Dumbing Us Down

Excerpts our family relates to, taken from “Dumbing us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling” – by John Taylor Gatto


“Our form of compulsory schooling is an invention of the State of Massachusetts around 1850. It was resisted sometimes with guns by 80% of the population… the last outpost in Cape Cod not surrendering its children until the 1880s, when the area was seized by militia and children marched to school under guard.

Prior to compulsory education the Massachusetts literacy rate was 98% and that after it the figure never exceeded 91%.”


“At the core of education (a favorite of the ruling classes of Europe for thousands of years) is the belief that self-knowledge is the only basis of true knowledge.

Independent study, community service, adventures and experience, large doses of privacy and solitude, a thousand different apprenticeships (one day or longer) – are powerful, cheap and effective.”


“The “Curriculum of Family” is at the heart of any good life.

Networks (schools) are not workable substitutes for families. (losing weight systems are not a replacement for a healthy nutritional lifestyle, for example)

The fragmentation caused by excessive networking (schools) creates diminished humanity, a sense that our lives are out of control – because they are.

By redirecting the focus of our lives from families and communities to institutions and networks, we, in effect, anoint a machine our king.”


“A French sociologist once wrote that every institution’s unstated first goal is to survive and grow, NOT to undertake the mission it has nominally staked out for itself. It was this philistine potential – that teaching the young for pay would inevitably expand into an institution for the protection of teachers, not students – that made Socrates condemn the Sophists so strongly long ago in ancient Greece.”


“Discovering meaning for yourself as well as discovering satisfying purpose for your life, is a big part of what education is. How this can be done by locking children away from the world is beyond me.”


“The Cathedral of Rheims were created by a community of people working together for over a hundred years… they’re beautiful, artistic, yet no one knows who designed or made them because our modern form of institutional boasting did not yet exist as a corruption of communitarial feeling. They help announce what being human really is.”


“Look to the Congregational principle for answers. Encourage and underwrite experimentation; trust children and families to know what’s best for themselves; stop the segregation of children and the aged in walled compounds; involve everyone in every community in the education of the young…”


“That certified teaching experts are deemed necessary to make learning happen is a fraud and a scam.”

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