Dumbing Us Down
by John Taylor Gatto
This book convinced me of the futility of school. It also taught me that school can actually be dangerous: I'm not talking Columbine; I'm talking about a child's spirit being killed.
Gatto is an award-winning NY teacher. He gave a shocking Teacher of the Year acceptance speech that comprises the first chapter of this book. In the speech, he lets everyone in on a secret. He really only teaches seven things: 1) confusion, 2) class position, 3) indifference, 4) emotional dependency, 5) intellectual dependency, 6) provisional self-esteem, and 7) constant surveillance and the denial of privacy. He explains these lessons in more depth. Gatto believes that children are harmed by so much time spent in school. He believes that they should spend less time at school and more time at home with their families.
I guess I should not be surprised that there are a lot of reader reviews on Amazon that are critical of this book. The critics are essentially saying, "Well, then what's the solution?" Well, for me, homeschool is a solution.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone considering whether they want to keep their children in public school. I think it makes a lot of sense if you have experience with the public school system.