ERIC Number: EJ798981
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Reference Count: 0
A Core Curriculum for Tomorrow's Citizens
Lewis, Harry R.
Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, v73 n5 p47-50 Jan 2008
Should the 21st-century university have a core curriculum? The report of the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education said nothing about general education, the learning that educated Americans should share. Instead the Spellings commission report highlighted broad access and measurable "value added" as the major challenges facing higher education. Limiting educational "leadership" to such criteria loses sight of colleges' larger purpose: to produce an enlightened, self-reliant citizenry, pluralistic and diverse, but united by democratic values. It is fashionable in university circles to say that a core curriculum is unnecessary--impossible, in fact. The contention is that students just do not have that much in common--nothing is "relevant" to all of them. Others claim that a core curriculum is impossible because the explosion of knowledge over the past half-century has splintered the faculty into a hundred special-interest groups. Experts in diverse fields can barely communicate with each other and can not agree on what students should know, other than skills such as speaking, writing, and quantitative reasoning. Those things are important, as the commission report recognized. In this article, the author argues that basic civics should be part of it and that students should understand how their republic works. A thoughtful 21st-century curriculum can and should renew higher education's moral compact with America.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Core Curriculum, Democratic Values, Curriculum Enrichment, Foundations of Education, Planning Commissions, Politics of Education, Political Attitudes, Research Reports, Citizenship Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A