Off the Shelf: E.D. Hirsch Jr.

October 30, 2009 — E.D. Hirsch Jr., University Professor of Education and Humanities and Linden Kent Memorial Professor of English Emeritus, "The Making of Americans." Yale University Press.

From the bestselling author of "Cultural Literacy" and "The Knowledge Deficit," here is a passionate and cogent argument for reforming the way children are taught.

Hirsch offers his analysis of how American ideas about education have veered off course, what must be done to right them, and most importantly why. He argues that the core problem with American education is that educational theorists, especially in the early grades, have for the past 60 years rejected academic content in favor of "child-centered" and "how-to" learning theories that are at odds with how children really learn. The result, he writes, is failing schools and widening inequality, as only children from content-rich (usually better-off) homes can take advantage of the schools' educational methods.

Hirsch, founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation, unabashedly confronts the education establishment, arguing that a content-based curriculum is essential to addressing social and economic inequality. A nationwide, specific, grade-by-grade curriculum established in the early school grades can help fulfill one of America's oldest and most compelling dreams: to give all children, regardless of language, religion or origins, the opportunity to participate as equals and become competent citizens.