counter create hit The Underground History of American Education: An Intimate Investigation Into the Prison of Modern Schooling - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The Underground History of American Education: An Intimate Investigation Into the Prison of Modern Schooling

Availability: Ready to download

"The World's Most Courageous Teacher" reveals the inner circle secrets of the American school system. The legendary schoolteacher, John Taylor Gatto, invested over 10 years of dedicated research to uncover some of the most alarming ideas and writings by the creators and advocates of mandatory attendance schooling, which show where the system came from and why it was create "The World's Most Courageous Teacher" reveals the inner circle secrets of the American school system. The legendary schoolteacher, John Taylor Gatto, invested over 10 years of dedicated research to uncover some of the most alarming ideas and writings by the creators and advocates of mandatory attendance schooling, which show where the system came from and why it was created. He combined these facts with his personal experience as a teacher for 30 years in New York public schools, where he won many awards, including being named State Teacher of the Year twice, and has authored an all-time classic.


Compare
Ads Banner

"The World's Most Courageous Teacher" reveals the inner circle secrets of the American school system. The legendary schoolteacher, John Taylor Gatto, invested over 10 years of dedicated research to uncover some of the most alarming ideas and writings by the creators and advocates of mandatory attendance schooling, which show where the system came from and why it was create "The World's Most Courageous Teacher" reveals the inner circle secrets of the American school system. The legendary schoolteacher, John Taylor Gatto, invested over 10 years of dedicated research to uncover some of the most alarming ideas and writings by the creators and advocates of mandatory attendance schooling, which show where the system came from and why it was created. He combined these facts with his personal experience as a teacher for 30 years in New York public schools, where he won many awards, including being named State Teacher of the Year twice, and has authored an all-time classic.

30 review for The Underground History of American Education: An Intimate Investigation Into the Prison of Modern Schooling

