The Corner

Politics & Policy

We Need an Education System that Unifies Us

E.D. Hirsch is one of our foremost education critics. He’s a liberal in politics, but he completely dissents from the way the Left has used its control over education to breed national division. Back in 1987, he wrote about the need for school curricula based on knowledge in his book Cultural Literacy. 

Now he has written a new book, How to Educate a Citizen and Jenna Robinson reviews it in today’s Martin Center article. 

What Hirsch calls for is the overhaul of our K-12 schools and that has to begin with our schools of education where teachers receive their training.

Robinson writes, “Although most of Hirsch’s book centers on K-12 education, reform must start with higher education: Specifically, in our schools of education, where the majority of K-12 teachers learn from the same misguided playbook. Hirsch calls it educational romanticism,’ the idea that education should be individualized to accord with the child’s nature’ and allow them to ‘construct their own knowledge.’ Hirsch is unrepentant in his criticism of ed schools: ‘The dominant, child-centered idea has been so well indoctrinated in teachers-to-be by our education schools that child-centeredness has wielded an intellectual monopoly.’”

If anything, that understates the trouble with our education schools. They’re wedding not only to romanticism, but to the idea that teachers can and should be “change agents.”

With teachers preoccupied with student feelings, they neglect to teach them important pieces of knowledge. Hirsch remembers his own schooling when that was the focus of our schools and argues that we need to return to it.

Robinson concludes, “This kind of shared, unifying, patriotic education is needed now more than ever. Reading Hirsch’s new book is a good starting place.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.