Every other Monday night, in a temporary office located in the Waltham (Mass.) Hospital, a one-of-a-kind Board of Directors convenes. The issues before the board on this night are typical of many social service agencies: the cost of tuition for the workshops they offer; the success of recent outreach efforts; the development of parent councils in the local schools; the new accounting software. But the board itself isn’t at all typical.
Faced with the challenge of designing a program that would bring current business issues into the high school classroom, a team of EDC curriculum writers and researchers began their work in an assembly plant.
Is it bad for parents to talk "baby talk" to their babies? How can you tell if a first grader is behind in reading? Is it normal for a child to talk to herself? Is it okay to read the same books every night? Parents with these and other questions about a child’s reading and writing can now "Ask the Expert" by logging on to the PBS Parents Web site.
In our introduction to this issue of Mosaic, we referred to Paulo Freire’s description of literacy as “reading the word and world.” That same phrase-with its dual emphasis on the concrete and the abstract—can be used to characterize EDC’s definition of mathematical literacy.
When Sara was in the first grade, her teacher discovered that she had weak writing skills. No matter what techniques they tried, the teacher saw no improvement. Throughout her elementary school years, Sara made little progress in writing and often felt embarrassed about her handwriting. On occasion classmates ridiculed her.