Everything You Know About School Is Wrong
Says who? Former New York State Teacher of the Year, John Taylor Gatto, in his latest book, Weapons of Mass Instruction. So What?! Who is John Taylor Gatto? Wasn't he only a public junior high school teacher in Manhattan for 30 years Who listens to them?
What chutzpah Well, Gatto must have worried School District Three enough that it terminated his teaching license without notifying him
in 1987 while he was on medical leave; he must have infuriated Highland High School in Hudson, New York, enough to summon police
to stop his lecture to seniors there in 2004. Harvard's Kennedy School Conference on April 3, 2008, credited him as the mysterious
figure who added the biting metaphor "Dumbing Us Down" to global thinking about schools. In the past two years he was invited as
keynote speak to South Korea, China, Australia, Pakistan, Egypt, Canada, Scotland, Holland, Hungary, England, Brazil, Colombia, and
Malaysia. In 1991, his former students rented Carnegie Hall as a venue for his resignation speech, which was printed in the Wall Street
Journal on July 25, 1991. Why haven't you heard of him before now? He's spoken at NASA Space Center, Apple Computers, the
Western White House, the Senate, Smith and Sarah Lawrence, Cornell, Penn, Harvard, M.I. T., Stanford, Columbia; gave the graduation
address at Evergreen; and has been called "education's most original thinker" by Daniel Pink. Phyllis Schlafly said, "Your book is
splendid." Michael Farris said (of an earlier book), "The most important educational book of my lifetime." Thomas Moore called Gatto
"a Socrates of the educational world." Chris Lasch said, "Your ideas are splendid." Robert Bly counted him "among my heroes."
Why haven't you heard of him before? Is it because the school empire would prefer that you didn't?
You have a right to demand from public schools
what elite private boarding schools offer students.
12 Secrets of the Boarding School
Curriculum of Power
1. Strong competencies in the active literacies of
speaking and writing persuasively.
2. Insight into all institutional forms.
3. A theory of human nature drawn from history,
philosophy, literature, law, theology, etc.
4. Mastery of the social forms/manners.
5. A physical regimen specifically aimed at personal
grace, health, beauty, and self-discipline.
6. An emphasis on independent work.
7. Familiarity with master creations in music,
dance, painting, design, architecture, literature,
8. Powers of observation and recording.
9. Developing and testing of judgment.
10. The ability to master your own natural aversions.
11. Accepting significant challenges: a horse to care
for, a hundred mile bike trip to make, starting a
12. Theories of access to anywhere.
It would be easy and inexpensive to build public schooling in such
a way as to deliver the same quality
of value that Groton, St. Paul's
Episcopal High, Milton, Choate,
Hotchkiss, or Hill do. Look at the
"twelve secrets"; they don't cost
anything extraordinary to achieve.
But the Germanic logic of mass
forced schooling has no intention of
delivering such a product, for that
would lead inevitably to a social
and economic world, one poisoned
by the toxins of overpopulation and
hyperdemocracy, turned upside down
in whose deadly embrace neither
corporate capitalism nor class-based
social status can service easily.
Forced schooling has nothing to
do with education. It is a workshop
of habit and attitude training; it
divides the common populace from
its natural alliances, artificially
extends childhood, cripples the
imagination, as Spinoza and Fichte
said it should; it addicts ordinary
people to meaningless competitions,
broadcasts self alienation, weakens
the family, misdirects the attention
of the young from what really
matters. As a nation, we can't afford
this school vampire draining our
national vitality any longer in these
John Taylor Gatto, 235 W. 76th St., New York, New York 10023. How to Order the Author as a Speaker:
Write to Mr. Gatto at the address above, or fax him at 1-212-721-6124, or e-mail email@example.com.