  1. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Book online at the author's website Ah, for the good old days, back before child labor laws, back when no had time for such inventions as "adolescence", back when one could sing a cute song about darkies or niggers without being a racist, back when flogging children in the name of civility was a good thing, though Gatto seems to be of mixed opinion about his own whipping for mispronouncing French verbs. This book could have started in Chapter 17 and made many of the same points without the self-in Book online at the author's website Ah, for the good old days, back before child labor laws, back when no had time for such inventions as "adolescence", back when one could sing a cute song about darkies or niggers without being a racist, back when flogging children in the name of civility was a good thing, though Gatto seems to be of mixed opinion about his own whipping for mispronouncing French verbs. This book could have started in Chapter 17 and made many of the same points without the self-indulgence of the previous 16 chapters of "research". Then again, such is the world of self-publishing. I agree that the American school system is far from ideal. Most people I know would agree that the one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work for many. There's no accommodation of different developmental schedules for different children, different learning styles, different personalities. The current "epidemic" of ADHD and similar "disorders" indicates that we have pathologized a normal aspect of childhood behavior. Bullying is tolerated, conformity is required. We have devalued vocational education, relegating it to kids who are considered "too stupid" to make it on the college track, by which we also devalue university education by making it an expectation for everyone. Several of the suggestions Gatto makes in the very last subchapter even make sense. And I love this description of school administrators: "Their job isn't about children; it's about systems maintenance." But overall, this book is a collection of anecdotes, irrelevancies, and faulty logic presented as a coherent treatise. Much of my criticism is also commonly leveled against many critics of conventional education. Not every parent or set of parents has the skill and income level for homeschooling or unschooling. And it's very impractical to get education in subjects the parents may not be able to cover without attending a classroom, presumably in an institution of learning. A parent who can homeschool well can also steer and support all but the most square of pegs through the conventional school system. Not all schools are the bureaucratic extreme Gatto describes; I'd venture to say most aren't. Mine wasn't, and mine was hardly the epitome of progressive schooling. And most kids I knew seemed to come from similar schools to mine, Gatto's pile of fan mail notwithstanding. Gatto claims that the school system makes us a nation of drones. I defy him to prove that today's society is any less drone-like, for the average person, than anything else that has come along before. A few anecdotes about successful self-educated people from days of yore doesn't mean that the average person's life was any less dreary than it is today, any more than a few anecdotes about people thriving in today’s system should prove to Gatto that he’s all wet. Homeschooling will not make everyone "Benjamin Franklin, the Wright brothers, Thomas Edison, or Henry Ford". In the days before compulsory education, most people were not "Benjamin Franklin, the Wright brothers, Thomas Edison, or Henry Ford". Not everyone left to their own or their parents' devices will become a great scholar. Not every child can be counted on to create an unschooling program that will really get them what they need. Some people really are lazy. Some simply lack the big picture. And we no longer have the kind of culture or economy where there's a lot of room for the uneducated. The industrial revolution can't be reversed. Big capitalism is here to stay too. Sure, we've had some crappy societies since the advent of compulsory education in the U.S. and Europe. Institutional racism, McCarthyism, the worse aspects of Communism...but it's not like there weren't crappy societies before. Feudalism? Slavery, hardly something to be blamed on compulsory education? Can we blame the Asian sex trade on compulsory education too? Gatto doesn't much care for higher education either. And he makes a particular point of slamming the Seven Sisters. Institutionalized education is bad enough; apparently institutionalized education for women is that much worse. One of Gatto's most egregious bits of rhetoric is his linking the charter school movement to "the same institutional consciousness which once sent river ironclads full of armed detectives to break the steel union at Homestead, machine-gunned strikers at River Rouge, and burned to death over a dozen women and children in Ludlow". And he dares complain about propagandizing in schools? One would think he'd be in favor of the charter school movement, as a lessening of institutionalization and a return to more local control of schools, but I suppose at this point it's homeschooling/unschooling or nothing for him. Then again, throughout the book there is a thread of bias, mostly Christian, and particularly Catholic, with just the right dash of libertarian fear of the New World Order. (Gatto describes himself as a lapsed Roman Catholic, but he doesn't seem to have lapsed far.) For instance, Gatto makes a point of linking modern-day Planned Parenthood to Margaret Sanger's views on eugenics. There is a historical link, to be sure, but what is the point of bringing up Planned Parenthood at all, in a book on education? A snarky aside about free condoms is more evidence of his bias against birth control, though he does mention completely neutrally that his mother had an abortion (in an autobiographical section of questionable relevance). Then there's the abrupt by-the-way dismissal of Kinsey as "bogus" with no further discussion. Gatto bemoans the omission of the religious beliefs of various important scientists in the teaching of science. And the omission of religion from school, in general. But in this day of creationism returning to the classroom, I hardly think de-religionizing is much of a concern, not to mention that taking religion out of schools is NOT the same thing as taking religion out of people's lives. He claims that religion was removed from schools because "spiritually contented" people can't be controlled. Apparently the control that churches exert over the "spiritually contented" is just fine. He also goes back to that same old argument that only religious people have a moral code. He rants about just about every foundational aspect of our society (including the purfuit of happineff) and yet goes on to talk about the "natural genius of the United States". In addition to tried-and-true anti-UN implications, Gatto also makes sure to inform us about the great Quaker conspiracy. You see, private schools are disproportionately run by Episcopalians and Quakers. No mention of how the Catholic school industry, except in the above-mentioned autobiographical segment. And that's not to mention the contaminating thread of the Old Norse Religion ("the only known major religion to have no ethical code other than pragmatism") that apparently runs through our educational system. Let us not forget, also, that leadership, sportsmanship, courage, disdain for hardship, team play, and devotion to duty are pagan values. Also, only "western religion" (whatever that is, since the Quakers and Anglicans are or at least used to be out to get us) "grant[s] dignity and responsibility to ordinary individuals, not elites". Lest he appear biased, though, Gatto adds in a footnote that "The reader is expressly cautioned not to infer that I mean to imply Buddhism is either hedonistic or without moral foundation." If he hadn't written a paragraph that pretty much implied exactly that, he wouldn’t need the footnote. There are more bizarre claims, like how school makes kids forget how they learned to walk and talk. I doubt that most homeschooled kids remember those events either. He also states that dissecting frogs leads to being willing accomplices to the humiliation of classmates. Random bits of irrelevant information are scattered throughout the book. His one-clause stand against our Social Security system is irrelevant to his case. And a footnote informs us that half a million school trips have been made to the Bronx zoo. Is this supposed to be further evidence of the ills of public schools that they contaminate their pupils by exposure to a facility founded by a racist? Or just an irrelevant footnote? Does it matter that the foreword to a racist book was written by a man who also wrote textbooks used in the 1950s? Does it matter that USC was founded by another racist? (And by "racist" here I mean a very large segment of the intellectual class of the 1920s.) Are we to judge Ford automobiles by the anti-semitic views of the company's founder going back a century? Or are these irrelevant bits of agenda just lack of editing, and the arrogance that publishing without an editor implies? Even a proofreader would have helped with mis-numbered and misplaced footnotes, but Gatto couldn't be bothered. And with all his fondness for footnotes, Gatto doesn't give evidence for claims that "a number of old-family Anglo-Saxons still consider themselves to be the real Jews", or that one of every 15 American millionaires is a dropout. His footnote collection does not include a cite for a Harvard study showing the poor have better diets than the rich. (I ain't sayin' there wasn't one, but looking online, all I found were studies showing the opposite.) In a more bizarre use of footnoting, he gives a quote attributed to the Caliph Umar, and then he calls the quote's authenticity into question with a footnote. What's the point? Putting in something he knows isn't true, justifying it with a footnote, all the while hoping his readers will skip the footnotes? Getting the statement into the reader’s unconscious just before "Your honor, I object"? It's an indictment of my own obsessive personality that I finished the book and wrote this review, but there you have it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    six stars. where do i click to give six stars? i don't even know how to convey the wonderfulness of this book. john taylor gatto taught 8th grade english for 30 years in NYC. in his final few years he was named NYC and NY State Teacher of the Year. then he quit in disgust, his resignation letter ending up published in the Wall Street Journal. he quit because he finally realised that universal compulsory schooling does ghastly harm to every human life it consumes. after he quit, he did 10 years of six stars. where do i click to give six stars? i don't even know how to convey the wonderfulness of this book. john taylor gatto taught 8th grade english for 30 years in NYC. in his final few years he was named NYC and NY State Teacher of the Year. then he quit in disgust, his resignation letter ending up published in the Wall Street Journal. he quit because he finally realised that universal compulsory schooling does ghastly harm to every human life it consumes. after he quit, he did 10 years of frantic research to find out how such a system could have come into existence. this book is so well researched, it blew me away. yes, it's about the history of education, but it's also about the history of american business, about the meaning of life, about politics, bureaucracy, philosophy, psychology, good and evil, the genius of the western outlook, utopianism, progressivism, fabianism, eugenics, phrenology, and so much more. maybe what best conveys my love of this book is the fact that i plan to write a letter to the author. i have never written a letter to an author in my life. the book can actually be read free online, in its entirety, at http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapte...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kaethe Douglas

    No, thank you. Schools do not need more input from religion, the community, or the family. As an example of this folly, I give you: sex education, where the US has the highest rate of teen pregnancy of any industrialized nation; where community and religious standards lead to abstinence-only programs which are not only free of actual facts, but actively promote doctrine which is demonstrably false, leading to the highest rate of STDs among teens in any industrialized nation. Frankly, anyone who No, thank you. Schools do not need more input from religion, the community, or the family. As an example of this folly, I give you: sex education, where the US has the highest rate of teen pregnancy of any industrialized nation; where community and religious standards lead to abstinence-only programs which are not only free of actual facts, but actively promote doctrine which is demonstrably false, leading to the highest rate of STDs among teens in any industrialized nation. Frankly, anyone who calls modern US public education "prison" is an historical idiot, and would do well to spend 12 or 16 hour days down a mine or working in a sweatshop, or as a slave picking cotton, or perhaps in a workhouse, or just starving on the streets.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Marisa

