- Format: PDF
- Publisher: Harvard Education Press (September 20, 2016)
- Language: English
- 280 pages
- ISBN-10: 1612509525
- ISBN-13: 978-1612509525
“Thinking skills cannot readily be separated from one subject matter and applied to other subject matters.”
This important book argues that while students have been taught how to read, they have not been taught what to read and that cultural literacy matters far more than vague notions of 21st century skills. In short, what’s needed is a more serious look at the curriculum and a greater focus on what we are teaching instead of how we teach it.
From the Back Cover
“Knowledge matters! Anyone who has struggled to read an article stuffed with technical or legal jargon, or with arcane references to obscure places and events, has had a taste of what it’s like to be a child who has been deprived of the cultural touchstones that literate adults take for granted. Hirsch is performing a brave and invaluable service by reminding us that proficient reading depends not just on skilled eyes and ears but on an educated mind.”
—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, author of The Language Instinct and The Sense of Style
“Hirsch has done it again. He has produced the most clear and well-grounded argument for why a knowledge-centric education is critical for enhancing educational equity. He pulls no punches. Why Knowledge Matters provides thoughtful solutions to important education issues.”
—Susan B. Neuman, professor and chair, Teaching and Learning Department, Steinhardt School, New York University
“If you are frustrated and angry about the over-testing of students, the narrowing of the curriculum, the scapegoating of teachers, and the persistence of the achievement gap, you must read this brilliant book. Hirsch persuasively explains how all these phenomena are related, and points the way forward to a better education for all.”
—Daniel T. Willingham, professor, University of Virginia
About the Author
Hirsch is a graduate of Cornell University, and holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Yale University. He began his teaching career at Yale, specializing in Romantic Poetry and Literary Theory, and in 1966 became Professor of English at the University of Virginia, where he served twice as chairman of his department. Before his retirement in 2000 he held the position of University Professor of Education and Humanities. In 1977, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 1997 to the International Academy of Education. He is the recipient of several honorary degrees, has been a Fulbright and a Guggenheim fellow, a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, a Humanities fellow at Princeton University, a fellow at the Australian National University, and an honoree of the Royal Dutch Academy and of the National Academy in Rome. He received the biennial QuEST award of the American Federation of Teachers in 1997, and the Fordham Award for Valor in Education in 2003. In 2012, the Education Commission of the States presented Hirsch with the Conant Award for “Outstanding Contributions to American Education.” He has served on many advisory boards, including the National Council on Educational Research.
Hirsch is founder of the nonprofit Core Knowledge Foundation, an organization that continues to advise and help schools, with over one thousand Core Knowledge schools in forty-seven states and abroad.