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John Taylor Gatto Epic Educational Thinker

Awarded “New York State Teacher of the Year” in 1991, and "New York City Teacher of the Year" three times while teaching in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, John Taylor Gatto’s distinguished 30 year teaching career earned him the right to opine concerning the current  state of the U.S. educational system. 

Few people alive today express and document as well as Mr. Gatto the nefarious historical roots of modern westernized school curriculums and bureaucracy, designed by callused social engineers to stifle individualism, crush creativity, marginalize genius and demonize human independence.

Little known to the average American, the beginning of compulsory education in the United States is primarily based upon the totalitarian Prussian educational system perfected in the early 1800’s which “held a clear idea of what centralized schooling should deliver: 1) Obedient soldiers to the army; 2) Obedient workers for mines, factories, and farms; 3) Well-subordinated civil servants, trained in their function; 4) Well-subordinated clerks for industry; 5) Citizens who thought alike on most issues; 6) National uniformity in thought, word, and deed.”  (1)

Basically school is to train us all to be good worker bees, to serve the queen and the hive. 

Stay in line, do the job and never question authority.

“Only a few lifetimes ago things were very different in the United States. Originality and variety were common currency; our freedom from regimentation made us the miracle of the world; social-class boundaries were relatively easy to cross; our citizenry was marvelously confident, inventive, and able to do much for themselves independently, and to think for themselves. We were something special, we Americans, all by ourselves, without government sticking its nose into and measuring every aspect of our lives, without institutions and social agencies telling us how to think and feel. We were something special, as individuals, as Americans. 

But we’ve had a society essentially under central control in the United States since just after the Civil War, and such a society requires compulsory schooling — government monopoly schooling — to maintain itself. Before this development schooling wasn’t very important anywhere. We had it, but not too much of it, and only as much as an individual wanted. People learned to read, write, and do arithmetic just fine anyway; there are some studies that suggest literacy at the time of the American Revolution, at least for non-slaves on the Eastern seaboard, was close to total. [100% of the population could read and write] Thomas Paine’s Common Sense sold 600,000 copies to a population of 3,000,000, of whom twenty percent were slaves and fifty percent indentured servants. 

Were the Colonists geniuses? No, the truth is that reading, writing, and arithmetic only take about one hundred hours to transmit as long as the audience is eager and willing to learn. The trick is to wait until someone asks and then move fast while the mood is on. Millions of people teach themselves these things — it really isn’t very hard. Pick up a fifth-grade math or rhetoric textbook from 1850 and you’ll see that the texts were pitched then on what would today be considered college level.

School, as it was built, is an essential support system for a model of social engineering that condemns most people to be subordinate stones in a pyramid that narrows as it ascends to a terminal of control. School is an artifice that makes such a pyramidical social order seem inevitable, even though such a premise is a fundamental betrayal of the American Revolution. From Colonial days through the period of the Republic we had no schools to speak of — read Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography for an example of a man who had no time to waste in school — and yet the promise of democracy was beginning to be realized." (2)

John Taylor Gatto’s anthropological styled historical fact based analysis clearly articulated in his books, not only presents the underground history of U.S. education, why on the average it fails our children and what parents could possibly do to help change the established system, but Gatto also shows examples making very valid points as to the direct connection our children’s modern education may have to many of the social problems plaguing todays civilization.

Of course not all schools are necessarily bad, nor all kids psychologically damaged after 12 years of one size fits all government propaganda infused schooling nor are all teachers knowingly partaking in a social engineering mind control program.  Almost everyone is doing their job the best they can with-in the system that is provided.

But, what if there is a better system?  Maybe by reforming our educational system we can one day successfully improve our societies.

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Sources for this article:

John Taylor Gatto Official Site

(1) Gatto, John Taylor. An Underground History of American Education: A School Teacher's Intimate Investigation Into the Problem of Modern Schooling

(2) Gatto, John Taylor. Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling 

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