Public School Issues
Many parents are basing part of their decision to homeschool on issues with public schooling, from bullying to poor academic performance to problems with governmental control.
Links and Items
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
This radical treatise on public education has been a New Society Publishers' bestseller for 10 years! Thirty years of award-winning teaching in New York City's public schools led John Gatto to the sad conclusion that compulsory governmental schooling does little but teach young people to follow orders as cogs in the industrial machine. In celebration of the ten-year anniversary of Dumbing Us Down and to keep this classic current, we are renewing the cover art, adding new material about John and the impact of the book, and a new Foreword.
A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling
In 1991, shortly after receiving both the New York State and New York City Teacher of the Year Awards, John Gatto resigned to begin a new career as an education reform advocate. In this collection of 16 essays, Gatto analyzes the problems of American education and suggests solutions for revitalizing the system — prescriptions that run counter to current trends.
The Exhausted School: Bending the Bars of Traditional Education
These 13 essays, presented at the 1993 National Grassroots Speakout on the Right to School Choice, illustrate how education reform actually works. Written by award-winning teachers and their students, these essays present successful teaching methods that work in both traditional and nontraditional classroom settings. “Gatto’s voice is strong and unique.” — Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul
Concerns About Public Schools
How Home Schooling Will Change Public Education
More than 1.2 million students are now being taught at home, more students than are enrolled in the entire New York City public school system. Paul T. Hill reports on the pros and cons of learning at home—and the effects home schooling will have on public schools.
The Myth of Teacher Qualifications
Most education officials publicly claim that teachers need special “qualifications” in order to be effective. As a result, public education organizations often promote legislation or an interpretation of the law which would require home school parents to have one of three qualifications: 1) a teacher certificate, 2) a college degree, or 3) pass a “teacher’s exam.” Although this seems reasonable on the surface, such requirements not only violate the right of parents to teach their children as guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments, but virtually all academic research documents that there is no positive correlation between teacher qualifications (especially teacher certification requirements) and student performance.
Saving the Children
It is sometimes said, by public school supporters, that if some children are taken out of the system to go to other schools, the public schools will deteriorate. And so, the thinking goes, parents have a "duty to society" to keep their kids in the public schools, even though they have already deteriorated almost beyond recognition. How absurd that the government schools think of the children as serving the schools' or society's needs instead of the other way around. It's not the school system that needs saving, or even reforming. It's the children who need to escape from the failing government schools and be allowed to home school or attend successful private schools, without the penalty of paying twice -- once with taxes and again for tuition.
State Education Fails The Test
Children naturally love to learn. They want to know everything. "Daddy, why is the sky blue?" "Why can't I see my back?" "Why are those dogs doing that?" "Are we there yet?" And so on and so on. Then we send them to school. And all desire to learn is methodically destroyed. Many of today's citizens are products of the schools of the last twenty years, during which time the trend has been to adopt a more and more socialistic posture. Most teachers have never spent their lives anywhere except in classrooms, and their vision of the world is so much at odds with the real world of business and industry as to be virtually a different society.
Government Schooling Comes to America: The Origins of Government Schooling in the United States
The first step in understanding the state of education today is to review how government came to be the dominant force behind schooling in the United States. From the outset of the first settlements in the New World, Americans founded and successfully maintained a decentralized network of schools through the 1850s. Then, beginning in New England, a wave of change swept across the country, which soon saw states quickly abandoning the original American model of decentralized, private education in favor of government-funded and operated schools.
The Perfect Crime: How Psychology and High-Tech Marketing Have "Deformed" Education
Beverly K. Eakman explains how, as a teacher, she saw that public schools are places where bad ideas are legitimized. She discusses the evolution of educational policy thought and the psychologizing of the educating process. This is a fascinating look at the state of the educational system today.
Universal Preschool
There is a national campaign to institutionalize all preschoolers through government funded and/or mandated "universal preschool." This group seeks to redefine universal preschool as an unheralded worldwide community of loving, functional parents who exercise their right and authority to nurture and teach their young children at home.
Against School
This essay was written for the Harper's Magazine forum, "School on a Hill." John Taylor Gatto discusses how public education cripples our kids and why.
Featured Resources

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Diana Waring--History Alive!
Diana Waring--History Alive! produces books, tapes, videos, and history curriculum for the homeschool market.
A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on the Gentle Art of Learning
Now you can realize the joy filled homeschool of your dreams! This modern classic is written by the homeschool mom who first carried Charlotte Mason's writings to America in her suitcase in 1987. Miss Mason's books were soon republished for a new generation. After ten years of intense study and successful application of Miss Mason s principles with her own children, Karen wrote A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning ™. Today's parents can now see what a C...
Kinder Dolls: A Waldorf Doll-Making Handbook
This comprehensive guide for beginners and experienced doll makers shows how to create many different kinds of handcrafted dolls from natural materials. Handmade dolls with their simplicity of expression and design leave children’s imaginations free, rather than being confined by perfectly finished dolls made of artificial materials. Instead, these dolls encourage the magic of creative play and bring children the gift of imagination in which they see themselves as “makers.” Incl...
Elementary Geography
Elementary Geography is a reprint of the original work by Charlotte Mason. It includes her ideas about teaching children about their world, with poetry selections throughout the book. Explores ideas of place from space to our earth, seasons, map making, and topography. Written in a pleasing conversational style, it is useful for understanding teaching methods, memorization, and copy work. 
A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling
In 1991, shortly after receiving both the New York State and New York City Teacher of the Year Awards, John Gatto resigned to begin a new career as an education reform advocate. In this collection of 16 essays, Gatto analyzes the problems of American education and suggests solutions for revitalizing the system — prescriptions that run counter to current trends.