Concepts that didn’t make my list of those needed to be an engaged citizen in an accountable democracy
NOTE: The “core concept” list is meant to be a bare minimum. There is no suggestion that topics that don’t make the list should be removed from the curriculum.
A great many important and valuable concepts aren’t central to having meaningful discussions concerning public policy options. Most of these “not-core-for-citizenship” concepts provide foundational preparation for one or more specialties. Many provide excellent ways to introduce and enrich discussions of core citizenship concepts. Others simply provide fascinating glimpses into the way that the world works.
Some of the concepts and topics that I have omitted have altered how I experience the world. I find them intriguing, profound, and beautiful; they have brought me great pleasure. But neither the beauty nor the utility of a concept makes it fundamentally important to the activity of engaged citizenship.
To achieve the goal of developing an effective PostPandemic Curriculum for engaged citizenship, this project needs to remain firmly focused on those concepts that underlie the most important public policy issues facing us.
My list of “painful-to-exclude” items includes:
• Plate tectonics
• Periodic table
• King Lear / Hamlet / Midsummer’s Night Dream / The Tempest
• Sonnets / Hiakus / Limericks
• Newton’s Gravity / Einstein’s Relativity / Quantum mechanics
• Electron shells / Sub-atomic particles / Dark matter
• Trigonometry / Differential Calculus / Quadratic equations / Square root of -1
• Wells / Twain / Carroll / Poe / Milne / Lee / Conrad / Hugo / Homer
• Caravaggio / Ernst / Rodin / DaVinci / Bernini / F Lloyd Wright
• Gershwin / Cohen / Rogers / Gregorian chants / Beethoven
While knowledge of these informs and enriches my life, they are not involved in my thinking when I wrestle with public policy issues.