What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Fifth-grade Education

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Eric Donald Hirsch
Doubleday, 1995 - Education - 393 pages
Building on themes and topics from earlier volumes in the Core Knowledge Series, some of the things you will find in this volume include stories and speeches: selections from Homer's epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, Don Quixote, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address; American Civilization: progress and problems with industrialization, reformers who worked for rights of women, African-Americans, and the urban poor, and the complexities and compromises of becoming an international power; life sciences: classifying living organisms and life cycles and reproduction of plants and animals; geography: climate zones and time zones and how lakes are formed; physical sciences: combining concepts of science and math such as mass, speed, force, and energy; and world civilizations: European and Native American cultures meet, the European Renaissance, feudal Japan and Russia, the tremendous religious upheavals of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, and the massive political and social shake-up of the French Revolution.

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I am using this book to study for a general curriculum test. It covers a lot of information. My only issue with it is that it asks some questions in it but does not give you the correct answer. In the ... Read full review



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About the author (1995)

Hirsch is a conservative critic best known for his repudiation of critical approaches to literature (chiefly poststructuralism and New Criticism) that assume that the author's intentions do not determine readings. He argues that any such methodology is guilty of "the organic fallacy," the belief that the text leads a life of its own. For Hirsch, the author's authority is the key to literary interpretation: The critic's job is to reproduce textual meaning by recovering the author's consciousness, which guarantees the validity of an interpretation. In his two most important books, Validity in Interpretation (1967) and its sequel, The Aims of Interpretation (1976), Hirsch warns against the "critical anarchy" that follows from the "cognitive atheism" of both relativism and subjectivism. For him, these result from a corollary of the organic fallacy, the thesis that meaning is ultimately indeterminate because it changes over time or with the differing interests and values of different readers. According to Hirsch, meaning does not change; only value or significance does, as readers relate a text's fixed meaning to their cultures. If there is more than one valid interpretation of a text, it is because literature may be reduced to more than one "intrinsic genre" or meaning type---the particular set of conventions governing ways of seeing and of making meaning at the time the author was writing. Many critics suggest that the intentions Hirsch recovers in intrinsic genres are really his own, rather than those of the author, because no one, including Hirsch, can escape his or her historically conditioned frame of reference when developing interpretations of literature. Hirsch's recent books, including Cultural Literacy (1987), are seen as proof of those flaws by those who are troubled by the history and values of the dominant culture that Hirsch insists is the only culture. Hirsch argues that "common knowledge" is being denied minority students and others by feminists and other "radicals" who have undermined the authority of its great texts.

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