Why Knowledge Matters: Rescuing Our Children from Failed Educational Theories

When looking for a good nonfiction book to read, my eyes were drawn to this title. I was curious as to what this person thought of our educational system. Anyone with children in school wants the best education possible for them. E. D. Hirsch, Jr., writes about critical issues in our children’s  education  and child development.

The book is written around six persistent problems of our education: students being over-tested; teachers being blamed; preschool students losing educational gains; curriculum being reduced to math and reading; demographic groups achievement gaps narrowed; and the reliance on standards that are not linked to a rigorous curriculum. Tests are an everyday happening at our schools.

Hirsch says that tests are reduced to measuring skills rather than content, and that students from disadvantaged backgrounds cannot develop the knowledge base to support high achievement. I don’t agree with everything he wrote about but I do agree with a lot of the content. According to Mr. Hirsch, elementary schools have shifted toward an overwhelming emphasis on reading as a skill. Students in the early elementary grades spend hours each day learning reading techniques while time spent on social studies, science, and the arts has been reduced. Reading tests go up but progress in knowledge is leveled-off or even declining at the middle and high school level.

This book gave me a lot to think about. Mr. Hirsch makes a good stand on what we need to do about our children’s education. I believe everyone should read this book to know what our choices are and what educational curriculum means to the future of our children.

Review by staff member Denise A.




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