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Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling [Paperback]

Gatto , Moore
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

2 Jan 2002 0865714487 978-0865714489 2nd
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).

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Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling + Weapons of Mass Instruction + How Children Learn (Penguin Education)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers; 2nd edition (2 Jan 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865714487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865714489
  • Product Dimensions: 22.7 x 15.7 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 18,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

John Gatto was a teacher in New York City's public schools for over 30 years and is a recipient of the New York State Teacher of the Year award. A much-sought after speaker on education throughout the United States, his other books include A Different Kind of Teacher (Berkeley Hills Books, 2001) and The Underground History of American Education (Oxford Village Press, 2000).

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
169 of 172 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book has liberated my soul! 10 Jan 2004
It sounds overly dramatic, I know, but I truly feel that John Taylor Gatto has liberated my soul by writing DUMBING US DOWN. But that is exactly what he has done. John Taylor Gatto confirms everything I had always believed about schools: that they are simply cruel prisons where spirits are destroyed and minds are conquered. Easy for me to say, though, seeing as how I myself never did too well in school. John Taylor Gatto, on the other hand, has been named Teacher of the Year several years running by both New York City and State. Here is someone accepted by the teaching establishment, honored by the teaching establishment. He speaks for me and thousands of others who've been tortured in these horrible institutions.
John Taylor Gatto reveals many fascinating, and frightening, things. For example, literacy went down in the US after the advent of compulsory schooling. Yes, more people could read and write before schooling was mandatory. Gatto says this is because reading, writing, and arithmetic only take about 100 hours to transmit, but schools purposefully distort the learning process and intentionally slow down the students' learning so as to justify robbing them of 12 years of their lives while they teach what Gatto refers to as the seven lessons schools really teach:
1. Confusion
2. Class position
3. Indifference
4. Emotional dependency
5. Intellectual dependency
6. Provisional self-esteem
7. One can't hide
It was Adam Robinson's WHAT SMART STUDENTS KNOW that first introduced me to the fact that school distorts the learning process and that if you want to be a good student you basically have to unlearn everything school teaches you about learning. It is Gatto's DUMBING US DOWN that explains *why* school distorts the learning process.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for any freethinking person 20 July 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
John Taylor Gatto's analysis of government schooling as being a form of controlling and suppressing the masses is spot on.

I decided to home educate my kids because I didn't want school to get in the way of their education. Schools don't actually serve individuals very well at all....all they do is provide a steady supply of compliant, conformist, disempowered clone worker consumerists. They do not nurture individuality, critical thinking, love and compassion, but instead cause divisions by creating a kind of caste system where every child quickly learns their place in the pyramid, only to rise to the top by trampling on others and surrendering to rules designed to persecute anyone who deviates from conformity and obedience to the system.

If you think kids should be allowed to grow up and learn in a way that is free from any political agenda, and that the purpose of education is surely not just to raise little conformist consumers to keep the economic machine marching on, then this book is for you. Schools really aren't doing the job they are supposed to do, so maybe it's time we took things into our own hands and those of the children themselves. Kids are often way too smart for school and being held back by idiotic policies and beaurocracy and so on. Search your feelings - you know it's true!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic 15 Mar 2010
By Swampy
If considering or currently in a career involving education, read this book. Don't get disheartened with the teaching job though, learn from this book the ways a teacher can make the bets of the current education system and REALLY help educate kids for their own benefit!!!!

This book helped me answer why I seem to remember so much more from my own reading and learning and only about 20% of the stuff I studied in school, if that.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading 14 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am not going to sum up the book in a couple of paragraphs; you better read it yourself. I have read many books much better written than this, but not every book is capable of making you reconsider so many things that you have always taken for granted, and that is what makes this book special. Even though you do not agree with all its arguments, you will find it hard to refute many of them, and in doing so, you are likely to end up with enough questions to start doubting yourself and the entire education system. The book is barely a hundred pages, and the crucial ones are only a fraction of the book, but those few pages are enough to set your doubts and reflections in motion. I, for one, have already considered home schooling my daughter just after reading this book. If you are curious, read it and then decide by yourself. If you do not read it, you may never know what you missed.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 17 April 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The other reviewers covers the important bits so I won't repeat them. I found it interesting that Gatto mentions the "new-world-order" agenda to take kids and nuture in them a need to see the state as thier parents, and how this type of mass schooling drives a wedge in the fabric of society. A small book but needs to be read slowly to get what gatto is saying - his experience and insight shines through and needs to be heeded.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I think this is a good starting block for anybody who has children or is a guardian. I felt the information in this book will cause a spark to encourage readers to do more research into why our children are getting taught certain material & why certain procedures have been implemented at a time where the mind is very receptive & open to be conditioned, all this to later on mould the vulnerable minds, staining them with characteristics that will benefit those who are in power & blindly giving them more of what they want.... MORE POWER
Its based in the US, however, if you have been to school in the UK, you will see how things have filtered down & are still applicable to the curriculum over in England.

That said, the book itself is ok. However in terms of the message that John Taylor Gatto is trying to get across & the obvious significance of the references in the book. I feel like it just made the 4star mark since it opens doors to further amplify your understanding.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gatto is so perceptive.
Yes, it is a true statement `Dumbing us down`. Try to argue with him if you can.
Published 1 month ago by pawelgonzalez
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it!!
This book is very enlightening. A must read for those thinking about Home Edding. Along with other factors, it changed my view of schooling completely
Published 2 months ago by Mrs A Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars JOHN TAYLOR GATTO, GENIUS
Published 10 months ago by Mrs. C. A. Hamilton
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and powerful
Reading this book would benefit every person whose life is touched by the school system and perhaps inspire them all to throw sand in the system.
Published 16 months ago by Lydia-May Townsend
5.0 out of 5 stars The best and most informative book you will ever read on education!
This is now one of my favourite books! Will be passing on information to friends and family who still have time to make a difference to there childrens lives.
Published 19 months ago by Ultimate_Reviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars antidote antidote antidote
In Western countries, nearly everybody can read and write. John Taylor Gatto says, 'But what of it'? Read more
Published 20 months ago by Halifax Student Account
5.0 out of 5 stars scary
A series of speeches and essays which were very thought provoking. I'd imagine it'd put a smug smile on the faces of home schoolers while making those of us who haven't made that... Read more
Published on 11 Mar 2012 by FridaSaeed
3.0 out of 5 stars needs updating
The book is very U.S.A. based - and it dwells on what happened a long time ago - so useful to an historian maybe ? Read more
Published on 27 Jan 2012 by Mr. R. G. A. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars A wake up call
Interesting and informative, John Taylor Gatto's book is very readable, I find myself re-visiting this book over and over. Every parent and every teacher should read this book!
Published on 4 Sep 2011 by E-FURY
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional
Reading this book has made it clear for me why I had a natural aversion to school and all institutions that serve only to 'keep you in your place', I want to thank the author for... Read more
Published on 6 July 2011 by LS
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