The purpose of education is development of the person. When one is taught and knowledge is then attained, that knowledge is the intellectual development of the person. This development is important for maintaining life, economic prosperity, and so forth. Hirsch, an American educator, advocates that universal literacy is a necessity in life because it leads to effective communication. Hirsch believes literacy is the basis for many changing tasks, which is an important component in the development of the person. Hirsch states, "Ultimately, our aim should be to attain universal literacy at a very high level, to achieve not only greater economic prosperity but also social justice and more effective democracy." (1.2) Once literacy is properly taught, individuals are able to retain much information about what they read and hear because they have an understanding of it through background information. "We know instinctively that to understand what somebody is saying, we must understand more than the surface meanings of words; we have to understand the context as well. The need for background information applies all the more to reading and writing. To grasp the words on a page we have to know a lot of information that isn't set down on the page." (2.3) This is considered the development of the person because being literate allows individuals to operate as well rounded citizens. Literacy shapes individuals into knowledgeable human beings thus proving that the purpose of education is development of the person.
The purpose of education is not development of character but the development and expansion of one"s knowledge. Hirsh has also stated that "the chief function of literacy is to make us masters of this standard instrument of knowledge and communication, thereby enabling us to give and receive complex information orally and writing over time and space" (2.2). You stated that "Hirsch, an American educator, advocates that universal literacy is a necessity in life because it leads to effective communication". Education leads to effective communication not because it has developed people"s character but because it has developed their knowledge and has given them a shared collective group of information. Ones character can be developed by means outside of the classroom and the education system, however the shared knowledge that one needs to effectively communicate with others can not be learned out side the classroom, and therefore the chief goal of education should be to develop this knowledge. A person"s character development should only be secondary.
You stated that, "The purpose of education is not development of character but the development and expansion of one's knowledge." Education can profoundly develop one's character, however I did not imply that it was the only thing develops one's character. Education is an immense part of a human being"s life. Education is in an individual's life from the age of five or even younger to a grown, young adult, which therefore makes education an immense component to one"s development. Through the education of factual and traditional materials, as Hirsch proposes, individuals are able to run a smooth society, which all factors in to their development. This is solely because in order to run a smooth society, education is the basis to a smoothly run society. One's character development comes from education because when educated and knowledgeable, there is understanding of the world and its complexities and contradictions.
You say that "Education can profoundly develop one"s character". This desire to use education to develop people"s character is what is weakening the education system and causing there to be a lack of shared knowledge. Many people have decided to make one of education"s goals the development of an individual"s character. This is seen when Hirsch discusses the cafeteria style education. Schools try to tailor their curriculum to each individual"s personality to help stimulate their character development. This has left a disjointed population that no longer has a shared knowledge. The education one individual gets is different from the one another gets. When there is a lack of shared knowledge communication amongst people because impossible and futile. This shared knowledge can only be obtained in school. Schools need to stop focusing on development of their students" character and only focus on development of their shared knowledge. Their character can be developed through other means and do not have to fear that it will be stifled if they do not develop it in school.
You previously stated that, "Schools need to stop focusing on development of their students' character and only focus on development of their shared knowledge." This is not true because Freire argues against the banking concept of education, which is what schools actually do. Schools do not necessarily focus on the development of their students, they focus on depositing knowledge into them. What is happening in school systems is a teacher-student dichotomy. The students are viewed as being empty vessels that are in need of being filled with knowledge rather than being active learners, which makes the teacher the oppressor. The student's pre-existing knowledge is ignored because they are passive students who only get knowledge deposited into them, which is considered to be teacher centric learning. Freire states, "Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor. Instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiques and makes deposits which the students patiently receive, memorize, and repeat. This is the "banking concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving, filing, and storing the deposits." (1.5) Indeed schools should focus on students' shared knowledge because that is the basis of literacy and a factor in the development of the person. Being literate and educated is development of the person because it helps people not only understand the world, but also understand themselves and who they are in this world. Understanding one"s self is what development of the person is. With this understanding, people are able to make logical decisions, think rationally, and so on. This is why education is development of the person. For instance, how can one vote and without being knowledgeable about whom they are voting for? In order to have a just society, people need to be literate in order to understand the world and many issues in the world. All of this education that is need is important for change in the world and vastly important for the development of the person.