Dr. E. D. Hirsch sets out his thoughts on the National Curriculum.
It will surpoise you to learn Don's thoughts on the 2014 changes to the curriculum and its lists of “key course content”.
This brings with it obvious challenges to classrooms and institutions in which pre-existing background knowledge and any preconceived ideas of culture differ hugely from student to student.
There's been a focus on skill-based learning, in lieu of knowledge, which is often dismissed as 'rote learning' and irrelevant. E.D. Hirsch, who inspired the Core Knowledge curriculum, was among the first to see that the retreat from knowledge was misguided. Above all, he showed that to compare 'knowledge' with 'thinking skills' was to make a false contrast. They are not mutually exclusive alternatives. Knowledge does not get in the way of reasoning: it's what we reason with.
Cognitive science tells us that teaching knowledge is the necessary partner critical to achieving culturally literate citizens able to meaningfully participate in democratic life. The success of the Core Knowledge curriculum and the ethos embraced by the Core Knowledge Foundation—educational excellence and equity for all children—is the motivation for Civitas' adaptation of their knowledge-rich curriculum for schools in the UK.