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John Taylor Gatto

Contributions to the Home School Movement

By Ann Zeise

Parents tend to think that schools exist to help their children reach their highest intellectual ability. However, that is not the political goal of the industrialists that fund compulsory education, which is to create a nation of complacent, socialized workers, deep in debt because they have bought too much of what the industries produce.

I have heard John Taylor Gatto speak three times now, and each time I get something a little different out of what he has to say. He came out with a book about the history of American education that is shaking up a lot of people who think that Carnegie, Ford and other industrialists who have donated so generously to education were doing so out of the kindness of their hearts.

Zeise guys help Gatto

Fred and Scott Zeise help John Taylor Gatto with his slide presentation at an event held by Diane Flynn Keith.

In the essays below, Gatto speaks about what he knows best and what he’s found out. He was New York City and State Teacher of the Year at various times in his career. He taught at a school were teens everyone else had given up on were sent, and he did a good job with them ­ but in a creative and unorthodox way. He let them out of school, to be around town, working on various projects, learning first hand how to work the system.

Here is a John Taylor Gatto website primarily focused on his book: Underground History of American Education. The site has some videos and sound clips of John speaking.

You will not enjoy the essays in the links below. They will make you feel sad and angry. They will make you think.

Bootie Zimmer’s Choice
Our children have been held captive by a method of literacy transmission that ignores reality — and makes a very large fortune each year doing so. By John Taylor Gatto.

The Curriculum of Necessity
Or “What must and educated person know?” By John Taylor Gatto. Includes Harvard’s list of what a well-educated person should be able to do.

Great Thinkers on Self-Education: John Taylor Gatto
After being recognized as the New York City Teacher of the Year in 1990, John Taylor Gatto stood before the crowd and outlined the problems he saw with the current educational system.

I may be a teacher, but I’m not an educator
John Taylor Gatto’s resignation letter in the Wall Street Journal. “I’ve come slowly to understand what it is I really teach: A curriculum of confusion, class position, arbitrary justice, vulgarity, rudeness, disrespect for privacy, indifference to quality, and utter dependency. I teach how to fit into a world I don’t want to live in. I just can’t do it anymore.”

‘I’m a Saboteur.’
Brainpower is more important than ever, but education seems more backward than ever. John Taylor Gatto, an award-winning teacher, now aims to overthrow the public-school establishment for which he worked for 30 years. By Daniel H. Pink, Fast Company, November 2000.

I Quit, I Think
I was New York State Teacher of the Year when it happened. An accumulation of disgust and frustration which grew too heavy to be borne finally did me in.

John Taylor Gatto
The site to find out more about John and to purchase his book, Underground History of American Education. You can also view a pictorial essay about the history of education.

Nine Assumptions of Modern Schooling
John Taylor Gatto warned that although there were many caring teachers who worked hard in the system, the institution itself was “psychopathic and without conscience,” and would always overwhelm their individual contributions.

Personal Solutions, Family Solutions
“If you have no time for your family you want to ask yourself, ‘Why must I always be do-ing something?’ God made us human be-ings, not do-ings!” By John Taylor Gatto.

Public School Nightmare
Why fix a system designed to destroy individual thought? By John Taylor Gatto

Six-Lesson Schoolteacher
By John Taylor Gatto, New York State Teacher of the Year, 1991. If you pay for these lessons, you should at least know what they are.

Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher
A longer version: “The first lesson I teach is confusion. Everything I teach is out of context… I teach the unrelating of everything. I teach disconnections. I teach too much.” By John Taylor Gatto, New Society Publishers, 1992

The Underground History of American Education
A Schoolteachers Intimate Investigation Into the Problem of Modern Schoolingby John Taylor Gatto. A review on Family Unschoolers Network of Underground History of American Education.

What Really Matters– Part 1 –
By John Taylor Gatto. If what I’ve said is even partly true, you’ll have to join me in sabotaging the global economy and sabotaging the government schools, because schools and government and machinery-makers lie to you about what matters every time.

What Really Matters– Part 2 –
By John Taylor Gatto. Warehousing the young; warehousing the aged ­ good business, I know, but good for what?

Why Schools Don’t Educate
We live in a time of great school crisis. Our children rank at the bottom of nineteen industrial nations in reading, writing and arithmetic. At the very bottom.

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