EDC was founded in 1958 by university scholars and researchers who saw the need for an independent, free-standing institution that could bring together academics and teachers, business and community leaders, creative artists, and talented researchers to achieve reform of science and mathematics curricula. That collaborative, inclusive spirit has remained a guiding force through the years, producing a distinctive working style.
At its founding, EDC was unique. There were no federally funded regional laboratories and centers or other nonprofit (or, for that matter) profit-making research and development organizations working broadly on issues of national and international import in education. EDC’s appearance on the scene coincided with a growing national investment in the education sector. From its beginnings, this institution was designed to fill the distinctive roles of catalyst, experimenter, and developer and to be an instrument for improvement and renewal.
As scholar and educator Jerome Bruner said,
EDC started off like so much does in America . .
. in response to a gap. The Cold War and the emergence
of the Russian space program in the late 1950s stoked American
concerns about a glaring national weakness in math and science. Jerrold Zacharias,
an eminent physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, brought together
a group of some of the nation’s top scientists, teachers,
and technical specialists to develop a new high school physics curriculum, PSSC
Physics. This curriculum, funded by the National Science
Foundation, focused on science as the product of experiment
and theory, constructed by real people. EDC introduced it successfully in schools across the country and eventually
in many parts of the world.
In the decades following, EDC expanded to include projects addressing many of the major education, health, and social challenges facing our society. EDC’s interdisciplinary social sciences program Man: A Course of Study won numerous awards, and the African Primary Science Program provided training and materials for schools in 11 African countries. In the 1970s and 1980s, EDC developed projects in the areas of child development, gender equity, cross-cultural understanding, health promotion, substance abuse, violence prevention, and institutional development. At the same time, EDC created an expanding range of educational tools, from videotapes to computer software. And EDC’s international work expanded beyond basic education to focus on community health, nutrition, economic development, and civil societies. The interactive timeline explores these landmark programs in education and health.
As EDC grows in the 21st century, projects continue to build on the collaborative approach used in our earliest work. Our programs are never designed solely by researchers; they reflect the ideas and work of practitioners and the interests and concerns of learners. We develop programs in partnership with the people who will use them and balance their diverse viewpoints and expertise. While we maintain a strong tradition of creating innovative curricula and resources for students, teachers, and practitioners, we have learned that good materials cannot succeed in isolation. Now more than ever, we are contributing to comprehensive solutions to complex problems.
Our success in obtaining the public and private funds to continue our work derives from the quality and dedication of our staff, the excellence of our work as judged by our clients, and the importance of the issues we take on.