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ERIC Number: ED559999
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jan
Pages: 86
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Knowledge at the Core: Don Hirsch, Core Knowledge, and the Future of the Common Core
Finn, Chester E., Jr., Ed.; Petrilli, Michael J., Ed.
Thomas B. Fordham Institute
Children cannot be truly literate without knowing about history, science, art, music, literature, civics, geography, and more. Indeed, they cannot satisfactorily comprehend what they read unless they possess the background knowledge that makes such comprehension possible. Yet most American primary schools have been marching in the opposite direction: treating reading only as a "skill" and pushing off history, science, art, and music "until later." This problem grows more serious with the advent of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, which take for granted that children expected to meet those standards are being supplied with a content-rich curriculum. In far too many U.S. schools, however, that is simply not happening. So what can be done? Commit to implanting a sequential, content-rich curriculum in the country's elementary and middle schools. The essays in "Knowledge at the Core: Don Hirsch, Core Knowledge, and the Future of the Common Core" restate the case for such a curriculum and chart a course for the future. They also pay tribute to the decades of scholarship, service, and reform commitment of E. D. (Don) Hirsch, Jr., author of "Cultural Literacy" (and three other prescient books on education reform) and founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation. Five of the essays presented herein were first presented at a December 2013 conference in Washington, D.C., cohosted by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the Manhattan Institute. (Two more pieces by Don Hirsch, Jr., "Romancing the Child" and "Why I'm for the Common Core," are also included to flesh out further his ideas and insights.) Essays include: (1) Sustaining the American Experiment (E. D. Hirsch, Jr); (2) Romancing the Child: Curing American Education of its Enduring Belief that Learning Is Natural (E. D. Hirsch, Jr.); (3) Me, My Sons, and E. D. Hirsch (Sol Stern); (4) Complex Texts Require Complex Knowledge: Will the New English Standards Get the Content Curriculum They Need? (Ruth Wattenberg); (5) There Are No Shortcuts: Mending the Rift between Content Knowledge and Deeper Learning (Robert Pondiscio); (6) Building Teacher Enthusiasm for Core Knowledge (Steve Farkas and the FDR Group); and (7) Why I'm for the Common Core (E. D. Hirsch, Jr). [Additional support for both the conference and this volume was provided by the Challenge Foundation and Amplify.]
Thomas B. Fordham Institute. 1701 K Street NW Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20006. Tel: 202-223-5452; Fax: 202-223-9226; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Collected Works - General; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Thomas B. Fordham Foundation; William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Authoring Institution: Thomas B. Fordham Institute