The End of Education

The End of Education

Paperback Vintage

By (author) Postman N

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  • Publisher: Vintage Books
  • Format: Paperback | 209 pages
  • Dimensions: 130mm x 201mm x 18mm | 227g
  • Publication date: 1 December 1996
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0679750312
  • ISBN 13: 9780679750314
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 114,700

Product description

In this brilliantly challenging response to the education crisis, Neil Postman returns to the subject that established his reputation as one of our most insightful social critics. Starting from his belief that schooling is now too often a trivial pursuit, a mechanical exercise, he argues with stunning clarity that we have lost sight of the inherent value and substance of learning, and sets out to restore it for our time. Postman begins by portraying the American education of an earlier part of this century, when we knew what schools were for - to create a coherent, stable, unified culture out of a people of diverse traditions, languages, and religions. Shifting his focus to contemporary education, Postman outlines the markedly different narratives, or "gods, " that underlie our present conception of school, and shows how poorly they serve us. The new gods are economic utility (education only as a means to a good-paying job), consumership (the belief that you are what you accumulate), technology (a reliance on mechanical solutions, not critical judgment), and separatism ("multicultural" instincts that split groups off from a unifying cultural pluralism). In describing how education may reasonably and creatively respond to - or redefine - these problems of modernity, the author presents useful narratives to help schools recover a sense of purpose, tolerance, and respect for learning. These include the Spaceship Earth (preserving the earth as a unifying theme), the Fallen Angel (learning driven not by absolute answers but by an understanding that our knowledge is imperfect), the American Experiment (emphasizing the successes and the failures of our evolving nation), the Law of Diversity(exposure to all cultures in their strengths and their weaknesses), and Word Weavers (the fundamental importance of language in forging our common humanity). Postman's The End of Education heralds a new beginning. It seeks to provide solutions while provoking debate. Postman offers

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Postman suggests that the current crisis in our educational system derives from its failure to supply students with a translucent, unifying "narrative" like those that inspired earlier generations. Instead, today's schools promote the false "gods" of economic utility, consumerism, or ethnic separatism and resentment. What alternative strategies can we use to instill our children with a sense of global citizenship, healthy intellectual skepticism, respect of America's traditions, and appreciation of its diversity? In answering this question, The End of Education restores meaning and common sense to the arena in which they are most urgently needed. "Informal and clear...Postman's ideas about education are appealingly fresh."--New York Times Book Review