Weapons of Mass Instruction focuses on mechanisms of familiar schooling which cripple imagination, discourage critical thinking, and create a false view of learning as a by-product of rote-memorization drills. Gatto’s earlier book, Dumbing Us Down, put the now-famous expression of the title in common use worldwide. Weapons of Mass Instruction promises to add another chilling metaphor to the brief against schooling.
In this book you’ll find a demonstration that the harm school inflicts on children is quite rational and deliberate, following high level political theories constructed by Plato, Calvin, Spinoza, Fichte, Darwin, Wundt, and others, which contend the term “education” is meaningless because humanity is strictly limited by necessities of biology, psychology, and theology. The real function of pedagogy is to render the common population manageable.
Realizing that goal demands that the young be conditioned to rely upon experts, conditioned to remain divided from natural alliances, conditioned to accept disconnections from their experiences, which would otherwise create self-reliance and independence.
John Taylor Gatto taught 30 years in public schools before resigning from schoolteaching on the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal during the year he was named New York State’s official “Teacher of the Year.” Since then he has traveled three million miles lecturing on school reform.