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How to Educate a Citizen: The Power of Shared Knowledge to Unify a Nation

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How to Educate a Citizen: The Power of Shared Knowledge to Unify a Nation

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Critical and compelling, How to Educate a Citizen galvanizes our schools to equip children with the power of shared knowledge.

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In this powerful manifesto, the bestselling author of WHY KNOWLEDGE MATTERS addresses the failures of America's early education system and its impact on our current national malaise, advocating for a shared knowledge curriculum students everywhere can be taught - an educational foundation that can help improve and strengthen America's unity, identity, and democracy.

In How to Educate a Citizen, E.D. Hirsch continues the conversation he began thirty years ago with his classic bestseller Cultural Literacy, urging America's public schools, particularly at the elementary level, to educate our children more effectively to help heal and preserve the nation. Since the 1960s, our schools have been relying on 'child-centered learning.' History, geography, science, civics, and other essential knowledge have been dumbed down by vacuous learning 'techniques' and 'values-based' curricula; indoctrinated by graduate schools of education, administrators and educators have believed they are teaching reading and critical thinking skills. Yet these cannot be taught in the absence of strong content, Hirsch argues.

The consequence is a loss of shared knowledge that would enable us to work together, understand one another, and make coherent, informed decisions. A broken approach to school not only leaves our children under-prepared and erodes the American dream but also loosens the spiritual bonds and unity that hold the nation together. Drawing on early schoolmasters and educational reformers such as Noah Webster and Horace Mann, Hirsch charts the rise and fall of the American early education system and provides a blueprint for closing the national gap in knowledge, communications, and allegiance.

Critical and compelling, How to Educate a Citizen galvanizes our schools to equip children with the power of shared knowledge.

About the author

E. D. Hirsch, Jr. is the founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation and professor emeritus of education and humanities at the University of Virginia.

Reviews

Hirsch makes a compelling case the contemporary political chasms in America and our ongoing educational doldrums have same root cause: a lack of common learning that allows communication and understanding. --Daniel T. Willingham, professor, University of Virginia

In this, apparently his final book, E.D. Hirsch Jr makes one last mighty effort to champion this kind of knowledge rich education that is most like to close the advantage gap. He marshals all the evidence he s amassed over the decades to make his most impassioned plea that educators must put aside their ideological preferences and start paying attention to the empirical evidence on how children learn, the importance of general knowledge and the need to teach shared, culturally rich knowledge. --David Didau, educational consultant and author

This book reflects a broader, angrier, more reflective and sadder Don Hirsch. Broader in that he recognises the need to make the case beyond pedagogy. Reflective of the changes that have happened in American educational theory, and angry at the waste of talent that it has led to. And sadder that the recent convulsions in American politics and society can be traced back to the lack of what he astutely terms shared knowledge .

We can't communicate, Hirsch argues, without a shared understanding between speaker and listener of what words mean - and the wider concepts they elucidate. This is common sense if one thinks narrowly of lack of understanding when speaking different languages. Hirsch makes the argument about shared knowledge wider and hence ascribes some of the fracturing of American society to this loss of common knowledge. --Jonathan Simons, Director, Public First

Additional Information

Author E D Hirsch
ISBN 9781913622046
No of pages 197
Format Paperback
Publication Date 4 Sep 2020

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