In a presentation
at Lausanne, I heard Dr. Dougherty
mention that a group named "The Committee of 10
" (meeting in 1892 at Harvard) established the framework of what is still our secondary school curriculum. [Classics, Algebra, English, Mathematics, Physics.] Reportedly, their intent was to ensure that students would be properly prepared for admission to university. Dr. Dougherty also mentions that the culmination of the schooling experience would prepare students to become college professors themselves.
There has been much talk in the past few years about redefining the important elements of k-12 curriculum with emphasis on "21st century skills" such as those identified by Thornburg: verbal proficiency, collaboration, technological fluency, solve complex problems, creativity, analytical and thinking skills, and gumption.
I continue to wonder about how these two forces-- the origins of our curriculum and our current needs-- fit together, and whether it may be time for a new "committee of 10" to get together? Imagine going to a school which based its curriculum on preparing students for the needs they face in today's world, and delivered its curriculum taking advantage of today's information and communication tools.
What would the "subjects" be? What would assessment look like? What would "class" look like?