John Gatto has been a teacher for 30 years and is a recipient of the New York State Teacher of the Year award. His other titles include A Different Kind of Teacher (Berkeley Hills Books, 2001) and The Underground History of American Education (Oxford Village Press, 2000).
By Patricia Brattan on March 1, 2000
While trapped in this debilitative system along with his students, Gatto, observed in them anoverwhelming dependence. He believes that school teaches this dependence by purposely inhibitingindependent thinking, and reinforcing indifference to adult thinking. He describes his students as"having almost no curiosity, a poor sense of the future, are a historical, cruel, uneasy with intimacy, and materialistic."
Gatto's style of writing is simple and easy to follow. He interlaces personal stories throughout the book to bring clarity and harmony to his views, while also drawing on logic and history to support his ideas about freedom in education and a return to building community. He clearly distinguishes communities from networks: "Communities ... are complex relationships of commonality and obligation," whereas, "Networksdon't require the whole person, but only a narrow piece."