Cultural Literacy by E.D. Hirsch is a sobering look into some of the reasons why public schooling in America has been spiraling downwards for the last few decades. At the vanguard of these issues, Hirsch narrows down this intellectual death spiral to the loss of cultural literacy among the masses. This loss of cultural literacy has exacerbated the significant bifurcation between the individuals that have literate cultural backgrounds, and those that do not.
Moreover, Hirsch makes it a point to show that cultural literacy is not just knowing about significant facts, or information as some would undoubtedly think. Certainly, these are at times important, but more precisely, the author homes-in on the fact that cultural literacy is information shared by individuals within a particular social strata that makes their communications more efficient and enjoyable, thus allowing for a more cohesive social strata.
With a critical eye, Hirsch notes:
“….literacy requires the early and continued transmission of specific information…Only by accumulating shared symbols, and the shared information that the symbols represent, can we learn to communicate effectively with one another in our national community.”
Employing copious amounts of research, Hirsch shows there should be a significant cause for concern about the poor quality of education, as well as other salient problems.
With deep concern, Hirsch soberingly warns:
“If we not achieve a literate society, the technicians, with their arcane specialties, will not be able to communicate with us nor we with them. That would contradict the basic principles of democracy and must not be allowed to happen.”
A sound and versatile education is impossible without a robust culturally literate repertoire. This is why the information touched upon by Hirsch is so pivotal and should be ruminated upon.
To home in on the point of deteriorating education, let’s take a gander at what two-time award winning teacher, researcher and writer, John Taylor Gatto stated in A Different Kind Of Teacher:
““Schools were designed by Horace Mann, E.L. Thorndike, and others to be instruments of scientific management of a mass population. Schools are intended to produce, through the application of formulas, formulaic beings whose behavior can be predicted and controlled. To a very great extent, schools succeed in doing this.”[Bold Emphasis Added]
Lowering cultural literacy, among other things, would undoubtedly be part of this process. This is because culturally literate individuals will be familiar with the scaffolding of history and many of its nuances; such individuals are magnitudes harder to control, which is why public schooling through the Common Core system seeks to conform everyone through standardized testing and more. (For more information, please look below the sources at the resources and suggested reading.)
We are at a turning point in history, and we either stop the descent into cultural nescience, individually, and as a nation, or we continue into the swamp of ignorance.
Irrespective of the circumstances, one thing is certain: there is still time to make significant changes if individuals choose to. It is really up to individuals and their families to educate themselves, because the way the system is constructed, a well-rounded and complete education cannot take place within the system. This is one of many reasons why self-teaching is growing at an immense rate, and will continue to do so. Don’t allow yourself, or those you know to fall by the wayside merely because the system is corrupt and cares not for true education but rather to instead create cogs for the machine.
 E.D. Hirsch, Jr., What Every American Needs To Know, p. xvii.
 Ibid., p. 2.
 John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 16.
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About The Author:
Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.
His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.