John Taylor Gatto – Dumbing Us Down

Strong criticism of our school system from someone who needs to know ...

  1. Mr. Gatto
  2. The book
    1. The seven lessons
    2. What else?
  3. My experiences
  4. Conclusion

I was watching a conversation between Rüdiger Lenz and Dagmar Neubronner. They were talking about free learning and there was a certain moment where they have mentioned Mr. Gatto and his book.

The conversation had already promised me a lot and because the interlocutors both knew the book, I paused the video, ordered the book and played it again.

Mr. Gatto

Because the interview, which I just mentioned, was played nearby while i was working, I did not quite know who the guy was.

However, when I started reading the book, I quickly realized that this was not just some guy who made his living by writing books. He was a passionate teacher for many years and has been named Teacher of the Year several times in New York State. That has to mean something.

The book

It is a kind of transcription of the speeches made by Mr. Gato. The book as well as the speeches actually contain exactly what the title is. It’s about what you unconsciously learn in addition to mathematics, language, art and other subjects at school.

Now many will think this is once again a conspiracy theory, but this topic has already been addressed by the multiple millionaire and businessman Robert Kiyosaki in interviews and in his bestseller book Rich dad Poor dad.

The seven lessons

Mr. Gatto clarifies the readers of his book that seven lessons are given to the children at school. These lessons accompany the children throughout their lives and supporting the system in which we live. These lessons are

  1. Confusion
  2. Social stratification
  3. Indifference
  4. Emotional dependence
  5. Intellectual dependence
  6. Unstable self-confidence
  7. You can not hide

I would like to write down here what you should understand exactly under the teachings, but that would go beyond the scope. I would recommend you to buy the book and read it.

What else?

There are still many many different topics. One of the things I found very interesting was, for example, the psychopathic school system. There it is noted that the students are very often suppressed by the teachers and therefore can no longer develop or have to live with fears.

Because I have already had a lot of experience in this area, I can understand exactly what the teacher wrote there. The sad thing is that the school administrators are so busy with bookkeeping that these few dollars / euros they are trying to save seem to weigh more than the students of their school.

My experiences

Until two years ago, I did my retraining as a media designer and had to go to school there. Even before that, I somehow had a bad feeling every time I went to school. It always seemed to me that the school wanted to give us only bits of knowledge and not more.

There was no interest in keeping up with the time, but the schools and teachers just played their program every day and every year and the students had to accept it as it is.

If you had a different opinion than the teacher, he deliberately suppressed this person as long as the student was in his class and that did not happen once. It happens so often that almost all students have a dislike of the schools.


I think that once again a person has thought out of the box and brought his expertise to the paper. Once again, I felt confirmed with every page I read, and found it more exciting because the author is a specialist.

In my opinion, all parents should buy and read this book before their child(s) go to school, so they know from the beginning what is going wrong in the schools and to prevent that to affect their children.


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