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Paperback – 240 pages
6 Inches × 9 Inches (w × h)

Weight: 400 Grams
BISAC: EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects
Publisher: New Society Publishers
ISBN: 9780865716698
Pub. Date: 2010-04-01

About the Author

John Gatto

John Gatto was a schoolteacher for 30 years. He resigned in the Op-Ed pages of The New York Times upon receiving the New York State Teacher of the Year award. He has been a fierce advocate for self-directed "guerrilla" education for decades, and is also the author of Weapons of Mass Instruction and The Underground History of American Education.

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Weapons of Mass Instruction

A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling

by John Gatto



John Taylor Gatto's Weapons of Mass Instruction, now available in paperback, focuses on mechanisms of traditional education which 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 a 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 can they achieve self-knowledge, good judgment, and courage.

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