Core Knowledge Foundation

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Core Knowledge Foundation
FounderE.D. Hirsch, Jr.
HeadquartersCharlottesville, Virginia
Linda Bevilacqua

The Core Knowledge Foundation is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan[citation needed] educational foundation founded in 1986 by E. D. Hirsch, Jr. The Foundation is dedicated to encouraging increased factual content in primary school education.

The Role of the Core Knowledge Foundation[edit]

The Foundation staff serves as the support system for Core Knowledge schools, educators, and parents. The Foundation conducts research on curricula; develops books and other materials for students, parents, and teachers; and serves as a training and communications hub for schools using Core Knowledge.

The Foundation has developed a number of publications, including general information packets about Core Knowledge, the Sequences, textbooks, and other supplementary materials for use in conjunction with the Sequence.

The Core Knowledge Foundation also offers a variety of staff development workshops to facilitate the process of implementing the Core Knowledge program in schools and hosts an annual national conference, which focuses on the sharing of ideas between educators at every level and making connections across the Core Knowledge network.

Implementation of Core Knowledge in Schools[edit]

The Core Knowledge Curriculum begins in preschool and continues through eighth grade. A group that decides what is important for students to learn is able to consider them culturally literate and then forms the curriculum around those ideas.[1]

The three goals of implementation of the Core Knowledge Curriculum are to teach all of the topics included in the Core Knowledge Sequence, to teach the topics at the grade levels assigned by the Sequence, and to teach the topics to all students whenever possible.

Implementation of the Core Knowledge Curriculum and the process required necessitates cooperation between teachers, administrators, and parents. Implementation often occurs over a two- to three-year period, with schools phasing in topics subject-by-subject or adding additional grade levels each year.

There are three levels of Core Knowledge schools based on the level of implementation and excellence achieved by the school—Friends of Core Knowledge, Official Core Knowledge Schools, and Official Core Knowledge Visitation Sites. Friends of Core Knowledge are schools implementing Core Knowledge at any level, beginning on the first day of implementation. Official Core Knowledge Schools implement 80% or more of the Core Knowledge Sequence and have an eventual goal of 100% implementation. They submit curriculum plans, alignment with state standards, and sample lessons for review by the Foundation. Official Core Knowledge Visitation Sites are schools visited by representatives of the Foundation deemed to be model schools for Core Knowledge implementation.

As of April 2006, Core Knowledge schools were 44% public, 35% charter, 15% private, and 6% parochial. Additionally, they were 39% urban, 39% suburban, and 22% rural.

Core Knowledge in the UK[edit]


The Core Knowledge system of education has been accused of not encouraging students to think deeply, compose meaningful questions, or develop reasoning skills.[2]

Failing to Teach Creativity[edit]

It is argued that creativity can be hindered by the type of information taught. The Core Knowledge model focuses on clear facts with right or wrong answers. This type of information is easy to teach and test, but does not prepare students to be able to think “outside the box” in the way of the real world, which is a messy place without concrete answers.[3] This method keeps the teacher in the active, “expert” role, and the student remains passive.[3] A passive role does not encourage creative thought.

Research has shown that the Core Knowledge Curriculum does not necessarily depress creativity, and may even have a positive impact in increasing students' creativity in some areas.[4]

Biased curriculum[edit]

The curriculum has also received criticism because one group has decided what is “best” for all students which could end up leaving minorities at a disadvantage (Oliva, 2009).

However, Core Knowledge resources and educational materials are particularly effective in reducing educational inequalities,[5][6][clarification needed] and research has shown that the fact that Core Knowledge "schools with higher percentages of non-Caucasian students consistently scored well above the national average (at or above the 60th percentile) sets these schools apart from their non-Core Knowledge counterparts".[7]

There is also an argument that by using this method of teaching, the main focus of education becomes creating students that can simply reproduce the culture of the day; this method simply “preserves the status quo”.[2]


  1. ^ (Oliva, 2009)
  2. ^ a b Kohn, Alfie. "What Does it Mean to be Well-Educated?". Retrieved Oct 13, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Scoffham, Stephen (2011). "Core Knowledge in the Revised Curriculum". Geography. 96 (3): 124–130.
  4. ^ Study Finds Core Knowledge and Creativity Not Mutually Exclusive (January, 2004)
  5. ^ Core Knowledge UK
  6. ^ Core Knowledge
  7. ^ Core Knowledge Curriculum and School Performance: A National Study (Sept., 2004)

Oliva, P.F. (2009). Developing the curriculum, (7th edition). New York: Pearson Allyn and Bacon.

External links[edit]