I'm not losing sleep over it, but I keep chewing over the "too much to learn" issue which arose from a student survey last week which I described recently.
In one way, student complaints about "too much to know" are an entirely predictable response to information overload which is a consequence of the massive expansion of scientific knowledge since my time as a student. They are also entirely predictable from research findings (see: Why email rules the DarkSocial). I don't know of any students who have an adequate bookmarking or tagging system for information recall. Nearly all those I have asked hope to rely on squirreling stuff away in a Word document, much as I would have done as a student over 30 years ago. This surely represents a failure of education, although it must be said that the same is true for most of my academic colleagues.
But the thing that keeps me coming back to the survey results is that this is my problem rather than the student's problem. In science education (maybe in all education, but I'm restricting my thoughts to my own experience at present to help me get a handle on the problem), skills are fine, but facts are needed to build "scientific literacy" - it does matter whether students know the basic framework for building knowledge. But what are the basics that students need to know? The "core knowledge" bears no relationship to the limited fact set I was expected to absorb as a student.
I'm paternalistic enough to believe that teaching is essentially a curation activity. Hence, my students comments represent, at some level, my failure to curate the knowledge that they "need to know". If they learn the textbook they will pass the course. But knowing what I do about withdrawal as a strategy for coping with information overload, am I doing an adequate job as a teacher?