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Publisher's Summary

John Taylor Gatto's Weapons of Mass Instruction focuses on mechanisms of traditional education which cripple imagination, discourage critical thinking, and create a false view of learning as a byproduct of rote-memorization drills. Gatto's earlier book, Dumbing Us Down, introduced the now-famous expression of the title into the common vernacular. Weapons of Mass Instruction adds another chilling metaphor to the brief against conventional schooling.

Gatto demonstrates that the harm school inflicts is rational and deliberate. The real function of pedagogy, he argues, is to render the common population manageable. To that end, young people must be conditioned to rely upon experts, to remain divided from natural alliances and to accept disconnections from their own lived experiences. They must at all costs be discouraged from developing self-reliance and independence.

Escaping this trap requires a strategy Gatto calls "open source learning" which imposes no artificial divisions between learning and life. Through this alternative approach our children can avoid being indoctrinated-only then can they achieve self-knowledge, good judgment, and courage.

©2009 John Taylor Gatto (P)2012 Post Hypnotic Press Inc.

Critic Reviews

"John Taylor Gatto has been a hero of mine for years. He has the courage to challenge an education system that is obsolete and out of touch with reality. Years ago, he gave me the courage to speak out and write my books. I trust this book will give you the courage to speak out." (Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad)
"For over 20 years John Taylor Gatto has been working tirelessly to teach us the truth about our education system - that compulsory schooling does not work to foster a democratic way of life!" (Mary Leue, Founder of the Albany Free School)
"All of Gatto's words shine. Let's have Gatto as US Secretary of Education and then, this time, he can blow it all up!" (George Meegan, author of The Longest Walk and world record holder, longest unbroken march in human history)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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I will never see school the same

I loved this book. As a parent of 3 children, one a model student, one a jokester and one who really struggled academically, I know first-hand that one size fits all education is detrimental to the ones who it doesn't fit. I worked hard to protect my children's individuality and not allow it to be standardized. I couldn't wrap those words around it while it was going on but the mamabear inside me rose up and defended what needed defending and I did the best I could. I only wish I had read this book while they were still in school or even before they got there. READ IT!! RESEARCH WHAT HE CLAIMS...and make your own decisions on how you handle the "experts" who will try to mold your children. There are fantastic teachers who want only the best for your children and it will line up with what you desire as well but when you don't see eye to eye with your children's teachers or school, remember that YOU know your child best and you should advocate for what you think is best. I'm so grateful that new models of schooling are popping up and I hope to see an end to standardized testing in my lifetime. If you are considering homeschooling or unschooling, READ THIS BOOK!!!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Makes you think

This book does a great job of presenting an alternative view of our education system. The author causes the listener really think about what they learned or did not learn in school.

If you have ever wondered why education does not improve considering all the money the government throws at it....this book is for you.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Rich in historical context and experience

Good book for any one looking for a nice overview yet plenty intricate details to leave you wanting to learn even more.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Latest missing scroll of our era, no equivalent

Awesome! Life changing masterpiece, thanks SIR. This should be legal evidence against the government school system.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • United States
  • 03-10-15

This book changed my life

What an amazing case against the school system. I live in China, where the testing regime is even worse in many ways. I agree with the author. Inasmuch as learning happens in schools, it does so in spite of the system, not because of it. Education has to be better than this, and I'll do everything in my power as a teacher and father to improve it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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every parent needs to read

John Taylor Gatto is truly a hero of our time his experience and knowledge is remarkable. he helps to understand the faults of modern compulsory schooling as though purposeful, and helps through his own experience to understand how to combat this weapon against the masses.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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great book

reading this book has given me much confidence in areas that I have questioned all throughout my growing up years as well as the growing up years of my children.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Loved this Book!

Enriching historically. Extraordinary writing as though we as the readers are sharing a private day with a brilliant and loving scholar. Highly recommend. Narrated beautifully. Will listen to this again.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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An inspiration

This is a life changing read and should be compulsory for politicians and educational administrators everywhere. Even if just to show them that there is an alternative perspective!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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John Gatto knows!!!

This is an excellent listen, I only wish that John could have read it himself (sans his stroke) yet the narrator does an excellent job himself. Now we have Common Core in most states. My granddaughter's are taught this way & it frightens me so much! If I can say anything in regard to CC it would be "I'd prefer them not to!"

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-25-16

Eye opener! A great insight.

Critical analysis from an academic successful teacher. The disparity between the public assumption for good are persistent with the system of deliberate disillusion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • M. Hussein
  • 08-27-16

debunks the great myth of compulsory schooling

I enjoyed it greatly it brings to light the false assumption that schooling is beneficial to our impressionable young kids.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ged Swanson
  • 03-15-16

everyone should be aware of this.

This book is something that everyone should take the time to read/listen to. Very pleased I did.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Travis
  • 04-30-15

Incredible inspiring book...

Incredible inspiring book... I highly recommend for anyone who questions the competence and motives of our educational system...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful