How to Educate a Citizen: The Power of Shared Knowledge to Unify a Nation” by E.D. Hirsch— A Manifesto

Hirsch Jr., E.D. “How to Educate a Citizen: The Power of Shared Knowledge to Unify a Nation”, Harper, 2020.

A Manifesto

Amos Lassen

“How to Educate a Citizen: The Power of Shared Knowledge to Unify a Nation”, writer E.D.Hirsch“highlights the essence of our American being and the radical changes in education necessary to sustain that essence. Concerned citizens, teachers, and parents take note!  We ignore this book at our peril.” This manifesto examines thefailures of America’s early education system and theimpactit hason today’snational situation and then goes on toadvocatefor a shared knowledge curriculumthat can be taught tostudents providing an educational foundation that will surelyhelp improve and strengthendemocracy’s identity.

Hirsch urges us  to educate our children more effectively to help heal and preserve the nation. Since the 1960s, our schools have used “child-centered learning.” Subjects such as history, geography, science, civics, and other essential knowledge have been watered down by vacuous learning “techniques” and “values-based” curricula.  Graduate schools of education have indoctrinated, administrators and educators that they are teaching reading and critical thinking skills. This has been done without  strong content.The result of this is a loss of shared knowledge that would help us “to work together, understand one another, and make coherent, informed decisions.”

Children, today, under-prepared and this takes away from the American dream and hurts the spiritual bonds and unity that have held the nation together. Hirsh looks back at early schoolmasters and educational reformers such as Noah Webster and Horace Mann and then gives the history of the rise and fall of the American early education system and shows us a blueprint for closing the national gap in knowledge, communications, and allegiance. He galvanizes our schools to provide children with the power of shared knowledge. His calls for ‘a better-educated citizenry’ must be examined by administrators and teachers. Hirsch’s arguments are clear and well-grounded in his criticism to enhance educational equity.

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