View Full Version : Homeschoolers Are the Last Bastion of Hope

07-18-2010, 03:05 PM
I'm feeling very fatalistic right now, having just completed John Taylor Gatto's Weapons of Mass Instruction I wrote a full review on my blog, but my head is still swimming from this book. Anyone else read it? Did it change your homeschooling course? We were already heading towards a more relaxed approach, but if we hadn't been this book would have shoved us in that direction. I'm now starting The Underground History of American Education. I wish I'd read this stuff a few years ago. This is bone-chilling and I'm feeling so angry right now. It's frustrating that Gatto has been blowing this whistle for 20 years, even appearing before Congress to give them a wake up call, and things have only gotten worse!

Stepping off my soapbox now:D

07-18-2010, 06:04 PM
wow... I was looking at the reviews on amazon and am intrigued. I liked how one person talked about MIT Open which is free MIT with the courses, syllabus, notes etc.

07-18-2010, 08:30 PM
Excellent blog Ashley!

07-18-2010, 08:38 PM
Wow - your shock sounds like me when I read Marsden Wagner's 'Born in the USA (Born in the USA How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First)
How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First'. I haven't heard of Gatto's book, but you can be sure I will look into it!
I enjoyed your blog very much :)

07-18-2010, 10:10 PM

Thanks for the book recommendation-I'll look it up. Your blog was quite interesting, and makes me want to read more.

07-21-2010, 03:37 PM
I bought the book today from Half Price Books, looking forward to reading it!

Theresa Holland Ryder
07-21-2010, 07:03 PM
Dorothy Sayers was talking about some of the very same issues back in the late 40s in her essay Lost Tools of Learning (http://www.gbt.org/text/sayers.html). It's interesting to me how it all keeps getting swept under the rug for business as usual in our educational system even when you have brilliant people writing serious and important stuff about it..

07-21-2010, 08:30 PM
I just found out that the college library has it in- I'm sending DH to get it tomorrow and I'm reading the ebook version right now.

07-24-2010, 04:19 PM
I have not gotten the book yet but hopefully in the next couple weeks I will head to half price books to see if they have it.

08-29-2010, 08:45 PM
I have a copy of Weapons of Mass Instruction sitting on my bookshelf, but after reading "Dumbing Us Down" (an earlier compilation of his) I was a little put off. The problem is that, while I respect and agree with his empirical observations of the public school system, I disagree with his personal philosophical views that permeate his essays.

Gatto is a Christian and an altruist. As such he disapproves of material wealth, technology and capitalism. I suspect that his conspiracy theories regarding a master plan by the "evil industrialists" to create "zombified" workers who don't ask questions is the result of these ideas. He disapproves of television, calling it the second part of the plan. In other words, when kids aren't having their brains sucked out by schools they're having it sucked out by TV.

In one of his essays in "Dumbing Us Down" he talks about when he was a kid, sitting on a hill top staring out a beautiful waterfall and thinking about spirituality. Apparently it was at that point that he knew he wanted to be a teacher. So he wants to rescue children from the clutches of capitalism and materialism to instead hand them over to the clutches of mysticism and spirituality ?

The one essay that I really liked of his, and cannot fault, is called "The Seven Lesson School Teacher." For those who are unfamiliar with Gatto you can read it on-line: http://www.wanderings.net/notebook/Main/SevenLessonsTaughtInSchool

08-29-2010, 11:24 PM
I like John Taylor Gatto. He echoes a lot of the sentiments of John Holt, who was not a Christian. You don't have to agree with him 100%, but his concerns are valid, IMO. I am very concerned that our public education system is destroying our individuality. It is the individual who thinks outside of the box who defines what many view as our country's heritage. While I don't agree with everything in A Thomas Jefferson Education, that is also an excellent book for explaining the conveyor belt mentality of our education system. Education is finite. You complete this course, finish this degree, then you, sir, are an educated person.

One explanation of Gatto's that I really liked was the origin of the word curriculum. Same origin as circuit and circle. something repetitive and never ending.