One thing I often wonder about is the value of learning things that you're not going to remember. I'd have to guess that I've forgotten at least 90% of what I've learned in my time in school. As far as I can tell, one can interpret this two different ways:
1.) Everybody needs different skills and knowledge bases later in life, so we should teach everybody everything and they can use what they need
2.) Our teaching has largely failed, there's little reason to learn something that will be forgotten later anyway. If most of what is taught is later forgotten, then it needs to be taught better the first time.
I guess I'd land somewhere between these two schools of thought. On the one hand, we shouldn't narrow the curriculum so much that everything will be remembered by every student because everybody will miss out on a lot. On the other hand, I would know a lot more today if there was a little less breadth and a little more depth (and later reinforcement) in my education. One book that I read claimed that a valid final exam for a class is one that's given a year after it's taught. I'm not sure I disagree.
What jogged my mind about this? This cartoon I saw yesterday: