Invitation to an Open Conspiracy:

Mama Liberty's picture

This is very interesting, and might possibly be a great "project," especially for those who still have their children in government schools, for whatever reason.

Invitation to an Open Conspiracy: The Bartleby Project
by John Taylor Gatto

Nothing inside the little red schoolhouse does more personal and social damage than the numbers and rank order these tests hang around the necks of the young. Although the scores correlate with absolutely nothing of real value, the harm they cause is real enough: such assessments are a crowning glory of the social engineers who seized final control of institutional schooling during the presidency o Franklin Roosevelt. They constitute a matchless weapon of social control, wreaking havoc on winners and losers alike. Standardized testing is the tail wagging the entire monster of forced institutional schooling.

The frequent ceremonies of useless testing—preparation, administration, recovery—convert forced schooling into a travesty of what education should be; they drain hundreds of millions of days yearly from what might otherwise be productive pursuits; they divert tens of billions of cash resources into private pockets. The next effect of standardized testing is to reduce our national wealth in future generations, by suffocating imagination and intellect, while enhancing wealth for a few in the present. This occurs as a byproduct of "scientifically" ranking the tested so they can be, supposedly, classified efficiently as human resources. I hope the chapters of this book have done some damage to these assumptions, enough to recruit you as a leader in The Bartleby Project. If you show the way, others will follow.

An excellent essaY

An excellent essay, ML, and Gatto's views of modern 'schooling' echo my own as set out in my novel 'Mallcity14'

I've long admired Gatto after reading a paper of his on Mastery Learning back in the early 90s as an undergrad psyc student, and my opinion is unchanged.

A wonderful mind, and a true champion of the individual.


I hope you don't mind that I edited your comment to hyperlink the book title. :)

Gatto has long been an example of someone who can go from statist to at least libertarian and make a meaningful contribution to the struggle for liberty. Rare, I know, but it does happen. Gatto is one of the really good ones.

Not at all!

I appreciate the thoughtful edit :-)

I intend to track down some of Gatto's books at the local library (hopefully).

Bartleby - this is terrific

I've always considered "Bartleby the Scrivener" one of the most profound stories I've ever read. I did a libretto for an opera about it once.

I always link the story to "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" (not sure about my spelling) by Tolstoi....the same creeping death from meaninglessness

Thank you so much for pointing me to this...


That’s a great idea—as well as a meme worth circulating in general, as Gatto observes. We exercise it ourselves already, in various ways.

Shaun, I’m pretty sure that some of his books are available online for free, at the link in our sidebar. If you’d prefer a hard copy, I’d be happy to send you the books of your preference.

A kind offer :-)

Hi Sunni - I checked out Gatto's website again, but didn't see any free complete book downloads etc. But, I could simply be missing the forrest for the trees! (as I sometimes do...)

I'd be interested in *any* of his books, starting with say 'Dumbing Us Down', but postage from your corner of the world would be exy!

My misnake

The Underground History of American Education is available free, but online. I consider it essential reading for any freedom-loving individual—especially parents. Despite the title, that applies to those outside America as well.

I hope to take care of some errands today; if I do, I’ll prowl around a bit on your behalf.

Bartleby Project 2010 video

[Edited by Sunni to make link hot]