The Schools We Need: And Why We Don’t Have Them
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In The Schools We Need, Hirsch shows how failed theories exert a monopolistic grip on practices that have long dominated American education.
At the root of our educational problem are two ideas, naturalism and formalism. Naturalism claims that children will naturally learn what they need to know. Formalism is based on the idea that inculcating skills is much more important than the transmission of knowledge. Hirsch shows how both ideas are wrong. Because a sound education is every child’s civil right, Hirsch urges that we turn with an open mind to pragmatic and proven remedies grounded in mainstream research.
The book concludes with a “Critical Guide to Educational Terms and Phrases” that demystifies terms and slogans such as “child-centered schooling,” “critical thinking skills,” and “multiple intelligences,” all of which have fostered educational inequality.
“[Hirsch] cuts through the fog of educational jargon and hits home with parents and teachers. . . . His book is showing up as required reading on the desks of school board members, superintendents, policy wonks and politicians across the country.”
—L. A. Times