John Taylor Gatto was born in Monongahela, Pennsylvania. He attended public schools and a private Catholic boarding. As a boy he held many jobs from sweeping his grandpa's printing office to selling comic books. Later, he did undergraduate work at Cornell, the University of Pittsburgh, and Columbia and then served in the U.S. Army medical corps. Following army service he did graduate work at the City University of New York, Hunter College, Yeshiva, the University of California, and Cornell. After college, Mr. Gatto worked as a scriptwriter in the film business, was an advertising writer, a taxi driver, a jewelry designer, an ASCAP songwriter, and a hotdog vendor before becoming a schoolteacher. During his school teaching years he also entered the caviar trade, conducted an antique business, operated a rare book search service, and founded Lava Mt. Records. He climaxed his teaching career as New York State Teacher of the Year after being named New York City Teacher of the Year on three occasions. He quit teaching on the OP ED page of the Wall Street Journal in 1991 while still New York State Teacher of the Year, claiming that he was no longer willing to hurt children. Later that year he was the subject of a show at Carnegie Hall called "An Evening With John Taylor Gatto," which launched a career of public speaking in the area of school reform, which has taken Gatto over a million and a half miles in all fifty states and seven foreign countries. His books include: Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (1992); The Exhausted School (1993); A Different Kind of Teacher (2000); The Underground History Of American Education (2001); and Weapons of Mass Instruction (2008). Gatto is currently at work on a documentary film about the nature of modern schooling entitled "The Fourth Purpose", with his friend and former student, Roland Legiardi-Laura. Gatto has been married for forty years to the same woman, and has two grown children and a cat. He hopes to build a rural retreat and library for the use of families pondering local and personal issues of school reform. Don't miss this excellent interview with John Taylor Gatto as he discusses the school system both past and present, social engineering, and the dumbing down of our children.