Perennialism as an Education Reform Theory

I believe that I the philosophy that is going to have the most influence on curriculum in the future is Perennialism. With the move to higher standards, more accountability and demanding more of students in terms of graduation credits, it seems that as a country we are moving in the direction of Perennialism. Perennialism by definition is an emphasis on the three Rs and a return to classical matter in secondary institutions. Perennialists believe these are constant ideas that have withstood the tests of time. This is considered to be universal knowledge. These ideas are evident in many of the new programs being emphasized today. For example, there is a return to the classical subjects. There has been an increase in the amount of math and science that students need to graduate high school and for college entry. Programs such as Great Books have been put into place that returns to the classic books and to Socratic discussion. Even the national standards that are coming into place emphasize the ideas of Perennialism. We are stressing reading, writing and arithmetic in elementary school. We are beginning to concentrate on those areas and to ensure that students have mastered them. We have seen a decline of music and art classes that have been replaced with other classes such as Direct Instruction or Success for All. I think that these trends will continue as we try to be competitive with the rest of the world and as technology continues to progress. Educators are realizing that we are preparing students for jobs that don’t exist today. The best that we can do as educators is to equip them with “universal knowledge.”