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The Underground History of American Education

Updated on December 28, 2011

THE UNDERGROUND HISTORY OF AMERICAN EDUCATION speaks Truth even though Truth can sometimes be ugly and spooky to look at.

There is a saying that you never want to visit a slaughterhouse if you enjoy eating meat. The slaughterhouse is real and sensory unlike the cute packets of meat in styrofoam containers that show up in the freezers at your supermarket. Looking at the history and ideas that have shaped the modern compulsory education system is a riveting look into the backroom of the slaughterhouse.

It's written by John Taylor Gatto who taught for thirty years in the New York Public School System - winning multiple awards for his teaching including New York Teacher of the Year. Only to finally give up and quit because he felt compulsory schooling is more destructive than instructive to children.

I recommend it because it's one of the books that might change the way you look at the world. While it is well worth the price, it is also available in its entirety online at for free.

Reading it, you'll get a radically different perspective of the education system. According to Gatto, the true purpose of our public school system has more to do with control, conformity and fostering dependence than it does with learning. This does not mean that there is a conspiracy among teachers, principals, and superintendents. They are trying their genuine best to teach their students. But the system controlled in the shadows by big corporations actually produces dependent, conformist, incomplete individuals full of emotional and psychological problems.


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