as presented by Gatto. Television and school tend to occupy a significantly huge amount of time, so that students do not get time to build castles in the air, think about their life dreams, careers and personal interests. They tend to be glued to television, at least something they can choose to avoid. The speech introduces an unexpected twist in which a rich child is less glued to television; however, he (or she) equally spends that time in modern entertainment due to the diversity presented to him/her. The author arithmetically calculates the time spent by a modern student on television and schooling. Much of this time is, however, not spent on education. It is spent on eating, television, preparing for school, and sleeping. The author estimates the private time for students to be 9 hours. This then raises the question whether this time is enough for a student to self-internalize. On the contrary, in the article ‘Unforgettable Miss Bessie’, the student is not faced with real time distracts like television. The student is depicted to be in a situation in which the modernity of life is at least a decade or even a century away. The student at this time is faced with poverty and has no modern entertainment material. The student is in fact depicted to live in a house without electricity. However, of great concern in this case is that the student gets self-inspiration to use a kerosene lamp to study, something totally different to the situation in the contemporary context, in which the student is completely tied to school routine and modern entertainment either by will or coercion, as is in the case of school bells, timetables, and homework. This, in Gatto’s own words, is a way of creating cosmetic beings that become dependent and not self-reliable and innovative. The contemporary student tends to be faced with a great many distractions that cannot be exhausted but at least highlighted in a single essay. It may however be striking that the issues touched on may not be exhaustive, and one may want to explore issues like narcotic use that get big sales to schooling children, recreational sex, gambling, and alcohol. This among others should put contemporary education to attention and major concern.