Adventures in Unschooling

Dumbing Us Down

Posted on: May 28, 2009

Why must nonconformity be regarded as a sin? Why must the black sheep have the stigma? Why can’t the white sheet get the stigma? We could accuse them of being ignorant and boring.

Anyways, I started reading Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto. Gatto was an award winning school teacher in New York City for over 30 years.

1008When he the New York State Teacher of the Year award he responded with a speech that just blew my socks off! His speech dripped with seething and resentful remarks about how school is ruining our children. About how parents and educators have handed the education of their children to strangers who make big salaries by creating a little assembly line of self-conscious, apathetic, conformed children who will later be the paper pushers, gas pumpers and cashiers of the future.

The teachers teach and treat the children in a way that allows them to become confused about what they learn, how they learn and why any of it is relevant. They teach that kids are stuck in class hierarchies and produce kids that are indifferent to learning (why do you think that today’s boys and men loathe reading?) and dependent on others for their intellectual and emotional fulfillment as well as their self esteem.

He writes that these things aren’t meant to be taken as ironic or sarcastic. These are real and his success as a teacher depends on his compliance to these disturbing norms

I don’t want to give too much of his speech away but this book is priceless. A critic from the inside exploiting all of the nonsense that children are taught.

If you want your child to be truly brilliant, to love learning and to seek fulfillment from his or her work you need to read this book.

If you want your child to be self-reliant, have self-confidence and the ability to achieve whatever he or she wants to achieve, you need to read this book.

Take your kids out of school. They’ll thank you forever for it.


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  • withoutloveweallperish: 50 books for $10!! As a book lover, that sounds like Christmas come early! Lovely library set up, need to set up one of those for myself!
  • theworldismysoyster: Sure. Just none of my kids. :)
  • goobrobinson: Hi! I'd like to seek your permission if I can reuse one of your pictures for my next post? Specifically the second picture.


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