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The Ultimate History Lesson: A Weekend with John Taylor Gatto

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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The Ultimate History Lesson: A Weekend with John Taylor Gatto First Edition, 2nd Printing Former New York City and New York State School Teacher of the Year, John Taylor Gatto, illustrates HOW and WHY our public schools are dumbing us down... and what We can do about it. With more than 200 footnotes, and more than 30 classic texts referenced; this 5-hour interview session, memorializing John s research, publications, and life experiences, forms an impeccable family resource and reference library of The Underground History of American Education. Each hour focuses on examining the evolution of ideas, which manifest today in the phenomenon of public schooling. By dissecting the history and presenting you with the references, you re left at the end of each hour, with a copious amount of information to digest; from which you can continue your own personal journey of discovery. This interview also includes solutions, documents, and references; asking only that you consider the information THINK FOR YOURSELF and communicate with others in order to share a higher-level of awareness, thus protecting ourselves from financial predators. This presentation is offered as a public service thanks to the generosity the subscribers of the Tragedy and Hope online community, which is an international research and study group, composed of individuals who have screened our productions, and seek to take the next-steps in enacting strategic solutions. The main thesis of John s body of work can best be illustrated in my opinion by asking the question: What do public schools actually teach children? , and answering it with the main themes contained in John s first book, printed in 1992, titled Dumbing Us Down , he makes the following observations about how public schools are designed in form and function: 1. Public schooling teaches confusion by breaking coherence. It presents an ensemble of information that the child needs to memorize to stay in school. 2. Public Schooling teaches them to accept their class affiliation. 3. Public Schooling makes them indifferent and suppresses natural curiosity. 4. Public Schooling makes them emotionally dependent on approval from authority. 5. Public Schooling makes them intellectually dependent on experts and authorities to think on their behalf. 6. Public Schooling teaches them a kind of self-confidence that requires constant confirmation by experts and authorities (provisional self-esteem). 7. Public Schooling makes it clear to them that they are always supervised, under surveillance, and cannot hide; especially in today s society where everything online is tracked and private information is sold in a variety of ways to a variety of predators. Bibliography: John s poetic prose and diligent documentation can be studied in his prodigious preponderance of publications; including: 1. Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (1992) 2. The Exhausted School (1993) 3. A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling (2000) 4. The Underground History of American Education (2001) 5. Against School published by Harper s Magazine (2003) 6. Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher s Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling (2008)


The Ultimate History Lesson with John Taylor Gatto / by Monica Perez
About the Monica Perez Show: Monica Perez is a married mother of three, and she has an associate s degree in liberal arts from Rockland Community College, a bachelor s degree from Harvard University with a concentration in economics, a law degree from Stanford Law School and a master s in business administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of the bar of the State of New York.

If you ve never heard of John Taylor Gatto you are really missing something. John Taylor Gatto was New York City Teacher of the Year three times when he worked in Harlem. He quit his job, while still holding the title of Teacher of the Year, in an op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal saying that he no longer wished to hurt children. Gatto is one of those very rare people (like Ron Paul) who have the intelligence, character, drive and interest to pursue the truth for its own sake, to actually succeed in uncovering some of it and to share it with those of us ready to recognize it.

I clicked on the link to this five-hour interview with John Taylor Gatto and proceeded to watch the ENTIRE thing in ONE SITTING!!! It s just fascinating. Although Gatto is a wealth of information, insight and revelations, he is also a joy to watch. Witnessing his honesty, curiosity, intelligence, sanity and good judgment are testaments to what is finest in man and I doubt I would tire of listening to him ever so rich, broad and deep is his wealth of knowledge.

But beyond the general joy of learning I get when I listen to Gatto, I find that his contribution is most relevant to me in two specific ways:

First, Gatto lays out a comprehensive, novel (nowadays anyway) and scrupulously thought-out and tested approach to education.

Second, Gatto explains the history of modern schooling and how and why we moved away from his traditional, intuitive approach to educating our young to what we have today, which he clearly distinguishes as schooling as opposed to education.

