John Taylor Gatto shines once again in this exposé of the true history of American education, i.e., not the version of history that the government and media have led you to believe. He reveals where the concepts and ideas that rule contemporary education truly originated. In the book, Gatto explains how most teachers and school staff may believe they are contributing to the good of their students and do not intend on making their students dumber. However, these teachers are caught in a faulty system that is designed to make individuals easily controlled by the government and corporate entities. Basically, the education system is designed to create mindless, obedient consumers who won’t question government authority or fight corporate power.
In The Underground History of American Education, Gatto pleads for less restraint of the individuality and critical thinking of students in the school system. He shows how deeply embedded these toxic ideas are that have infiltrated the school system we know today. By going back through history and connecting the dots and giving examples and revealing ideas from leaders that have been strategically hidden, Gatto helps the reader to truly understand what is wrong with our schools.
About the Author
John Taylor Gatto was born in on December 15, 1935, in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as Cornell and Columbia in New York. Gatto then served in the U.S. Army medical corps at Fort Knox, Kentucky and Fort Houston, Texas. After his military service, Gatto completed graduate work at the City University of New York, Hunter College, Yeshiva, the University of California, and Cornell.
Before and during Gatto’s teaching career, he served in various other occupations, many of which involved writing. He wrote scripts for the film business, wrote for advertising, was an ASCAP songwriter, and eventually founded Lava Mt. Records, which is an award-winning documentary record producer. Gatto’s record company has completed a variety of big-name projects, including presentations of speeches from Richard M. Nixon and Spiro Agnew.
Gatto’s teaching career garnered him quite a few awards. He was named New York City Teacher of the Year three times, and then held the title of New York State Teacher of the Year. After leaving his teaching career after 30 years, telling the Wall Street Journal that he was “no longer willing to hurt children,” he moved on to become a much-sought-after public speaker on the topic of school reform. His speaking engagements took him across all 50 states in the U.S., and to seven foreign countries.
Gatto had also recieved other awards, such as the Alexis de Tocqueville Award for his contributions to the cause of liberty. From 1996 on, he has been included in the Who’s Who in America. He has authored a handful of other books, including A Different Kind of Teacher and Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling.
Gatto passed away on October 25, 2018. His obituary on the website for the Foundation for Economic Education stated that after three decades in the classroom, “Gatto dedicated the rest of his life to repairing the damage done by the public education system.”
“The book is absolutely riveting, and the country would be better off if more citizens read it and demanded real change to the system. Gatto’s book deserves five stars because it dares to speak the truth.”