School’s Out

School's Out: Hyperlearning, the New Technology, and the End of EducationLewis J. Perelman

A radical formula for cutting through the bureaucracy of the traditional education system proposes the implementation of technologically innovative media as learning tools and privatization of schools to introduce competitiveness.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Are school systems, classrooms and teachers obsolete? No less so than the horse was with the coming of the automobile age, argues Perelman, a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Washington, D.C., in this stimulating brief for technology-based hyperlearning. He makes many apt criticisms of current schooling, charging, for example, that the current mode of passive learning is defective and that our education system is monolithic and socialistic (American academia is about 90% owned, operated and/or financed by government). He supports not only parental choice of schools, but also students’ microchoice from a floating technology menu. On the debit side, techno-optimist Perelman is too eager to lump together all styles and types of learning and to ignore the role of gifted teachers. In his seemingly corporation-friendly way, he praises the innovative entrepreneurial leadership demonstrated by Chris Whittle with his controversial Edison Project, a private school system Perelman believes is dedicated to profitability as a necessary criterion of success.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Perelman, senior fellow of the Discovery Institute, proposes a bold new plan for education that hinges on the use of hypermedia and electronic networking to facilitate hyperlearning. He recommends that the current educational system be abolished, along with its bureaucracy and credentialism. The schools that remain would be private, competitive, and mainly vocational. Educator schools would be transformed into research and development think tanks. Education would be lifelong for the whole family. Perelman bases his proposals on his experience as director of Project Learning 2001, an education restructuring study sponsored by nine U.S. corporations and foundations. His ideas are provocative and radical and will engender controversy. For most education, business, and public policy collections.

Shirley L. Hopkinson, SLIS, San Jose State Univ., Cal.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Author

…School’s Out is vision with a vengeance…. [Perelman’s] answers are credible, if audacious, in a book spelling out the most radical revision of American institutions–and middle-class normalcy–since the Great Depression…. Lewis Perelman’s vision–pro-learning, anti-education–will probably become workaday reality…. [B]etween now and then, tens of thousands of Americans will become millionaires because of School’s Out….

Frank Gregorsky, WE THE PEOPLE (Jan./Feb. 1993)

Mr. Perelman is an able salesman for a pedagogical revolution…. [T]he Perelman prescription helps to dislodge the [school choice] debate from what he correctly suggests is a too-narrow frame. Particularly in the upper grades, the end of schooling as we’ve known it makes sense. 

Tim W. Ferguson, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL (Nov. 2, 1993)

[Perelman’s] fundamental argument–that technological change is undermining the foundations of conventional education–is worth taking seriously…. His ideas probably seem outlandish; but remember, few people predict the really big social and economic changes that transform our lives.

Michael Prowse, FINANCIAL TIMES (London, Nov. 23, 1992)

[Perelman’s] indictment is acerbic, his conclusions not particularly palatable to the entrenched interests, but also difficult to refute…. School’s Out, in sum, calls for nothing less than the reinvention of education, and the redefinition of learning.

Philip Gold, THE WASHINGTON TIMES (Dec. 12, 1992)

Lewis Perelman’s book reframes the debate on education and develops a new paradigm to address the opportunity presented by the knowledge age…. I believe it will become one of the required reading books of this decade for entrepreneurial business leaders, and, one would hope, for our professional educators.

Theodore C. Kraver, EDUCATION WEEK (Mar. 17, 1993)

There is no point in reforming the schools…. Instead what is needed is to abolish schools and universities…. All this is the cry of [Lewis Perelman,] a self-proclaimed prophet whose voice, 20 years in the wilderness, is now being heard loud and clear in America. 

Charles Laurence, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH (London, Nov. 28, 1992)

School’s Out is an important book, one that should be read by everyone concerned about the future of American education. It is very different from all other books and articles on educational reform…. School’s Out focuses on learning rather schooling, describes what learning will be when the information-age technology is fully employed, proposes radical rather than conservative solutions to the problems of education, and criticizes rather than glorifies the educational-reform movement itself. 

Howard D. Mehlinger, EDUCATION WEEK (Mar. 3, 1993)

Perelman takes every self-evident truth about education and beats it within an inch of its life…. [I]t’s Lewis Perelman’s remarkable book that should dominate the education debate for years to come.

