John Taylor Gatto

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3Person.png John Taylor Gatto   Amazon C-SPAN Prabook Sourcewatch Twitter Unwelcome Guests Website YouTubeRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(whistleblower, teacher, author, Statecraft/Analyst)
John Taylor Gatto.gif
Monongahela, Pennsylvania, United States
DiedOctober 25, 2018 (Age 82)
New York City, New York, USA
Cause of death
Heart failure
Alma materCornell University, University of Pittsburgh, Yeshiva University, Hunter College, Reed College, University of California
SpouseJanet Gatto
ExposedMass compulsion schooling
Interests • Dumbing down
• homeschooling
• unschooling
Probably the most famous teacher in USA, who became an unschooling activist, having turned up irrefutable proof that the forced schooling system was never intended to benefit children, but quite the reverse.

John Taylor Gatto was a celebrated teacher and outspoken critic of the school system, having spent a decade researching its origins and early history in USA. His magnum opus, The Underground History Of American Education, exposes the hidden purposes of schools.


Gatto worked as an advertising copywriter and held several odd jobs before borrowing seeking a longer term vocation. He began teaching illegally, having borrowed his roommate's teaching license, which at that stage didn't have a photo attached.[1] Without the indoctrination of "teacher training", he saw what happened in schools with very fresh eyes. He want on to become perhaps the most celebrated teacher in USA, and was named New York City Teacher of the Year in 1989, 1990, and 1991, and New York State Teacher of the Year in 1990, 1991.[2]

“As a vampire fears garlic, the marketplace fears wisdom. Well schooled populations are usually trained to pay lip service to democracy. At the same time, they are being conditioned to avoid the attitudes and behaviors democracy requires. It's a dilemma without an easy answer, because though our national consciousness honors the idea of a democratic society, our national economy and our government would wither and die under anything less than a command-and-control reality. Would you teach critical judgment and moral behavior to everybody? Tell me something, if you would. How could an economy like ours, grounded in the global sale of war machinery, industrially produced meat, fruit and vegetables which has a nutritional value about half of what farm products did in 1940, that relies on financial trickery and the mass sale of magical programs of schooling (not all of them inside school). How could an economy like this endure in a climate of critical intelligence?”
John Taylor Gatto (2008)  [1]


Gatto resigned in 1991, he wrote a letter announcing his retirement to the Wall Street Journal, saying that he no longer wished to "hurt kids to make a living." After some months, this was published on the op-ed page.


“You've heard the expression... "self-fulfilling prophecies". School is set up to certify the social class system and the economic class system that's in place now.”
John Taylor Gatto [3]

Gatto cites Alexander Inglis' 1911's "Principles of Secondary Education" as giving an important key to the real purposes of modern schooling. Dr. Inglis lists six purposes:

  1. Adjustive - To give kids fixed habits of obedience to authority.
  2. Diagnostic - To log kids' behaviour to establish their proper role in society.
  3. Sorting - To teach kids just what they need to carry out those duties, and nothing more.
  4. Conformity - To make kids as alike as possible, for the convenience of their later managers.
  5. Hygienic - For "the health of the race", to mark 'unfit' kids so clearly that they are discouraged from breeding.
  6. Propaedudic - [A very small minority of kids only] To teach them what they need to know to perpetuate the system of management.[4]

Later activities

“We have come under the domain of a scientific-management manage every second of our lives, every expenditure that we make.”
John Taylor Gatto [5]

John Taylor Gatto initially promoted school reform, but abandoned hope in the mass compulsion school system, becoming a vocal advocate of homeschooling/unschooling. He took this messages to conferences in every state of the USA and several foreign countries. John Gatto was hit by a crippling stroke in 2011, and his wife Janet also suffered one in 2015. A site, was set up to report on their progress It reported that, as of November 2016, their condition was improving, but that they still welcomed donations.[6]


Propelled by "a tremendous anger"[7], he wrote a number of books exposing the real purpose of schools, including his magum opus, The Underground History of American Education. Other books included Dumbing us Down and his most recent such book Weapons of Mass Instruction. In December 2016, a Kickstarter project saw Gatto raise $15,000 to create a children's book , Snider The CIA Spider.[8]


Quotes by John Taylor Gatto

"Free market"“I don't think a free market has existed in the United States since I was born in 1935. The market is rigged by enormous subsidies that go to favoured businesses. It's rigged in a half dozen other ways but that way alone would tip the scales. We have so many businesses that actually are bankrupt. They can't compete but they seem to be able to compete because your tax money and mine get poured into them in quiet, unnoticable ways.”Unwelcome Guests
Political party“It doesn't make the slightest difference whether Republicans have control of congress or democrats. They're the same people. Look at their campaign contributions.”Unwelcome Guests
School“Tests aren't tests at all, they're drills. They're part of a psychological training package which controls the behaviour of the unsuspecting. The ultimate goal is to establish and perpetuate a hierarchy. You have to be made to feel that you failed.”2007


3star.png 30 November 2018 Robin  A good introduction to a formidable intellect whom I will miss.
John Taylor Gatto, a highly decorated US teacher, did more than anyone else in US to unmask the fraud of compulsory schooling.
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See also


  1. a b Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "ug745" defined multiple times with different content
  2. RealJohnGatto
  3. Unwelcome Guests #564
  4. Educating you Child in Modern Times, Revised Edition, 2003
  7. Radio Free School