John Taylor GattoJohn Taylor Gatto, (1937-2018) American school teacher of 29 years, author, New York State Teacher of the Year, 1991

John Taylor Gatto Quote

“The shocking possibility that dumb people don’t exist in sufficient numbers to warrant the millions of careers devoted to tending them will seem incredible to you. Yet that is my central proposition: the mass dumbness which justifies official schooling first had to be dreamed of; it isn’t real.”

John Taylor GattoJohn Taylor Gatto
~ John Taylor Gatto

The Underground History of American Education, 2001

Ratings and Comments

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

Nope, simple fact, the world is full of stupid people!

Me Again, your town usa.

I agree with this quote.It's part of the plan to get US fighting amongst ourselves and abondoning OUR faith in OUR fellow humans so THEY (the "pupeteers" behind the curtain of secrecy pulling the strings of world governments to direct world events for the establishment of the 1 world order).I agree that THE MASS DUMBNESS PERCIEVED BY MANY PEOPLE IS NOT TRUTH.WHAT IS TRUTH IS OUR PERCEPTION OF THIS DUMBNESS AND WE ALL KNOW THAT PERCEPTION IS>>>>>change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change! i dare you.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

I agree that the children are not dumb. I think Mr. Gatto is off base whoever said children are dumb. They are unknowledeable and folks have been teaching them them since time immemorial. "Official" schooling as he calls it is done in all cultures in order to bring people "up to speed". This guy is a Top Teacher so he obviously believes in teaching and in the "system". Be careful how you read these guys "shop talk".

Mike, Norwalk

I guess its all in how you define dumb. The dream of the system is to dumb down their ultimate product. If the quantity and quality of education were to increase, open to discovery of truth, law, and a prosperity of human experience, it would be found that there are far fewer dumb people around than the so illuminated believe. When all that is taught is how to be a good slave with minimal and altered history, math, reading, and science awareness, the ignorant appear as dumb.

E Archer, NYC

For centuries, European and American countries have been invading and destroying nations around the world in order to control them and 'civilize' them. Millions and millions have been rubbed out because of this superiority complex. Native populations that thrived since the beginning of time were enslaved and oppressed -- and the Western culture of the day was forced upon all these poor little 'savages'. The American Indians may have had one of the most advanced civilizations in history, but because they didn't wear suits or institutionalize themselves, they were 'ignorant.' It happens everyday except that now WE are the ignorant savages that 'need' government schooling. It would be a tough blow to millions working for the system to realize that their compelled services are actually superfluous. It must be quite a mystery to them how mankind got along without them. Once again, missionaries (whether political or religious) see only black and white -- without them the world is doomed, with them we are saved. This is a common government assumption.

Ken, Allyn, WA

Half of the dumb masses have an IQ of less than 100. That is an unalterable fact. It does not mean they are without value, but it does mean that, perhaps, a better way to educate them in occupations that they can do and will enjoy exists. Unfortunately, these other approaches would cut into the teachers union monopoly, and will not be allowed. It also takes control away from government to "properly socialize" the young citizens to their liking.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Spent Memorial Day in a discussion with a young semi-washed up 5/6th grade teacher. She says "no child left behind" has made things extremely difficult. And contrary to many posts on this site she says the problem is the parents and the lack of good parental influence. She worked in inner city situations. So it ain't the teacher it is the parents or at least some of the parents who are at fault.

Ken, Allyn, WA

I'll agree with you about the No Child's Behind Left Alone Act, Waffler. It is the misbegotten spawn of "compassionate conservatism" and far left liberalism that takes control away from local government and gives it to the feds. I will also agree with you about the parents. They are now, what? The fourth or fifth generation that were educated in "public" schools themselves? They have been conditioned to believe that it is government's and teachers' responsibility to teach their children everything from the 3 R's to morality. They have been taught to put their own needs and desires ahead of their children's. They are much like children themselves of the State. In short our society has become in large part a product of the public education system, and it has become a negative feedback spiral moving ever downward to greater decadence.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

What would happen Ken if we eliminated compulsory education and left these people to their own devices?

warren, olathe

Education has been used to pry students away from parental control for socialist purposes. The result is a lack of success in the learning by the student since parental involvement is key to the students learning. Socialism is more important to the NEA than education. That is why the school system continues to get worse. Most teachers will tell you that lack of parental involvement is the biggest problem with the children learning the subject matter, but then they also cling to their beloved NEA that moves in exactly the opposite direction. As far as dumb goes I have always found that most are about as intelligent as a box of rocks.

jim k, austin

Government projects such as No Chld Left Behind, Dare, the War on Drugs, etc, almost always are ineffective or downright destructive. And our current crop of presidential candidates want this same bunch to run health care. Go figure.

E Archer, NYC

This is the very dividing line between Liberty and Socialism: "What would happen Ken if we eliminated compulsory education and left these people to their own devices?" Waffler cannot even imagine that people would go to study anything voluntarily. He cannot imagine that people would find their way without the government. Those that want to learn will learn whether they have money or not. And the worst assumption is that the 'education' we are getting is actually worth anything! I learned more from the encyclopedias in my room and the neighborhood library than anything I learned in school. I built my own computers from mail order parts, wrote software that no one taught me, learned accounting and project management on the job as well as many other skills not taught in school. It is not the job of society to program the next generation -- it is the individual that creates the collective, not the other way around. Let people pick and choose what they want to learn and how they will apply it. Each person's drive to put a roof over their head and thrive on their own efforts is enough. Welfare and socialized 'everything' destroys the sense of responsibility that freedom requires. Today, so many people have been conditioned to be taken care of by government institutions that they believe it to be a right. The love of Liberty is all but forgotten in the pursuit of commercialism. Turn off the crap, and the mind opens up and continues its non-stop awakening.

J. Ball, Upstate, NY

He's exactly right. Compulsory schooling was a carefully crafted system of social engineering. Read the history.

Russ, near Atlanta, Georgia

Right on J. Ball.

Robert, Somewhere in Europe

Obviously, he didn't agree with the headmaster...

Ronw13, USA

Materialism and superficial wants and needs, are the tools of misdirection of attention. It Does and will continue to be seen by more as time moves forward. " The Oppression of the Poor Makes a Wise Man Mad as Hell. !!


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