Our concept of what it means to be educated stems from a time when one could legitimately expect of an educated person that he had read all the books in the world. When these books were not easily found or purchased, the concept of lecturing from them made sense. Attempts to make schoolrooms that would benefit the masses have always taken their cue from the model of education implied by small numbers of great books and not enough copies of them. In this model, the job of the teacher was to distill the books he had himself read into a form that would be palatable to his students. The job of the curriculum designer was to decide which books were to be covered. This job became more difficult with the addition of more books, but for the most part, most books that have appeared in the twentieth century have been ignored by these curriculum masters.
Schooling today is an attempt to make mini-scholars out of students by giving them doses of what was meant by scholarship in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The theory of knowledge implicit here is that the educated person knows something about all the great books. This idea works when there aren't that many books in print (or at least it seems to work). But in an age when no one could possibly know something from every book that has been written, when there are enough books to go around, and when there are so many others forms of knowledge available to students, these ideas are outmoded. We must look to concepts that relate to today's world, one where there's so much to know that it is likely that students will have to direct their own education out of practical necessity.
What Kinds of Things Are There to Know?
Where am I in the content of the book?