John Taylor Gatto: Weapons of Mass Instruction A Schoolteacher's Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling



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Re set off by the number of nsupported assertions the author was making no footnotes or referencesThe examples of successful people that Gatto presents do not support his argument either A bit of basic googling Class and Conformity unravels the falsifications that he presents eg Craig Venter is presented as a beach bum drop out He actually has a conventional academic history high school grad PhD I won t list them all but a bit of basic research reallyndermines his arguments And who wants their kid to be like Richard Branson anyway He s picked some strange examplesOther reviewers have pointed out Gatto s rose tinted view of pre war America I m not American so I don t know it intimately but this bias was obvious Other biases that I took personally Gatto completely deliberately misconstrues Darwin as a eugenicist and Marx as irrelevant The book is Descartes and His Contemporaries unstructured repeats itself and comes across as a rant from a bitter ex teacher John Taylor Gatto is one of those voices in the wilderness that we all really need to listen to And one of the things that really sticks out to me is that he is a very gentle man just watch his interviews on youtubeI have both read this book in my early days of homeschooling and listened to it on audio I think the thing that really strikes me here is What Exactly is the role of public school in our society I won t get into my own homeschooling journey and search for answers to thatestion but I will say Mr Gatto s work opened my eyes in a way they hadn t been opened before His High Tide at Midnight understanding of children what they are actually capable of compared to how we treat them was almost enough to bring one to tears His struggles to create an educational environment for his pupils border on heroic I will warn you John Taylor G I really enjoyed this book respect John Taylor Gatto and agree with most of what he s saying But a few things stopped me from giving Weapons of Mass Instruction 4 or even 5 stars Most importantly1 His overblown admiration of the colonial and early national period of American history Arguing that that period was a time ofnparalleled promise and opportunity is not only morally suspect in my opinion but also histori. Arwin Wundt and others which contend the term “education” is meaningless because humanity is strictly limited by necessities of biology psychology and theology The real function of pedagogy is to render the common population manageableRealizing that goal demands that the young be conditioned to rely Education and Equality upon experts remain divided from natural alliances and accept disconnections from the experiences that create self reliance and independenceEscaping this trap reuires a different way of growingp one Gatto calls “open source learning” In chapters such as “A Letter to Kristina my Granddaughter”; “Fat Stanley”; and “WalkaboutLondon” this different reality is illustratedJohn Taylor Gatto taught for thirty years in public schools before resigning from school teaching in 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 refor.

I m extremely sympathetic to the homeschoolingunschooling movement It may be something my wife and I have an epic battle on when it s all said and done but I get it I see the inherent flaws in the current way we do schools and I don t want my future spawn to be a part of itJohn Taylor Gatto former teacher gets it as well As someone who was a teacher for 30 years he possibly gets it better than most and this book is his treatise against modern education and what needs to change about it If you re at all involvedinterestedknowledgeable about homeschoolingunschooling this is not a lot of new stuff but the vitriol and anger he has toward the system as well as the strong ideas he has in terms of fixing what is clearly a problem is worth notingThe flaw in this book as written however is twofold One it spends much too much time on the problem and not nearly enough on the solution Granted the solution is self evident in many ways but a person who needs the problem spelled out to them is going to need the solution as well Problematically however the solution is coming from someone who comes across as extremely radicalized with merit This is a message that needs to be heard disseminated implemented but I m not convinced this is necessarily the guy to do itIt s worth reading Either you ll hear what you recognize from someone with the experience to back it Deceptive Beauties up or you ll be exposed to a new idea that might have never crossed your mind This should however result in being a starting point not an ending point While it might seem heretical to recommend this book on teacher appreciation week yes itsed to be a day of thanks but has been perverted into a week long orgy but I cant hold back my own anger over all the time wasted by compulsory schooling While I don t want this to sound like a rant against teachers of whom there are many I am very fond of and have a great deal of respect for As parents we need to critically examine the system in which our children are trapped in 6 hours a day 5 days a week 9 months a year for 12 years of their lives It is very complicated but it is a lot important than who wins American IdolIn 1995 a student teacher. “Gatto draws on thirty years in the classroom and many years of research as a school reformer He puts forth his thesis with a rhetorical style that is passionate logical and laden with examples and illustrations” ForeWord Magazine“Weapons of Mass Instruction is probably his best yet Gatto’s storytelling skill shines as he relates tales of real people who fled the school system and succeeded in spite of the popular wisdom that insists on diplomas degrees and credentials If you are just beginning to suspect there may be a problem with schooling as opposed to educating as Gatto would say then you’ll not likely find a better expose of the problem than Weapons of Mass Instruction” Cathy Duffy ReviewsIn this book the noisy gadfly of US education takes Dangerous Work up theestion of damage done in the name of schooling Again he touches on many of the same estions and finds the same answers  Gatto is a bold and compelling critic in a field defined by politic statements and from.

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Of 5th graders in Minneapolis wrote a letter to the editor of the Star Tribune complaining about radically dumbed down curriculum She wrote that 113 years earlier 5th graders in Minneapolis were reading William Shakespeare Henry Thoreau George Washington Sir Walter Scott Mark Twain Benjamin Franklin Oliver Wendall Holmes John Buynan Daniel Webster Samuel Johnson Lewis Caroll Thomas Jefferson Emerson and others like themWhile this week my own 5th grader complained about the snails pace at which her gifted class was reading the book Where the Red Fern Grows a lovely little book but not Shakespeare Have you looked recently at the text books checked out to high school students Why are we not paying attention to this chicanery Is it because the testing they take says that they are gifted or average or special ed and we have become so complacent that we allow the experts put our children into a box that will either give them a false sense of security or a self loathing that that get to live in for the rest of their lives While some students may be lucky enough to find their niche like musicsportsdebatedrama etc and have a teacher who expects than fact regurgitation and high test scores but actual self reliance personal discovery and inventiveness it saddens me to think how many never do I have always thought home schoolers a little bit odd and stifling for keeping their kids out of mainstream education and not wanting them to grow p in the real world But after learning about the travesty that is the history of the education system and meditating on my own experiences both as a student and as a parent I concede that compulsory education is far likely to produce childish adults then independent learning Maybe there should be a home school appreciation week however I think that they might be too sensible to go for it Massively disappointing I had been looking forward to reading this for ages ever since I heard a positive review on boing boing s podcast The topic is one that I completely identify with which is probably why I was so diappointed ie the book contain a germ of a great idea but has no substanceFrom the start my alarm bells we. The first pages of this book he takes even nwilling readers along with him In Weapons of Mass Instruction he speaks movingly to readers' deepest desires for an education that taps their talents and frees frustrated ambitions It is a challenging and extraordinary book that is a must read for anyone navigating their way through the school system Ria Julien Winnipeg Free PressJohn Taylor Gatto’s Weapons of Mass Instruction focuses on mechanisms of familiar schooling that cripple imagination discourage critical thinking and create a false view of learning as a by product of rote memorization drills Gatto’s earlier book Dumbing Us Down put that now famous expression of the title into common se worldwide Weapons of Mass Instruction promises to add another chilling metaphor to the brief against schoolingHere is a demonstration that the harm school inflicts is ite rational and deliberate following high level political theories constructed by Plato Calvin Spinoza Fichte

John Taylor Gatto is an American retired school teacher of 29 years and 8 months and author of several books on education He is an activist critical of compulsory schooling and of what he characterizes as the hegemonic nature of discourse on education and the education professions