Episode 4 – For Whom the Bell Tolls


During our first brainstorming session, the nature of high school – bells, schedules, class periods – came up and I put them on the “if we run out of topics” list. While doing some other reading, I kept running into phrases like “cells and bells” and the “factory model” and then I started to get angry and annoyed and Paul’s complaint became mine. In this episode, we look at the role of bells in schools and what happens when history is re-written.

Show Notes:

Intro Quote #1 is from John* Taylor Gatto’s Underground History of American Education (p. 222) – John. Not James, despite what I said in the podcast.

Gatto’s quote about Thomas Jefferson is on page 229 of the PDF version of his book Weapons of Mass Instruction.

Intro Quote #2 is from “Why you should take your children out of public school” (para 18ish)


On-line documents (all retrieved the week of April 15, 2016):


  • Callahan, Raymond E. Education and the cult of efficiency. University of Chicago Press, 1964.
    Rose, Todd. The End of Average: How to Succeed in a World that Values Sameness. Penguin UK, 2016.
  • Fraser, James W., ed. The school in the United States: A documentary history. 2014.
  • Ravitch, Diane. Left Behind: A Century of Battles Over School Reform. Simon and Schuster, NY, 2000.

The 1916 quote in Paul’s pop quiz was from Callahan’s book, page 122. Note – I changed some of the wording as to not tip Paul off. Cause I’m sneaky like that.

The quote on initiative fatigue is from a 2010 book by Doug Reeves.

Finally, the Student Efficiency Test is from page 109 of Callahan’s book and can be read on page 11 in this chapter excerpt.