Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey Through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
This book 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-memorisation drills. Gatto's earlier book, Dumbing Us Down, put that now-famous expression of the title into common use worldwide. This book 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. Realising 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'. In chapters such as 'A Letter to Kristina, my Granddaughter'; 'Fat Stanley'; and, 'Walkabout: London', this different reality is illustrated.