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The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children


reviewed by William Ayers July 20, 2006

coverTitle: The Knowledge Deficit: Closing the Shocking Education Gap for American Children
Author(s): E.D. Hirsch, Jr.
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co, Boston
ISBN: 0618657312, Pages: 169, Year: 2006
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The Knowledge Deficit, the latest philippic from E.D. Hirsch, Jr., author of the best-selling Cultural Literacy, as well as a dozen little baubles on the theme of “what every child needs to know,” ought to carry a warning label, or better yet, a straight-forward subtitle: An Infomercial.  It’s a tirade, of course, but here Hirsch, as manic and breathy as any television pitchman, is busy pushing product on every page.  There’s scant substance, even as it announces itself as a work of “Science,” and so we are left with a sparkly, self-promoting advertisement masquerading as deep thought. His thesis is easy enough to summarize: there’s a powerful, monolithic ideology emanating from our colleges of education that has controlled American educational thought and practice for a century. He singles out the Bank Street College of Education and Teachers College, Columbia University as exemplars, which he dubs the “parent organism” that is spawning... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: July 20, 2006
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12611, Date Accessed: 12/14/2017 2:07:25 PM

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About the Author
  • William Ayers
    University of Illinois at Chicago
    WILLIAM AYERS is Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is the founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, and author of To Teach; Teaching Toward Freedom. His upcoming book, published by Beacon Press, is called Teaching The Taboo: Politics and Pedagogy in an Unjust World.
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