The first element an alternative approach to education Gatto lays out and illustrates with examples from his own experiences as a teacher. Unfortunately, the prospect of trying to implement this radically different approach to educating my own children within the structure of my typical suburban life daunts me.

This documentary provides an introduction to the idea of what it means to educate our children, both with respect to goals and to methods, but it is not intended to provide step by step instruction on how to make this happen overnight in your own life, rather it s intended, it seems, to prompt us to begin the journey.

My guess is homeschooling is a great start (and end?) but it would take me, for one, some time to get used to the lifestyle change THAT would entail!

The second element the history and purposes of modern schooling is nothing short of fascinating. Anyone who is prone to dismiss conspiracy theories as baseless notions held by irrational nutjobs, should watch this documentary.

Gatto doesn t go off on the Illuminati or the New World Order, he doesn t rave about the power elite or the Anglo-American establishment, but as his story unfolds and he merely tells of the history of modern education which is really the history of today s society the books, events, people, relationships, institutions and theories he has come to understand over the course of his earnest investigations speak for themselves.

The rare occasions when he was opining rather than reporting he clearly marks.

Of course his conclusions based on what he s uncovered are also his own, but he relates his facts and reasoning along the way and make it clear these are the most rational conclusions given the evidence. --The Monica Perez Show

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: John Taylor Gatto
  • Directors: Richard Grove
  • Format: NTSC
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Studio: Tragedy and Hope Studios
  • DVD Release Date: April 5, 2012
  • Run Time: 330 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007R5ZR54
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,608 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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The Ultimate History Lesson is such a treasure. Many of us can tell that something is very wrong with American schooling, but we shrug our shoulders and lament at the apparent "incompetence" we're told is rampant in our system. Most importantly, like good little Americans, we move along without ever questioning things for ourselves.

In this DVD, John Gatto expertly unfolds the stunning truth that the wholesale failure of American schooling is absolutely by design. Your kids and my kids aren't meant to be able to think for themselves, but to mindlessly follow orders given by their superiors. How better to manage a large population of "human resources?"

What do we do about it? Well, purchasing this DVD is a very good start.
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I, personally, think this is a must see for as many people as possible. It's a very relaxed, yet exciting interview with excellent reference captions often given at the bottom of the screen. Simply searching these is seriously eye-opening. I've watched and continue to watch the videos on YouTube, however, had to have the DVD's in my collection.

Thank you Richard Grove and Team Tragedy & Hope, as well as Mr. John Taylor Gatto. Best wishes for you all!
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"School removes your volition in all important ways. Even whom you speak to. Are not the arts of association as valuable or more valuable than anything else you learn when you are young? I read how executive hiring is done. And it almost never has to do with your training in whatever you're being hired for. [Rather, the criterion is:] "Is this the person we'd like to have hanging around three years from now?" But we don't tell kids that, right? [Rather, we tell them] it's people who have the highest grade point average, and the highest SAT score.... Last year, Harvard turned down eight out of every ten Valedictorians who applied, and the two they took in they didn't take in because they were valedictorian."

Speaking of modern education for the masses, John Taylor Gatto declares, "It's a colossal crime" the PRIMARY purpose of which is to instill MINDLESS CONFORMITY. He contrasts that sort of education with the education of the power elite in his "twelve secrets of the elite boarding schools". And he points out that in the 2004 presidential election BOTH candidates were former Yale University skull and bones members.


"The nation has been schooled to the point of extinction... As long as you indulge childish fears and childish appetites long enough, you've effectively rendered someone harmless.... It's run its course. We're exhausted now. Our schooling is exhausted and the national vitality has been exhausted.... About three or four years ago, the Financial Times of London, on the editorial page, accused us [the United States] of being an incoherent society, [that] we had lost a reason to be a nation at all, because subsidizing bankers and drug companies wasn't a sufficient reason to proceed in history. Yeah, we're incoherent.
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A wonderful review of how our educational system has evolved, with primary sources reviewed. Wish I could have had this insight 40 years ago! A valuable reference source for all interested in education and history. John Taylor Gatto is a national treasure!
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