Recipient of numerous New York City Teacher of the Year awards and one New York State Teacher of the Year award, John Taylor Gatto came and gave two speeches at our state's annual home education conference over ten years ago. I knew the principles he taught were correct: Youth are capable of GREAT things if you give them leadership opportunities and learning experiences that both inspire and challenge. He beautifully illustrated these principles through sharing example after example from his former students, from young people throughout history and from stories he had clipped from the local newspaper.
Funny thing though, in spite of Gatto achieving astounding results with his 12-13 year old students from 'less than ideal' backgrounds, he was constantly 'fighting' with administrator's in the various schools where he taught. They didn't approve of him doing things differently, regardless of effectiveness. Parents were praising him and giving him awards while the public school system saw him as an enemy to their goals. (This fact alone ought to cause parents to pause and question just what those "goals" might be. Just a thought...) So after 30 years in the system he quit and was booked for several years straight speaking to educators all across the country.