John Taylor Gatto, who is a former New York State “Teacher of the Year,” has issued an urgent message for American parents in his blockbuster book called Weapons of Mass Instruction. Gatto says: “School is not a good place for your kids,” even if they get good grades. The author explains that, while we are told that the purpose of modern compulsory schooling is to help people achieve their best, historical documents tell a very different story. For example, William Torrey Harris, U.S. Commissioner of Education from 1889 to 1906, was shockingly blunt about his vision. Harris regarded children as property of the state, and believed they should be alienated from families, traditions, and religion so they would not pose a threat to the state or the industries they were trained to serve. Other powerful people concurred. Gatto knows that sounds incredible, so he presents the evidence.The author of this remarkable book, John Taylor Gatto, who taught in the New York public schools for 30 years, shows how the type of education common in America before the 20th century, which was self-directed education by citizens and families, served our nation very well. It produced Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. Colonial-era children made vital contributions to family and society by age 12, but modern education unnaturally lengthens childhood and encourages immaturity. Many modern men and women succeeded without a college degree or even a high school diploma. According to Mr. Gatto, 12 years of “incarceration” in public schools stunt growth, dull the mind, and strip kids of real-world responsibilities that develop competence and confidence.
Public schools are the largest industry in the United States and the biggest single influence on our culture and society. John Taylor Gatto's book is called Weapons of Mass Instruction.
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