The 3 Most Important Books About Public Education

Previously by Charles A. Burris: Reflections Upon Republicanism: FromJefferson to VanBuren

I want to share with you my biggest nightmare as a history teacher in a public high school in the United States today. The students in the YouTube video above are not students at my particular school but I believe are unfortunately representative of many students at most of the nation’s secondary educational facilities. This is indeed a frightening prospect.

The students were asked a series of questions, the type of questions that appear on standardized tests or EOI examinations.

Students throughout the nation have been repeatedly exposed to this basic factual material every year in their Social Studies classes since attending the first grade.

So why are these incorrect responses to these simple questions they were asked so uniformly typical across the nation?

Why were the students so “clueless?”

Has “No Child Left Behind” addressed this?

Will “Common Core” address this?

Or will it make these results even more uniform and pervasive?

These are important matters on which all of us need to seriously reflect upon in each of our respective subject areas and disciplines.

How much responsibility for these poor results falls on the shoulders of the educators who have repeatedly exposed students to this factual material every year since the first grade?

How much responsibility for these poor results should be placed squarely upon the individual students and their parents’ unwillingness to take their child’s education seriously due to its compulsory, tax-funded nature rather than as an ultimate responsibility of the parents?

So where do we begin to look for serious answers to these questions?

Here are the incomparable trio of books on the history of tax supported, compulsory government schooling with which every informed and educated person should be familiar:

Murray N. Rothbard, Education: Free and Compulsory

Samuel L. Blumenfeld, Is Public Education Necessary?

John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education: A School Teacher’s Intimate Investigation Into The Problem of Modern Schools

For the record, the author John Taylor Gatto is a retired American school teacher with nearly 30 years' experience in the classroom, and has written several best-selling books on education. He was named New York City Teacher of the Year in 1989, 1990, and 1991, and New York State Teacher of the Year in 1991.