What Must an Educated Person Know?

In an article titled The Curriculum of Necessity or What Must an Educated Person Know?, John Taylor Gatto quoted Harvard University's list of ten qualities it suggests are essential to successfully adapting to the rapidly changing world of work:

  1. The ability to define problems without a guide.
  2. The ability to ask hard questions which challenge prevailing assumptions.
  3. The ability to work in teams without guidance.
  4. The ability to work absolutely alone.
  5. The ability to persuade others that your course is the right one.
  6. The ability to discuss issues and techniques in public with an eye to reaching decisions about policy.
  7. The ability to conceptualize and reorganize information into new patterns.
  8. The ability to pull what you need quickly from masses of irrelevant data.
  9. The ability to think inductively, deductively, and dialectically.
  10. The ability to attack problems heuristically.

Gatto challenged the reader to "See how many of those you think are regularly taught in the schools of your city or state" and declared, "from where I sit, and I sat around schools for nearly 30 years, I don't think we teach any of these things as a matter of school policy."

A blog post by Josh Kaufman, titled What Must an Educated Person Know?, made reference to the Harvard list and the Gatto article that quotes it. Kaufman then expanded upon the list to display Princeton's list and George Wythe University’s list as well as Kaufman's own list of "Core Human Skills." He concluded with four major lessons to learn from these lists.

What would your list be?

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Topics: What to Teach

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