E.D. Hirsch, Jr. on Background Knowledge and Educational Equity — The Learning Curve

This podcast was originally published on the The Learning Curve.

Co-hosts Cara Candal and Bob Bowdon engage in a thought-provoking conversation with Professor E.D. Hirsch, Jr., founder and chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation, professor emeritus at the University of Virginia, and acclaimed author. Professor Hirsch elaborates on his career-long thesis that the critical ingredient of academic achievement is the shared background knowledge needed for language proficiency and cultural literacy. Thousands of schools across the U.S. are using his Core Knowledge curriculum and language arts program, with proven success in bridging socioeconomic gaps. Hirsch also discusses problems he sees with a content-free, skills-focused approach to instruction; discovery or constructivist modes of learning promoted in education schools; and the rise of cultural sensitivity in K-12 curricula.

Stories of the Week: 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results out this week show U.S. students have made no improvement compared to 2015, and rank behind many other countries. Do the results prove the failure of American education reforms or are standardized tests flawed measures of success? A report from Purdue University claims 3.6 million students of color are being left out of gifted and talented programs due to racial discrimination. Are we too narrowly defining students’ talents?

Commentary of the Week: Laura Waters in EducationPost: Top Democratic Candidates’ Disrespect for Parents of Color Has Me Wondering If I Fit Into This Party Anymore

Tweet of the Week:

Newsmaker Interview Guest:

E.D. Hirsch, Jr. is the founder and chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation and professor emeritus of education and humanities at the University of Virginia. He is the author of several acclaimed books on education, including Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to KnowThe Schools We NeedThe Knowledge Deficit, and The Making of Americans, in which he has persisted as a voice of reason making the case for equality of educational opportunity.

Story Links:

2018 PISA Results Released: U.S. Students Show No Progress on International Test
https://www.educationdive.com/news/pisa-us-students-show-no-progress-on-international-assessment/568202/

As Many as 3.6 Million Gifted Children Are Being Overlooked in School
https://hechingerreport.org/up-to-3-6-million-students-should-be-labeled-gifted-but-arent/

The next episode will air on Dec. 13th, with guest, Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is executive editor of The Federalist and author of The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids.

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