Book Review: Dumbing Us Down


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John Taylor Gatto, upon winning the award for teacher of the year after 30 years in the classroom, delivered a speech that was so shocking that the reverberation is still being felt today. This speech is the first chapter of Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling and it is honest, insightful, and scathing. Essentially, he is an education whistleblower.

“School is a twelve-year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned. I teach schools and win awards doing it. I should know.”

Those “bad habits” he is referring to are what he outlines in the first chapter as being the true lessons taught in schools: confusion, class position, indifference, emotional dependency, intellectual dependency, provisional self-esteem, one can’t hide (constant surveillance).

This book does not leave you feeling inspired – it leaves you outraged. But sometimes, that’s exactly what is needed to spur change (and it’s why the Sage Homeschooling book begins with our experience exiting the school system).

Read the book. Face the truth. Create a better path.

Have you read it? What did you think? Comment below or head on over to the Sage Parenting Tribe under the Dumbing Us Down post to join the discussion!​ Any a-ha moments with enthusiastic nodding or side eye as you digested something unsavory? Let’s chat!

Next month, we dive into Raising My Rainbow. So grab your copy, settle into a good bedtime cuddle, and get reading.

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