Customer Reviews for

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Profoundly changed how I educate my child

I am already a practitioner and proponent of homeschooling, but until I read this book I did not realize I was simply repeating at home the very same educational approaches I disliked in the 'official' school system. This book forced me to evaluate what I was teaching a...
I am already a practitioner and proponent of homeschooling, but until I read this book I did not realize I was simply repeating at home the very same educational approaches I disliked in the 'official' school system. This book forced me to evaluate what I was teaching and how. Highly recommended.

posted by Anonymous on January 1, 2004

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

There are more inherent problems with Gatto than with our school system

It would be nice to think that Gatto has stumbled onto some revolutionary theories in his book, that he has uncovered some greater truth that must be understood and accepted, but the reality is, he has not. I have just finished twelve years of public schooling and have...
It would be nice to think that Gatto has stumbled onto some revolutionary theories in his book, that he has uncovered some greater truth that must be understood and accepted, but the reality is, he has not. I have just finished twelve years of public schooling and have all along realized there were some very big problems with the schooling system. These problems are mostly due to the fact that teachers expect children to conform to meet their wishes and any student who does not is wrong. If I were to meet a man on the street who approached me and said, 'Hi, Andrew. My name is Mike. Everything I believe is right, and if you disagree with me you are wrong and a failure,' I would not want much to do with him. Still, however, we continue to send our children into this environment. While Gatto does briefly touch on this problem, he is more concerned with himself than anything else. Gatto must frequently remind the reader that he has been a teacher in the New York school system for thirty years and that he has won numerous awards for teaching, as if that makes him some sort of expert on the subject of education. As far as I can see, Gatto is a self-righteous dillitante who verges on rambling fool quite often. Gatto seems to think that school is some sort of conspiracy and that he is a Freedom Fighter (tm) who will, from inside the system, tell the truth. To back up this 'truth,' Gatto uses obscure historical references and hardly relevant examples. He also feels the need to employ an inflated vocabularity and superfluous verbosity to manipulate the reader into assuming him credulous. My advice: stay away from this book unless you want to see what sort of 'professionals' are teaching your children. Public schooling still functions and, as I see it, always will.

posted by Anonymous on June 15, 2003

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2004

    Profoundly changed how I educate my child

    I am already a practitioner and proponent of homeschooling, but until I read this book I did not realize I was simply repeating at home the very same educational approaches I disliked in the 'official' school system. This book forced me to evaluate what I was teaching and how. Highly recommended.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2010

    Thought Provoking

    As a 22 year veteran of the public school system I found this book to be infuriating, offensive, and the more I thought about it...right on the money. I think this should be required reading for every member of the public schooling system. I first read it as an assignment for an education course I was taking in pursuit of my masters degree and have been recommending it to every educator I know since.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2003

    Public school still functions?!?

    The previous reviewer sure has an axe to grind. It is obvious that schools are meant for regimentation, institutionalization, and all that goes into narrowly folding a human into this curriculum. Gatto may pick some obscure references but their obscurity in now devalues them as real. I would recommend riding Gatto as an eye-opening essay - you may not buy the historical angle but the common-sense-ness of his commentary is like razor cut thru the kind of block-that-kick mentality of the previous reviewer. One thing the previous reviewer and my self share is a love of the ad hominum argument. ;-)

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2000

    You may want to consider an alternative to public schools for your kids after this

    An excellent read. I read through it in one day, and then went back several times. It gives details about why the school system doesn't work, and while it doesn't offer much hope for fixing schools, it gives parents a lot of insight on what they can do to make sure their kids know how to do more than read, write and count. The basic theme is that schools are preparing kids to succeed as factory workers. The constant shuffling between classes, the state curriculum, the large classes, and the top-heavy management of schools all keep kids from developing the independence, depth of learning, and passion to truly excel. I was a public school teacher for three years, and the truth of this book definitely rings true. The first chapter on the lessons kids learn in school (1) Mediocrity and disconnected facts make an education 2) Stay in your own class 3) Emotional Dependence 4) Intellectual dependence and more) is worth the price of the book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2007

    Insight into why our schools are harmful.

    If you've had a sense of unease with schools in the US but have not been able to articulate where and what the problem is, this book will get you started in understanding the breadth of the problem.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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