A child's mind is hungry for knowledge, stimulation, the excitement of learning which school should provide, yet most American schools fall far short. From kindergarten through high school, our public educational system is among the worst in the developed world.As renowned educator and author E. D. Hirsch, Jr., argues in The Schools We Need, in disdaining content-based curricula for abstract, and discredited, theories of how a child learns, the ideas uniformly taught by our schools have done terrible harm to America's students. Instead of preparing our children for the highly competitive, information-based economy in which we now live, our school practices have severely curtailed their ability, and desire, to learn.
There is a solution. Mainstream research has shown that if children, all children, not just the privileged, are taught in ways that emphasize hard work, the learning of facts, and rigorous testing, their enthusiasm for school will grow, their test scores will rise, and they will become successful citizens in the information-age civilization.
"[Hirsch's] book presents a sophisticated, scholarly, and often compelling argument, and it deserves serious consideration, whatever one's political predilections." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A damning, highly provocative, full-scale assault on today's educational establishment." (Publishers Weekly)
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Good Companiion Piece To...
Bloom's CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND, but read Bloom first. Hirsch does a nice job criticizing the dumbing-down backlash in American education resultant of the anti-intellectual movement of the 1960's (actually, he dates the beginnings of the movement back to Romantic Era Germany and France). He shows how what schools need is a balance of fact and imagination rather than all or one of the other, demonstrates that it is not that standardized tests are culturally biased, but rather that minorities are not as well educated at home or in intercity schools, and generally dispels a lot of the misconceptions that have been very dominant in American mis-education since Kirkpatrick.
It was interesting to learn about the history of the predominat educational philosophies.
This book paints a picture of what education should and could be.