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The Making of Americans: Democracy and Our Schools

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by E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

In this book, Hirsch continues his focus on literacy and educational equity while investigating those themes “within the broader context of the founding ideals of the American experiment.”  We must “confront the difficult issue of citizen-making,” says Hirsch, which requires that we “reorient the schools . . . toward a community-centered approach to schooling.” To do this, “we will have to rediscover some basic agreements about the United States and its ideals that are shared by both the left and the right.”

© 2009

As E. D. Hirsch, Jr., explains in the preface, this book extends his earlier studies concerned with “overcoming low literacy rates and narrowing the achievement gaps between demographic groups but places those themes within the broader context of the founding ideals of the American experiment.”

Hirsch proposes nothing less than “a rethinking of American K-8 education from the ground up . . . to achieve greater quality and equity.” He focuses on the early grades “because acquiring a core of commonality and civic commitment is most urgently needed in those years to enable diversity and individuality, as well as equal opportunity, to reign thereafter.”

If we are “to form competent and civic-minded Americans who can function in the public sphere,” then, says Hirsch, American schools must move beyond their almost exclusive focus on “child-centered theories of education” and “confront the difficult issue of citizen-making.” Hirsch argues that we need “to reorient the schools . . . toward a community-centered approach to schooling.” To do this, “we will have to rediscover some basic agreements about the United States and its ideals that are shared by both the left and the right.”

Students need to leave school with a good understanding of the civic principles under which the United States operates and with an emotional commitment to making this political experiment continue to work.
—E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

Paperback

ISBN: 978-0-300168-3-10

SKU: TMA
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