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About E. D. Hirsch
E. D. Hirsch, Jr. is the founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation and professor emeritus of education and humanities at the University of Virginia. He is the author of several acclaimed books on education issues including the best-seller Cultural Literacy. With his subsequent books The Schools We Need and Why We Don’t Have Them, The Knowledge Deficit, and The Making of Americans, Dr. Hirsch solidified his reputation as one of the most influential education reformers of our time.
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Influential scholar Hirsch, author of The Knowledge Deficit, asserts that a carefully planned curriculum that imparts communal knowledge is essential in achieving one of the most fundamental aims and objectives of education: preparing students for lifelong success. Hirsch examines historical and contemporary evidence from the United States and other nations, including France, and affirms that a knowledge-based approach has improved both achievement and equity in schools where it has been instituted.
In contrast, educational change of the past several decades in the United States has endorsed a skills-based approach, founded on, Hirsch points out, many incorrect assumptions about child development and how children learn. He recommends new policies that are better aligned with our current understanding of neuroscience, developmental psychology, and social science.
The book focuses on six persistent problems that merit the attention of contemporary education reform: the over-testing of students in the name of educational accountability; the scapegoating of teachers; the fadeout of preschool gains; the narrowing of the curriculum to crowd out history, geography, science, literature, and the arts; the achievement gap between demographic groups; and the reliance on standards, such as the Common Core State Standards, that are not linked to a rigorous curriculum.
Why Knowledge Matters makes a clear case for educational innovation and introduces a new generation of American educators to Hirsch’s astute and passionate analysis.