    I'm a little disenchanted with this book, I will probably be disowned from the Homeschooling world for this review, but here it goes. I thought it had some really good/interesting points, some great figures such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin became great men without formal schooling. Literacy rates went down when kids were required to go to public school. Men like Carnegie and Rockefeller did promote and fund public education to help "produce" workers, not thinkers. Teachers can do I'm a little disenchanted with this book, I will probably be disowned from the Homeschooling world for this review, but here it goes. I thought it had some really good/interesting points, some great figures such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin became great men without formal schooling. Literacy rates went down when kids were required to go to public school. Men like Carnegie and Rockefeller did promote and fund public education to help "produce" workers, not thinkers. Teachers can do a lot of damage to kids, I still hate to sing when there is a chance that someone other than my husband or kids may hear me. Thanks a lot ZANE BARRA, (7th grade choir teacher). There are definately problems with the public school system. BUT.... On the other hand, despite the system, I know that there are some great educators out there that are really making a difference in the lives of children. Just ONE example is my brother-in-law Chris. He is an amazing teacher that continually makes his kids think, makes lessons interesting and exciting, and really cares about each and every child. There are a lot of kids that thrive in the public school system, and it isn't all bad. I kind of got sick of hearing how terrible the public school system is, I have a child going to public school. Not everyone has the opportunity or means to send their children to private school or homeschool. John Gatto knows his audience and knows that they want to hear everything that is wrong with the system. Yes there are problems, but there are good things about it too. It is not going to ruin every child.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Very easy to read, hard to stomach, and impossible to refute. I battle daily at home what my children bring home from school. Minus one star for overkill. Can be read online here - http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/ Whoever controls the image and information of the past determines what and how future generations will think; whoever controls the information and images of the present determines how those same people will view the past. — George Orwell, "1984" (1949) Take at hazard one hundred c Very easy to read, hard to stomach, and impossible to refute. I battle daily at home what my children bring home from school. Minus one star for overkill. Can be read online here - http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/ Whoever controls the image and information of the past determines what and how future generations will think; whoever controls the information and images of the present determines how those same people will view the past. — George Orwell, "1984" (1949) Take at hazard one hundred children of several educated generations and one hundred uneducated children of the people and compare them in anything you please; in strength, in agility, in mind, in the ability to acquire knowledge, even in morality—and in all respects you are startled by the vast superiority on the side of the children of the uneducated. — Count Leo Tolstoy, "Education and Children" (1862)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Melinda

    Simply THE best book on what is going on in the American educational system, and why it is the way it it. John Taylor Gatto has the credentials to speak to this. He lived the life of a teacher in New York City, and was named Teacher of the Year on 3 different occasions. He quit his teaching job when he decided he didn't want to hurt children anymore, and he saw the results of the public education system on his students. He provides a stunning and well documented history of why education is the w Simply THE best book on what is going on in the American educational system, and why it is the way it it. John Taylor Gatto has the credentials to speak to this. He lived the life of a teacher in New York City, and was named Teacher of the Year on 3 different occasions. He quit his teaching job when he decided he didn't want to hurt children anymore, and he saw the results of the public education system on his students. He provides a stunning and well documented history of why education is the way it is in America. HIGHLY HIGHLY recommended. I re-read this book from time to time, just to remember what the goal in educating our children really SHOULD be. Check out his website at http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/underg... for more articles and more information.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christi

    I was so angry when I read this book. I realized I have been robbed of an education. I am changing that now.

  8. 5 out of 5

    John Schneider

    "You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." - "The Matrix" John Taylor Gatto's "An Underground History of American Education" stands as one of the most potent "red pills" ever created. Reading this book will challenge almost every belief that you have ever held. Thinking about what Gatto relates in this book will cause you to grapple with what it means to be human and happy. Understanding the implications of this book will lead you to question b "You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." - "The Matrix" John Taylor Gatto's "An Underground History of American Education" stands as one of the most potent "red pills" ever created. Reading this book will challenge almost every belief that you have ever held. Thinking about what Gatto relates in this book will cause you to grapple with what it means to be human and happy. Understanding the implications of this book will lead you to question both your own sanity and the world's. "A must read" hardly does this book credit. In "An Underground History" Gatto attempts to sketch the development of modern schooling, its roots, and its pernicious effects upon America. Drawing from numerous primary sources as well as his own three decades teaching, Gatto contends that modern schooling is a control apparatus that has run amok. More particularly, Gatto claims that modern schooling was begun by a variety of interests that saw education as the way to control the world by inculcating mass consumption. Accordingly, schools function to teach students to obey, conform, and consume instead of question, analyze, and innovate. If you would like to read a book that explains why so many people are unhappy with life, read this book. If you would like to understand why so many students hate learning, read this book. If you want to see what American education is really about, read this book. You will not be disappointed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    T. P. Alexanders

