Monday, December 29, 2008

BOOKSHELF: WEAPONS OF MASS INSTRUCTION

John Talor Gatto

Weapons of Mass Instruction focuses on mechanisms of familiar schooling that cripple imagination, discourage critical thinking, and create a false view of learning as a by-product of rote-memorization drills.

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 that the young be conditioned to rely upon experts, remain divided from natural alliances, and accept disconnections from the experiences that create self-reliance and independence.

Escaping this trap requires a different way of growing up, one Gatto calls "open source learning."

John Taylor Gatto taught for thirty years in public schools before resigning from school-teaching in the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal during the year he was named New York State's official Teacher of the Year. Since then, he has traveled three million miles lecturing on school reform.

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