E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

: The Brain behind the
Common Core State Standards Initiative
By: Lyndee Roundy

orn in Memphis, TN, in 1928, to
a prosperous cotton merchant,
and later attending Yale and
Cornell, E. D. Hirsch, Jr. never knew the
ills of being poor or uneducated.
However, because of his research,
Hirsch fathered the Common Knowledge
Foundation. His research and teachings
are now the basis of the federally
directed Common Core State Standards
Initiative (CCSSI), which will be the
curriculum for all public schools in 43
states beginning in the 2014-15 school
Hirsch is the author of several
books asserting the need for education
reform and equality. Despite meeting
continued opposition, Hirsch’s beliefs
regarding the planned progression of
educational subjects in the schools
throughout the United States of America
is in the process of implementation
nationwide. Despite the controversy
surrounding the CCSSI, Hirsch has
solidified his position as one of the most
influential education reformers of all
time because of his research and many
successful books.
After studying the language and
education, and realizing that the US
education system was horribly failing its
many students, Hirsch fathered the
Common Knowledge Foundation. This
organization works with the federal
government in the hopes of offering
“Educational excellence and equity for
all children”
. Hirsch deemed reform
necessary after researching the falling
state of the end product of the nation’s
education system. Prior to his
reformation, Hirsch claimed that
education throughout the country
differed greatly based on the
socioeconomic state of the countless
school districts spread across the nation.
Further research led Hirsch to
investigate the specifics of curriculum
based on what it was the Founding
Fathers hoped and intended for students
to receive when creating this nation.
Hirsch determined that the children of
America were not receiving what was
rightly theirs, and thus created the CFK.

As the nation prepares to begin a new
school year, families, teachers, and
administrators are working to adapt to
the new curriculum presented by the
Common Core State Standards Initiative.
This program provides a balanced,
seamless, and progressive learning
structure for students across the US.
Designed by a board of educators and
federal government officials, and
influenced by the research results of E.
D. Hirsch, Jr., this innovating initiative
promises an equal and effective
education for every student following its


Borman, G., Datnow, A., & Stringfield, S. (2000). School reform through a highly spedified curriculum:
implementation and effects of the Core Knowledge Sequence. The Elementary School Journal,
101 (2), 167-101.
Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org.
Core Knowledge Foundation. (2014). Retrieved from http.//www.coreknowledge.org.