Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Global Literacy

In 1987, E. D. Hirsch's "Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know" became a surprise best-seller, and drew charges of "cultural elitism" for attempting to list a core knowledge that informed citizens should possess.

Twenty years later, in the July 2-9 issue of Newsweek, John Meacham introduces a Special Report entitled What You Need to Know Now in order to "start a conversation about what we are calling Global Literacy—facts and insights about the world (some objective, some subjective) that we think are worth knowing." The accompanying 130 question Global IQ quiz covers 13 subject areas ranging from Art to Faith, Politics, and Technology.

First tag in my revamped del.ici.ous bookmarks: LP-culturalliteracy (Lesson Plan - cultural literacy). This quiz should spark some interesting current events discussions! (and I wonder if I can figure out how to make one of those globes covered with pictures...maybe Jane Austen's portrait could link to the different settings of her stories; there might be a trailer from a movie adaptation of her works; an audio clip from an Austen classic...)


Newt said...

Ah yes...E.D. Hirsch. You know, he is/was a professor at UVA-C (Charlottesville). When "Cultural Literacy" came out, I was teaching in that area. I must say that his book had an incredible impact on public schools both around Charlottesville, my state, and the Nation.

His book, in concert with Secretary of Education Bill Bennet's "Book of Virtues" effectively squelched revolutionary education reform and gave opponents of that reform ammunition to install their draconian theories. From the ashes of abandoned reform, we were given standards based assessments then later given standards. Later still, NCLB was birthed.

Everything You Need to Know to Know Everything (aka The New Cultural Literacy Handbook)

diane said...

Newt, Thanks for the background info. Do you think the Newsweek Special Report will be a step forwards or backwards? It will certainly provide a lot of material for my Current Events class!