We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I suppose one of the functions of education is to transmit the accumulations of a culture/civilization, but it's not that simple. If you can't do Persian arithmetic, or ancient Greek trig, you are in trouble in life. Western civilization has always been open to interesting new ideas. Case in point: Christmas tree.
In "modern times", ie, say, that includes other world cultures too. Perhaps "modern times" in the West sort of began with the Roman Empire.
Modern Western civilization has borrowed much from the entire world, and made something wonderful out of it all. Sometimes I wonder that Christianity could only have emerged from the Middle East with its hodge-podge of cultural and religious history. Mostly Jewish of course, but far more than that.
I think it's great to learn about other civilizations and cultures, but I think Western people need to know their own first. Like a language. Or, including the language.
My feeling is that Western civ contains astonishing wisdom and thought - more than anybody's brain can contain. I include Jacques Barzun and Einstein in that. Legal theory, math, literary adventures, philosophy, religion, etc. You can read about Canadian aborigine medicine on your own time but it's not so easy to get a grip on Biochem.
I think you are right, and the changes in some disciplines illustrates what is being lost. History, literature, government, art - these were at some point supposed to be about understanding patterns of development and human behavior for example. We studied some people and events (even fictional ones) because they seemed to have some bearing on our own lives and might aid in understanding. But now it is very much "But our people aren't represented here. Their lives were just as valuable." Well of course they were just as valuable (though I submit that is a largely Western idea), but that doesn't mean they are as worth studying and learning from. We all have ancestors. Mine are interesting to me, but I don't think that forcing everyone to learn about Nova Scotian blueberry farmers and trappers, or Swedish cabin boys will tell anyone more than a little. I do have some puritans and Mayflower folks. They weren't any more valuable or worthy than my other ancestors from that generation, but they did participate in a pivot point in history, and that's worth learning about - their culture, their technology, their religion.
Just because something happened doesn't mean we all have to hear about it.
Assistant Village Idiot
You should try Ph.D level scholarly papers in Polymers. Now that's a read to fill your hours.
In most cases, they're not getting it from the schools now, which have dumbed-down their expectations to make the performance of the non-Asian minorities look better--even when they aren't explicitly anti-Western Civilization. Cultural and historical philistinism are so widespread in our society that I fear few will be exposed to our cultural patrimony through their families, either.
The very least families can do is to make sure their children learn to read, to read well, and to read every day. I suspect that many young people simply lack the vocabulary and reading skills to be able to absorb material of any sophistication. That makes reading a painful and unrewarding task for them, one to be avoided at all costs, rather than a gratifying and enriching one.
The ability to read is the key to transmitting and preserving our cultural inheritance.