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Unschooling Pioneer: In Memoriam John Taylor Gatto (1935-2018)

In his book A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling, John Taylor Gatto explained that the primary goal of real education is not to deliver facts but to guide students to the truths that will allow them to take responsibility for their lives.

After over 100 years of forced schooling in the USSA, literacy rates have dropped, families are fragmented, learning “disabilities” are skyrocketing, and youth are increasingly disaffected. Thirty years of teaching in the government indoctrination camps led John Taylor Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory state schooling is to blame, accomplishing little but to teach young people to follow orders like cogs in an industrial machine.

The world lost an extraordinary man on October 25th; the award-winning educator who became a whistleblower when he loudly quit the public school system and dedicated his life to exposing the harm that school does to children. Gatto’s work helped lay the foundation of the unschooling movement which has become an important part of the modern anarchist’s strategy for achieving a free society.

When he left the statist system in 1991, his resignation, published as an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, went into brutal detail about the crushing impact that the structure of schools has on students.

The open resignation letter began with the following passage:

I’ve taught public school for 26 years but I just can’t do it anymore. For years I asked the local school board and superintendent to let me teach a curriculum that doesn’t hurt kids, but they had other fish to fry. So I’m going to quit, I think. I’ve come slowly to understand what it is I really teach: A curriculum of confusion, class position, arbitrary justice, vulgarity, rudeness, disrespect for privacy, indifference to quality, and utter dependency. I teach how to fit into a world I don’t want to live in.

I just can’t do it anymore. I can’t train children to wait to be told what to do; I can’t train people to drop what they are doing when a bell sounds; I can’t persuade children to feel some justice in their class placement when there isn’t any, and I can’t persuade children to believe teachers have valuable secrets they can acquire by becoming our disciples. That isn’t true.

Government schooling is the most radical adventure in history. It kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents.

After leaving his job at the height of his career, being named the New York State Teacher of the Year twice, John went on to write a number of books detailing the history of the “Prussian model” of government education, which as the name implies, was developed in pre-nazi Germany. He pulled from direct sources, showing quotes directly from early politicians, and aristocrats explaining in their early writings that the mandatory school system was intended to mold the servant class into more obedient soldiers and citizens.

In Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, he pointed out that the US was once a land where every sane person knew how to build a shelter, grow food, and entertain one another. Now most citizens have been rendered permanent children. It’s the architects of forced schooling who are responsible for this.

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“School is a twelve-year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned… It is time that we squarely face the fact that institutional schoolteaching is destructive to children.”

Gatto’s research made such a profound impact because it came from someone who was well-respected in the academic field, and he stuck to his principles when push came to shove. This was inside knowledge from a source who was difficult for parents to ignore or even the most rabid statist to dismiss.

Predictably, the propaganda media failed to celebrate or even recognize Gatto’s legacy, while war criminals like John McCain were enshrined for weeks on every fake news channel. Of course, freethinkers are keeping Gatto’s memory alive by spreading his ideas and accomplishments.

Thankfully, he was a special mentor to many, and some of those he inspired, like parenting author Dayna Martin and homeschool activist David Rodriguez, are following in his footsteps.

The best way to learn how to unschool and unchain your family is at Anarchapulco, The World’s Premier Liberty Event, where Dayna and David, who worked closely with Gatto, are hosting the Free Your Family Camp.

Children are natural learners. Restricting children to certain topics at certain times in a sedentary environment erodes that natural passion.

Plus, we have the internet now. Most schools (not all) are an ancient, unnecessary artifact in the digital age.

“We don’t need state-certified teachers to make education happen — certification probably guarantees it won’t.”

Take a look at John Taylor Gatto’s books, including Weapons of Mass Instruction and The Underground History of American Education. The Ultimate History Lesson documentary is also an incredible resource, featuring a 5-hour interview chronicling his life’s work.

Free the children, free the learning. Exit school.

 

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Jeff Berwick - The Dollar Vigilante

About the Author

Anarcho-Capitalist.  Libertarian.  Freedom fighter against mankind’s two biggest enemies, the State and the Central Banks.  Jeff Berwick is the founder of The Dollar Vigilante and host of the popular video podcast, Anarchast.  Jeff is a prominent speaker at many of the world’s freedom, investment and cryptocurrency conferences including his own, Anarchapulco, as well as regularly in the media including CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox Business.  Jeff also posts exclusive content daily to the new blockchain based social media network, Steemit.

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Jeff Berwick

Anarcho-Capitalist.  Libertarian.  Freedom fighter against mankind’s two biggest enemies, the State and the Central Banks.  Jeff Berwick is the founder of The Dollar Vigilante and host of the popular video podcast, Anarchast.  Jeff is a prominent speaker at many of the world’s freedom, investment and cryptocurrency conferences including his own, the world's largest anarcho-capitalist conference, Anarchapulco, as well as regularly in the media including CNBC, Fox Business and Bloomberg. Jeff also posts exclusive content daily to the new blockchain based social media network, Steemit.
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