E. D. Hirsch's Education As Ideology

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Education as Ideology In The Making of Americans, E.D. Hirsch makes the argument that a curriculum based education system works much better than an anti-curriculum based or child-centered approach to education, offering up numerous studies to support his claim such as the increase in math scores on the SAT after elementary schools began to adopt a core curriculum (page 42). Hirsch states that since the beginning in the late eighteenth century, schools have had a duty to make every child conversant with the spoken and written forms of Standard English, but that the rise of the anti-curriculum movement in the twentieth century has prevented this from becoming a reality in today’s United States (page 37, 107). He offers a thesis in the book that …show more content…
Hirsch believes that the purpose of schools is to make Americans, and that this can be done by teaching a common language (which can be imposed and standardized by a core curriculum), which can be done by adopting a core curriculum for the United States. This will also have the added benefit of increasing American solving all of the problems described in Hirsch’s thesis. While critics say that core curriculum reject the American traditions of locality, diversity and markets, The Making of Americans provides evidence to spite those claims. The title of the book “The Making of Americans” in and of itself explains what Hirsch thinks the purpose of schooling is. He believes that it is “the duty of American Schools to educate competent American citizens”, and that for the last half a century education leaders have skirted around this idea (65). Schools today ought to teach the principles of religious and economic freedoms, as well as the ideals of fortitude, courage and patriotism, as they did around the turn of the twentieth century (76). The child-centered, anti-curriculum approach has turned away from making Americans; these ideas construct learning environments where children’s differences are put first and individuals, …show more content…
Hirsch would first say that the idea that core curriculums hinder diversity is a fallacy. He points to how on the “What Philosophy is this?” test progressivism is described as being cultural and worldly, while curriculum is opposed to independent thought and distinction (52). Hirsch writes this off as being a completely arbitrary way of looking at the different education philosophies. Nothing mandates that curriculum must be dull and lifeless and progressivism lively and cultured; they are simply presented that way by education professors. He points out that when he tried to teach a course in the education department on the achievement gap, other professors warned their students not to take his course due to his curriculum supporting beliefs (49). Curriculum learning is only “culturally limiting” because of its presentation, but Hirsch argues that it can be just as cultural as progressivism. Still others would argue that a core curriculum is trying to stifle dialects of English other than “Standard English” and that this limits diversity. While Hirsch does not necessarily argue against there being an established language of power, he contests that all students should be taught this language of power in order to have an equal footing in the public sphere. He would argue although some people may argue that Standard English is oppressive and

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