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on 26 September 2015
A must read for all teachers. Absolutely ground breaking for those with an open mind and heart. I can imagine 'AN Other' reading it and finding it too offensive though as it really eats away at the core of the current school format. As a teacher I found this pretty soul destroying and truly liberating all at the same time. I found myself asking 'What on earth have I been doing all these years?' followed swiftly by a sense of enlightenment and a real drive to deliver something different. Turned my career around. Still teach kids but now I feel better about it, with a better understanding of my role.
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on 5 June 2017
Must must read.... It totally changed my perception of educational institutions!
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on 15 August 2017
Insightful
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on 20 July 2008
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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on 11 March 2012
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 commitment feel somewhat guilty. It is an eye opener and at the very least it would make parents stop and think about the education their child is getting, and become more aware of the inadequacies of the 'factory' process in many schools that are expert in churning mediocre kids out.

note : it is about the American schooling system so some of the more specific arguments may not be applicable within other education systems.
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In Western countries, nearly everybody can read and write. John Taylor Gatto says, 'But what of it'?

To be able to read and write is an advantage, and a considerable one, to deny that would be lunacy. However, it is not a sign of mental quality. It is a tool and a weapon; a means to an end; a very useful thing to propagandize a population. Get them to read so that they can read our slogans!!

Gatto argues that ultimate value of literacy depends upon the end to which it is used. And to what end, is it generally used today? Just look at the level of discourse that passes for debate!

It is used for convenience or for entertainment, by those who read; for some advertisement, or some objectionable propaganda, -- for money-making or power-grabbing -- by those who write; sometimes, of course, by both, for acquiring or spreading disinterested knowledge of the few things worth knowing; for finding expression of or giving expression to the few deep feelings that can lift a man to the awareness of who he really is, rather than what the other guys say he is; but not more often so than in the days in which one man out of ten thousand could understand the symbolism of the written word. Generally, to-day, the man or woman whom compulsory education has made "literate" uses writing to communicate personal matters to absent friends and relatives, to fill forms -- one of the international occupations of modern civilised humanity -- or to commit to memory little useful, but otherwise trifling things such as someone's address or telephone number, or the date of some appointment with the hair-dresser or the dentist, or the list of clean clothes due from the laundry. He or she reads "to pass time" because, outside the hours of dreary work, mere thinking is no longer intense and interesting enough to serve that purpose.

Gatto says that for thousands of years, people always lived, even before compulsory education came into fashion. And the stories heard and remembered were no less inspiring than stories now read. The real advantage of general literacy, if any, is to be sought elsewhere. It lies not in the better quality either of the exceptional men and women or of the literate millions, but rather in the fact that the latter are rapidly becoming intellectually more lazy and therefore more credulous than ever -- and not less so; -- more easily deceived, more liable to be led like sheep without even the shadow of a protest, provided the nonsense one wishes them to swallow be presented to them, in printed form and made to appear "scientific." The higher the general level of literacy, the easier it is, for a government in control of the daily press, of the wireless and of the publishing business, -- these almost irresistible modern means of action upon the mind -- to keep the masses and the "intelligenzia" under its thumb, without them even suspecting it.
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on 21 March 2017
How children are converted into cattle
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on 6 July 2011
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 writing this book, it is short but straight to the point. I like also what others have written about the book and comments especially Andrew Parodi and the comments to his review, so much that I can relate to. I am more than ever encouraged to start home schooling my children as soon as possible!
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on 14 June 2010
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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on 17 April 2010
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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