    Could anything be more frightening then a book documenting with infinite annotation and footnote the brainwashing of American youth for the purposes of making a more compliant society? I don't think so. This is a must read for every American left that can still think for themselves. Even if you don't have the money to buy a copy, because you can read it for free here. You can also have the book read to you by the incomparable Lyn Gerry at Unwelcome Guests episodes about 317-372. Check out this li Could anything be more frightening then a book documenting with infinite annotation and footnote the brainwashing of American youth for the purposes of making a more compliant society? I don't think so. This is a must read for every American left that can still think for themselves. Even if you don't have the money to buy a copy, because you can read it for free here. You can also have the book read to you by the incomparable Lyn Gerry at Unwelcome Guests episodes about 317-372. Check out this link.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    John Taylor Gatto’s The Underground History Of American Education is freely available online, although not in the most convenient form imaginable. It is not particularly well written and the text seems to meander somewhat randomly through a variety of topics, but the ideas within are worth considering. I do not agree with Gatto’s version of American exceptionalism, nor his belief (endemic among Libertarians, of which I am one) that highly successful people like Ben Franklin and George Washington John Taylor Gatto’s The Underground History Of American Education is freely available online, although not in the most convenient form imaginable. It is not particularly well written and the text seems to meander somewhat randomly through a variety of topics, but the ideas within are worth considering. I do not agree with Gatto’s version of American exceptionalism, nor his belief (endemic among Libertarians, of which I am one) that highly successful people like Ben Franklin and George Washington were not an exception, but the rule among people free of government interference. Gatto also seems to talk out of both sides of his mouth on several issues, such as remarking on the way strict authoritarianism stifles the spirit while bemoaning the legal inability of contemporary teachers to discipline their students. He makes strong statements without providing justification, uses anecdotes as evidence, and harangues the reader with his own political philosophy. I find some of the idea of a vast philosophy of statism and corporatism designing schools to produce dumb, compliant workers and consumers a bit too much to swallow. But not all of it. Too many of my own experiences match up too perfectly with what he is saying, and that is in spite of the fact that I think I attended quite a good public school and was part of what Gatto would call the Gifted caste destined to become great social managers. School does indeed consist of a great many arbitrary rules and punishments, and any illusions that students have the power to influence policy or seek redress are just that. I will not presume to know intentions, but I have no doubt that this does have the effect of ingraining Pavlovian obedience in some (and near-total disregard for authority in others). The rights of citizens, visitors, and even illegal aliens to the United States are generally not extended to students while on school property or during school hours, and school systems have been given or have taken authority far beyond their walls. (Should I really need a permit from my principal to work on weekends? In Pennsylvania, at least, I do.) Much of schoolwork is meaningless, and it nearly has convinced someone like myself that quite fascinating things are really tedious. I mostly agree with the heart of the broader societal implications as well. Children and young adults are definitely more capable (physically, intellectually, emotionally, etc) than society generally gives them credit for. I do recall that as a child some of the best fun was being allowed to do “grown-up” stuff. People do seem to be consumers first and citizens second. I’ve never before heard the idea that part of the reason for the growth of management as a profession is that there is just not enough actual work left to be done. That sounds absurd with hungry people and crumbling infrastructure, but I can see it making some twisted sense to a macroeconomist. (The possibility that the continued profitability of food production depends on people starving is a topic for another day.) If you can make it through the blustering, this is definitely a thought-provoking read. If you are interested in examining unorthodox perspectives on one of the pillars of modern society, this would be an excellent place to start.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris Pisarczyk

    P. 65 "Growth and mastery come only to those who vigorously self direct. Initiating, creating, doing, reflecting, freely associating, enjoying privacy--these are precisely what the structures of schooling are set up to prevent." P. 98 Dr. Seuss on writing the Cat in the Hat for a textbook publisher from a list of 223 words. P. 117 "Process kids like sardines and don't be suprised when they come out oily and dead." P. 182 "The truth is that America's unprecedented global power and spectacular materi P. 65 "Growth and mastery come only to those who vigorously self direct. Initiating, creating, doing, reflecting, freely associating, enjoying privacy--these are precisely what the structures of schooling are set up to prevent." P. 98 Dr. Seuss on writing the Cat in the Hat for a textbook publisher from a list of 223 words. P. 117 "Process kids like sardines and don't be suprised when they come out oily and dead." P. 182 "The truth is that America's unprecedented global power and spectacular material wealth are a direct product of a third-rate educational system, upon whose inefficiency in developing intellect and character they depend. If we educate better we could not sustain the corporate utopia we have made. Schools build national wealth by tearing down personal sovereignty, morality, and family life. It was a trade-off." P.197 "Think of coalmines as vast experimental laboratories of human behavior testing the proposition that men, women, and children will do virtually anything--even allow themselves to be consigned to damp dangerous tunnels under the ground for all sunlight hours in order to have real work to do as part of the community of mankind." P. 203 "Before his sudden death I watched my beloved bachelor friend and long-time fellow schoolteacher Martin Wallach slowly surrender to forces of massification he had long resisted. One day in his late fifties he said, "There isn't any reason to go out anymore. They send food in; I have three hundred channels. Everything is on TV. I couldn't see it all if I had two lifetimes. With my telephone and modem I can get anything. Even girls. There's only trouble outside anyway." p. 204 Chapter criticizing scientific management and Industrial Engineering, my major. P.232 "The immense edifice of teacher instruction and schooling in general rests on the shaky hypothesis that expert intervention in childhood produces better people than might otherwise occur. I've come to doubt that." P. 289 on corporate charitable foundations P.302 Elasticity

