The End of Education
According to Postman in the book The End of Education appears to rethink about a question that has always been of concern to him since he began his education career as an elementary school teacher. This issue has been found in the larger part of the twentieth century, to have been dominant among many debates pertaining to the culture in America (32). But the contrasting issue is, despite the issue having been discussed over a long period of time, the same old themes seem to be tackled by new books each year. These include, violence in schools, declining standards, core curricula, disadvantages and advantages of various teaching methods among the rest. What postman manages to successfully do is to take a broader view and sidestep these issues. He is entailed with an aim of ensuring that crisis in America education is redefined from means to ends.
He is right in his view that problems in schools have two dimensions whish as engineering aspect and metaphysical aspect. The Engineering aspect concerns itself by the methods employed by young people in order to acquire education. With the metaphysical aspect, it concerns itself with the mission or purpose that does bring about the “end” of education (Postman, 42). One of his believes that is true is that most American schools focus on concerns in Engineering. This is evident since what is commonly stressed upon are tests that are standardized, teaching methods, roles of technology and many others. Metaphysics of schooling is given very little interest.
Just as he suggests, meaningful education can only be realized if a common narrative is shared between the parents, the young people and the parents. This is true since from the narratives various senses are provided such as moral conduct, community life, personal identity and other explanations that cannot be easily comprehended. Postman informs that not only are shared narratives required for the publish education idea but also it is necessary for narratives that are aimed to be divisive and alienate others to be absent (67). This is true since whenever there is divisiveness a goal cannot be achieved. He further convincingly argues that what ensure public schools are public are not the common goals shared by the schools but the common gods that the students have.
In my view, the most compelling argument by postman is about what he believes to be “false gods” among modern education. He elaborates clearly that our schools are hindered from being effective due to lacking stories that are commonly accepted or inadequacy in giving direction and meaning to schooling by those in charge. Furthermore his arguments seem to be correct when he terms the present education being geared towards consumerism, multiculturalism, technology and some objectives that are bogus. This is true when one observes the aims of most schools around America. Hence with such narratives, a sustainable and rich rationale cannot be provided for public education.
Furthermore he presents various narratives that he is of the view that they could serve as better. These are the spaceship Earth, the fallen angel, the American experiment, the laws of diversity, and the world makers/ world weavers. He additionally provides suggestions regarding radical innovations that can be utilized in order to ensure that schools are made more effective. One of his arguments is that textbooks are not of much value and need to be abolished altogether they do make education to seem as acquisition of facts that are immutable. Furthermore he insists that the textbooks have a deadening effect towards the students. He is further of the proposal that in the event a student found an error in a teacher’s lesson, an incentive should be awarded to the student by the teacher. Additionally I do agree with his view that the subjects that should be given priority in schools should include archeology, astronomy and geology. This is mainly due to the fact that they have an advantage of ensuring students develop the sense of global interdependence (postman, 87).
He states that he aims to promote a conversation that is serious about educations underlying reasons as opposed to assessment, policies, management or other engineering issues. I do agree with him when he states that even though this issues have some importance, they are to be given a priority after it has been clearly established what the schools are actually really for.
To sum it up, the argument by Postman is convincing and most eloquent. He even goes further at some point in the book to acknowledge to George Orwell a debt of gratitude. George Orwell was one of his intellectual heroes. In one of his essays, “The Prevention of Literature” Orwell explained that an individual has to think fearlessly in order to write vigorous language and in plain. Hence this is fitting as Postman just writes in the same way.
Orwell, George, Sonia Orwell, and Ian Angus. The Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters of George Orwell. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1968. Print
Postman, Neil. The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School. New York: Knopf, 1995. Print.