2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
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A Call to Arms

It seems obvious: the government should support professional teacher preparation that's both child- and learning-centered. Yet, "schools with this kind of vision are fighting for their lives," said Linda Darling-Hammond, Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University, as she delivered TC's annual Virginia and Leonard Marx Lecture on October 20 in Horace Mann Auditorium.

In her talk, "Reclaiming Childhood and Education: The Current Challenge for Progressive Education," Darling-Hammond, author of the award-winning book The Right to Learn, decried high-stakes testing and other features of the federal No Child Left Behind program.

"Childhood is threatened by mandated tests tied to sanctions," she said, as well as by reduced teacher preparation requirements, inequitable school resources and the elimination of arts programs and recess. That's policy made "for other people's children" and is "dehumanizing" the teaching profession.

Instead, said Darling-Hammond, America needs "a much more professionally trained teaching force" enhanced by state-supported assessments and assistance-not sanctions-to help improve student achievement.

Darling-Hammond, who was formerly William F. Russell Professor at Teachers College, called the institution "the place where I really learned to teach and understand teaching," and said TC is "still my foundation, my roots, my intellectual home."

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