The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School

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In this comprehensive response to the education crisis, the author of Teaching as a Subversive Activity returns to the subject that established his reputation as one of our most insightful social critics. Postman presents useful models with which schools can restore a sense of purpose, tolerance, and a respect for learning.
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About the author

Neil Postman was University Professor, Paulette Goddard Chair of Media Ecology, and Chair of the Department of Culture and Communication at New York University. Among his twenty books are studies of childhood (The Disappearance of Childhood), public discourse (Amusing Ourselves to Death), education (Teaching as a Subversive Activity and The End of Education), and the impact of technology (Technopoly). His interest in education was long-standing, beginning with his experience as an elementary and secondary school teacher. He died in 2003.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Vintage
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Published on
Jun 1, 2011
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Pages
224
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ISBN
9780307797209
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Aims & Objectives
Education / Evaluation & Assessment
Education / Philosophy, Theory & Social Aspects
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From one of the foremost authorities on education in the United States, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, “whistle-blower extraordinaire” (The Wall Street Journal), author of the best-selling The Death and Life of the Great American School System (“Important and riveting”—Library Journal), The Language Police (“Impassioned . . . Fiercely argued . . . Every bit as alarming as it is illuminating”—The New York Times), and other notable books on education history and policy—an incisive, comprehensive look at today’s American school system that argues against those who claim it is broken and beyond repair; an impassioned but reasoned call to stop the privatization movement that is draining students and funding from our public schools.
​In Reign of Error, Diane Ravitch argues that the crisis in American education is not a crisis of academic achievement but a concerted effort to destroy public schools in this country. She makes clear that, contrary to the claims being made, public school test scores and graduation rates are the highest they’ve ever been, and dropout rates are at their lowest point.

​She argues that federal programs such as George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and Barack Obama’s Race to the Top set unreasonable targets for American students, punish schools, and result in teachers being fired if their students underperform, unfairly branding those educators as failures. She warns that major foundations, individual billionaires, and Wall Street hedge fund managers are encouraging the privatization of public education, some for idealistic reasons, others for profit. Many who work with equity funds are eyeing public education as an emerging market for investors.
​Reign of Error begins where The Death and Life of the Great American School System left off, providing a deeper argument against privatization and for public education, and in a chapter-by-chapter breakdown, putting forth a plan for what can be done to preserve and improve it. She makes clear what is right about U.S. education, how policy makers are failing to address the root causes of educational failure, and how we can fix it.

​For Ravitch, public school education is about knowledge, about learning, about developing character, and about creating citizens for our society. It’s about helping to inspire independent thinkers, not just honing job skills or preparing people for college. Public school education is essential to our democracy, and its aim, since the founding of this country, has been to educate citizens who will help carry democracy into the future.
A no-holds-barred assault on outdated teaching methods—with dramatic and practical proposals on how education can be made relevant to today's world.

Praise for Teaching As a Subversive Activity

“A healthy dose of Postman and Weingartner is a good thing: if they make even a dent in the pious . . . American classroom, the book will be worthwhile.”—New York Times Book Review
 
“Teaching and knowledge are subversive in that they necessarily substitute awareness for guesswork, and knowledge for experience. Experience is no use in the world of Apollo 8. It is simply necessary to know. However, it is also necessary to know the effect of Apollo 8 in creating a new Global Theatre in which student and teacher alike are looking for roles. Postman and Weingartner make excellent theatrical producers in the new Global Theatre.”—Marshall McLuhan
 
“It will take courage to read this book . . . but those who are asking honest questions—what’s wrong with the worlds in which we live, how do we build communication bridges cross the Generation Gap, what do they want from us?—these people will squirm in the discovery that the answers are really within themselves.”—Saturday Review
 
“Neil Postman and Charles Weingartner go beyond the now-familiar indictments of American education to propose basic ways of liberating both teachers and students from becoming personnel rather than people . . . the authors have created what may become a primer of ‘the new education’ Their book is intended for anyone, teacher or not, who is concerned with sanity and survival in a world of precipitously rapid change, and it’s worth your reading.”—Playboy
 
“This challenging, liberating book can unlock not only teachers but anyone for whom language and learning are not dead.”—Nat Hentoff
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