Why Knowledge Matters
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Washington Post education columnist Jay Matthews describes Why Knowledge Matters as “a surprising and insightful new book . . . [from] one of the reform movement’s founding fathers.”
Affirming the need for a coherent, knowledge-based approach to schooling, E. D. Hirsch, Jr., explores current problems in education, including over-testing of students, flawed evaluation of teachers, misguided implementation of the Common Core, and, most of all, the persistence of failed theories that continue to stand in the way of excellence and equity in education.
Hirsch makes the case that “the unifying aim of early schooling” should be to impart “communal knowledge”—that is, “the enabling knowledge that is possessed by the most successful adults in the wider society.”
“The key task facing our elementary schools,” Hirsch urges, “is to shift from the goal of self-realization to the goal of community—from child-centeredness to community-centeredness. No sensible person would disparage either goal. But the emphasis must shift decisively for the sake of the community and the individual child.”
Only a well-rounded, knowledge-specific curriculum can impart needed knowledge to all children and overcome inequality of opportunity.
–E. D. Hirsch, Jr.