Civics: Clearly the President should be familiar with the basic structure of the government which he is leading. This would include but not be limited to a working knowledge of the Constitution, the branches of government and what they do. What does Article I, Section 8 say about what Congress may do? What powers are delegated to the President? What role does the Judiciary play in our system of government? What powers are delegated to the states?
Economics: A working knowledge of economic principles should also be regarded as a prerequisite to seeking the highest office in the land. Unfortunately, as this article indicates, many of the candidates lack even a basic entry level knowledge of economics.
Geography: If you are going to lead the United States you should certainly be familiar with each of the 50 states, their capitals, and some important information about each of them. Of course, a broad working knowledge of world geography would also be required. Which countries are in the G20? Which countries are our closest allies? Which are considered enemies? Where are they? Who leads them?
US History: Any president picks up where the previous one left off and in a very real sense continues a chain of events and decisions made by all previous presidents. So, a working knowledge of this history as well as the general history of the United States would seem to be an important requirement.
World History: The President of the United States is often referred to as the leader of the free world. This would certainly imply that any candidate for the office of President should have an extensive knowledge of world history as well.
Clearly there are other skills and attributes that any candidate for President should have but I wanted to focus on knowledge to make a specific point about education. If we can all agree that anyone running for public office (including but not limited to the President) needs this basic knowledge then how can voters insure that candidates have this knowledge? Obviously, the voters themselves must posess this knowledge in order to evaluate someone else’s knowledge or lack thereof in these specific areas.
The demand for relevance in education is one nearly every educator has heard at some point from their students. “What does this have to do with me?” they ask when we are trying to teach them any of the subjects above or any number of others. The question is: How can these subjects be irrelevant if you plan on participating in society as an employee, employer, parent, and individual?