Crawford Kilian, VANCOUVER PROVINCE (Apr. 23, 1993)

Lewis J. Perelman’s School’s Out is one of the most intriguing books on education I’ve read this past year…. I found myself wanting to agree with Perelman…. [H]is grasp of the problems is uncanny…. I would hope all educators read his perspective and discuss his ideas. 

David Thornburg, ELECTRONIC LEARNING (Apr. 1993)

If Marshall McLuhan were alive in 1993, he’d find Lewis J. Perelman’s new book an intriguing read…. With a boldness rarely seen in the genteel writings of educational reformers, Perelman minces few words in articulating his rather radical educational stance…. Graduate schools of education would do well to add this book to their list of required readings….– before their very existence is abolished. 


If you care about a) technology or b) schools, c) restructuring or d) all of the above, you must–absolutely must–read and think hard about School’s Out, the acerbic, profound and sure-to-be-controversial new book by Lewis J. Perelman.

James A. Mecklenburger, INVENTING TOMORROW’S SCHOOLS (Sept. 1992)

Perelman would junk the present system as soon as feasible, privatize it, and let parents choose from a market of educational choices. 

Arthur Fisher, POPULAR SCIENCE (Jan. 1994)

Combine Illich with Papert and bring the technology up to date. Toss out Illich’s socialist ideology, and add a freewheeling celebration of capitalism. Toss in a scathing critique of current reform efforts and a review of the latest developments in information technology and cognitive science. Serve with colorful, readable prose. Whaddya get? Lew Perelman’s tasty School’s Out. 

Gerald Bracey, ELECTRONIC LEARNING (Apr. 1993)

School’s Out [belongs] in that special category of books that are so outrageous they should be read just to test your ability to read critically…. It challenges every commonly held belief….. Overall, the book is worth the discomfort it is likely to cause. A number of Perelman’s observations are– unfortunately–correct. And he’s certainly both readable and quotable. Most important, he just might be looking at education from a whole different perspective. And shouldn’t we all be doing that?


Perelman is a gee-whiz writer, fully within the tradition of those who offer futuristic, technological fixes to contemporary problems. Yet his ideas about interactive technology overlap with those of Howard Gardner, one of the country’s most distinguished educational theorists.

THE NEW REPUBLIC (Feb. 8, 1993)

…[Perelman s] trashing of the educational establishment is cheerfully uninhibited, bristling with jazzy quotations, statistics, and cryptically labeled charts…. Even readers who aren’t comfortable with the technovisionary thrust of Perelman’s program…will find themselves hard-pressed to discount his exuberant critique of the weary round of fruitless activities…that passes for American public education.

KIRKUS REVIEWS (Sept. 1, 1992)

…Goodman and Illich attacked all manner of false dependence and entrapping clientdom. A similar libertarian instinct leads Perelman to his best work, a full-frontal dissection of schooling, not original but damning all the same, and pungently compiled. 

Matthew Fleischer, THE VILLAGE VOICE (Mar. 16, 1993)

…Papert sticks to what he knows best: How kids learn using the technology he’s familiar with. For a more political and economic approach, readers always can turn to School’s Out, a 1992 book by Lewis J. Perelman….

Evan I. Schwartz, BUSINESS WEEK (July 26, 1993)

If you hated school but love learning, you may like what Lewis Perelman has to say about technology and education in his new book, School’s Out…. Comrades and fellow truants: To the barricades!

Peter Krass, INFORMATIONWEEK (Oct. 19, 1992)

For engineers, Perelman’s description of the worker of the Information Age is particularly pertinent.

Bob Bellinger, ELECTRONIC ENGINEERING TIMES (Mar. 28, 1993)

Perelman is convincing, if overwhelming…. [He leaves] the reader with some status-quo-smashing concepts to ponder. 

Denise Perry Donavin, BOOKLIST (Nov. 1, 1992)

Discovery Institute

Discovery Institute promotes thoughtful analysis and effective action on local, regional, national and international issues. The Institute is home to an inter-disciplinary community of scholars and policy advocates dedicated to the reinvigoration of traditional Western principles and institutions and the worldview from which they issued.