Introduction: Sol Stern, Contributing Editor, City Journal
E. D. Hirsch, Jr. is widely recognized as one of the most important education thinkers of the 20th century. Starting with his 1987 best seller, Cultural Literacy, Hirsch has argued persuasively that the primal scene of all education reform is in the classroom. To overcome the dismal academic performance of American students he has urged the nation's schools to develop a coherent, grade by grade curriculum emphasizing a common core of knowledge.
In his latest book, The Making of Americans, Hirsch shows that the founders of our republic were committed to the common school as the most reliable means of ensuring that young Americans become not only literate and numerate, but also develop into citizens loyal to the Enlightenment ideals of liberty and toleration.