Why Knowledge Matters - Book We Recommend


The book ‘Why Knowledge Matters’ is written by prominent scholar, E. D. Hirsch, Jr. He addresses critical issues in present-time education reform and shows how ‘cherished truisms’ about child development and education have led to unforeseen and adverse effects.


Hirsch draws on research from France and ­findings in neuroscience to give new evidence for the argument that a carefully planned, knowledge-driven elementary curriculum is vital in providing the fundamental foundations for children’s life success and makes sure that equal opportunities are available for students of all backgrounds. In the absence of a defi­nite, standard curriculum, Hirsch contends that tests are brought down to determine skills rather than content and that children from disadvantaged backgrounds cannot form the knowledge base to support high achievement.


Hirsch promotes for updated policies which are based on a set of ideas compatible with current developmental psychology, cognitive science and social science. He also challenges the reader to reflect upon much of the progressive ideas in education to ensure there are research and evidence to support these ideas.


The book attends to six constant problems of present-day education:

  • The scapegoating of teachers

  • The over-testing of students

  • The reliance on standards that are not related to a rigorous curriculum

  • The narrowing of the curriculum

  • The fadeout of preschool gains

  • The continuous achievement gap between demographic groups.

'Why Knowledge Matters', with some great ideas on pedagogy and curriculum, ensures more knowledge. This book is a must-read for all educators.


This article originally appeared in the TeacherTribe Magazine February 2021 edition.