The Purpose, or the Termination?
, Feb 3 2003
This review is from: The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School (Paperback)
The title End of Education is not as cynical as I had
expected. I had interpreted "End" to mean "finish" although
the book is really more about the "purpose" and
priorities of our schools. Postman makes a well-argued
case for profound changes in our approach to public
"The question is not Does or doesn't public schooling
create a public? The question is, What kind of public does
it create?" For me that is the most important premise
in this book, because people who don't understand our
history and our constitution, and who have no critical
thinking skills, are not going to be effective
participants in our democracy.
Another important point deals with multiculturalism vs.
cultural pluralism. Postman argues for a "constructive
and unifying use of diversity." American schools need
to create Americans, who appreciate the various cultural
backgrounds that make up our society, but divisiveness
created in the name of multiculturalism is counter-
The first half of this book discusses "gods" or narratives.
"...Teachers must have a god to serve, or, even better
several gods... Without a narrative, life has no meaning.
Without meaning, learning has no purpose." For example,
the god of Consumerism has been partially responsible
to steering our schools off course. Personally, I think
the god metaphor was belabored.
"Public education does not serve a public. It creates
a public." That's why schools play a critical role
in the future of our economy and our democracy.
And that's why this is such an important book.
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