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Lumbard

    As I read this book, I kept saying to myself, "Oh my God!" So much of what is in here explains the frustrations that I experienced as child. As a parent I now see how the school system has come to exist for itself rather than for its students, despite (as Gatto rightly points out) the good intentions of many excellent teachers and even administrators who are themselves frustrated by "the system." As am educator, I am distressed to see the way in which the institutional illnesses of which Gatto w As I read this book, I kept saying to myself, "Oh my God!" So much of what is in here explains the frustrations that I experienced as child. As a parent I now see how the school system has come to exist for itself rather than for its students, despite (as Gatto rightly points out) the good intentions of many excellent teachers and even administrators who are themselves frustrated by "the system." As am educator, I am distressed to see the way in which the institutional illnesses of which Gatto writes are now creeping into the universities. Gatto's book is ultimately a call to take the education of those you love into your own hands. It does not provide "a solution" because the issue is really one of finding your own solution, since real education is a matter of self-direction. Ultimately, the book is a bit rambling and Gattop does seem to display some modern-secularist misunderstandings regarding certain aspects of religious teachings. In this respect, the book falls short. Nonetheless, in terms of his analysis of how the system is actually working now and how this "dysfunction" serves the interests of corporate America, this book contains information of which we all should be aware.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This book really opens your eyes to some of the major forces behind mass education--essentially, social Darwinists and corporations (Rockefeller foundation). Anyone who teaches can see the effects for themselves--kids who aren't lucky enough to have literate parents don't read, hate reading, and the movements in education have played a large role, whole language theory being only one of the causes. The author's train of thought is a bit hard to follow, but there are enough hard facts and histori This book really opens your eyes to some of the major forces behind mass education--essentially, social Darwinists and corporations (Rockefeller foundation). Anyone who teaches can see the effects for themselves--kids who aren't lucky enough to have literate parents don't read, hate reading, and the movements in education have played a large role, whole language theory being only one of the causes. The author's train of thought is a bit hard to follow, but there are enough hard facts and historical proof to show why American education ranks so low, and why more testing and government money isn't the solution.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    I read this book a number of years ago and was blown away. The book is written by a former public school teacher ... he taught in the public school system of NY City. He has extensively researched the history of public education in America and put it together in an amazing expose. He chronicles how socialist/communist influences have been encroaching into the agenda of public education for YEARS. Some of the conclusions he arrives at seem a bit like "conspiracy theories" and yet if even half of I read this book a number of years ago and was blown away. The book is written by a former public school teacher ... he taught in the public school system of NY City. He has extensively researched the history of public education in America and put it together in an amazing expose. He chronicles how socialist/communist influences have been encroaching into the agenda of public education for YEARS. Some of the conclusions he arrives at seem a bit like "conspiracy theories" and yet if even half of what he talks about is true, KEEP YOUR CHILDREN NEAR YOU ... GO HOMESCHOOL MOMS !!!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book is a life-changing book for a homeschool mom like me. It is beautiful. I cannot fathom leaving you a review without some content. None of it is a "spoiler" since this is not a fiction book. O.k. so, here, he quotes a "New York paper columnist" from an article in 1997 about a young man who spread AIDS by raping 27 girls. "Once, intact families, tightly knit neighborhoods and stay-at-home mothers enforced community norms." On page 125, we learn that one strategy "they" used to make mothers This book is a life-changing book for a homeschool mom like me. It is beautiful. I cannot fathom leaving you a review without some content. None of it is a "spoiler" since this is not a fiction book. O.k. so, here, he quotes a "New York paper columnist" from an article in 1997 about a young man who spread AIDS by raping 27 girls. "Once, intact families, tightly knit neighborhoods and stay-at-home mothers enforced community norms." On page 125, we learn that one strategy "they" used to make mothers feel fine sending their kids to public school was to hire women who were motherly to replace the affection for mothers children had, with affection for the motherly female teacher. Pg. 132 Fichte said, "Education should provide the means to destry the free will." Pg. 152 my notes from the text: "Quality education makes the natives restless." This was a reason for NOT giving quality education ON PURPOSE and BY DESIGN. Same page, quote from the author: "Carnegie's new empire demanded that old-fashioned character be schooled out of children in a hurry." Page 171: [In] 1834, [businessmen met to discuss education and decided] "Even though the literacy rate in Massachussetts was 98 percent, and in neighboring Connecticut, 99.8 percent, the assembled businessmen agreed the present system of schooling......encouraged more entrepreneurial exuberance than the social system could bear.....minutes of this meeting...Massachussets Historical Society." Pp. 176-177 Fabian Socialism, talk of scientific management in education grips the nation, "Henry Ford and Fordism." P. 184 my notes from the text: "Homeschooling is selfish" idea is a Fabian doctrine. p. 193 my thoughts from reading the text herein: Local control is needed to fight this. What is more local than homeschooling? p. 249 ..."National Education Association must play ball with the de-intellectualization of public schooling, or it would be abandoned by America's business leadership." Yeah, so guess what the NEA decided to do. (Sad.) p. 266 bottom (footnotes) "Idealogue is a term coined by Antoine Destuit de Tracy around 1790 to describe those....concerned to establish a new order in the intellectual realm, eradicating the influence of religion, replacing it with....chemistry, physics, mathematics and astronomy." My notes say this: "replace the influence of religion with academia (STEM)." p. 267 my notes from text: STEM is very seductive in taking over the former place religious thought had. p. 270 my notes from the text: [book, "Emile," Jean Jacques Rousseau, 1762 (talks about) How to "write on" the empty child whose head needs to be filled. If you read Alfie Kohn's "The Schools Our Children Deserve," you will learn all about B.F. Skinner, who does not believe in a soul, and does in reality believe humans are just like machines (robots, needing to be programmed). I believe that a human child has a soul and does not have an empty brain at age 5, nor even at age 1 day. Page 273 Talks about how once upon a time, there was a belief that each human being had a destiny. The goal of the evil elite, then, in education, was "cleaning that canvas." P. 276 my notes based the text: "John Dewey godfather of Maoist China." O.k., is that creepy, or what? John explains to us how John Dewey, the modern U.S. Education father, took his theories over to China. They loved them. They created the attitudes that make China so awful today. Something to be proud of, that someone from the U.S. is responsible for that? Ugh. I think not. p. 277 my notes from the last paragraph on this page: "The agenda 21 and 2039 movements aim to have us all in tight, crowded high rise apartment conditions, in cities." Just so you know, this knowledge comes from reading Rosa Koire's book, "Behind the Green Mask." I recommend that one. p. 310 "but it's the daily encounters with hundreds of verbal and non-verbal cues sent by teachers that shapes the quality of self-doubt most effectively." I don't know about you, but I think that is very cruel, to do that on purpose. No wonder the suicide rates are rising. These kids need love and acceptance! p. 314 "By allowing the existence of large bureaucratic systems under centraliEd control, whether corporate governmental, or institutional, we unwittingly enter into a hideous conspiracy against ourselves, one in which we resolutely work to limit the growth of our minds and spirits. The only conceivable answer is to break the power of these things, through grit, courage, indomitablility and resolution if possible, through acts of personal sabotage and disloyalty if not." p. 326 Method of indoctrination outside of schools: control the movies, the media, and therefore, the imaginations of the young. AHHHHHHHH! p. 341 "The system isn't broken. It works as intended, turning out incomplete people." Page 343 says they needed to shut down farms, for social engineering purposes, so they made it seem necessary to have lights on a football stadium and field, band uniforms, etc. This forced more taxes to be paid, which got rid of most of the farms. p. 344 my note: If people are waiting for schools to improve, they'll be waiting a very long time. p. 359 "Schooling becomes...a destroyer of the free market." After that he talks about entrepreneurship, and how schools are not the best method of education anyway. This book is a masterpiece. John Taylor Gatto is a child of God and therespfore, God's masterpiece. Thank you, John Taylor Gatto. I have loved conversing with you via your book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    JP

