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Weapons of Mass Instruction
A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling
Gatto demonstrates that the harm school inflicts is rational and deliberate. The real function of pedagogy, he argues, is to render the common population manageable. To that end, young people must be conditioned to rely upon experts, to remain divided from natural alliances and to accept disconnections from their own lived experiences. They must at all costs be discouraged from developing self-reliance and independence.
Escaping this trap requires a strategy Gatto calls "open source learning" which imposes no artificial divisions between learning and life. Through this alternative approach our children can avoid being indoctrinated-only then can they achieve self-knowledge, good judgment, and courage.
John Taylor Gatto is an internationally renowned speaker who lectures widely on school reform. He taught for 30 years in public schools before resigning 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." On April 3, 2008, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard credited Mr. Gatto with adding the expression "dumbing us down" to the school debate worldwide.
"John Taylor Gatto has been a hero of mine for years. He has the courage to challenge an educational system that is obsolete and out of touch with reality. Years ago, he gave me the courage to speak out and write my books. I trust this book will give you the courage to speak out."
Robert Kiyosaki, author, Rich Dad, Poor Dad
"For over 20 years John Taylor Gatto has been working tirelessly to teach us the truth about our educational system - that compulsory schooling does not work to foster a democratic way of life."
Mary Leue, Founder of the Albany Free School
"All of Gatto's words shine. Let's have Gatto as US Secretary of Education and then, this time, he can blow it all up."
George Meegan, author of The Longest Walk and world record holder, longest unbroken march in human history
"We accept Mr Gatto's invitation to an open conspiracy against forced schooling here in Europe as well. The virtues of this book, its precise ideas, realistic proposals and sharp conscience, class it among the best works of Thoreau, Jefferson, Hume or Diderot. A masterly book."
The Kadmos Paris Magazine, Paris, October 2008.
"In Weapons of Mass Instruction, John Taylor Gatto points out the folly of the business of American education, especially standardized testing. Listen up, for children's sake."
Wendy Zeigler, artist and former student of John Taylor Gatto.
"It happens rarely, but whenever I do read a newspaper, listen to the radio, or watch television, on a variety of topics, I find myself wondering, "How? How can this happen? How can people be so gullible". Gatto has an answer and it is disturbing as well as compelling: 20th Century US education. His argument renews gratitude to my father for having given me the chance to dodge full immersion in the homogenizing machine, and makes me more determined than ever to pass this gift of becoming an individual on to my own children."
Tania Aebi, author of Maiden Voyage ; and world record holder, first circumnavigation of the world by a solo female sailor
"I run a school. John Gatto is my conscience. He has taught me to hate school and love learning. This book will do that for others, and we need them."
Becky Elder, Northfield School of The Liberal Arts
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