Phi Beta Cons

The Case for a Core Curriculum

Jay Schalin, author of two studies of university general education programs, spoke at a forum in September at North Carolina State University.

His speech, reprinted on the Pope Center site, gives reasons why today’s typical “smorgasbord” approach fails students. It lets them choose from a mass of specialized courses according to “distribution requirements and it tends toward requiring politically correct  themes

Among Schalin’s reasons for requiring a true core curriculum:

For our country is based on self-rule, and self-rule is only as good as the people participating in it. It should go without saying that making consistently wise decisions within the framework of our self-rule requires knowledge about our government, our history and our economy, and especially about the ideas that led to our founding. So the general education program should direct our attention toward these topics, not away from them as it currently does.

Jane S. Shaw — Jane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...

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