In Fordham’s Beyond the Basics, contributors look at how to provide a liberal education for students.
In the era of No Child Left Behind, however, liberal learning is on the defensive. Federal law mandates academic gains only in reading and math, and its sanctions and interventions are triggered only by failure to make gains in those two areas. States, school districts and individual educators have understandably responded by ramping up the time spent teaching those two sets of core skills and prepping students to take tests in them, to the detriment of “broad” and “liberal” and “arts.”
Business leaders and policy makers are pushing “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) training to keep the U.S. competitive in a global economy.
Yet America’s true competitive edge over the long haul is not its technical prowess but its creativity, its imagination, its inventiveness. And those attributes are best inculcated not by skill-drill but through liberal arts and sciences, liberally defined.
The book is online in pdf form.