Dumbing Us Down: Book Summary, 5 Key Lessons and Review

dumbing us down
TitleDumbing Us Down
AuthorJohh Taylor Gatto
PublisherNew Society Publishers
Rating★★★★★ (5 stars)
Purchase LinkBuy Here

Dumbing Us Down is the book written by John Taylor Gatto that shows how Today’s educational system imprisons students.

As such, Dumbing Us Down is an essential book for parents, teachers, or those who want to pursue self-education. If you want to read more book summaries, just click here.

Synopsis of Dumbing Us Down?

The book is a collection of some materials, such as lectures and texts, by the American professor organized in a book format.

In the book Dumbing Us Down, John Taylor Gatto talks about the problems of the modern educational system, how they are caused and how we can overcome them by studying autonomously and forming communities.

This is a very short book, but very true and its measures need to be put into practice urgently. To buy the book Dumbing Us Down, click here!

Summary of Dumbing Us Down

The book is very short and can be summarized in some central ideas addressed by Professor John Taylor Gatto:

The summary of the book is as follows:

  • Schooling is different from education. Schooling imprisons;
  • The basics of the school are taught in about 100 hours;
  • Operational networks like the school are artificial. Communities are natural and must be encouraged;
  • One should seek self-education as a way to solve these problems;
  • You need to make use of congregational principles and join communities truly interested in education.

First, the author of the book shows how schooling is not the same thing as education: the school process only imprisons the student and prevents him from growing in his studies.That is: schooling interferes with education, as the student loses his autonomy and the genuine desire to learn.

Thus, the author teaches that the basics that children should learn at school can be taught in about 100 hours.

For example: literacy, the four basic operations and other concepts.

In this way, the operational network of the school (that is, the community generated around it) is artificial, as people with different values ​​mix.

An important solution for this is to form communities around common interests, as people with the same values.

Finally, the search for self-education is fundamental for us to be interested in education. To buy the book Dumbing Us Down, click here!

Who is the author of Dumbing Us Down?

Many are put off after hearing such bad things about the school. So the first thing is to understand who the person writing the book is.

The author of Dumbing Us Down is John Taylor Gatto, an award-winning American teacher. However, when John Taylor Gatto saw the evils of the school system, he decided to leave school and teach through lectures and other activities.

As a result, he gave several lectures showing the problems of the education system and wrote books on the subject to spread his ideas. To read more about classic education, check a summary of “A Student’s Guide to Intellectual Life” here!

Key Lessons of Dumbing Us Down

The main lessons of Dumbing Us Down are:

1. Schooling is not Education

Have you ever stopped to think that the terms “schooling” and “education” have different meanings?

The author of the book shows how the schooling process is not the same thing as the education process. Thus, schooling is the student’s adaptation to the school system, something that takes away their autonomy and their interest in studies.

We must seek to reach education, which is something that really benefits us as people and gives us autonomy.

2. The Basics of School are Taught in 100h

The teacher argues that the knowledge we actually need for life can be learned in much less time than normal.

Gatto teaches that the school wastes too much time to teach things to its students. In fact: the basics that school needs to teach and that we will use in our lives can be learned in about 100 hours. For example: we don’t need to learn detailed subjects about more than ten subjects. the focus of teaching it must be the basics that we will use in our lives.

That is: learning to write, to communicate well, to do the main mathematical operations, etc.

In this way, the student will have the means to learn what he wants, without a school defining what is important or not. Read a summary on Blueprint Homeschooling here.

3. The School’s Operational Network is artificial

Furthermore, the school forms a totally heterogeneous community, with people of the most varied possible values.

In fact: cultural and thought diversity is positive and desired. However, many times families who see value in the study are side by side with other families who are uninterested in the subject. Therefore, those who are interested in progressing end up being held back by disinterested people, something that levels everyone down.

4. Every Student Should Seek Self-Education

Nowadays, few people think of studying as a responsibility. People consider education a right.

Perhaps the most important solution to circumvent this type of problem is to pursue a serious and committed life of study. In this way, the person will need to sacrifice some of their time to dedicate themselves to matters of interest.

Thus, this is such a forgotten notion these days that it can generate estrangement in some.

However, it is possible to lead a life of study away from formal education.

The serious student must seehis study as much more than a hobby or activity.

5. People must Gather in Communities

It is clear that nobody progresses alone, but the professor goes further: he argues that the formation of communities can help a lot in education.

Finally, one solution addressed in the book is to form communities around common interests. For example: religion, values, customs and others. In this way, it is possible to join communities, so that children grow in their studies.

Thus, this will make people inserted in the community progress more studies than those who are within the school system.

It is even possible to form groups of homeschooling parents, who help each other in this common goal. Read a summary about The Intellectual Life here to learn more!

Negative Points of Dumbing Us Down

There is only one negative point in the book, and I don’t think it’s bad enough to justify the reader not reading it.

The book is a collection of essays and therefore not as cohesive. As such, those who want something more systematic may not want some of hisdeeper books (currently only available in English).

On the other hand, this can even be good: after all, the texts are independent and can be understood separately. So you can read the different parts of the book in any order you like.

Positive Points of Dumbing Us Down

The book Dumbing Us Down has many points that justify reading it, but I will only summarize the main three of them here.

First: it is a straightforward book, without beating around the bush. He explains quickly and doesn’t stall. Second: it shows concrete solutions to educational problems. It’s not just about criticism. Third and last: the work does not mince words. He doesn’t try to be polite to the problems of current education.

For these reasons and more, I think it’s essential reading for anyone who wants to take their study life seriously – especially if you’re a teacher! To buy the book Dumbing Us Down, click here!

Is Dumbing Us Down worth reading?

Some may still be in doubt whether or not this book is worth reading. Are lectures no longer worth it?

Dumbing Us Down is worth reading. This book is a must-have for parents, teachers, and students. So if you want to understand the roots of the school system being so bad, reading is key. In addition, the book also provides solutions to this problem through self-education and community building.

If you are interested in buying Dumbing Us Down, it’s worth buying the book! To buy the book Dumbing Us Down, click here!

Vítor Costa

PhD in Polymer Science and Technology. Loves to read and study about sciences, psychology, philosophy and other subjects.

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