The following articles complement the case E. D. Hirsch, Jr. makes in his books from Cultural Literacy (1987) to Why Knowledge Matters (2016)—in sum, that “only a well-rounded, knowledge-specific curriculum can impart needed knowledge to all children and overcome inequality of opportunity.”

Knowledge Matters

TNTP “Room to Run” series, 2016

From a series of articles that examine “What Kids Can Do with Challenging, Inspiring Schoolwork,” this posting gives a vivid close-up glimpse into a second grade classroom in Reno, Nevada, where students are using Core Knowledge Language Arts materials to study the Civil War.

Knowledge at the Core: Don Hirsch, Core Knowledge, and the Future of the Common Core

Thomas B. Fordham Institute, January 2014

“Children cannot be truly literate without knowing about history, science, art, music, literature, civics, geography, and more.” That’s the heart of this compendium of essays and companion videos published by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

A Wealth of Words

By E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
City Journal, Winter 2013

A number of notable books, including Joseph Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality and Timothy Noah’s The Great Divergence, lay out in disheartening detail the growing inequality of income and opportunity in the United States, along with the decline of the middle class. The aristocracy of family so deplored by Jefferson seems upon us; the counter-aristocracy of merit that long defined America as the land of opportunity has receded. The key to increasing upward mobility is expanding vocabulary.

Culture Warrior, Gaining Ground: E. D. Hirsch Sees His Education Theories Taking Hold

The New York Times, September 2013

A generation after he was squarely pummeled as elitist, antiquated and narrow-minded, the education theorist E. D. Hirsch Jr. is being dragged back into the ring at the age of 85 — this time for a chance at redemption.

Core Knowledge Enhanced Reading Skills, Study Finds

By Anna M. Phillips
The New York Times, March 11, 2012

Children in New York City who learned to read using the Core Knowledge Language Arts curriculum outperformed those at other schools that used other methods, most of which were “balanced literacy” approaches.

Building Knowledge:  The Case for Bringing Content into the Language Arts Block and for a Knowledge-Rich Curriculum Core for All Children

By E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
American Educator, Spring 2006

Knowledge of content and the vocabulary acquired through learning about content are fundamental to successful reading comprehension; without broad knowledge, children’s reading comprehension will not improve and their test scores will not budge upwards either.

How Knowledge Helps: It Speeds and Strengthens Reading Comprehension, Learning—and Thinking

By Daniel T. Willingham
American Educator, Spring 2006

Willingham, a professor of cognitive psychology and author of Why Don’t Students Like School? (Jossey-Bass, 2009), explains how acquiring knowledge does for the brain what exercise does for the body: The more you learn, the better your brain functions. Knowledge is not only cumulative, it grows exponentially. So, the more you know, the more easily you learn new things. Knowledge improves your ability to remember new things, and it actually improves the quality and speed of your thinking.