Michael Young’s recent paper in this journal is correct; there is a profound crisis in curriculum theory, and to be intellectually viable into the future the field must strive to bring back in empirical study of curriculum. Also by ignoring the empirical content of knowledge and access to it in mass education systems throughout the world, the field’s influential neo-Marxist paradigm unproductively avoids troubling, even theoretically damning, counterfactual evidence. The historical moment to address the crisis is propitious as the ‘schooled society’ is flourishing in unprecedented participation in formal education accompanied by a robust culture of education influencing fundamental processes that construct society worldwide. A brief review of sociological studies of historical and global change in curricular form and content illustrates the challenge before the field to end its own crisis. The results also indicate a profound challenge to the field’s reigning paradigm.
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