Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I am no longer willing to hurt children - John Taylor Gatto (A compilation)

John Taylor Gatto spent 26 years as a New York City public school teacher. In 1991after winning his third Teacher of the Year Award, Gatto wrote a resignation letter which he submitted to the Wall Street Journal called, “I Quit, I Think” and left his job, stating that he was “no longer willing to hurt children.” Gatto’s outline his reasons for becoming disheartened in The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher where he shares that the American public school system is largely responsible for a national humanitarian crisis. In that essay Gatto points out, this system:
  • Teaches children that their worth is determined by other people
  • Causes children to be dependent on teachers/experts rather than on themselves
  • Praises total conformity and condemns individuality as a threat to the system
  • Teaches that schedule, not interesting work, is what has value
  • Teaches that value is only possible under conditions of competition
  • Leaves children with almost no private time
Gatto went on to become a celebrated author who speaks around the world. This is a compilation of just some of his writing, lectures, and talks.

Articles by Gatto
Books by Gatto

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The Paradox of Extended Childhood
Weapons Of Mass Instruction
Dumbing Us Down and Weapons of Mass Instruction
We don’t need no education. We dont need no thought control. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. Teachers leave them kids alone.’
Interview with John Taylor Gatto
The Future of Education Interview with Steve Hargadon

Audio Compilation
Helping Other Altruists International has a collection of Gatto Audio Files here.

Video Compilations


  1. I too quit my job as a teacher, I was there 34 years. Since 2 years I have found that I connect better with students, I can help them one on one as a coach, I learn them how to be selfconfident ans do what they now well. To find their passion.
    I stdied NLP, pract. and master and am now in the proces with a group of enthousiastic people to start a democratic school. I think school has to change. Pupils have to find their own way in their own pace to become the happy ceative people we need now and in future. From Holland,with warm regards, Anne Marie Potmeer

  2. So, I made a note yesterday to read up on John Taylor Gatto and in particular his Dumbing us Down book. I thought you might have something to say about him Lisa, so I Google'd my way here.

    Wow! Thank you for the effort you put into this post.

  3. Great compilation, Lisa. Thanks for sharing. There are a couple more articles at Life Learning Magazine:



  4. I’m a psychologist and have never worked as a teacher, but from what I have learned about education from my vantage point, talking to children who are students, adults who are parents of students, and adults who are disabled and have been damaged by their education, I sometimes think I would like to become a teacher. If I did, I would start with the following premises – 1. The relationship between my students and me is my most valuable educational tool, and that I cannot allow other factors to distract me from that. 2. Parents can be allies, but they are not teachers. I seek independence in how I teach their children but I will also honor and respect them for the decisions they make in their homes. 3. I will only give homework that is purposeful and useful, and, in no case, allow homework to dominate education or interfere with the student’s success. Kenneth Goldberg, Ph.D. www.thehomeworktrap.com.