September 9, 2010 |
The numbers are distressing. One in five adults in Philadelphia is not able to read a book or a newspaper properly. More than 50 percent struggle to follow written instructions or complete a job-application form, compared with 37 percent statewide. This in an increasingly service-driven economy, where reading skills are key for getting almost any kind of job. Marking U.N. International Literacy Day on Wednesday, Mayor Nutter took a step to tackle the problem by reestablishing the Mayor's Commission on Literacy and announcing 16 new members.
August 19, 2010
By Siobhan A. Reardon We all know that libraries are nice to have. But as it turns out, we need to have them. Last week, as I walked into the Pascalville Free Library branch, I saw a snapshot of the ways libraries promote literacy and learning while making a direct economic impact on our communities. Children at the branch were reading or working on crafts as part of the Free Library's annual summer enrichment program, which engages 57,000 children in literacy activities.
August 5, 2010 |
A local non-profit focusing on children's literacy is among 49 agencies or groups nationwide to receive federal funding for its work over the next five years. The Children's Literacy Initiative, a Philadelphia-based non-profit that provides literacy training and materials for prekindergarten through third-grade teachers, is scheduled to receive $21 million. It scored the highest in its category - Validation grants - one of three categories, Congressman Chaka Fattah said today. "Scale Up" and "Development" were the other categories.
June 23, 2010 |
Andrea Clarke had her first baby at age 15 on a farm in Long Creek, Guyana. By the time she arrived in the States six years later, she was a mother of four, a high school dropout struggling to read. This is not where the story ends. Clarke is smart, inquisitive, and determined, blessed with a bountiful curiosity. By her 30s, she was divorced and a dialysis technician, and refused to be deterred by the ifs of her life - if she hadn't become pregnant, if she had more means.
June 18, 2010
By Trude Haecker A recent report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation noted the disturbing fact that 68 percent of America's fourth graders were less than proficient in reading last year, judging by their scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The corresponding number in Pennsylvania, 63 percent, is only slightly less alarming. Many of these children will never catch up, putting them at greater risk of truancy, dropping out, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy.
February 24, 2010 |
IF AMERICAN capitalists want to take a look at what bustling commerce really looks like, they should head to Communist Vietnam. Imagine the Delaware River with container ships docked from Penn Treaty Park down to the Navy Yard. That's how Haiphong Harbor, which the U.S. once bombed and is now Vietnam's largest port, appears to tourists. The huge modern cargo cranes that resemble gigantic versions of the red-orange Mark Di Suvero sculpture on the Ben Franklin Parkway disappear into the distance in perfect perspective.
November 28, 2009 |
With New Jersey high schools already facing a new mandate to teach students financial literacy, at least six school districts will be able to participate in a pilot program that establishes a class on the topic for seniors. The state Department of Education in June added economics and financial literacy instruction to the state's high school graduation requirements. At the same time, a bill working its way through the Legislature aimed to create a financial literacy pilot program, establishing a course on the subject in six districts.
November 9, 2009 |
On a Tuesday morning in a windowless basement in Kensington, a book group is discussing Push, the 1996 novel about Claireece Precious Jones, an obese, illiterate, HIV-positive African American teenager from Harlem who is beaten, neglected, and sexually abused by both her parents. The book club's members analyze the author's use of language. They trace Precious' character development. They savor the startling poetic beauty in her raw first-person account of degradation and redemption.
July 1, 2009 |
Credit score. Personal bankruptcy. Balancing a checkbook. A series of recent moves by state officials could ensure those will not be foreign terms to high school students as they head off to college. Last month, the state Board of Education adopted new high school graduation standards, adding a half-year requirement of economics and financial literacy to the core curriculum. A bill cleared in the Senate the next day by a 35-1 vote would establish a three-year pilot program requiring that high school seniors in selected districts take a semesterlong personal-finance course.
June 28, 2009 |
More than half of Philadelphia's working-age adults, about 550,000 people, cannot handle the basic arithmetic and reading necessary to succeed in the majority of jobs in the city. "If you have low literacy, you have a labor market that doesn't welcome you," said Paul Harrington, a labor economist who created a study of workforce readiness for the Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board. The study will be released tomorrow. The average Philadelphia score for prose literacy - meaning the ability to read simple instructions and pull some facts out of a paragraph - is 260 out of 500. Yet people who are health-care technicians, secretaries, teachers, engineers, architects, scientists, computer technicians, drafters, managers, librarians, bankers, insurers, security guards, repairmen, and community organizers - the majority of jobs in Philadelphia - need higher scores, from 277 to 336, to accomplish their tasks.