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Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling | [John Taylor Gatto]

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

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. With over 100,000 copies in print since its original publication in 2002, this book is collection of essays and speeches and includes a describes the wide-spread impact of the book and Gatto's "guerrilla teaching". John Gatto was a teacher in New York City's public schools for over 30 years and was a New York State Teacher of the Year.
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Publisher's Summary

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. With over 100,000 copies in print since its original publication in 2002, this book is collection of essays and speeches and contains a description of the wide-spread impact of the book and Gatto's "guerrilla teaching".

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 North America, his other books include Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling, A Different Kind of Teacher, and The Underground History of American Education.

©2002 John Taylor Gatto (P)2012 Post Hypnotic Press, Inc

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  •  
    Niall bremerton, WA, United States 06-25-12
    Niall bremerton, WA, United States 06-25-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Required reading to see why kids hate school"
    What made the experience of listening to Dumbing Us Down the most enjoyable?

    This book is a collection of essays that were written by a highly decorated teacher discussing the ways he was ashamed to a pert of the American schooling process- I keep remembering him talking about how he would grant permission for a child to use the bathroom knowing they did not have to go- that they just wanted water to move around but he would consider this a kind of favor to be repaid, He mostly talks about how the current system kills the natural curiosity of children and ensures that they will despise learning and intellectual topics. For those wondering the only semi solution given is home school and there really is not a lot of advice in there for people who want to start homeschooling


    What other book might you compare Dumbing Us Down to and why?

    There are some good movies that follow this theme-- The War on Kids, The Cartel -and- Waiting for Superman.


    If you could give Dumbing Us Down a new subtitle, what would it be?

    The broken format of your kids' school


    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    victor Diamond bar CA 08-16-12
    victor Diamond bar CA 08-16-12
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    "If you have kids ... its a must read!!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Dumbing Us Down to be better than the print version?

    well is the second time i read it ...but the audible was good to listening book


    What did you like best about this story?

    all the story is an aye opener ...it change my life...now i read books ....i mean i love to read books ....I see life very in a very different way...


    Any additional comments?

    a must read!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hector DORAL, FL, United States 08-06-12
    Hector DORAL, FL, United States 08-06-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Seemingly good ideas-lacks solutions"

    This is a critique on the current mostly attended school system in the United States, but some of it applies to any country. Some situations and comments by the author are easily recognizable as facts, yet he seldom speaks of real overall solutions. It is not easy to extrapolate from his individual experience to an overall view of education in the U.S. His claims should be backed up with more data, taking into account how important education is for everyone. Overall, it makes you think and consider possibilities, which I think was the author's goal.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    07-11-12
    07-11-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Good read"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    No really.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Coming from a teacher's point of view.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    Yes, the pace was good.


    Could you see Dumbing Us Down being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    A movie, perhaps. A TV series will be too slow. Besides most people just want to watch American Idol and who got kicked of the Island.


    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Lindon, UT, United States 01-29-14
    Kindle Customer Lindon, UT, United States 01-29-14 Member Since 2011

    Audible fan!...Why didn't I discover audiobooks sooner? I would rather listen than watch.

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    "Do you want to pull your kids out yet?"

    Homeschoolers love this book. Why? It points out (and exaggerates and makes blanket stereotypical statements about) all the ills of public education. Public school education has its problems and in an ideal world we could all be tutored one-on-one by George Wyeth as Thomas Jefferson was. (google TJeD) Unfortunately, that is not the world we live in. There are so many issues brought up by this book it would take a hundred volumes of the same size to discuss them all. What came first - the chicken or the egg? the breakdown of education or the breakdown of the family? This is a good listen. It will make you think...unless you can't because you grew up in a public school as I did. (sarcasm)

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    natalie Spain 01-05-14
    natalie Spain 01-05-14
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    "Very interesting"
    If you could sum up Dumbing Us Down in three words, what would they be?

    Really blimin' interesting :)


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    Very thought provoking and also alarming.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    yes


    Any additional comments?

    If you have children, listen to this audio.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane United States 02-05-13
    Diane United States 02-05-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Paranoid ravings of an anarchist"
    Any additional comments?

    This book was so dreadful that I hardly know where to begin. On the outset, I will disprove the author’s contention that no good deeds can emanate from a publically-schooled person. Given the opportunity to return this book to audible.com for a full refund, I declined so that I may write this review, thus hopefully saving others from wasting their time and money.

    John Taylor Gatto does start well by enumerating seven true enough points about school. (I think that most of us can agree that the public school system has problems.) They are:

    1. It makes the children confused. It presents an incoherent ensemble of information that the child needs to memorize to stay in school. Apart from the tests and trials that programming is similar to the television, it fills almost all the "free" time of children. One sees and hears something, only to forget it again.
    2. It teaches them to accept their class affiliation.
    3. It makes them indifferent.
    4. It makes them emotionally dependent.
    5. It makes them intellectually dependent.
    6. It teaches them a kind of self-confidence that requires constant confirmation by experts (provisional self-esteem).
    7. It makes it clear to them that they cannot hide, because they are always supervised.

    From here, things go way downhill. The next three hours are dedicated to asserting (although not explaining nor backing with statistical evidence) the author’s main argument that school is the root of all evil including, but not limited to, the breakdown of family, community, and society in general. He expresses a longing for the good ole days when kids had mischievous fun – he is proud to have been a juvenile delinquent having been arrested three times – and people didn’t have non-propagatory sex. He is tormented by modern society and has appealed to the reader to do what they can to sabotage schools, as he admits to have done and, one can only assume, continues to do. I contend that Gatto (and society in general) would be better if he joined Glenn Beck and his fellow anarchists in Beck’s planned utopian city of Independence, USA where young’uns would know how to make their own rocking chairs and crossbows and education is strictly home-grown.

    Yes, the public education system is broken. A sane and rational approach to the problem is definitely needed, but that is something that this book does not provide.

    8 of 20 people found this review helpful
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