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

The value of professional teacher preparation that's both child- and learning-centered seems obvious. 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, who delivered TC's annual Virginia and Leonard Marx Lecture in October.

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. These policies are made "for other people's children" and are "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, formerly William F. Russell Professor at Teachers College, called TC "the place where I really learned to teach."

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