John Taylor Gatto
John Taylor Gatto is one of today's most interesting writers on education. He
has written many articles on the topic and is perhaps most well known for his
Dumbing Us Down: The Invisible Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling.
As a former New York City and New York State Teacher of the
Year, John Taylor Gatto has an "inside the trenches" perspective on
education and his criticisms cannot be easily written off.
Underground History of American Education: A Schoolteachers Intimate
Investigation Into the Problem of Modern Schooling by
John Taylor Gatto
(We have the
new revised edition! If you bought the original version, the changes aren't
significant enough to warrant buying another copy, but if you are buying your
first copy, this is the one you want. This version primarily has a new cover and
corrects some errors from the first printing.)
Our favorite radical education theorist has done it again! Seven years in the
making, over 300,000 words and 412 pages with an extensive index - this is
definitely not a "fluff" book. John Taylor Gatto is a former New York City and
New York State Teacher of the year. Author of "Dumbing Us Down," Gatto is an
advocate of homeschooling.
What do the Prussian military, coal mining companies, the industrial
revolution, and the principles of scientific management have in common?
According to Gatto, they forever changed our early educational practices and
contributed to the creation of our modern American school system, and that is
definitely not a good thing!
George Washington, with no schooling until he was eleven (and then only two
years of school) could handle geometry and trigonometry that would challenge
many college students today. He became the architect of his own estate and
started several successful businesses as a young man. Gatto tells us that today,
"No public school in the United States is set up to allow a George Washington to
happen. Washingtons in the bud stage are screened, browbeaten, or bribed to
conform to a narrow outlook on social truth. Boys like Andrew Carnegie who
begged his mother not to send him to school and was well on his way to
immortality and fortune at the age of thirteen would be referred today for
psychological counseling; Thomas Edison would find himself in Special Ed until
his peculiar genius had been tamed."
At times scholarly, at times stream-of-consciousness, and at times passionate
cheerleading, this is a book that will challenge many of your ideas about
education while at the same time confirming many of your suspicions. I can
assure you that as you read this book you may at times find yourself exclaiming
out loud in agreement with what you read, or muttering disagreements under your
breath, but you definitely won't find yourself bored.
Back in July of 2000, we announced the release of the Author's Special
Pre-publication Edition of The Underground History of American Education: A
Schoolteachers Intimate Investigation Into the Problem of Modern Schooling,
by John Taylor Gatto. We told you that the first market edition would be
released on January 31, 2001.
Many of you asked what an "Author's Special Pre-publication
Edition" was and how it would differ from a "first market
edition." We explained that John had actually published the book himself in
the full format he wanted to see released. He was concerned that most publishers
would argue against a 3 pound, 412 page book and would want to edit it down to a
smaller size. By publishing it himself (the Author's special edition) and
demonstrating that there was a good market for the book as is, he hoped to be in
a stronger negotiating position when he made a deal with a bigger publishing
company. His original intent was to have a deal with a publisher by the end of
the year and to have them release the first edition for the general market by
the end of January.
The original plan changed. A documentary based on John's book is now in
the works. Because of the film, John wanted to stay flexible and keep all his
options open, so he has decided not to make a deal with any publishers for the
rights to his book. There was no "first market" edition in January.
John continued to publish the "pre-release" edition until the summer of 2001. At that time, he
released the above printing which corrects a few typos, and has new cover art.
Us Down: The Invisible Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling by (10th
Anniversary Edition) by
Taylor Gatto. Contains essays based on some of John's speeches about school
and education. While not a book about homeschooling, it makes some shrewd
observations about the failures of public schooling and how to re-engage the
family's involvement in learning. An eye-opener for those still unconvinced of
the benefits of homeschooling. I believe Gatto's credentials, in part, win
over (he was New York City and New York State Teacher of the Year). I simply
enjoy his passionate voice and concise analysis of the problems with compulsory
The 10th Anniversary edition contains a new
afterward by the author in which he reflects on the past 10 years and updates
you on some of his current projects.
Paper, 104 pages.