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The Underground History of American Education

Reviewed by Beverley Paine

New Documentary Film based on John Taylor Gatto's Best Selling Book

In her Universal Preschool Blog , Diane Flynn Keith, author of CARSCHOOLING , urges us to support a new documentary on education based on John Taylor Gatto's book The Underground History of American Education.

A documentary that will hopefully help to reform education across the globe as it answers the question John first posed in his award winning book DUMBING US DOWN : do we really need school?

"Do we really need school? I don't mean education, just forced schooling: six classes a day, five days a week, nine months a year, for twelve years. Is this deadly routine really necessary? And if so, for what?

Don't hide behind reading, writing, and arithmetic as a rationale, because 2 million happy homeschoolers have surely put that banal justification to rest. Even if they hadn't, a considerable number of well-known Americans never went through the twelve-year wringer our kids currently go through, and they turned out all right.

George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln? Someone taught them, to be sure, but they were not products of a school system, and not one of them was ever "graduated" from a secondary school. Throughout most of American history, kids generally didn't go to high school, yet the unschooled rose to be admirals, like Farragut; inventors, like Edison ; captains of industry like Carnegie and Rockefeller; writers, like Melville and Twain and Conrad; and even scholars, like Margaret Mead. In fact, until pretty recently people who reached the age of thirteen weren't looked upon as children at all. Ariel Durant, who co-wrote an enormous, and very good, multivolume history of the world with her husband, Will, was happily married at fifteen, and who could reasonably claim that Ariel Durant was an uneducated person? Unschooled, perhaps, but not uneducated.

We have been taught (that is, schooled) in this country to think of "success" as synonymous with, or at least dependent upon, "schooling," but historically that isn't true in either an intellectual or a financial sense. And plenty of people throughout the world today find a way to educate themselves without resorting to a system of compulsory secondary schools that all too often resemble prisons.

Why, then, do Americans confuse education with just such a system? What exactly is the purpose of our public schools?"
The Underground History of American Education
Diane reveals that Gatto has his entire book available to read for FREE online . A product of nine years of research and a half-million dollar investment, this book pulls back the curtain to reveal the actual purpose for which mass forced schooling was conceived and identifies the problems with modern schooling and what can be done to fix it.

Join FREE Book Discussion - to participate simply join the FREE EduTalk e-list at Yahoo groups .

According to Diane you can donate to the production of a new Documentary Film Series based on the book which will be a hard-hitting and compelling exploration of American compulsory schooling. It's important for Australian homeschoolers to pay attention to what's happening elsewhere in the world, especially the United States , as this is where the educational authorities look for guidance when reforming Australian schools and curriculum... Will we blindly follow where US schools lead and make the same mistakes, leading to devastating consequences for so many young people?

The documentary, Diane, a verteran homeschooler herself, says will "examine the troubling anomalies of our current system" and "penetrate the untold history of our schools" as well as "survey the many extraordinary alternatives available to students, parents and teachers."She urges us to help us make this film a reality. Learn more about it by visiting: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/fourthpurpose/gatto.htm.

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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!

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