20 July 2009

Classrooms of the Heart

"When you take the free will out of education, that turns it into schooling."

"Our form of schooling creates an abundance of social pathologies and contradicts the way children actually learn- sacrificing human potential to an obsession with hierarchy, order, routine, surveillance, and the creation of lifelong dependence on "expert" authority."

"I’ve concluded that genius is as common as dirt. We suppress our genius only because we haven’t yet figured out how to manage a population of educated men and women. The solution, I think, is simple and glorious. Let them manage themselves."

This short documentary profiles the visionary school teacher John Taylor Gatto.

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (1992).
The Exhausted School (1993).
A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling (2000).
The Underground History of American Education (2001). (Complete Text online)
Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling (2008).

The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher - originally published in Whole Earth Review, Fall 1991
Against School - originally published in Harper's Magazine, September 2003
Childhood's End (an edited excerpt from Weapons of Mass Instruction) - Ode Magazine, October 2008

Audio Clip: “The Paradox of Extended Childhood” ~ a Gatto Lecture at Cambridge, Massachusetts
Audio Clip: John Gatto on Public Education

*Operation You is the home of Inspirational Monday. You can get more inspiration there and are invited to stop by and post your links of inspiration.


  1. I love JTG - he always hits the spot. Thanks for this xx

  2. Very excellent!
    Gatto is a hero for us around here and and endless source of inspiration. He calls the school system a house of cards. I think we have quite a few of those. I feel so blessed to be able to save my boys from that tortuous experience.

  3. Now these words are definitely inspirational! I'm so thankful to you for opening my mind's eye about the excellent benefits of allowing my daughter to just BE and manage herself!!!

  4. I've missed you and sunnyboy. just thought you'd like to know that you both inspire me.

  5. AnonymousJuly 21, 2009

    He's just the best, isn't he? Dumbing Us Down was my first real "light bulb moment" about education: what it was and what it could be.

  6. I've been thinking along these lines lately myself and am delighted to happen upon your informative post. Thanks for sharing ;--)
    Hugs and blessings,