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An analysis of E.D. Hirsch's view that there are certain ideas and facts that one should know in order to be "culturally literate".

E.D. Hirsch asserts that there are basic cultural concepts and ideas that must be known in order to communicate and thrive in ones community. This paper gives a brief history of the author and analyzes his idea that modern education is a failure since it does not leave students culturally literate. The paper concludes that education should be modified to allow for intergenerational knowledge.

In his book Cultural Literacy, subtitled What Every American Needs to Know," E.D. Hirsch Jr. begins with the fact that there are certain ideas and certain facts which we all assume that other people know. When we talk to people and make certain essay writing high school cultural references, we expect to be understood (assuming we are speaking to someone also from this same culture, of course). In the course of his book, though, Hirsch shifts from what we expect people know to his subtitle, detailing what he believes every American should know in order to be an American citizen."


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