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Is their an anarchist critique of John Taylor Gatto's book "Dumbing Us Down"

+2 votes
John Taylor Gatto is an former New York City public school teacher who has written extensively on the effects of mandatory compulsory schooling in the United States. I am searching for an objective anarchist summary of his extensive experience and knowledge of the social impact of public schooling on children and adults. I like his overall message but cannot stand his references to the American Founding Fathers and Democratic values. Has anyone expanded on his premises without falling back on "looking for leaders, working within the present system for change" Blah Blah Blah! Is anyone out there who can help me with this. Thank You.
asked Jun 15, 2010 by anonymous
interesting. i hope that someone has either already read or will now read this book and get back to you.
there is a lot of literature on anarchists and schools, including a school called stelton, one in spain called the modern school (francisco ferrer was martyred for his work there), and so on. the info you get from researching these wouldn't be a direct review of gatto, obviously, but it might give you the info you're looking for anyway.

2 Answers

+5 votes
Usul of the Blackfoot's zine "Against Schools!!! & The Tyranny of Compulsory Schooling" has two of Gatto's articles, with an opening disclaimer evaluating Gatto. Haven't seen any other anarchist evaluations of Gatto specifically, especially one specific book by him. You can find that zine here though: http://zinelibrary.info/against-schools-tyranny-compulsory-schooling

Other people have had much better premises than him IMO:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montessori_method
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unschooling
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_school
Also check out Modern Schools.

More of Gatto's writings:
http://www.spinninglobe.net/gattopage.htm
"The Underground History of American Education" (full book online)
http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm
answered Jun 16, 2010 by AutumnLeavesCascade (9,030 points)
0 votes
Anarchist blogger Ran Prieur (www.ranprieur.com) sometimes discusses Gatto and has criticized him for conservativism. I don't know if he's ever discussed him in quite the depth you're looking for, however.

Also, if you ever find any book that is objective let me know. This objectivity thing is an interesting concept, but I have yet to see it in practice.
answered Oct 10, 2010 by enkidu (6,710 points)
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