On Thursday, March 22, we celebrate the 90th birthday of the founder of Core Knowledge, E. D. Hirsch, Jr. Please join us (and the students at Urban Pathways School in Pittsburgh) in wishing Dr. Hirsch Happy Birthday!—and feel free to share your good wishes in the comments section below.
“Don,” as he is fondly called here at the Foundation, remains a vital and consistent voice of reason, consistently affirming the need for a coherent, sequential, knowledge-rich curriculum as the key to educational equity and excellence.
In a series of books—from Cultural Literacy in 1987 to Why Knowledge Matters in 2016—Don has tirelessly and eloquently made the case that “the unifying aim of early schooling” should be to impart “the enabling knowledge that is possessed by the most successful adults in the wider society.”
In 2014, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation paid tribute to the far-reaching power of Don’s ideas in a collection titled Knowledge at the Core. You can read a selection of Don’s shorter writings here on the Core Knowledge website.
Here at the Foundation, we’re ever grateful for the intellectual leadership Don has provided, and we’re looking forward to new insights and inspiration to come. To mark this 90th birthday milestone, we’re going to look back at one of the earliest signposts on the long and winding road to where we are today. We’re going all the way back to an article published in 1983, in the journal The American Scholar.
The article was written before the movement became known as Core Knowledge and speaks instead about the concept identified in the article’s title—“Cultural Literacy.” As you’ll see in these excerpts, more than three decades ago the seeds were planted that have since flowered in the many publications of the Core Knowledge Foundation and the network of Core Knowledge schools.