Stanford student had to study the same core texts, which isnnot the case, the common core would occupy only about 8npercent of the student’s college curriculum. Consider byncontrast the humanities portion of the curriculum in lowerneducation. The topics and ideas to be studied are almost allncompulsory. In grades 1-6, the humanities componentnoccupies about 70 percent of the curriculum. In grades 7nand 8, the percentage declines to about 60, and in highnschool to about 50 percent. In purely quantitative terms,nearly education in the humanities, contrasted with college,ndominates by a ratio of 24 to 1. In qualitative terms thendomination of early education is still greater with respect tondetermining values, habits, and principles. The die has beenncast for many students before they come to college. Fornmany others, who have been deprived of substance in highnschool, college humanities courses may be life-changingnexperiences. Yet the humanities in the colleges may exercisentheir greatest influence on the larger society through theirninfluence on the humanities in lower education.nIn this connection, conservatives’ justifiable worry regardingnthe college humanities curriculum is that left-wingnanti-Americanism, hiding under the banner of “multiculturalism,”nwill corrupt the teachers of the future, and thus, inntime, the whole of American culture. I share this concern tona degree, though I also have faith in the oedipal resilience ofnthe young, who are always mounting their own oppositionsnto current dogma. How else explain young Mr. Kimball?nThese mavericks should be given every encouragement.nThe tendency of the “tenured radicals” to decrease intellectualndiversity (even while advocating it) should be stronglynresisted. Moreover, I have been concerned about the waynthe separatist rhetoric of multiculturalism has begun to filterninto the schools, and I have written about the dangers ofntribalism and the corresponding virtues of true cosmopolitanism.nSubsequentiy I found that Diane Ravitch hadndevised still better phrasing for the same distinction: particularismnvs. pluralism. I believe it is the duty of both liberalsnand conservatives to make pluralism and cosmopolitanismnprevail over tribalism and particularism.nBut this is a subtle distinction, and subtlety in thesenmatters is in serious if not critical danger. Let me providenanother example. I am currentiy trying to gain broad-basednagreement about the specific contents of a core curriculumnin grades 1-6 — a core that would constitute about half ofnthe whole curriculum and that might be accepted in allnregions of the country. The aims of this project are multiple.nSome are technical ones, intent on improving the quality ofnteaching and learning. Others are cultural, and are aimed at,namong other things, preserving and restoring Americannliterate culture. My colleagues and I have been working fornfour years on this project, consulting widely with teachersnand scholars. Last March we held a conference of elementarynteachers, principals, and superintendents from everynregion of the country, and reached agreement about thenspecifics of the core.nI then applied to a foundation to support the piloting ofnthis core in Dade County, which has a large, diverse, andnwell-run school district. I received word from the foundationnthat one liberal reviewer of the proposed curriculum worriednthat it was not multicultural enough. A conservative reviewernhad the opposite worry — that I had sold out to then20/CHRONICLESnnnmulticulturalists, and had “gone over to the other side.”nThis person bridled particularly at an item labeled “forcednremoval” in first-grade social studies. The term meant thatnfirst graders were to be told that European settiers made thenIndians leave their regular hunting grounds and go elsewhere.nTo include that item was to the conservative reviewerna symbol of the apostasy that Kimball had detected. Oncenagain an embattied mentality had induced polarization, andna certain lack of subflety.nBut subtlety is a commodity that is badly needed bynconservatives who are interested in education reform.nConsider the following political facts. There are over twonmillion teachers in the National Education Association.nThere are over half a million teachers in the AmericannFederation of Teachers. There are over a hundred and thirtynthousand members of the Association for Supervision andnCurriculum Development (ASCD). There are severalnthousand education professors in some eleven hundredncolleges of education. These are the people who willnultimately find ways to make or break any proposedneducational reform. It will be diflicult to make a teacher notnteach first graders that Europeans sent the Indians awaynfrom their hunting grounds, if that is what these teachersnwant to teach. I am told that over 80 percent of schoolteachersnare politically liberal. By and large, these teachers are notnraving particularists or tribalists, but they have decided thatnsome degree of multiculturalism is a good thing, andnperhaps a political necessity. Anyone who wishes to gain thennecessary cooperation of these teachers in developing a corencurriculum for the schools will have to introduce multiculturalnelements into the core curriculum.nConsider, by contrast, the consequences of bravely holdingnthe line, and excluding “forced removal” along withnelements of Hispanic, Indian, and Afro-American culturenfrom the core curriculum. Your courage would only benappreciated by those few in education who think exactiy asnyou do. More importantiy, your core would not be accepted.nYou would have avoided “apostasy,” but you would havenexerted no influence on what children are taught. Byndefault, the curriculum would go back to the professionals ofnthe ASCD, who have already fragmented the eariy curriculumnand given it a decidedly liberal-left slant under thenbanner of “critical thinking.”nIs there, then, no room for subflety and complexity in thencurriculum debates? I suggest that a wartime mentalitynregarding the humanities curriculum is self-defeating. Thenonly way cultural conservatives, of which I count myself one,ncan influence the humanities curriculum in the schools is tonsupport the right kind of multiculturalism themselves. For itnis only in the rarified corridors of higher education thatnembattied conservatives and embattied tenured radicals cannafford to choose sides and fight to the death. In the groves ofnacademe, it sometimes seems that the two parties need eachnother; whom else would they have as objects of scorn andnindignation? But outside the academy, and in the schools,nmost people wear the uniform of neither army. They are innmufti or in motley, and the bullets are flying far off, innanother part of the forest.n<^n