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The Making of Americans : Democracy and Our Schools - E. D. Hirsch

The Making of Americans

Democracy and Our Schools

Paperback Published: 31st August 2010
ISBN: 9780300168310
Number Of Pages: 288

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From the bestselling author of "Cultural Literacy," a passionate and cogent argument for reforming the way we teach our children Why, after decades of commissions, reforms, and efforts at innovation, do our schools continue to disappoint us? In this comprehensive and thought-provoking book, educational theorist E. D. Hirsch, Jr. offers a masterful analysis of how American ideas about education have veered off course, what we must do to right them, and most importantly "why." He argues that the core problem with American education is that educational theorists, especially in the early grades, have for the past sixty years rejected academic content in favor of "child-centered" and "how-to" learning theories that are at odds with how children really learn. The result is failing schools and widening inequality, as only children from content-rich (usually better-off) homes can take advantage of the schools' educational methods. Hirsch unabashedly confronts the education establishment, arguing that a content-based curriculum is essential to addressing social and economic inequality. A nationwide, specific, grade-by-grade curriculum established in the early school grades can help fulfill one of America's oldest and most compelling dreams: to give all children, regardless of language, religion, or origins, the opportunity to participate as equals and become competent citizens. Hirsch not only reminds us of these inspiring ideals, he offers an ambitious and specific plan for achieving them.

Industry Reviews

"Based on research in cognitive studies and results from 'core knowledge' schools, Hirsch's case is clear and compelling. His book ought to be read by anyone interested in the education and training of the next generation of Americans."-Glenn C. Altschuler, The Boston Globe
"Pleads for a coherent, content-based, multi-year curriculum to save our democracy from factionalism, inequality and incompetence."-Jay Mathews, Washington Post Book World (Best of 2009 Review)
"[In] the context of the continuing shortcomings of American education and armed with the support of prominent educators, Hirsch once again challenges the prevailing 'child-centered' philosophy, championing a return to a 'subject-centered' approach to learning."-Publishers Weekly
Selected as one of the Best Books of 2009 in the Society and Culture category, Jay Mathews, Washington Post Book World
Silver Medal Winner for the 2010 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Education/Academic/Teaching category
"The most cogent and persuasive version of [Hirsch's] views that I have seen. . . . This is not just a good book. It is an important book."-Robert Scholes, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities Emeritus, Brown University

"E. D. Hirsch is one of the very few academics in this country who can write for a wide audience about complex issues without ever condescending, oversimplifying, or falling into a populist rant."-David Labaree, Professor of Education, Stanford University

"In this important defense of the idea of a common national curriculum, E. D. Hirsch makes a lucid and convincing case that our habit of confusing such a curriculum with retrograde social and educational views has given us `sixty years without a curriculum.'"-Gerald Graff, 2008 President, Modern Language Association

"Once again, E.D. Hirsch has written a powerful and illuminating book about public education in America. This time he not only highlights `the knowledge deficit' that has long impaired our students' reading abilities, he also explains how this deficiency is undermining the role of education in developing an informed citizenry. With all the talk in Washington about national standards and what it means for a high school student to be `college ready,' this book is an essential read."-Joel I. Klein, Chancellor, New York City Department of Education

"E.D. Hirsch's The Making of Americans is a wonderful book that is must-reading for everyone who cares about our children and our country. It is the one book I would recommend to every legislator and school board member."-Diane Ravitch, author of Left Back and The Language Police

Prefacep. ix
The Inspiring Idea of the Common Schoolp. 1
Sixty Years without a Curriculump. 34
Transethnic America and the Civic Corep. 65
Linguistic America and the Public Spherep. 94
Competence and Equality Narrowing the Two Achievement Gapsp. 123
Competence and Community Renewing Public Educationp. 152
Core Knowledge History/ Geography Thread, K-2p. 189
Content is Skill, Skill Contentp. 210
Notesp. 223
Acknowledgmentsp. 248
Indexp. 249
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780300168310
ISBN-10: 0300168314
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 31st August 2010
Publisher: Yale University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.0 x 14.0  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.32