Dumbing Us Down



Dumbing Us Down A Highly Praised Best Seller For Over A Decade, This Is A Radical Treatise On Public Education That Concludes That Compulsory Government Schooling Does Little But Teach Young People To Follow Orders Like Cogs In A Machine This Special Collector S Edition Celebrates , Copies Or The Book In Print, And The Book S On Going Importance And Popularity

10 thoughts on “Dumbing Us Down

  1. says:

    Before reading this book I really thought I was 100% sure about my reasons to homeschool Boy, was I wrong I guess I was only half way there because now that I have finished this book, I realize that I never really saw the harms of the public school system 100% Our children are being limited every day by being locked away Our children are struggling with learningthan they did before the system was in place like today The role models they take on during school really are harming them B Before reading this book I really thought I was 100% sure about my reasons to homeschool Boy, was I wrong I guess I was only half way there because now that I have finished this book, I realize that I never really saw the harms of the public school system 100% Our children are being limited every day by being locked away Our children are struggling with learningthan they did before the system was in place like today The role models they take on during school really are harming them But it is muchthan that And if you are a parent who cares about your child, you must read this book There is no excuse to remaining ignorant about our public school system in America Do it for your children There is no other person in the world who caresabout your children than you, who knows what is better for your kids than you But do your research They deserve to be given the best education for life

  2. says:

    This book gets a big meh from me First of all, it s not so much a book as a group of essays And I had to laugh when I opened the book and the print was freaking 18 point Like maybe we re not bright enough to follow along with typical 12 point print I also have a problem with someone who spent his whole career in New York school systems making broad sweeping statements about public education in general I have a hard time believing that a New York City educator understands ANYTHING about t This book gets a big meh from me First of all, it s not so much a book as a group of essays And I had to laugh when I opened the book and the print was freaking 18 point Like maybe we re not bright enough to follow along with typical 12 point print I also have a problem with someone who spent his whole career in New York school systems making broad sweeping statements about public education in general I have a hard time believing that a New York City educator understands ANYTHING about the kind of education I had in rural Montana, where we had one school district for our entire town and the ranch and reservation kids were bused in and I graduated with 83 people Those are two completely different worlds And there are as many different school environments are there are different schools in the country.It also bothered me that he made such generalized, sensational statements ALL his students watch too much TV and it s ruining them Really Every single one of your students How do you know that He also said that double income families are ruining our children, along with the lack of inter generational interaction How, then, does my life where both husband and wife work but kiddo spends all day with grandma and grandpa fit into that equation He has a few good points within the book, but I m disappointed that what is supposed to be an intellectual argument relies so heavily on sensational, fact less claims and overgeneralizations

  3. says:

    Wow, this read really had me questioning our educational system Informative and fast read

  4. says:

    While worth reading as an wake up call to all who think the only problem with our educational system is that it needsmoney it should be taken with a grain of salt, or rather a slat block Gatto is correct that schools act as mainly propaganda for the elite class and he may even be correct that compulsory education should not be the law of the land At least at the high school level What he is not not good at is showing the whole picture He says that he wants a fair discussion about the While worth reading as an wake up call to all who think the only problem with our educational system is that it needsmoney it should be taken with a grain of salt, or rather a slat block Gatto is correct that schools act as mainly propaganda for the elite class and he may even be correct that compulsory education should not be the law of the land At least at the high school level What he is not not good at is showing the whole picture He says that he wants a fair discussion about the subject but then engages in the same type of propganda he says he is against For instance he hold Mass in the early 1700 s up as a model of how good life was before the socialization of schools, he claims that some studies show literacy was as high as 98% However he leaves a few key facts out, the first is that there was compulsory education in that time, in the 1640 s starting in 1642 Mass passed laws that made every town larger than 50 people higher a town educator, and every town over 100 families build a school, a few years later 48 laws were passed that made compulsory the teaching of reading, laws, the Catechism and some honest lawful calling, labour or employment by either the parent or some sort of master If he is against schools as a socializing force then it would seem that he should be against the system he is praising that socialized children to the laws of the Catholic church The second fact he leaves out is context He states that the lack of schooling and childrens curiosity led to these high literacy rates He leaves out that most other countries and colonies for that matter did not have compulsory education England is an example of one of these countries and their literacy rates have been shown in studies to be somewhere around 40 60% It appears that a closer look at his argument shows the opposite to be true in the case of literacy The non compulsory areas had lower rates than Mass this leads me to think that it is not compulsory education that is the problem, but rather the state of the current education system in America The third problem seems to be fairly obvious As far as I could tell looking around, the studies show the literacy rates for citizens in a time when black people and women were not considered citizens, not to mention the study takes place in Mass which was one of the most affluent colonies Since this is getting long I will not get into some of the other problems I see in his arguments, including a misrepresentation of Deweys ideas, and instead leave it with a note on his motives If you go to his website you will see a link to a group he started called the Odysseus group who s primary goal is for government schools to forced to compete and that Free market choice will improve government schools, too it seems fairly contradictory to me that someone who speaks against schools as a tool of the elite class would want to turn education over to the free market that has created so many problems Enron, Water wars in Bolivia, Jail privitazions, Iraq, Health care industry in America, privitazion of the military in Iraq that has led to Blackwater, Halliburton, etc To sum up his argument it seems to be this Industry has taken a hold of our schools and acts as a propaganda tool to socialize children to work in various industries unquestiongly, the short term solution Give complete control over to these industries Again, this is not coming from some right winger trying to attack new ideas, I agree with most of what Gatto says about schools being a propaganda tool I just disagree with his solutions and his propaganda as well If you don t believe me look at my other book selections

