Tragically, twenty-first-century American schools produce functionally illiterate individuals. The number of functionally illiterate adults in the U.S. is increasing by approximately 2.25 million persons each year.27 There are two radically different end goals for education. The Biblical worldview goal in educating a child is focused around the child’s natural bent formed by God to give each person a purpose and hope for a good future. The goal of the humanistic secular worldview is to school large masses of students through standardized curriculum and testing by professionally trained instructors to ensure that they will be productive workers for society.28 Unquestionably, many dedicated teachers have the students’ best interest at heart, but they are bound by the regulating micro-management of the federal government. American parents who choose the narrow road to homeschool or enroll their children in private schools do not have to submit their children to thirteen years of institutionalized, government-controlled, public education. Therefore, it is imperative for all U.S. citizens to learn the history of the U.S. public school education so that they can make informed choices about their children’s education.


1. John Taylor Gatto, Weapons of Mass Instruction, The Oxford Village Press, New York, 2001.

2. David H. Watters, “I Spake as a Child: Authority, Metaphor and the New England Primer,” Early American Literature, December 1985, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp. 193–213.

3. Noah Webster, On the Education of Youth in America, 1788.



6. Lee, Jaehyun.  “A World History of Education in the Sixteenth, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth Centuries.” 2010.  Print and online,   

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.



12. John Taylor Gatto, The Underground History of American Education, The Oxford Village Press, New York, 2001, pp. 131–139.

13. Gatto, 16, 35, 116–117, 132–137.

14. Gatto, 17.

15. Gatto, 37–48, 147–169.

16. Gatto, 131–146.


18. Gatto, 132-137.

19. Gatto, 132–137.

20. Gatto, 36–48.

21. Gatto, 36–48.

22. Gatto, 36–48.

23. Gatto, xxxiii, 36.


25. Gatto, xxx, 40–42.

26. B. S. Bloom, Engelhart, M. D., E. J. Furst, W. H. Hill, and D. R. Krathwohl, Taxonomy of educational objectives: the classification of educational goals; Handbook I: Cognitive Domain, New York, Longmans, Green, 1956.

27. The National Right to Read Foundation,

28.  Pierre Thomas, Jack Date, Clayton Sandell and Theresa Cook, “Living in the Shadows: Illiteracy in America,” February 25, 2008  (

Supplementary Resources:

1. Jeanne Allen, “Illiteracy In America: What to Do About It,” The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C., Feb., 1989.

2. Samuel Blumenfeld, “The Victims of Dick and Jane,” American Education, Jan./Feb., 1983.

3. Ray Callahan, Education and the Cult of Efficiency, The University of Chicago Press, 1964.

4. Samuel Stillwell Greene, “Penitential Tears, or a Cry from the Dust by the Thirty-One Prostrated and Pulverized by the Hand of Horace Mann,” 1844. 

5. Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, Harpercollins, November 1989.

Lindy Abbott is a passionate follower of Jesus with a strong Biblical Christian worldview understanding. She is a certified teacher and a homeschool mom of three teens. From childhood, she discovered writing as her way to express what she felt and learned. Lindy is a published author, freelance writer, editor of a homeschool newsletter, and avid blogger. Read her regular post at

Publication date: September 26, 2012