We Should Cherish Our Children's Freedom To Think Summary

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In their essays, “We Should Cherish Our Children’s Freedom to Think” and “Teach Knowledge, Not ‘Mental Skills’,” Kei Ho and E. D. Hirsch analyze and evaluate the American educational system. Ho recognizes that it certainly has some weaknesses, but states that it allows children to express themselves freely and creatively. In other countries, such as Indonesia, his homeland, children are provided with too much information and concepts and are not allowed to express their own thoughts. He believes that the freedom to think is more important than mere knowledge and reacts to the general opinion, which considers the system of education in the United States low-quality, with the question: “If American education is so tragically inferior, why is…show more content…
In fact, despite its poor education, the United States is still “the country of innovation” (Ho 113) and is better than all the others. However, he fails to convince readers. He attaches too much importance on self-expression and freedom to think and seems to consider knowledge as an element of secondary value. Having a whole generation of artists who cannot distinguish between Argentina and Spain, nevertheless, does not give the impression that America has such a good public education. Hirsch, in fact, highlights the priority of basic skills over “mental skills.” Although he is not clear in his definition of “mental skills,” it is clear that he refers to something similar to what Ho called “freedom to think.” Hirsch acknowledges the necessity of having problem-solving skills, but he claims that they depend on how much knowledge you have. Moreover, he states that the introduction in a South Bronx public school of the “core-knowledge” curriculum, which was adopted in “the best and fairest school systems in Europe and Asia” (Hirsch 116), has demonstrated that what students do not have is academic knowledge. Without it, you cannot achieve much. But, with it and mental skills, your chances are infinite. Therefore, Hirsch believes that the United States should learn from more effective systems and that, later, academic excellence will be possible for

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