Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, 10th Anniversary Edition
John Taylor Gatto
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
With over 70,000 copies of the first edition in print, this radical treatise on public education has been a New Society Publishers’ bestseller for 10 years! Thirty years in New York City’s public schools led John Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders like cogs in an industrial machine. This second edition describes the wide-spread impact of the book and Gatto’s "guerrilla teaching."
John Gatto has been a teacher for 30 years and is a recipient of the New York State Teacher of the Year award. His other titles include A Different Kind of Teacher (Berkeley Hills Books, 2001) and The Underground History of American Education (Oxford Village Press, 2000).
left behind, then you will have experienced the phenomenon I refer to. Over ninety percent of the United States’ population now lives inside fifty urban aggregations. Having been concentrated there as the end product of fairly well-understood historical processes, they are denied a reciprocal part in any continuous, well-articulated community. They are profoundly alienated from their own human interests. What else could it mean that only half of our eligible citizens are registered to vote? And
knowledge, local love, and local fidelity were what the forge of Congregationalism in New England produced best, but there was a negative side to this localism as well. The religious discrimination of early New England was a way of ensuring enough local harmony that a community of people who suited each other could arise bearing a common vision. Here is a scene from three hundred years ago in the town of Dedham, Massachusetts, which could have been witnessed from the very church where I spoke:
According to some, the planet itself is in jeopardy. And things legislated out of existence, like alcohol and drug abuse or racism, don’t seem to go away as religious exclusivity went away naturally in New England under a regime of local choice; instead, law appears to give bad habits an injection of virulent new life. Think of the great progressive victories won in the courts because social engineers were unable to build popular consensus, or were unwilling to wait: affirmative action,
textbooks, incompetent administrators, evil politicians, ill-trained parents, bad children — whoever the villains may be we shall find them, indict them, arraign them, prosecute them, perhaps even execute them! Then things will be okay. Out of these two wrong-headed ways of looking at education have grown enormous industries that claim power to cure mass education of its frictions or of its demons in exchange for treasure. Into this carnival of magical thinking has come a parade of
they are spectacularly successful in doing precisely what they are intended to do, and what they have been intended to do since their inception. The system, perfected at places like the University of Chicago, Columbia Teachers College, Carnegie-Mellon, and Harvard, and funded by the captains of industry, was explicitly set up to ensure a docile, malleable workforce to meet the growing, changing demands of corporate capitalism — “to meet the new demands of the 20th century,” they would have said