The End of Education by Neil Postman

According to Neil Postman's argument in his book "The End of Education," the issue with American education is that people there follow multiple tales and "conflicting gods." He continues by saying that because Americans are more focused on these "gods" and stories than on actual social change and advancement, American education is failing and will soon be ruined entirely. Postman contends that choosing to believe and concentrate on one story over another is detrimental to the American educational system. This paper refutes Neil Postman's argument because a society is supposed to be as diverse as possible in order to accommodate all walks of life and also because to bring one narrative to the same level with others, it is only obvious that at one time, the society has to focus on one narrative.


Postman's argument lacks logic and depth because it oversimplifies the intricate of the society and does not make connections between the narratives. To start with, in a modern and complex society like that of the US, concentrating on one narrative would mean that in the near future, the vast majority of the society would be engaged in one or two industries. Such a form of a utopian society cannot be healthy for a society that has reached a point of thriving and one has been called a "mixing pot" of world cultures. For example, if the US education were to be centered on nuclear progress, it would be a detriment because it would ignore the importance of the arts in building a cohesive society that appreciates theatres, films and music among others.

Moreover, if everyone were to become nuclear scientists, who would be left to make music, food and entertainment for the nuclear scientists? As observed, Postman's argument is overly simplistic and ignores the intricate dynamics of a modern thriving society and does not view society as a living organism (Postman 65). At best, his argument takes the different parts of this organism and treats them as if they could function separately.

I also do not agree with the author's claims that focusing and subscribing to one narrative more than another is hurting the education system in America. In an ideal world, the different sections of the society would progress at the same time. However, the truth of the matter is that some sections of the society move slowly or advance rapidly than the others due to a plethora of reasons.

To bring the sections to a relatively same level, it is necessary for the education system, among other systems to try to balance the society. To better illustrate this point, Postman could have a look at the tax system. The tax system is based on the acceptance that wealth in not fairly distributed in society and progressive tax is important because it takes some wealth from the very rich and is directed at the poor through provision of welfare goods (Tyack 45). The same case applies to the different narratives in society.

To bring the narratives to the same level, it entails sometimes concentrating on a specific narrative. For example, there was a time in history when gender inequality was the problem in the US as women had limited political rights and economic opportunities. It took serious and intentional efforts to bring the women level with the men. Today, the narrative is different as wage gap is a social problem and may need similar efforts.

However, there is one important point that Postman makes: having too many narratives significantly leads to a state of confusion because it leads to a form of anarchy. This anarchy really demonstrates the so called "conflicting gods" and narratives that Neil Postman observes. Right now, the society is grappling with issues ranging from immigration, national security, police brutality, divisive politics, gay rights, wage disparity and high cost of college tuition among other narratives.

Even to a complex organism that is the American society, lack of organization may lead to serious problems in the future (Tyack 79). However, that anarchy and chaos could be a bit orderly if there is conscious intervention to focus on several narratives. For example, since immigration is the most controversial and hot issue in the political, economic and social landscape in America, special attention by the education system among other vital agents could help in projecting an informed opinion that is based on credible research and experience. Hence, while Postman makes the right observation, his solution to the problem is inadequate.


This review has explores some of the critical arguments that Neil Postman makes in his book "The End of Education" and has refuted his key arguments on the basis that they are overly simplistic and do not embrace the complex nature of the American society. The review has also outlined that over time, it is essential to focus on some narratives in order for the whole organism that is the society to undergo uniform social progress and change.

Works Cited

Postman, Neil. The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School. New York: Vintage Books, 2011. Print.

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Tyack, David B. Seeking Common Ground: Public Schools in a Diverse Society. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2003. Print.

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