  5. says:

    I checked this book out after a friend recommended John Taylor Gatto to me after an argument on a Facebook thread that started with a post about how we seem to be producing people who have contempt for science and reason.Gatto spent a few decades as a NYC public school teacher, so in theory he should have interesting ideas about what s wrong with education and how to address the problems, but in practice, he doesn t.In a nutshell his thesis is the public school system produces conformist non thi I checked this book out after a friend recommended John Taylor Gatto to me after an argument on a Facebook thread that started with a post about how we seem to be producing people who have contempt for science and reason.Gatto spent a few decades as a NYC public school teacher, so in theory he should have interesting ideas about what s wrong with education and how to address the problems, but in practice, he doesn t.In a nutshell his thesis is the public school system produces conformist non thinkers And it s part of an implied conspiracy, which started after the Civil War, with the purpose of indoctrinating children by separating them from their communities and families and imposing systems of networks in place of community, with the ultimate goal of imposing centralized societal control Things were so much better for education in 17th colonial Massachusetts where people had their own relationship with God and had to find their own truths And we can only solve the problems we face and improve society by dismantling the educational system and everything that supports it and return to that never never land of colonial Massachusetts by allowing the free market to take over and give people freedom of choice Somehow, this will not only make education better but it will solve all of society s problems.I found his argument lacking in many respects He denigrates the education system as a whole but only ever worked in one district He constantly emphasizes his experience as a teacher and status as one time New York State teacher of the year but dismisses other people who work in the field He idealizes the past, especially 17th century Massachusetts and his own childhood to contrast with everything he hates about modern life, but rather than address what changed in American life and why he implies it s some grand conspiracy to destroy society as a whole and produce sheep reliant on centralized authority.His magic solution to go back to olden times by dismantling education as we know it, including any kind of structure in the lives of students, allow people to chose their own truths, or realities, and over time the free market will correct all of the flaws and society will change on its own for the better In other words, valuing self obsession and self interest will make things better because things like reason and rationality are hostile to freedom and oppressive.How a system that he claims worked in a small community almost 400 years ago will work in a massive and complex country that is the modern United States he doesn t explain in any detail He just asserts it will And he clearly has contempt for industry but is willing to sell things through the free market where only a massive industry could replace the function currently filled by the schools he wants to destroy Simplistic, self deceptive, sophist thinking at its best

  6. says:

    Ugh, this book may have brought on my mid life crisis Not because Gatto is wrong, but because he s right The education system isn t just broken, it s taking completely the wrong approach It s designed to kill the spirit of enquiry I ve attended several hearings addressing formal student complaints where the student is alleging the college level education they received was substandard because they were 1 asked to read a text book, and not given a teacher written summary of all material that Ugh, this book may have brought on my mid life crisis Not because Gatto is wrong, but because he s right The education system isn t just broken, it s taking completely the wrong approach It s designed to kill the spirit of enquiry I ve attended several hearings addressing formal student complaints where the student is alleging the college level education they received was substandard because they were 1 asked to read a text book, and not given a teacher written summary of all material that will expressly be covered in the final exam or 2 asked to select a research topic from a list of options, research it, and write on it, and were not told what to write about, what to include, and exactly how to structure it there are complaints about this cruelly unfair practice every semester This is not the student s fault this is what the education system has done to them We squished their passion, love for learning, and curiousity for its own sake before they were seven.So, I agree with everything Gatto says about the problem, but I don t share the same enthusiasm for his solution basically, charter schools Here in NZ we are about to introduce charter schools for the first time One of the most enthusiastic proponants for charter schools is self proclaimed Bishop Brian Tamaki, a religious leader who exhorts parishoners to tithe generously, while driving a NZ 75,000 car, arguably leading to the rapid shrinking of his congregation, as well as some very unhappy former church members Mr Tamaki would like to run a charter school in a greenfields town development for church members, to teach children classes framed around his core fundamentalist Christian beliefs including that women belong at home raising children and homosexuality is a sin against God.See, this is where I m not OK with charter schools I can t think it s OK for the kids who attend this charter school to learn this, with no balancing opinion offered, even if this means other children at a different charter school would get a vastly better education than they do now That price seems too high for me.I have no bloody solution Home schooling Rargh It s unsolvable I think instead I should buy a little cafe and make people happy with caffeine all day nods EDIT Oh, also, 30 years after this book was first published, nothing is better It s worse Also, exams ridiculous Rewarding memory over application of principles, deep appreciation, and creative problem solving, and unlike any real world scenario

