“Dumbing us Down”

Koert Kerkhoff has published this for consideration:

In his controversial 1992 book Dumbing Us Down, — now in its tenth edition — award-winning teacher John Taylor Gatto puts forward a decidedly different view of what needs to be done to improve our schools. He argues that kids need less school rather than more, that our current system of education stifles the natural curiosity and joy of learning, and that between school, television and the internet, kids today are left with less than 12 hours a week “to create a unique consciousness”. The book proposes that radical change is needed to the American educational system to turn around the negative socialization that children receive.

John Taylor Gatto: “It appears to me as a schoolteacher that schools are already a major cause of weak families and weak com­munities. They separate parents and children from vital interaction with each other and from true curiosity about each other’s lives. Schools stifle family originality by appropriating the critical time needed for any sound idea of family to develop — then they blame the family for its failure to be a family.

“Why, then, are we locking kids up in an involuntary network with strangers for twelve years? …

 

“Look again at [what I consider to be] the seven lessons of school teaching (as it is now): confusion, class position, indifference, emotional and intellectual dependency, conditional self-esteem, and surveillance. All of these lessons are prime training for permanent underclasses, people deprived forever of find­ing the center of their own special genius. And over time this training has shaken loose from its original purpose: to regulate the poor. For since the 1920s the growth of the school bureaucracy as well as the less visible growth of a horde of industries that profit from schooling exact­ly as it is, has enlarged this institution’s original grasp to the point that it now seizes the sons and daughters of the middle classes as well. …