Weapons of Mass Instruction

Weapons of Mass Instruction : A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling

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John Taylor Gatto's Weapons of Mass Instruction, now available in paperback, focuses on mechanisms of traditional education that 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 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 that can they achieve self-knowledge, judgment, and courage.
John Taylor Gatto is an internationally renowned speaker who lectures widely on school reform. He taught for thirty years in public schools before resigning on the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal during the year he was named New York's official "Teacher of the Year." On April 3, 2008, the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard credited Gatto with adding the expression "dumbing us down" to the school debate worldwide.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 12mm | 400g
  • Gabriola Island, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0865716692
  • 9780865716698
  • 15,075

Back cover copy

The transformation of schooling from a twelve-year jail sentence to freedom to learn

Have our schools become mere Weapons of Mass Instruction, or can they be transformed to offer genuine freedom to learn?

John Taylor Gatto has been a hero of mine for years. He has the courage to challenge an educational system that is obsolete and out of touch with reality.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 and challenge the system.
-- Robert Kiyosaki, author Rich Dad, Poor Dad

John Taylor Gatto's voice must be heard ... He knows why the (education) system is so utterly flawed and lays it out right here. We ignore his profound insights at our own peril.
-- Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, founder Zaytuna Institute (credits and title need checking)

Weapons of Mass Instruction is a hard-hitting critique of the mechanisms of compulsory schooling which cripple imagination and discourage critical thinking. In his earlier book, John Taylor Gatto brought his now-famous title - Dumbing Us Down - into common use worldwide. Weapons of Mass Instruction promises to add another chilling metaphor to the lengthy brief against schooling.

Weapons of Mass Instruction demonstrates that the harm school inflicts is quite rational and deliberate. The real function of pedagogy, Gatto claims, is to render the common population manageable, to remove the obligation of child care from adult workers so they are free to fuel the industrial economy, and to train the next generation into subservient obedience to the state. Gatto reveals that Ivy League schools do not produce the most successful graduates; that some of the world's riches entrepreneurs are high school drop outs; and that Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, and Andrew Carnegie didn't finish elementary school. Filled with examples of people who have escaped the trap of compulsory schooling, Weapons of Mass Instruction shows us that the realization of personal potential requires a different way of growing up and learning, one Gatto calls open source learning.

Urgent and controversial, this book is a page-turner that promises to appeal to all who harbor doubts about the current education system.

A remarkable achievement. I can't remember ever reading such a profound analysis of modern education
-- Howard Zinn, on The Underground History of American Education
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Table of contents

Prologue: Against School; Everything You Know About Schools is Wrong; Walkabout: London; Fat Stanley & the Lancaster Amish; David Sarnoff's Classroom; Hector Isn't the Problem; The Camino de Santiago; Weapons of Mass Instruction; What is Education?; A Letter to My Grand-daughter About Dartmouth; Incident at Highland High; Afterword: Invitation to an Open Conspiracy: The Bartleby Project; Index.
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About John Taylor Gatto

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 the United States, his other books include A Different Kind of Teacher (Berkeley Hills Books, 2001) and The Underground History of American Education (Oxford Village Press, 2000).
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Rating details

2,246 ratings
4.23 out of 5 stars
5 49% (1,098)
4 32% (718)
3 14% (305)
2 4% (94)
1 1% (31)
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