SCHOOL'S OUT by Lewis J. Perelman

SCHOOL'S OUT

The New Technology and the End of Education

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Education's in, school's out in this no-holds-barred, computer- instruction-driven harangue against American public education. In the wake of the information explosion represented by microchips, artificial intelligence (AI), and vastly more efficient telecommunications, Perelman (The Global Mind, 1976) dismisses present-day educational reform movements as attempts to ``reform'' horse-and-buggy travel for some hypothetical ``Travel 1900'' forum. The self-teaching skills displayed by recent developments in AI make schools obsolete, he says; the only charge schools can now be given is to legislate themselves out of existence. Perelman is fuzzy on the details of exactly how ``hyperlearning'' (HL) will allow us to break loose from the muck of voracious public-education lobbies, ``yak in the box'' college lecture-halls, pointlessly punitive testing and grading policies, unaccountable administrators, and futile reform projects; his account of ``learning in the HL world'' recalls a Jules Verne tableau of a dazzling technological future whose premises and workings are taken to be self-evidently efficacious--but his trashing of the educational establishment is cheerfully uninhibited, bristling with jazzy quotations, statistics, and cryptically labeled charts. Nor is Perelman shy about specific immediate recommendations for privatizing education--on the model of Christopher Whittle, who ``just might be the Henry Ford of learning''--and legally prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of academic credentials: a step, he argues persuasively, that would put most schools out of business. Even readers who aren't comfortable with the technovisionary thrust of Perelman's program--especially newsworthy now that Whittle has lured Benno Schmidt away from Yale--will find themselves hard- pressed to discount his exuberant critique of the weary round of fruitless activities (showing up; passively listening; cramming for tests) that passes for American public education. Educators themselves, however, had better have their blood pressure tested before they sit down with this book.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1992
ISBN: 0-688-11286-2
Page count: 356pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 1992




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