  7. says:

    Don t read this if you have or plan on having children that you won t be able to home school, but a must read for everyone els This is a damning indictment against the public school system written by none other than a teacher who lived it Sure to cause riots oncepeople realize that twelve to thirteen years of their lives were utterly wasted.

  8. says:

    This was an excellent book written by a NY teacher of the year who taught for 26 years in the government controlled monopoly school system It is an eye opener that what is needed is less money, notMore choices,freedoms,time with children home,time for children to be children, allowing them to learn HOW to think, not WHAT to think Interesting to learn that the literacy rate in colonial America was close to total, and hasnt been that high since just before the Civil Wa This was an excellent book written by a NY teacher of the year who taught for 26 years in the government controlled monopoly school system It is an eye opener that what is needed is less money, notMore choices,freedoms,time with children home,time for children to be children, allowing them to learn HOW to think, not WHAT to think Interesting to learn that the literacy rate in colonial America was close to total, and hasnt been that high since just before the Civil War when compulsory schooling government monopoly schooling began An 1850 s 5th grade math textbook would today be considered college level The 7 lessons kids are learning that he talks about in the first chapter were a definate eye opener I would dare say they are lessons no parent would wish their children to learn

  9. says:

    Excellent As with all my favourite books, I have lent it out and it is still out there This book is proof that home educators are not obsessive nutcases, as he provides inside information on schooling in New York which spanned over 30 years When I first got this book it followed me everywhere until I had finished it, even into the bath This author can share my bath anytime, as long as I don t drop the book in, of course

  10. says:

    Wow I just wrote a thoughtful and brilliant review of this book and then pushed the wrong button and lost I will try to recap my brilliance I just sat down and read this book this afternoon while watching my kids play at the park and in the yard and it was amazing and powerful I am truly moved in ways that are uncomfortable Do not read this book unless you are prepared to feel extremely uncomfortable with the statues quo of the educational system in this country Before reading this I had al Wow I just wrote a thoughtful and brilliant review of this book and then pushed the wrong button and lost I will try to recap my brilliance I just sat down and read this book this afternoon while watching my kids play at the park and in the yard and it was amazing and powerful I am truly moved in ways that are uncomfortable Do not read this book unless you are prepared to feel extremely uncomfortable with the statues quo of the educational system in this country Before reading this I had already made the decision to begin homeschooling my children this fall, but after reading this book fall can t come soon enough Be prepared for a completely out of the box approach to fixing educational problems and to open your mind and really question education, the purpose, the approach, the results, and so forth This will make your head spin.Mr Gatto, a former school teacher, paints a picture of what really happens in the public school system, where schooling and educating are two different things and teachers have seven things they really teaches, none of which are education He makes the case for how we have lost the indivdual spirit and creativity as our education system continues to turnandpower over to central authoriteis who know best and we as a nation continue to spendandmoney to fix the problems in education Not only education, butimportantly families have hurt by this, as children are forced to spendandtime out of the influence of loving parents and siblings Mr Gatto ultimately explains that the compulsory education system can t be fixed because is is flawed and unqualified in its conception and execution Our society as a whole is hurt by this process We loose our sense of community and bettering ourselves and others We are increasingly dependent on the experts to tell us what to do and how to think and this is only getting worse with Common Core rolling forward We fail to let the free market forces and local choices define and perfect our school system and democracy to work by letting people alone to work out the best solutions.In a away, I guess I am thankful that Common Core has come along and awaken me to the state of our educational system in this country I am readingand learningthan I probably would have otherwise I feel empowered and I realize that I do know what is best for my children and family There is a better way to educate the people of this country and it isn t a one size fits all government monopoly on education aided by corporate and special interests poised to make money

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