E. D. Hirsch on ‘Forging A Common Language Community in Education’

  • Wednesday, 21 November, 2018
    18:00 - 19:30

E. D. Hirsch (Founder, Core Knowledge Foundation and Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia) spoke at Policy Exchange on Forging A Common Language Community in Education: towards smarter, fairer and more unified countries.

The event included a Vote of Thanks by Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, Minister of State for School Standards.

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About E. D. Hirsch

E. D. Hirsch is the founder of the Core Knowledge Foundation, and recently retired as professor of education and humanities at the University of Virginia. He is the author of several books on education in which he has made the case for equality of educational opportunity.

A literary critic and professor of English earlier in his career, Dr. Hirsch recalls being “shocked into education reform” while doing research on written composition at a pair of colleges in Virginia. During these studies he observed that a student’s ability to comprehend a passage was determined in part by the relative readability of the text, but even more by the student’s background knowledge.

This research led Dr. Hirsch to develop his concept of cultural literacy—the idea that reading comprehension requires not just formal decoding skills but also wide-ranging background knowledge. In 1986 he founded the Core Knowledge Foundation. A year later he published Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, which remained at the top of the New York Times bestseller list for more than six months. His subsequent books include The Schools We Need: And Why We Don’t Have Them, The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children, Why Knowledge Matters: Rescuing Our Children from Failed Educational Theories and The Making of Americans: Democracy and Our Schools.