    This book challenged my unconscious assumptions about education more than anything else I've ever experienced. With 400 big pages, it's not a quick read. But the topic is so critical and the content so rich that I must rate it a Top Recommendation. The pervasive themes include: the priority of system over student; the inefficiency resulting from treating (mass) education as a pseudo-business (minus any of the typical incentives present in a competitive business); the insidious origins of mind-nu This book challenged my unconscious assumptions about education more than anything else I've ever experienced. With 400 big pages, it's not a quick read. But the topic is so critical and the content so rich that I must rate it a Top Recommendation. The pervasive themes include: the priority of system over student; the inefficiency resulting from treating (mass) education as a pseudo-business (minus any of the typical incentives present in a competitive business); the insidious origins of mind-numbing practices launched by childless utopians and established by the support of Ford, Carnegie, and Rockefeller (and their foundations), the latter with the intent of acquiring an obedient set of worker and administrative classes; the origins of Prussian example and later Nazi Germany's parallels; the rationale for the welfare state and dependence in general, and the merit of struggle (demonstrated through personal and teaching experience). Other interesting points involve: behaviorism, the advent of hereditary societies, and the origination and strong track record of the top private schools and colleges.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Zalee Harris

    I was invited to a speech and book signing by an educatio advocate that knew I was deep in the middle of a political bid for County Council in my community. I traveled to Virginia to hear Gatto give his speech and sign this aawesome book. By now, I have copies of education research manuals that kept me up at night worrying about the future of education in America. Unlike BK Eakman (author "Cloning the American Mind") who had worked for the government and Charolette Iserbyt (author "the deliberat I was invited to a speech and book signing by an educatio advocate that knew I was deep in the middle of a political bid for County Council in my community. I traveled to Virginia to hear Gatto give his speech and sign this aawesome book. By now, I have copies of education research manuals that kept me up at night worrying about the future of education in America. Unlike BK Eakman (author "Cloning the American Mind") who had worked for the government and Charolette Iserbyt (author "the deliberate dumbing down of america") who had worked for the US Deptartment of Education, John Taylor Gatto had been a school teacher. The story he told about how he came to wright this historical book on the history of education took me to another level. By now, any book that someone suggested I read, I was on it. This is a must have manual for learning the history of education.

  18. 5 out of 5

    uosɯɐS

    Many people have made the accusation that this book is in great want of an editor. I can see where that charge comes from; I once felt that way myself. However, as disorganized as it seemed, I loved it, and read pieces of it over and over. And now, I think that perhaps I am starting to get it. There was only one way to write a book like this - from the voice of human passion and experience. An orderly, efficient, dry, tame, textbook version would have defeated the purpose. If you can't understan Many people have made the accusation that this book is in great want of an editor. I can see where that charge comes from; I once felt that way myself. However, as disorganized as it seemed, I loved it, and read pieces of it over and over. And now, I think that perhaps I am starting to get it. There was only one way to write a book like this - from the voice of human passion and experience. An orderly, efficient, dry, tame, textbook version would have defeated the purpose. If you can't understand that, then perhaps you are already too much a part of the systems/machinery of our modern culture to want to escape ...but if you want a shortened version, check out Weapons of Mass Instruction. Reminds me of The Logical Song

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marty

    If you've spoken to me at any length over the past year, chances are I told you about John Taylor Gatto and something I was learning from this book. This is not just about about schooling, this is a treatise on life from a very wise man. What a treasure.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Let me begin by admitting that I have not finished the book, and I do not intend on ever doing so. The book provides a lot of beliefs and plenty of historical backround to support it, but provides no actual solution. Though it is intresting to view school in a different manner (One that I admit to believing myself) I can not come to support Gatto fully. Sure school is draining, and ultimately one of the biggest hypocritical stages of our society. (It has us believing that we can do anything, but Let me begin by admitting that I have not finished the book, and I do not intend on ever doing so. The book provides a lot of beliefs and plenty of historical backround to support it, but provides no actual solution. Though it is intresting to view school in a different manner (One that I admit to believing myself) I can not come to support Gatto fully. Sure school is draining, and ultimately one of the biggest hypocritical stages of our society. (It has us believing that we can do anything, but restricts us from really doing anything. Ex. Grades, Test Scores, Class requirements, Money, ect.) But I think it is a stage of which we all must make it through. Mass schooling has A LOT of flaws, yes. But it does work for some people, and in running a counrty with millions of kids everyday it becomes impossible to look at each case individually. I think Gatto is missing that point. He picks apart flaws and brings in historic facts, but never actually brings it back to Present day America. He does mention that we should fix the problem by getting rid of it. Throw out mass schooling all together, but I do not view this as a solution. I'm not sure if Gatto is extremly naive, way to optimistic, or just plain stupid. Can one really put faith into millions of kids with no disapline? Mass schooling may not work for me, but I find other ways to keep my mind active. (Spelling is not one of them :) ) Bottom line of my review is this: His ideas are so extreme that I have heard of kids dropping out because of them. If that is what Gatto intended, I can not read anymore of his ramblings. **Like I said though, I never did finish the book. SO if someone happens to read it and finds the ending to be worth the read-I will pick it back up. Til' then, I'm done with Mr. Gatto.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    This book [seems as if] it is a massive collection of essays by Mr. Gatto. While I do agree with his philosophy of education, his writing style just isn't my favorite. I feel like it's just all over the place. He just writes and writes and it gives me a bit of a headache to read it. (Sorry, just being honest.) So, for that, I'm giving it 2 stars. However, let me share some quotes I liked: "You aren't compelled to loan your car to anyone who wants it, but you are compelled to surrender your school This book [seems as if] it is a massive collection of essays by Mr. Gatto. While I do agree with his philosophy of education, his writing style just isn't my favorite. I feel like it's just all over the place. He just writes and writes and it gives me a bit of a headache to read it. (Sorry, just being honest.) So, for that, I'm giving it 2 stars. However, let me share some quotes I liked: "You aren't compelled to loan your car to anyone who wants it, but you are compelled to surrender your school-age child ... Your great-great-grandmother didn't have to surrender her children. What happened?" (xxiv) The book seeks to answer that question. "Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents." (xxv) And after describing George Washington's education, he said, "No public school in the United States is set up to allow a George Washington to happen. Washingtons in the bud stage are screened, brow beaten or bribed to conform to a narrow outlook on social truth." (32) How long does it take to "brow beat" a child out of the love of learning? "As I watched it happen, it took about three years to break most kids." (43) That's second grade. Age 7 or 8. Anyway, check it out for a good perusal. I'm curious to know if anyone has read this book in its entirety. It's a beast!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tadas Talaikis

