2014: America’s Dangerous Turn to Anti-Intellectualism

The rise in academic book bannings and firings is compounded by a growing disregard for scholarship itself. Recently, I found out that my work is mentioned in a book that has been banned, in effect, from the schools in Tucson, Arizona. The anti-ethnic studies law passed by the state prohibits teachings that “promote the overthrow of the United States government,” “promote resentment toward a race or class of people,” “are designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group,” and/or “advocate ethnic solidarity instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals.” I invite you to read the book in question, titled Critical Race Theory: An Introduction so that you can decide for yourselves whether it qualifies. In fact, I invite you to take on as your summer reading the astonishingly lengthy list of books that have been removed from the Tucson public school system as part of this wholesale elimination […] Read More

2001: AGAINST SCHOOL

How public education cripples our kids, and why By John Taylor Gatto John Taylor Gatto is a former New York State and New York City Teacher of the Year and the author, most recently, of The Underground History of American Education. He was a participant in the Harper’s Magazine forum “School on a Hill,” which appeared in the September 2001 issue. I taught for thirty years in some of the worst schools in Manhattan, and in some of the best, and during that time I became an expert in boredom. Boredom was everywhere in my world, and if you asked the kids, as I often did, why they felt so bored, they always gave the same answers: They said the work was stupid, that it made no sense, that they already knew it. They said they wanted to be doing something real, not just sitting around. They said teachers […] Read More

2004: The Horrors of Public Education

“School sucks.” Most students will agree, and many have voiced their disgust concerning this abomination we call public education. They spite the good students who obey like little sheep, frown at imposed conformity, and laugh at the hypocritical nature of the system. The same will be done here, but there is a big difference between these defiant students and me, the author. I was one of those good little sheep. I graduated high school with a 4.0, perfect attendance record, two years of student council under my belt, and a host of top scholarships to get me through college. Teachers loved me, students both feared and respected me, and the principal knew me better than I knew him. It’s enough to make you sick. I know it made me sick. So here I am, biting the hand that feeds because it’s been feeding nothing but propaganda and sour grapes. […] Read More