Chesterton made the same point even more succinctly and sublimely in an epigrammatic turn of phrase that should serve as a motto for all true educators: “The whole point of education is that it should give a man abstract and eternal standards by which he can judge material and fugitive standards.” The problem is that radical relativism believes that there are no abstract and eternal standards but that, on the contrary, all standards are merely fugitive, here today and gone tomorrow. Education does not serve truth because there is no truth to serve. Chesterton’s bon mot will not serve as a motto for the modern academy because the modern academy does not serve anything but itself. Its motto is . In such circumstances, education ceases to be the means to an end because there is no end, in the objective sense of a purpose or meaning to life. Such an education, incarnate in the common core, is nothing less than the end of education in that other doom-laden sense of the word. It has put an end to it.
Well, shut my mouth. The End of Education is nothing short of prescient. Writing before No Child Left Behind, Common Core State Standards, ubiquitous testing, and the corporatization of public education, Neil Postman saw it all coming and vividly describes the dangers and opportunities in what has largely come to pass in the years since his book’s publication.