    I'm more than none interested in education reform as I had dropped high school at 16, and what consequences we have. There was time I was much higher than any of my peers, I had bought new real estate, cash only, I had lived in expensive hotels, and now what... I had lost almost everything in 2008 crisis and probably I'm much worse. Probably relatively as I still have huge freedom that allowed me to self-study many things (like software development, statistics, probability) and due to these expe I'm more than none interested in education reform as I had dropped high school at 16, and what consequences we have. There was time I was much higher than any of my peers, I had bought new real estate, cash only, I had lived in expensive hotels, and now what... I had lost almost everything in 2008 crisis and probably I'm much worse. Probably relatively as I still have huge freedom that allowed me to self-study many things (like software development, statistics, probability) and due to these experiences most often than not I can beat any idiot with masters degree who can't generate any ideas. But in overall, I'm undecided, maybe I'll get GED and then further if possible. Undecided and can't stand all that mess with so called "education". Especially in our country - it's simply a joke and as I see a lot of people still can read only in syllables and din't learned anything new (and hard) since the end of school or university. Despite many questionable things on the book I didn't found a proof or knew there is none, the main idea and story is just fine. Problem is our cars and phones or means of communication changed greatly in a hundred years, but not the education system, and that's pretty sad.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Slack

    In the study of something as insidious as the origins of modern schooling (as differentiated from education; the two are not synonymous), it is easy to see conspiracies. However, we are reminded that God laughs at the plots of the evil. The book is fascinating, although flawed. Mr. Gatto has a profound misunderstanding of Calvinism, believing the doctrine of predestination leads to a caste system(!). He is also against positive/negative reinforcement. He rambles considerably, and much of what he s In the study of something as insidious as the origins of modern schooling (as differentiated from education; the two are not synonymous), it is easy to see conspiracies. However, we are reminded that God laughs at the plots of the evil. The book is fascinating, although flawed. Mr. Gatto has a profound misunderstanding of Calvinism, believing the doctrine of predestination leads to a caste system(!). He is also against positive/negative reinforcement. He rambles considerably, and much of what he says seems off-topic. However it is always interesting, even his family stories, and he does warn the reader about this characteristic of the book in his introduction. When all is said and done, Mr. Gatto is a humanist, with his faith firmly in the goodness of man, however much he is against compulsory schooling. I thought this sentence was quite revealing: "...the overwhelming majority of human beings could indeed be trusted to act in a way that over time is good for all." Despite it's faults, still highly recommended for those interested in the genesis of the public schools.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    I went into this book with an idea of what to expect -- a detailed, thorough look at the failings of American 20th century education. While this book provides some fascinating historical anecdotes, I was disappointed the most by the book's format -- nearly incomprehensible. I found the content to be too choppy and disorganized for my taste, when I'd prefer a linear historical account of the last century's history of education. I did appreciate the foundational history behind much of the educatio I went into this book with an idea of what to expect -- a detailed, thorough look at the failings of American 20th century education. While this book provides some fascinating historical anecdotes, I was disappointed the most by the book's format -- nearly incomprehensible. I found the content to be too choppy and disorganized for my taste, when I'd prefer a linear historical account of the last century's history of education. I did appreciate the foundational history behind much of the education theory, but again, it was all over the place. Gatto is clearly passionate about educating children, but his case would be better served by a more eloquent series of arguments.

  25. 4 out of 5

    mark

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a powerful book, not perhaps the most organized, the but the intensity and experience that underlie the ideas more than make up for any presentational shortcomings.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dan Sanchez

    Essential. Penetrating. Brilliant. Sweeping. A tour-de-force.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vikas Erraballi

    Should have put published the three volumes as one book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Moss

    A real paradigm-shifter!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    Everyone needs to read this book! And, this is on my volume 1.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bria

