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The Schools We Need & Why We Don't Have Them

The Schools We Need & Why We Don't Have Them

by E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

In The Schools We Need, published in 1996, Professor Hirsch traces the philosophies and practices that have dominated American education in this century and shows how failed "progressive" theories have gained a monopoly, despite being discredited by mainstream research. Pragmatic and proven remedies exist and we must turn to them with an open mind, he says, because a sound education is every child's civil right.

At the root of our educational problem are two ideas, naturalism and formalism. Naturalism claims that children will naturally learn what they need to know. Formalism holds that possessing skills-knowing how to do something-more important than a command of factual knowledge. Hirsch shows how both are wrong.

The book concludes with a "Critical Guide to Educational Terms and Phrases" that demystifies terms and slogans such as "child-centered schooling," "critical thinking skills," and "multiple intelligences," all of which have fostered educational inequality.

[Hirsch] cuts through the fog of educational jargon and hits home with parents and teachers. . . . His book is showing up as required reading on the desks of school board members, superintendents, policy wonks and politicians across the country.
—L. A. Times

ISBN: 978-0-385495-24-0

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