The Nature of Public Education




Excerpts from the writings of

John Taylor Gatto





On this page you will find a few quotes of

John Taylor Gatto on what I have termed and

labeled "the nature of public education."





Intro from Barb:


       John Taylor Gatto was named "New York State Teacher of the Year" in 1992.  I heard him speak at a homeschool convention maybe three years later.  His ideas "blew me out of the water"!!!  I know they have done much to form my ideas about education, and, as well, to blast my old ideas of education and thus free(d) me to "do education" without feeling like I needed to imitate the school system, public or private.

       Further down this page is a link to a site with much much more of his writing, as well as a few words from me to introduce you to Mr. Gatto's exceptionally needed message!  But let's hear from him first...






      "I've come to believe that genius is an exceedingly common human quality, probably natural to most of us...  I began to wonder, reluctantly, whether it was possible that being in school itself was what was dumbing them down. Was it possible I had been hired not to enlarge children's power, but to diminish it? That seemed crazy on the face of it, but slowly I began to realize that the bells and the confinement, the crazy sequences, the age-segregation, the lack of privacy, the constant surveillance, and all the rest of national curriculum of schooling were designed exactly as if someone had set out to *prevent* children from learning how to think and act, to coax them into addiction and dependent behavior."

 – John Taylor Gatto



     "...‘How will they learn to read?’ you ask, and my answer is ‘Remember the lessons of Massachusetts.’ When children are given whole lives instead of age-graded ones in cellblocks, they learn to read, write, and do arithmetic with ease, if those things make sense in the kind of life that unfolds around them."


 – John Taylor Gatto



     "It’s absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety;  indeed it cuts you off from your own past and future, sealing you in a continuous present much the same way television does..."

 – John Taylor Gatto



     "Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die."

 – John Taylor Gatto



     "By preventing a free market in education, a handful of social engineers - backed by the industries that profit from compulsory schooling: teacher colleges, textbook publishers, materials suppliers, et al. - have ensured that most of our children will not have an education, even though they may be thoroughly schooled."

 – John Taylor Gatto



      "I don’t think we’ll get rid of schools any time soon, certainly not in my lifetime, but if we’re going to change what’s rapidly becoming a disaster of ignorance, we need to realize that the school institution "schools" very well, though it does not "educate"; that’s inherent in the design of the thing. It’s not the fault of bad teachers or too little money spent. It’s just impossible for education and schooling ever to be the same thing."

– John Taylor Gatto



"Curiosity has no important place in my work, only conformity."


– John Taylor Gatto



       Another note from Barb: 



Some Christians may find

portions of Mr. Gatto's message to

be, perhaps...  offensive...



I hope not, but I know some will.  ...  Why would I, a Christian, promote the work of someone whose philosophy is not forthrightly Christian?  This is not an easy question to answer quickly or succinctly, but I hope you who are most aghast at my views will listen the hardest...  


Let's begin with "to the holy all things are holy."  Mr. Gatto has one of THE most accurate pictures of true education that I have seen anywhere.  His perspective, Christian or not, is one that every Christian needs to hear.  Mr. Gatto very accurately and forthrightly sounds a "wake up" call to all of America - hopefully the world - to anyone who will listen to the voice of experience. 


Truth is truth, no matter what or who the source.  I hope you will take perhaps a more open perspective with you to Mr. Gatto's website where he has literally given away much of his writing - a message that will blow the top off of your current views of education, blow the dust out of your approach to it, and blow the minds of those minds are in need of some blowing, especially minds that have previously held tight to some ideas that will do nothing to get them to the goals they hold dear.


I have yet to find any author I am in complete agreement with, even Christian! ~ but, sad to say in some ways, I find myself in much more agreement with Mr. Gatto than I do with many Christians regarding "education."  I have gained much in my life by learning what I believe God wants me to learn from people, even ones I am not in complete agreement with.  


I urge you to visit his website, read the articles there, and allow God to speak to you between the lines. I am confident you will hear Him speaking loud and clear between and through what you read there! 





 Here's a link to

Mr. Gatto's Website:



(Note: This link will take you OUT of my

    website, so you will need to click on your

            BACK button to return here.)



The teal wallpaper is from:



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