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This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Professor E.D. Hirsch, Jr., founder and chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation, professor emeritus at the University of Virginia, and acclaimed author of the books, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and How to Educate a Citizen: The Power of Shared Knowledge to Unify a Nation. They discuss his newest book on how policymakers, teachers, and students can use our country’s complicated, shared past to educate for common civic purposes. They also talk about troubling results on national and international assessments of K-12 reading and math, and Prof. Hirsch’s December 2020 open letter to NAEP’s governing board, published in EducationWeek, recommending that they not follow through with plans to replace NAEP’s assessment of reading comprehension for the 2025 tests. They explore the NAEP change’s implications for assessing and improving reading results in America’s schools, and he shares thoughts on how to improve academic quality and equity across the entire system. Then they turn to the academic quality of state-approved teacher preparation programs, insights from the Core Knowledge Foundation’s work in education schools, and models of success among schools in other states and countries.
Stories of the Week: An Associated Press poll of education departments revealed that 38 states are planning to open permanent virtual schools as a result of increased interest in at-home learning. The NAEP governing board is shifting to a new framework for the reading assessment, that will allow analysis of student performance by socioeconomic status and race.