Book Review- Dumbing Us Down

This controversial critique of the American public schools Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto can frighten, move and enlighten you. When Gatto won New York City Teacher of the Year and used his speech to heavily criticize public education, it was amazing when just a year later he was awarded New York State Teacher of the Year and was asked to come back and speak again. Both of these controversial speeches (by some considered propaganda) are included in this book along with one of Gatto’s award winning articles. For those who want to know more about what learning should and shouldn’t be, this is a great introduction.

Themes: community; initiative; connectedness

Read with: “Education and the Pursuit of Happiness”;”The American Scholar”; Education of a Wandering Man; How Children Learn

Discussion Questions:
1- Is American public school really this bad? Why or why not?
2- What causes public education to fail? What is success? How could success be achieved?

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