Knowledge Deficit Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children

ISBN-10: 0618872256
ISBN-13: 9780618872251
Edition: 2006
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Description: In The Knowledge Deficit, the esteemed education critic, activist, and best-selling author E. D. Hirsch, Jr., illuminates the real issue in education today: without an effective curriculum, American students are losing the global education race.  More...

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Book details

List price: $14.95
Copyright year: 2006
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Publication date: 4/1/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 192
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.52" tall
Weight: 0.682
Language: English

In The Knowledge Deficit, the esteemed education critic, activist, and best-selling author E. D. Hirsch, Jr., illuminates the real issue in education today: without an effective curriculum, American students are losing the global education race. This book corrects popular misconceptions about hot issues in education, such as standardized testing, and takes to task educators claims that they are powerless to overcome class differences. Hirsch explains why schools have taken the wrong path in response to No Child Left Behind, and shows that although schools are teaching the mechanics of reading, they fail to convey the knowledge needed for the more complex and essential skill of reading comprehension. In the end, Hirsch gives parents and teachers specific tools for enhancing childrens abilities to fully understand what they read.

Hirsch is a conservative critic best known for his repudiation of critical approaches to literature (chiefly poststructuralism and New Criticism) that assume that the author's intentions do not determine readings. He argues that any such methodology is guilty of "the organic fallacy," the belief that the text leads a life of its own. For Hirsch, the author's authority is the key to literary interpretation: The critic's job is to reproduce textual meaning by recovering the author's consciousness, which guarantees the validity of an interpretation. In his two most important books, Validity in Interpretation (1967) and its sequel, The Aims of Interpretation (1976), Hirsch warns against the "critical anarchy" that follows from the "cognitive atheism" of both relativism and subjectivism. For him, these result from a corollary of the organic fallacy, the thesis that meaning is ultimately indeterminate because it changes over time or with the differing interests and values of different readers. According to Hirsch, meaning does not change; only value or significance does, as readers relate a text's fixed meaning to their cultures. If there is more than one valid interpretation of a text, it is because literature may be reduced to more than one "intrinsic genre" or meaning type---the particular set of conventions governing ways of seeing and of making meaning at the time the author was writing. Many critics suggest that the intentions Hirsch recovers in intrinsic genres are really his own, rather than those of the author, because no one, including Hirsch, can escape his or her historically conditioned frame of reference when developing interpretations of literature. Hirsch's recent books, including Cultural Literacy (1987), are seen as proof of those flaws by those who are troubled by the history and values of the dominant culture that Hirsch insists is the only culture. Hirsch argues that "common knowledge" is being denied minority students and others by feminists and other "radicals" who have undermined the authority of its great texts.

Preface
Why Do We Have A Knowledge Deficit?
The Achievement Crisis
The Curse of Romantic Ideas
Should Schooling Be Natural?
What About "Mere Facts"?
Is Knowing How Better than Knowing What?
Is Society to Blame?
Making Better Ideas Prevail
Sounding Out: Just the Beginning of Reading
What We've Recently Achieved
Is Reading Like Listening?
Filling in the Blanks
Are Some Kinds of Knowledge Better than Others?
Reading Strategies: A Path to Boredom
Knowledge of Language
Learning the Standard Language
Learning Grammar
Learning the Elaborated Code
Building Vocabulary
Can Disadvantaged Children Catch Up?
Knowledge of Things
What the Text Doesn't Say
Who Is the General Reader?
How Much Knowledge Do We Need?
Which Knowledge Do We Need?
Why Not in the Reading Program?
Using School Time Productively
Wasting Students' Time
Blaming Teachers
Better Use of Time Leads to Greater Fairness
Using Time Effectively
Using Tests Productively
Are Tests Driving Our Schools?
The Flaws of State Tests
The Nature of Reading Tests
What Kinds of Tests Will Enhance Education?
Achieving Commonality and Fairness
Reading and a Wider Crisis
Fulfilling Our Nation's Highest Ideals
Constantly Changing Schools-A Critical Issue
Localism and a Perfect Storm of Bad Educational Ideas
Are There Decisive Advantages in Specifying Definite Content?
Thinking the Unthinkable: A Core of Common Content in Early Grades
The Critical Importance of an Adequate Theory of Reading
Notes
Acknowledgments
Index

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