E. Donald Hirsch Jr.

E. Donald Hirsch Jr.

Biography: 

E. D. Hirsch Jr. was a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution from 1999 to 2006 and a charter member of the Koret Task Force on K–12 Education (1999–2006).

Hirsch is the founder and chairman of the nonprofit Core Knowledge Foundation and professor emeritus of education and humanities at the University of Virginia.

He is the author of several acclaimed books on education issues including the best-seller Cultural Literacy (Houghton Mifflin) and The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them (Doubleday), which was recognized by the New York Times as one of its "Notable Books of 1996." He also contributed the chapter "Research-Based Education Policy" to What's Gone Wrong in America's Classrooms by Hoover Institution research fellow and fellow Koret Task Force member Williamson Evers.

Additional works by Hirsch include The Knowledge Deficit, Books to Build On (coeditor) and The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, which has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, German, Japanese, and Swedish. Some of Hirsch's other books have been translated into Hungarian and Italian.

Hirsch's articles have appeared in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, among other publications. He also wrote the best-selling Core Knowledge series which begins with What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know and continues through each grade, concluding with What Your Sixth Grader Needs to Know.

Hirsch founded the Core Knowledge Foundation in 1986 to promote excellence and fairness in early education. The foundation conducts research on curricula, develops books and other materials for parents and teachers, offers workshops for teachers, and serves as the hub of a growing network of Core Knowledge schools.

Hirsch is an elected member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the International Academy of Education. He has served on the Research Advisory Board of the U.S. Department of Education and, in 1997, received the Biennial Quest Award for Outstanding Contribution to Education from the American Federation of Teachers.

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Recent Commentary

A Debate on School Reform: Curriculum and Instruction or Markets and Choice?

with Chester E. Finn Jr., E. Donald Hirsch Jr., Caroline M. Hoxby, Paul E. Peterson, Diane Ravitchvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Koret Task Force on K-–12 Education is a top-rate team of education experts brought together by the Hoover Institution, with the support of the Koret Foundation, to work on education reform. The primary objectives of the task force are to gather, evaluate, and disseminate existing evidence in an analytical context, and analyze reform measures that will enhance the quality and productivity of K-–12 education.

Analysis and Commentary

No Child Left Behind: How to Ace Those Tests

by E. Donald Hirsch Jr.via Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Schools should start teaching a solid, cumulative curriculum that replaces the time now being devoted to trivial content and fruitless comprehension.

Classroom Research and Cargo Cults

by E. Donald Hirsch Jr.via Policy Review
Tuesday, October 1, 2002

All the trappings of scholarship, missing only real results

Analysis and Commentary

Education Policy and Information

by E. Donald Hirsch Jr.via Hoover Daily Report
Monday, January 14, 2002

We need to transform the ocean of educational data into usable information on the basis of the most wide-ranging and exacting analyses.

Blaming the Messenger

by E. Donald Hirsch Jr.via Hoover Digest
Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Critics of the SAT have chosen the wrong target. Instead of attacking a fair and valid achievement test, they should level their ire at our dismal public schools. By Hoover fellow E. D. Hirsch Jr.

Analysis and Commentary

The SAT: Blaming the Messenger

by E. Donald Hirsch Jr.via Hoover Daily Report
Monday, May 28, 2001

No test of "alternative" skills has proved to be fair and valid.

Analysis and Commentary

Education Reform: Phase II

by E. Donald Hirsch Jr.via Hoover Daily Report
Monday, December 4, 2000

Despite the confusion of battle there is universal agreement on the importance of teaching all children to read.

Analysis and Commentary

Education: The New Civil Rights Frontier

by E. Donald Hirsch Jr.via Hoover Daily Report
Monday, November 22, 1999

Apologists for the public schools continue to blame the achievement gap between groups on social pathologies and shortcomings in the innate abilities of entire groups.

A Nation Still at Risk

by William J. Bennett, Willard Fair, Chester E. Finn Jr., Rev. Floyd H. Flake, E. Donald Hirsch Jr., Will Marshall, Diane Ravitchvia Policy Review
Wednesday, July 1, 1998

Fifteen years after A Nation at Risk galvanized the education reform movement, little has changed.