Starting with John Taylor Gatto

There is hardly a more heroic figure in any arena than John Taylor Gatto. As I move on to other enterprises in this field, I could do no better than to remind myself and everyone else about the true nature of our public education system.

Gatto describes public education in a speech he gave in 1991 when he won “New York State Teacher of the Year”. It is called “The Seven Lesson Schoolteacher”:

Here is what we REALLY  teach:

  1. Confusion: everything taught is out of context, unrelated to everything.
  2. Class position: students must stay in the class where they belong.
  3. Indifference: students shouldn’t care about anything, just appear to. This brings to a mind a chilling quote located in the introduction of my edition of Gatto’s book: “The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill conviction but destroy the capacity to form any”. This is from Hannah Arendt, noted anti-fascist philosopher.
  4. Emotional dependency: kids surrender their will to the predestined chain of command
  5. Intellectual dependency: good students wait for the teacher to tell them what to do
  6. Provisional self-esteem: kids are constantly judged and evaluated
  7. One can’t hide: kids are under constant surveillance. (How did Mr Gatto know that in the 21st century constant surveillance would become the way of life for our entire population? Good thing we have been educated to accept this)

Mr Gatto’s work goes much further than this. This speech is found in his book, DUMBING US DOWN, which I enthusiastically recommend.

His extensive website with all these materials can be reached by following this link:

Light and Love


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