Ask John!

Greetings Champions of Education,

Do you have a question you would like to ask John?  Ask away in the comments.

I can only select a few questions but I know you are full of great wisdom and have some excellent questions which many of us would also like to know; if someone would just ask. 🙂

I will be with John soon and will do my best to pass your question onto him..

Happy 2015!  May it be your best year ever!


P.S. Join the Education Options Movement here:


22 thoughts on “Ask John!

  1. Bruce says:

    My question is about something John said in this interview:

    “See, standardized tests, even though all the questions look different, really arrange themselves in six, seven, or eight different patterns of extracting information from the reading selection. In actual fact there are about 168 separate ways to extract information from a reading selection.”

    Are these 168 ways summarized somewhere? Are these the sorts of “figures of speech” Miriam Joseph discusses in “Shakespeare’s Use of the Arts of Language” or something else? From the description they sound like something else but I can’t figure out what. I think John mentioned this in another interview (which I can’t find) and said that “linguists” had come up with these lists of ways of extracting information.


  2. Gertrude says:

    What do you think about the privatization of education and the growing number of charter schools sprouting up in every state? Many parents do not have the patience to wait for public schools to turn around.


  3. Gertrude says:

    So what can politicians do to create a public school system which truly educates children and recognizes individual talents? How can government make changes from the top? I am an idealist and I still believe if we get the right people elected good things will come.


  4. Drew says:

    Dear Mr. Gatto,

    Your work has marked my life. If I had one question, it would be this: What would you recommend someone who has already done the full 13-17 years of schooling and learned the truth too late do to improve his lot? That is, for someone young but no longer of school age, what should one do to better his education and live a life of independence?

    Here’s wishing you good health and a happy 2015.


  5. Hi John, I’m a public school administrator seeking to be a reformer/saboteur of the system. I’m wondering if there’s any way it would be possible to converse with you personally, via phone, Skype, or email. Too many questions to list here. Thank you for your work, John! It has obviously made a huge impact in my life and career.


  6. Erin says:

    Hi, I have a simple question.

    What are the ways one can go about regaining his/her own curiosity, after it’s been destroyed or severely crippled by 13 years of public schooling?

    I’m asking this because I believe genuine curiosity, in life, is critical to developing the self discipline required to make oneself “completely Human”.

    Thank you in advance, and God bless!


  7. Justin Stewart says:

    John, from what I understand, some corporate companies like Apple asked you to speak to them, what do you think they wanted to get from you and why? Do you think they got what they were after? Is it simply that they wanted better ways of scouting for talented workers? There may have been a contract of secrecy involved here but, hey, share as you wish.

    Blessings to you and your work, you have helped me immensely, both on my personal level and on the level of helping others.


  8. Hmmh says:

    Are you still getting fanmail/snailmail?

    What is the status of the “ken burns” length underground history documentary?

    Have you started any secret societies in the tradition of Buonarroti?

    Do tell 🙂


  9. John,
    I’m a long-time admirer of your work. I believe I’ve read every word you’ve ever had published (many of them multiple times). I live and teach in Colorado but I come from a sleepy vale in the wooded hills of southern New Hampshire, where the dirt road we lived on was thoroughfare, lovers’ lane, moonlit theater, and horseback raceway as we survived epic institutional efforts to squash our curiosity and humanity in the public schools. I’m curious if you have heard of the feisty Georgia mom and lawyer who has been posting some work I believe you would be proud of on the internet. Her name is Robin Eubanks and her blog is ( She has also written a self-published book called “Credentialed to Destroy.” I would be happy to have a copy sent to you if you are at all interested. She has connected some significant dots in the world of educational reform and the prospects for all of us are chilling. Wishing you continued recovery and would so love to polish of a pint of beer with you one day.
    Aaron Garland


  10. Gertrude says:

    You are Heroic! Thank You Thank You for your research and devotion to children.
    In my gut I felt something was deeply wrong with our schools. I feel this now as a parent and I felt this thirty years ago when I was a child. You have articulated what I had long suspected. I feel more confident now to go my own way and to blaze a unique path for my child’s education. Much of this confidence can be attributed to you. God Bless.


  11. laurence says:

    Hi John with love from Ireland

    Thanks for everything you have written and said. Over the years your thoughts have given voice to my intuitions about many spectrums of life. My question to you is: “how do you keep hopeful knowing all you know and what advice would you give someone like me who sometimes struggle with the reality you have shown through your work”?

    Keep well and thanks



  12. Isabel Rodríguez says:

    I would like to ask about the health of John Taylor Gatto. How is he doing?

    I would also like to know if the film The Fourth Purpose is ever going to see the light. Who is producing it? Who is filming it?


  13. I have written an article which cites Underground History, but I am concerned that the 4 snippets from Underground are slightly beyond “fair use” bounds, being collectively too long, so I’d like to get permission to use them from the Publisher. I’ve done searches of Oxford Village Press and cannot find them. Could you email me with their contact info so I can ask permission to use the 4 quotes without having to paraphrase? The power of the quotes would be in my opinion diminished without quoting directly. Thank you for your time. Respectfully, R.K. Drake


  14. Alex says:

    Good Day! I was wondering if John could provide any material on mentoring and coaching from adults to children so basically all ages and groups. Thanks. PS: Have a level and degree in teaching.


  15. Jah Jah Bey says:

    My question is about the Strawberry Fields story (teenagers who helped overturn the initial decision denying it) and 12 yr old who sued the “pizza palace”. Are there any links or references for these events?


  16. Sim says:

    HI John
    I am curious about getting insight into Australian Education and perhaps some insight into its history as well. Is there someone who has written about Australian Education as you have done in your books about American Education. I feel as if something isn’t quiet right here either but cant penetrate that either. Point me to any resources you like and i would be happy to read and do my own research.



  17. Vladimir says:

    Good day to you, hope I am not too late.
    Mr. Gatto, prior to reading your book Ithought that our Russian school system is an abomination. Thank you for showing me a far worse thing to compare with! Here you can use a neighbourhood school as a social club, getting smart anythere else. In US I couldnt see how a child could pass the system undamaged.
    The question is, could a nominally schooled child (ignore grades, pay lip service to rules, get smart by yourself/private tutors/parents) in current age-US hope for entering a good college? Or is this process burocratised so that a bad mark at school is an indelible mark, so to say, of the beast of stupidity/insubordination?

    Thanks in advance, Vladimir


  18. Steven Keely says:

    I’ve thought the bullying/violence trends in schools are results of compulsory education and our national proclivity to warfare. Please comment.
    Thank you,


  19. juli says:

    Sending gentle and empowering blessings to you John from Australia. Our silent space group sends them forth weekly. Would like to know how John is doing ?? I’d be keen to write to you snail mail again but lost your address. Would someone be able to send it to me …. redheadjuli at hotmail dot com ?

    I have some questions after attending a silent retreat and in the process of creating a non-school, new style co-creation/ curiosity/ silence space.. thanks David for your passing on our wishes and questions juli


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