Books about Education and Liberty
(in alphabetical order)
compiled by Donald Burger, Attorney at Law
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, by John Taylor Gatto. Copyright 1992, 2002. Paperback. 103 pages.
This is an explosive book. Its premise is that public schools (more properly known as government schools) achieve exactly what they are designed to achieve. They turn out docile citizens who will meekly do what they are told, without questioning authority. They will not learn to think. They will learn that the key to success lies in doing what those in authority command, when they command it, all for the good of the group. When we send our children to government schools we are aiding the state in turning out "citizens" who believe in the virtues of the group over the individual, who will be punished for any ability to think on their own and who will endure twelve years of all sorts of "values" at school that we would be aghast to teach them at home.
Gatto makes the argument that reform of public schools is not the solution. "Reform" is not the solution because government schools do what they are supposed to do. The solution is to not subject your children to this process. We need less public schooling, not more. We need to abandon compulsory attendance laws. We need to instill respect to family and friends, not the school authorities, who often undermine the teachings of the parents. We need to abandon the idea that the government can discover the "one right way" of educating our children. Gatto believes in a free market in education, and the multiple approaches to satisfying the "customers" that a market inspires. Not the "one size fits all" approach that characterizes the governments approach.
There is a lot to absorb in a book barely 100 pages long. This review only touches on the ideas Gatto expounds upon. Please give the book a read. I believe you will never look at public schools in the same light again after you have read it.
Education, Free and Compulsory: The Individual's Education, by Murray Rothbard.
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