Cultural literacy: what every American needs to know
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Dr Eric D. Hirsch, Jr

In order to function and prosper in society, according to Hirsch, individuals must possess a background knowledge that literate writers and speakers assume their audiences already have. Those who have this knowledge are culturally literate, and as a consequence the opportunities of society are open to them. Schools that neglect to impart this core knowledge leave their pupils seriously deprived and democracy weakened.

This book includes a list of 5,000 essential names, phrases, dates, and concepts intended to illustrate the shared knowledge of literate American culture, which would make up a ‘core knowledge’ education in the States. Traditionalists often reference Hirsch’s work, particularly those who favour core knowledge or a fact-based curriculum. It has influenced thinking in US schools but has a broader appeal, particularly for those worried about progressive approaches to education.

Hirsch had a profound influence on education reforms in the US and has also influenced thinking in UK schools, particularly academies' and independent state schools’ ability to opt out of the national curriculum.

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Dr Eric D. Hirsch, Jr

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Vintage Books

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Hirsch’s work will make for thought-provoking reading for anyone interested in alternative curriculum design and different arguments for improving social mobility. 


Record ID:
R032 / 302
Author(s) biog(s):
Dr Eric D. Hirsch, Jr

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Professor Eric Donald Hirsch

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