If you (parent, student, teacher, or casual observer) question the rationale behind organized schooling, then the works of John Taylor Gatto are a must read. Gatto boldly writes and speaks about how organized schooling has ruined the lives of children for a century, and continues to ruin their lives . . . and ultimately, society itself.
Gatto taught 30 years in public schools before resigning from schoolteaching on the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal during the year he was named New York State’s official “Teacher of the Year.” Since then he has traveled three million miles lecturing on school reform. He writes the following about compulsory schooling in his book entitled Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling: ”I belong to some networks myself, of course, but the only ones I consider completely safe are the ones that reject their communal façade, acknowledge their limits, and concentrate solely on helping me do a specific and necessary task. But a vampire network like a school, which tears off huge chunks of time and energy needed for building community and family and always asks for more needs to have a stake driven through its heart and be nailed into its coffin. The feeding frenzy of formal schooling has already wounded us seriously in our ability to form families and communities, by bleeding away time we need with our children and our children need with us. That’s why I say we need less school, not more.”
Dumbing us Down was not the end to Gatto’s campaign against compulsory schooling. He further lays out the evils of compulsory schooling in his book entitled Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling.
Education Revolution says the following about Gatto: “John Taylor Gatto’s Weapons of Mass Instruction focuses on mechanisms of familiar schooling which cripple imagination, discourage critical thinking, and create a false view of learning as a by-product of rote-memorization drills. Weapons of Mass Instruction promises to add another chilling metaphor to the brief against schooling.”
Gatto paints a dark, disturbing picture about the state of compulsory schooling. Everyone – including you, dear reader – should know the truth behind what is really happening in our schools. If enough people learn about what is really happening in our schools, then maybe a revolution can take place in which relevant and meaningful eduction will replace the meaningless, forced schooling that presently dumbs students down.