noun Education.
a doctrine that certain traditional concepts, ideals, and skills are essential to society and should be taught methodically to all students, regardless of individual ability, need, etc.
Compare progressivism.

1935–40; essential + -ism

essentialist, noun, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
essentialism (ɪˈsɛnʃəˌlɪzəm)
1.  philosophy one of a number of related doctrines which hold that there are necessary properties of things, that these are logically prior to the existence of the individuals which instantiate them, and that their classification depends upon their satisfaction of sets of necessary conditions
2.  the doctrine that education should concentrate on teaching basic skills and encouraging intellectual self-discipline

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Example sentences
Most of the work here is essentialist, body-oriented and familiar to the point
  of old-fashioned.
In this essentialist view the implication is that organic diversity is imposed,
  rather than evolved.
It's ridiculous and essentialist to categorize all people who are poor as the
  same across multiple dimensions.
Please forgive whatever essentialist notions are used here.
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