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ryandejonghe

Ryan DeJonghe - The Avid Reader

I didn't always read, but that changed in June of 2013. I dropped the unnecessary stuff and picked up the awesome stuff--like reading! I started posting my reviews on Amazon and within a few months rose to the top 0.1% of reviewers. My reviews then went to Goodreads, and now my blog (http://ryandejonghe.wordpress.com) and Twitter (@Ryan_Reads). If you are reading this, why not leave a comment or send me a note? I love talking to other folks about books and my reviews. Publishers and authors, feel free to drop me a note if you want me to review your book. I usually stick to mainstream publishing, but I'll consider anything. If I review your book, I’ll give you a fair and thorough review and let you know when the review goes live. You can reach me at dejonghes@gmail.com. Happy Reading!

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling - John Taylor Gatto I enjoy fielding questions from other concerned parents about why I homeschool. In most cases their torches and pitchforks wave in the air until I admit having a teacher hidden among the branches of our family tree. Without having that coveted certificate in our bloodline, we are deemed unworthy of passing knowledge unto our offspring. Thanks in part to the work of New York’s teacher of the year (both city and state) John Taylor Gatto, these stigmas are slowly falling away.

Parents or educators seeking Gatto’s words are better served reading his speeches online. This book contains two speeches—one accepting the city award, one accepting the state award—and three other selected writings.

While informative, there is a lot of repetition within these pages. I read about the same Massachusetts senator in each of the five selected readings. Not only is there is a lot of repetition, but there is no organization or flow to the material. The only merit in reading all of the selections would be to gain insight into Gatto’s history and to gain exposure to some of his more radical thoughts.

And therein lays my only disagreement with Gatto: the end book radical proposals. Everything he spoke about in front of his peers, employers, and parents made sense. He spoke on the ills of boxing up our children and mass producing a set curriculum. By the end of the book, in a rarer piece of his writing, he proposes the complete elimination of schooling and teacher certification, setting up free market independent teachers instead.

While I would love to give this book five stars because of who Gatto is and what he has done, I cannot in good faith give such a high rating to a small collection of writings, much of which is repetitive or borderline outlandish.