    So this is one of those books that feeds exactly into my preconceived notions. Sort of my pet issue for the past few years has been the contempt and dickery over the idea of "stupid people" maintained by, well, pretty much every, no matter their intelligence or even their self-perceived intelligence. I think it's more complicated than a one-dimensional spectrum, and measures and levels of intelligence mean different things than the common assumption, and one of the biggest messages of this book So this is one of those books that feeds exactly into my preconceived notions. Sort of my pet issue for the past few years has been the contempt and dickery over the idea of "stupid people" maintained by, well, pretty much every, no matter their intelligence or even their self-perceived intelligence. I think it's more complicated than a one-dimensional spectrum, and measures and levels of intelligence mean different things than the common assumption, and one of the biggest messages of this book falls right in line with my little crusade to recognize and respect the potential and actual intelligence and worth of more human beings than standard opinion seems prepared to do. Gatto outlines the history of not only how people came to actually be made dumber than they truly are, but also how the widespread perception of the 'mass public' as largely incompetent or frighteningly ignorant and stupid and the subsequent fear of allowing most people to choose and act as they see fit was manufactured and spread. Because of the prevalence of forced mass schooling and its dumbing-down effects, however, this sort of attitude may to some degree now be justified; but it really only speaks this particular time and place and is not a universal or timeless let alone irreversible statement on the foundations of human nature. I had a professor once who was a promoter of this idea that the be all and end all of a fruitful human life is to, essentially, run your own business. The idea of autonomy and developing useful skills and meaningful interactions in your community and so forth I stand by; but I felt like the prospect of any other means of living are often considered to be inferior or necessarily indicative of a failure of self-realization, or whatever. But my interests lie largely in science and math, and usually quite abstract concepts. I think there is a place for the development of theoretical science and abstract math that do not in an immediate sense have applications or that are perhaps somewhat divorced from practical development. Maybe there is more emphasis on theory and paper-writing and what-have-you currently in academia than we should have: many historical scientists, at least, were actually working with materials and exploring and possibly inventing things, or at least working more directly with the things to which their insights and intellectual developments applied. Maybe that is the best way to figure out general principles; either way, I still believe that there's room for a lot of intellectual exploration that may not fit to a workable business model. I certainly would like to have a useful skill and be able to provide benefit to my community in the way lauded by Gatto as the ideal of human fulfillment, but I still feel like the picture he paints of how life should be is missing something. The empty child problem - he certainly writes as though he believes it; it's not clear if he's criticizing the idea itself or merely how it's been used. If we really can be so destroyed and molded by compulsion schooling as he claims, then doesn't that support the idea that children are as malleable as these progressives claim? Which brings me to the issue that I always cart with me from book to book, situation to situation, event to event, everything in my life: how does it apply to me. In this case, I recognize (and really did even before I read this book, just maybe not in such exquisite and thorough detail) that I was, in a sense, destroyed by public education. But every comment he makes about what's wrong with it and what should be changed and so forth, is a comment towards how to fix it for future children. But, and I don't really expect this from him or this book but I can't help but desire it strongly, what about adults who have already been wrung through the process? I can recognize in myself the ways in which I have been made submissive, emotionally dependent, unmotivated, etc etc; but recognition is a long way from reversal. It's already enough of an uphill battle to address the current massive terror of the educational system; it will certainly be much much harder if the adults trying to tear it down are subject to this inability to live full human lives that our time in the system have instilled in us. So I do, of course, swallow up Gatto's main message about how to live our lives, and what's important, and how and what it is to be human, etc, but I did have a hard time with the long chunk in the middle where he extols the virtues of Christianity as the pinnacle of human wisdom and moral reasoning. He sort of covers his tracks a little bit at the end of the tirade, but in that whole section he talks as if Christian mythology referred to real events and that our error lies in not learning from them. I'll grant him his respect for the historic and psychological effects of the philosophy behind Christianity; I of course tend to look to the damage it does to have as your foundation a belief in your own inevitable state as a sinner, a 'respect' for the mystery and power of God/the universe/a higher power and 'knowing your place' in a supposed scheme of things, and so forth. I do think he makes a legitimate point about the divorcing of children from their family and community, forbidding religion altogether, throwing away any and all wisdom actually contained in a religious tradition, and so on and so forth. I just wish he had given a little more credence to the possibility that there was no Eden and that we *don't deserve punishment* and left more room open, as he *claimed* to be doing but didn't really seem to, for people who are not, in fact, Christians, to gain from what he had to say about its pluses. As for science, he is right about scientism and the problems with trying to pretend like natural selection "purport[s] to explain... how life best progresses". The problem word there being "best". I think his point is that largely this is how science was fostered on people, and hence the big mess we have today, but often when this criticism is introduced, the critics dance a fine line between pointing out misconceptions about what science is and how it works and what it explains, and deciding that science itself is the problem and we should remain with mysticism or at least exercise undue caution toward everything that sounds vaguely science-based. Gatto seems to perpetrate his own worst crime, which is to be unsatisfied with something or the result of it and therefore dismiss it as wrong or at least something not to be endorsed: "The religion of Science says there is no good or evil... Since there is no free will nor any divine morality, there is no such thing as individual responsibility, no sin, no redemption. Just mathematical decision-making..." Well, there is no good or evil, in an absolute sense, and there is no free will (on most interpretations of the idea) and certainly no divine morality. What exactly those facts imply are maybe not quite so straight forward as he characterizes here, and I could and probably have and will go on about whether or how this leaves us only and purely "mathematical decision making". Yes, the curriculum of Science as Religion and a sort of dogmatic selfish pragmatism and thoughtless bigotry toward anything, including religion, is harmful and a problem and such forth; but I feel like Gatto suffers the error of therefore retreating away from everything associated with science and new knowledge and ways of living into a body of religious thought which, though certainly important as a coherent moral and communal framework to keep people from drifting aimlessly, has serious flaws and could probably stand to be replaced. Sure, the onus is on those who would reject the previously available wisdom traditions to find some way to craft a new community and tradition that is actually better as well as consistent enough to keep people from feeling unmoored, hopeless, etc; and it would be foolish to dismiss everything that has been tested in the path as effective or wise, but the bogeyman is not here science itself or anything un-Christian, it's merely the pathological and conniving way in which this whole history of deliberate unmooring has been carried out. It seems highly plausible that this book has played a large role in religious homeschooling, to which my initial reaction is anxiety; but if what Gatto says is correct, which I do largely believe, this will possibly result in these religiously homeschooled kids being more capable of independent and creative thought, which will, if I'm correct, and we'll see, allow them to figure out any problems in their religious indoctrination as they grow older and wiser... right? So those are my criticisms; otherwise, I pretty much completely buy his whole argument and feel a sense of panic and despair at every second that human beings are being forced through this terrible mess of schooling, progressing minute by minute and day by day into becoming something a little less themselves, a little less than they really could be.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.