State of General Educ LO7050

Marion Brady (
Mon, 29 Apr 1996 19:46:07 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO7015 --

John Warfield says,

>As you can see, I think I have all the answers, but just in case I don't,
>I am asking people on this list to send me just the single best idea they
>have for the Wandwaver Solution.

I'm sending him the following, along with my s-mail address:

From a letter to the NY Times by Supreme Court Justice Felix
Frankfurter, upon the death of Alfred North Whitehead, January 7, 1948:

"That our universities have grave shortcomings for the intellectual life
of this nation is by now a commonplace. The chief source of their
inadequacy is probably the curse of departmentalization."

I'd argue before the trustees or the regents that it's impossible
to acquire an acceptable general education by cobbling together a mix of
courses from various specialized disciplines. Consistent with that, I'd
petition them to mandate that all institutions under their jurisdiction
establish autonomous general education departments, and use as a basis for
organizing the curricula of those departments the following statement:

Each of us has acquired from our society a conceptual model of reality.
The most important task of general education is to help us understand that
model, the models of those with whom we interact, and the range of
alternative models from which we might choose.

In almost certainly will not immediately be apparent, but such a
curriculum encompasses all knowledge, is systemically integrated, provides
criteria for determining the relative significance of content, identifies
important but presently neglected areas of study, makes clear the
subjective nature of perception, assures relevance, and is the most direct
path to every traditional goal of education, including the demand that it
be absolutely and immediately useful and practical.

Marion Brady


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