by John Taylor Gatto
John Taylor Gatto’s Weapons of Mass Instruction focuses on mechanisms of familiar schooling which cripple imagination, discourage critical thinking, and create a false view of learning as a by-product of rote-memorization drills. Gatto’s earlier book, Dumbing Us Down, put the now-famous expression of the title in common use worldwide. Weapons of Mass Instruction promises to add another chilling metaphor to the brief against schooling.
Here is a demonstration that the harm school inflicts is quite rational and deliberate, following high level political theories constructed by Plato, Calvin, Spinoza, Fichte, Darwin, Wundt, and others, which contend the term “education” is meaningless because humanity is strictly limited by necessities of biology, psychology, and theology. The real function of pedagogy is to render the common population manageable.
Realizing that goal demands the young be conditioned to rely upon experts, conditioned to remain divided from natural alliances, conditioned to accept disconnections from the experiences, which create self-reliance and independence.
Escaping this trap requires a different way of growing up, one Gatto calls “open source learning.” In chapters such as “A Letter to Kristina, my Granddaughter”; “Fat Stanley”; and “Walkabout:London”, this different reality is illustrated.
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: New Society Publishers (October 1, 2008)
Book size: 9.2″ x 6.1″ x 0.9″ inches