A battle raged throughout the 20th Century over the best way to teach children – by teacher-directed, content-rich approaches or through a “progressive” method by which children direct their own learning.
It rages still, with progressivism continuing to exert a strong hold, despite mounting evidence that teacher-directed instruction using a core curriculum works best for most children.
Core Knowledge schools have risen to meet the need and demand for schools that teach children facts in a sequential manner, so that they gain the vocabulary and knowledge base for further learning. Implementation of a Core Knowledge Sequence started in 1991 with one school in Florida; this fall, there will be 1,100 Core Knowledge schools operating in 46 states. The parallel charter school movement offers opportunities for parents and teachers to start Core Knowledge schools.
A basic purpose of Core Knowledge and its founder, Dr. E. D. Hirsch Jr., is to advance equity in education by ensuring a full education for all, including children from low-income and minority homes.
There is mounting research showing that Core Knowledge is succeeding.
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